Are Your Discovery Calls Reaching Today’s B2B Buyer?

BY Tim Londergan
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Discovery calls play a crucial role in the sales process. First, they allow sales professionals to gather valuable information about potential customers. These calls provide an opportunity to understand the needs, pain points and goals of the prospect, enabling the salesperson to tailor their pitch and offer a solution that meets those specific requirements. Discovery calls also help in building rapport and trust with the prospect, establishing a strong foundation for the rest of the sales journey. Finally, by asking the right questions and actively listening, sales professionals can uncover valuable insights that inform their approach and increase the likelihood of closing a deal. However, reaching today’s digital-​first buyer requires your valuable discovery calls to be precise and accurately targeted.

Discovery calls help decipher today’s complex B2B sales process

You have limited time to interact with your B2B buyer. That, plus the shifting dynamics of digital buying behavior is reshaping the strategic focus of sales organizations. These fundamental changes are the center of a recent Gartner report on the B2B Buying Journey. Identified in the report are four B2B buying 'jobs' to be resolved before your client will move forward:

  • Problem identification – “We need to do something.””
  • Solution exploration – “What’s out there to solve our problem?””
  • Requirement building – “What exactly do we need the purchase to do?””
  • Supplier selection – “Does this do what we need it to do?””

Furthermore, reaching the key decision-​makers is confounded by a complex and unpredictable, nonlinear process over which you have little control. However, meeting the challenges below can help make the most of your buyer interactions while providing on-​target solutions to your client.

Selling challenge 1: Identifying, satisfying, and navigating the ‘buying group’

Surprisingly, Gartner has determined that the average number of individual stakeholders in a complex B2B purchase now numbers 11! That’s more than double the five stakeholders reported just 10 years ago. This unwieldy group contributes to greater uncertainly and impedes change on an institutional level. Consequently, your discovery calls must address the buying ‘jobs’ (above) and how these tasks are translated by each participant. To be credible, your discovery calls must blaze a path toward buyer confidence and encouraging necessary change.

Selling challenge 2: Assure B2B buyers they are making the best business decisions possible during your limited interaction

Gartner identified today’s B2B buyers’ “sustained reliance on digital channels throughout the purchase journey.” Further, the survey shows equal usage of a supplier’s website versus direct sales rep contact to complete the most common purchases. In fact, only 17% of the total purchase journey is spent with sales reps. Relatedly, buyers value suppliers that make it easier for them to navigate the purchase process. The survey found that “customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful in advancing across their buying jobs were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.”

Marketing’s challenge: Simplify buyers’ digital and omnichannel learning and buying

Gartner found that the best work in digital selling is not happening in the sales departments but rather in marketing. “Progressive marketers have shifted from spec sheets and product overviews to digitally rich buyer enablement.” These leading suppliers are helping customers and the buying group to navigate the journey in “a more seamless digital go-​to-​market model with far more intelligent and harmonized touch points.”

Sales organizations’ challenge: Supplement human selling with purpose-​built digital channels

In conclusion, Gartner recommends that sales leaders rethink their role from leaders of sellers to leaders of selling. This grows from a firm belief in the digital-​first buying posture of today’s B2B customers who prefer to review, research, study, learn, and buy digitally.

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