A great salesperson masters the art and science of discovery questions. This is even more important when your job is to sell SaaS solutions, simply because understanding the prospect’s current technological context is essential to closing the deal. A great tech salesperson uses the discovery call to uncover the prospect’s real challenges and opportunities. Every single question can completely flip the conversation in another direction, so it’s important to also anticipate potential answers, and build your script accordingly.
Let’s explore further the power of discovery questions and how you can use them to understand a prospect’s current technology stack, qualify them, and ultimately win more deals.
Always Use Open-Ended Questions
You can’t do much with a “yes” or “no” answer if your purpose is to really explore a prospect’s context. At HubSpot, we always make sure we start our questions with “why”, “what”, “who” or “when”.
If you have close-ended questions in your script, rephrase them so that they're open-ended. This allows you to find out a lot more about your prospect. Instead of asking "are you using any tools at the moment to solve [x problem]?”, try asking ”what tools are you using?”.
This way you will not only find out if they are already aware of a problem and actively trying to solve it using their technology stack, but also what exactly they have in their toolbox.
Check out the example below to see how we’d anticipate the follow-up questions, depending on a prospect’s answer:
5 Practical Examples of Open-Ended Questions
When building your list of discovery questions, be aware of the purpose of each question. This will help you be a more active listener and prepare your value proposition.
There’s nothing like a practical example to explain this concept. That’s why I took 5 examples of questions we’re using at HubSpot and I’m giving you a “behind the scenes” look at what we’re aiming for with each one of them:
Read more: If you’re looking for more inspiration on how to build your discovery script, you can check this list of 25 sales discovery call questions put together by one of HubSpot’s Sales Directors or download Datanyze and HubSpot's Discovery Call Checklist.
Build Your Value Proposition Last
A prospect’s answer might uncover a great challenge that your solution can immediately solve. Try not to rush into presenting your solution before you make sure no stones were left unturned.
End the questions segment of the discovery call with a summary of the pains, goals, challenges, and even the benefits your prospect mentioned about their current technology stack. You can then introduce your value statement based on the gaps and opportunities you identified and prescribe clear next steps forward.
About the Author
Michael is the Director of Sales at HubSpot. He now runs a team of 70+ salespeople and managers and is responsible for growing HubSpot’s sales product from $0 to more than $10 million in revenue. You can see him in action as the host of Inbound Sales Day and The Get Sh*t Done Sales Show.More Content by Michael Pici