The discovery call is perhaps the most important call of the sales process. It sets the tone for your business’s relationship with prospective clients. It is through these calls that your sellers have the opportunity to make a lasting impression. Once discovery calls are made, there is little opportunity to make corrections. It is imperative to your business that discovery calls are utilized to their full potential.
Too Few Sales Managers Coach Discovery Calls Effectively
While most sales managers believe their teams engage in effective discovery calls, few have evidence to support their claims. Even fewer effectively score and coach their sellers to develop fundamental areas of the process. Sellers are typically allowed to rely on lackluster performance techniques, unaware of areas that need improvement.
Without a coachable discovery process, your sales force is likely missing out on potential buyers. Coachable improvements could set your business ahead of the competition and sway more prospects in your direction. Providing your sales managers with effective observational tools and the opportunity to collect actionable data will help your sale team build on their existing skills.
The Significance of Effective Discovery Calls
Through their research, through learning the needs of the prospective client, your sellers acquire much-needed information about the types of problems your services will address, they learn the pain points of the prospect and offer a solution.
During the discovery call, your seller should have the ability to align his questioning to validate the research gathered about the client. The questions asked during the discovery call help your representative gain a better understanding of client’s business needs, building on what the associate already knows. These critical conversations help sellers align your services with the needs of the client. Many sales managers and sellers believe a successful discovery call is instinctive. Chances are your sales team could be more effective with consistent guidance.
Effectively Coaching the Discovery Call Directly Impacts Team Performance
Imagine that each of your sales team makes five discovery calls each week. If you have ten sellers, that’s 200 discovery calls per month. As your likely know, only a relatively small percentage of these discovery calls will result in a sale; let’s assume 5 percent as an average. With access to measurable performance data, your sales team works smarter. Improving the productivity of the discovery call will decrease the number of missed opportunities without increasing the amount of time spend on discovery calls or the number of representatives you employ.
While the discovery call process seems simple enough, there are effective and ineffective methods of implementing each phase of the process. Using best practices consistently, cleaning up the areas of weakness, will strengthen your sales team. If your sales managers had behavior driven data, could actively coach accordingly, even a small increase in conversion would mean a significant increase in the number of sales generated per year.
Improving the Productivity of Your Sales Teams Discovery Calls
The quality of the discovery call can make or break the success of the interaction. When your sales managers evaluate their sellers, it’s imperative that the sales team is evaluated on verifiable attributes, success or failure measured on what can be seen or heard. Through observation, key areas of importance can be measured, evaluated, coached, and improved upon with each member of the sales team. It is crucial that each sales manager or sales coach have the ability to:
- Set coaching agendas and clear objectives
- Evaluate each sales representative by a set standard of operation
- Set clear objectives for the discovery call process at each key area
- Evaluate each team member based on the objectives
- Score each of their associates according to verifiable behaviors
- Actively coach each representative with effective methods to improve each score
- Assess associate involvement and the effectiveness of individual coaching encounters
- Hold sellers accountable for their improvement or lack thereof
Few Sales Managers Have the Tools Needed to Ensure Results
While you may be tempted to believe that this is all being done on a continual basis in your organization, it’s important to remember that selling and coaching are learned behaviors. While most sales managers and coaches believe they coach effectively, few have the ability to identify the practices of each associate. Few have the tools they need to define each area for sales representative development; even fewer can verify that best practices occur in the field. In fact, many coaches fail to hold their reps accountable for coached behaviors.
Helping Coaches Identify Observable Attributes
An effective discovery call has recognizable attributes. By defining these attributes, by knowing what a good discovery call looks like, sales managers can move their team forward while mentoring them through the sales process. Just a few of the observable attributes of an effective discovery call include:
- Setting an effective agenda or objective of the call
- Prioritizing the client’s key issues
- Asking open-ended questions to better align business services to client needs
- Providing a tailored value of vision
- Clearly differentiating your business from the competition
- Creating a compelling vision of use for the client
- Establishing the value of Your Services for the client
- Skillfully overcoming objections and establishing credibility
- Discovering who is involved in the purchasing decisions
- Establishing a plan to take together to advance the decision-making process
The Process of Evaluating and Coaching Verifiable Behaviors
It is nearly impossible to coach associates effectively based on assumptions. Effective sales managers need the ability to identify each of the observable attributes in a productive discovery call and score each sales rep based on individual skills and talents. Effective sales managers are skilled at:
Defining Behaviors and Assigning a Score
By identifying the key behaviors involved in an effective discovery call and assigning a score to each level of performance, you sales managers have the power to coach every associate to expected standards and best practices. Sales managers are consistent in the evaluation process.
Assessing the Baseline
Once a sales manager has clearly defined the goals and expectations of a successful delivery call, they have a guide to score the level of expertise each associate has achieved in crucial areas. This is good. Assessing the baseline gives your sales manager a clear understanding of where the team stands as is. Evaluating where the team currently stands, gives the sales manager a clear sense of direction, a path to individual development, and improved team performance.
Coaching and Improving
Having verifiable data helps a sales manager develop a workable plan for continued success. Once a sales representative is scored in any given area, the sales manager can coach key behaviors and skills to help strengthen the abilities of each sales representative and improve their scoring potential. This makes one-on-one coaching sessions more productive. As scores improve, the discovery calls are increasingly productive.
The Benefits of Coaching to Verifiable Behavioral Data
Sales coaches are more effective when they have the power to provide clear objectives and measurable goals. The sales manager provided with the proper tools is an active leader, confirming positive discovery call methods while focusing on areas for future development. In a short amount of time, your sales force will perform consistently, taking full advantage of the discovery process to align your services with client needs. Having access to observational data allows the sales coach to:
- Communicate measurable behaviors and expectations to their team
- Improve the value of the time spent in one-on-one evaluations with clear objectives
- Coach to the development of each team member with behavior driven data
- View the engagement of each of their associates to improve their effectiveness
- Have the ability to improve scores at each level of associate development
- Have an increased measure of accountability for each coached behavior
Ineffective Discovery Calls are Counterproductive
Discovery calls are a necessary function for the success of your sales representative. Depending on the skills of your team, these calls can range from productive and successful to eminently disastrous, potentially resulting in missed opportunities. Empower your sales managers by providing the observational tools they need to identify the significant components of a successful discovery call, evaluate and score their team, and effectively coach to improve discovery call performance.
To learn more about observational tools and sales force empowerment, contact CommercialTribe. With unbiased performance assessments based on verifiable evidence, your sales managers will have the ability to provide data-driven coaching, providing you with measurable results. With ComercialTribe, you can be assured your sales managers and sales force are on the same page, and delivering quality, productive discovery calls.