The takeaway is, “The Smaller the Group the Better…”
Many sales and presales folks often try to gather as many prospect players together as possible for Discovery calls. This is not recommended…!
Your best strategy is to have an individual or two prospect participants (next best) on a call at a time. Why? Several reasons:
- Many individual contributors and middle managers are uncomfortable sharing information with an executive on the call, particularly if that exec is their manager’s manager.
- Similarly, folks from one department are often reluctant to expose departmental issues when representatives from other departments are on the call as well.
- Managers of teams may hesitate discussing specific team issues with the team members present.
- A single open-ended question may consume a surprising amount of the scheduled call time if all or most of the prospect participants take a turn to answer.
- Additionally, an opinion-based anchoring effect can take place, particularly if a senior manager or exec presents an initial opinion (effectively gagging contrary or differing perspectives from others).
So, if you are presented with a Discovery call with multiple prospect participants, here are some guidelines:
- Use the time to answer many of their questions – it is quite likely that some of the players are not fully up-to-speed with the information provided so far. This may be a good opportunity to get everyone aligned.
- Focus on demographics and other “easy to ask, easy to answer” questions and topics.
- For managers and execs, ask about their objectives for the project.
- Finally, gently (but firmly) recommend to “continue” the conversation with individuals or related pairs to enable more specific discussions.
The Smaller the Group the Better!