In the ever-evolving B2B landscape, the art of seller discovery stands out as a pivotal factor in securing and retaining business. Understanding the customer’s business and situation is paramount, as evidenced by a Gartner 2022 Tech Buying Behavior Study, which highlights that 43% of decision-makers consider a seller’s deep understanding of their business as the top criterion for a high-quality purchase decision. However, the current state of seller discovery reveals significant gaps, underscoring the need for a more strategic approach to enhance seller credibility, confidence, and capability.
The Discovery Shortfall in B2B Sales
Despite the clear importance of thorough discovery, many sellers fall short. Instead of delving into the specifics of a buyer’s challenges, sellers often resort to superficial questions before launching into standardized pitches. This approach leads to a disconnect, with one in five buyers indicating a “poor” understanding of their needs by sales reps (CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Survey), and 57% stating that reps could significantly improve their discovery process (Primary Intelligence).
Overcoming the Discovery Shortfall
To bridge this gap, sellers must be empowered with the tools and skills for effective discovery. A new survey by Cuvama highlights three critical areas where sellers struggle:
- Credibility: 66% of sellers lack sufficient customer stories to gain credibility in conversations.
- Confidence: 78% struggle to connect pain points to business metrics.
- Capability: 68% lack the industry or persona knowledge necessary for deeper probing and challenging.
Addressing these gaps requires a multifaceted approach, involving engagement fuel, discovery enablement, and sales execution.
To enhance credibility, sellers need comprehensive knowledge about the customer’s industry and persona. This involves leveraging heuristic discovery techniques, such as sharing strategic initiatives, use cases, and pain points relevant to the prospect’s industry. Educating sellers about the cost of inaction and providing them with success stories can significantly improve their ability to engage prospects.
Sellers require clear guidance on what to discover and the types of questions that will lead them there. The M-A-P Discovery Framework can be instrumental in this regard, focusing on:
- Motivation for Change: Identifying pain points, impacts on KPIs, strategic goals, desired business outcomes, and compelling events.
- Alignment: Understanding the prospect’s pain points and how the solution can uniquely address them, including decision criteria and competitive landscape.
- Process for Decision Making: Uncovering the involved stakeholders and the decision-making process.
Sellers often stop at superficial questions, failing to uncover crucial information. Here, Socratic Discovery is vital. This technique encourages a dialogue where sellers ask probing questions to explore underlying beliefs and foster self-realization in prospects. Key Socratic questions might include inquiries about daily challenges, causes, impacts, aspirations, and past solutions attempted.
Change Management: Enabling Effective Value Discovery
Implementing an effective discovery strategy requires a comprehensive change management program, encompassing:
- Specific Value Content and Framework: To fuel discovery engagements.
- Discovery Automation: For leveraging content effectively and scaling the program.
- Value Discovery Training: To instill the right mindset and practices.
- Discovery Practice and Certification: To ensure skill proficiency.
- Execution and Coaching: To refine engagements and master techniques.
Effective value discovery is essential to winning and retaining business in the B2B sector. However, most sellers face gaps in credibility, confidence, and capability.
Overcoming these challenges requires a structured approach involving targeted content, training, and tools, ensuring sellers are equipped to conduct deep, meaningful discovery that aligns with customer needs.
By addressing these critical areas, businesses can significantly enhance their sales effectiveness, leading to more successful outcomes and lasting customer relationships.
- Gartner 2022 Tech Buying Behavior Study
- CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Survey
- Primary Intelligence
- Cuvama’s State of B2B Sales Discovery Enablement Report 2024: https://cuvama.com/the-state-of-b2b-sales-discovery-enablement-report-2024/
- The Key Buying Criteria: https://geniusdrive.com/if-it-dont-make-dollars-it-dont-make-sense/
- The Purchase Pessimism Pandemic: https://geniusdrive.com/the-purchase-pessimism-pandemic/