Why Many Discovery Calls Go Wrong (And the Vendor Doesn’t Realize It!) – Part 3 - Great Demo

Why Many Discovery Calls Go Wrong (And the Vendor Doesn’t Realize It!) – Part 3

How does this 55-minute “discovery” call compare with yours?

0:00 Introductions and small talk (establishing “rapport” by noting a photo/trophy/item of common interest, the weather, sports, etc.…)

0:04 Discussion of “pain” (“So it looks like you reached out to us because you are interested in addressing XX – is that correct?”)

0:08 A couple of questions about “integration requirements” (“Are you using YY today? OK, good, we can connect to that…”)

0:10 Corporate overview presentation (including all the standard slides…)

0:18 “Any questions so far?” “Nope, we’re good…” followed by product(s) overview presentation

0:25 Overview demo, interspersed with a few questions along the lines of, “What do you think about this feature?” and “Are you using ZZ for this currently?”

0:50 Next steps discussion (“Would like a POC?” or “Shall we schedule a deep dive demo?” and “I’ll send you a proposal…”)

0:55 End of call


In this 55-minute “discovery” call, the vendor preformed only about 6-8 minutes of actual discovery. “Pain” and a bit about the prospect’s tech-stack/environment was the only information collected.

  • Is this prospect in an active buying process or “just browsing”? Unknown.
  • Is this prospect really worth pursuing as a sales opportunity? Unknown. 
  • Is this opportunity a candidate for a No Decision outcome? Unknown.

Why are vendors so eager to talk about their offerings rather than actually doing discovery? Is it a lack of confidence to ask questions? Is it a desire to “provide value” by presenting these various overviews? Is it “this is the way we’ve always done it”?

Whatever the reason, it is time to uplevel discovery skills!

The market demands it and is proving it: on average, 45% of forecast opportunities end as No Decision outcomes. That’s nearly half of all of the opportunities you work. What could you do with the time you would recover by not having to pursue these No Decision prospects?

That 55-minute meeting could have accomplished at least 45 minutes of actual discovery, including exploring more deeply, uncovering impact and related pains, examining tangible value, identification of the specific capabilities of interest, and assessing the prospect’s buying status, level of interest, and timing. In addition, there was time for a crisp Vision Generation Demo to satisfy the prospect’s desire to “get a sense of what’s possible in a solution”.

The results?

  • Accurate determination of active buying process vs “just browsing” status
  • Ability to prepare and deliver a focused Technical Proof Demo – which could be the only proof needed for the prospect
  • Possible avoidance of an unnecessary deep dive demo
  • Possible avoidance of an unnecessary POC
  • Possible avoidance of a No Decision outcome
  • Dramatic reduction of “Buying It Back” discounting
  • Increased likelihood that a “just browsing” prospect returns when in an active buying mode in the future (avoiding the horrors of Lead Churn)

Learn more about these skills in the new book, Doing Discovery or (even better) learn how to apply these skills in a Great Demo! Doing Discovery Workshop.

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