B2B sales is all about aligning your offering with the needs and pain points of prospective clients. One of the biggest challenges is that leads may not understand why they need your service or how you can help improve their workflow.

Discovery meetings are your best chance to show leads the value you can offer. A successful discovery meeting is a crucial part of your B2B sales funnel, so it’s critical to come in with a clear plan to make a first impression. Only 5-10% of qualified leads end up successfully converting for marketers – and the right discovery call can help make all the difference in qualifying those leads.

In this article, we’ll go over the importance of discovery meetings and explain how to craft a strong discovery meeting template.

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What Is a Discovery Meeting?

A discovery meeting is an initial sales call between a B2B vendor and a prospective client. Think of it as your chance to find out whether you and the lead could have a productive business relationship.

Even though discovery meetings are part of B2B sales, they are notably different from a typical sales call. Rather than trying to convert the lead on the spot, you should be focused on exchanging information and getting a feel for whether it might be a good fit.

By the end of a discovery meeting, you should have a clear understanding of what the lead is looking for and how you can meet their needs. Of course, you also want to build a strong rapport so that they come away looking forward to your next meeting.

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Why Are Discovery Meetings Important?

Discovery meetings play a vital role in the middle of your sales funnel. These leads are already interested in your brand, but they are missing some of the details they need to take the next step.

A successful discovery meeting will lead to a project proposal or another meeting. On the other hand, a failed one will be the last time you hear from that lead. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the discovery meeting often sets the stage for your entire working relationship.

This unique position can also make discovery meetings more difficult to manage. They aren’t exactly marketing, but they also aren’t sales. You need to approach discovery meetings differently in order to maximize your conversion rate.

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What Is a Discovery Meeting Template?

You should bring a clearly structured template into each new discovery meeting. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you have time to talk about everything you want to cover before the meeting ends. A strong template should include all the questions you need to ask to determine whether the relationship could be a good fit.

This process of narrowing down leads is also known as lead qualification. Qualifying leads is all about determining how warm each lead is and how you should move them toward an eventual conversion.

For example, a sales qualified lead is someone who is already engaged enough to schedule a sales call. You can quickly sort leads into different categories by applying a standardized lead qualification framework. One classic framework is BANT:

  • Budget: Does the organization have enough funding to pay for your services?
  • Authority: Does the person you’re talking to have the ability to authorize a purchase?
  • Need: Are their pain points aligned with the products or services you offer?
  • Timeline: Are they prepared to move forward, or just shopping around?

There are many other standard frameworks out there, but you might be better off with a custom framework that’s tailored to your company’s audience and sales process. The key point is to develop clear criteria you can use to either qualify or disqualify each lead by the end of a discovery meeting.

While every discovery meeting is unique, that doesn’t mean you want to play it by ear. You can always cover different things that pop up during your conversation, but it’s always a good idea to have a basic framework in mind when the meeting starts.

Check out our Discovery Call Template – Download it for free!

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7 Elements Every Discovery Meeting Template Must Have

1. Current Practices

Before you can work out a direction, you need to know where the lead is right now. Understanding their perspective will make it easier to tailor your pitch to their needs later on.

For example, one lead could be using an outdated system and not even realize how it’s hurting their business. Another might know that better options are out there, but they’re hesitant to make the switch due to concerns about spending too much or interrupting their workflow.

2. Pain Points

Once you understand their current situation, you should move on to understanding the challenges that cause problems for their workflow. You won’t be able to craft a strong pitch if you don’t understand the problems that they’re looking to fix.

Pain points can come in many different forms, so try to leave this discussion open-ended. Don’t spend too much time talking about your product at this stage — you’ll have a chance to offer solutions to these pain points later on.

3. Plans for Improvement

If the lead is already seeing problems in their workflow, there’s a good chance that they have some ideas in mind. At this point, you should ask what they’re planning to do to improve things in the future.

Even if you think you can help, it’s important to avoid getting too sales-driven this early in the relationship. Instead, show a genuine interest in how the lead is solving problems on their own, and make notes for yourself to circle back to later on.

4. Product Overview

Most of the discovery meeting should be focused on the lead rather than your company. However, you still want to leave some time to talk about the basic functionality of your product and the impact it could have on their organization.

We recommend placing this part of the template after an initial discussion but still well before the end of the meeting. Keep in mind that you’ll be in a better position to describe the product if you already have an idea of where the lead is coming from.

5. Budgetary Concerns

You shouldn’t spend an entire discovery meeting talking about budgets, but it’s a good idea to quickly discuss costs and see if there’s common ground. Try to get an idea of how much they’re willing to spend on your product and whether you’ll be able to meet their expectations.

You should also have a basic pitch in mind in case the lead is apprehensive about paying your fees. If you charge $100 per month, for example, it would be great to reference a testimonial from a previous customer who saved $200 per month due to increased efficiency.

You don’t need to agree on a project proposal during the discovery meeting, so it’s better to talk in general terms. A general estimate can be helpful to make sure both sides are roughly aligned, but you shouldn’t spend more than a minute or two on price. You’ll have a second chance to discuss costs if both sides are interested in a second call.

6. Ideal Outcome

Finally, this is a good time to start talking about their ideal outcome. How is their current setup holding them back? What would they be able to accomplish if those blockers were out of the way?

Talking about the ideal outcome is a good way to bring out the aspirational element in your services. It’s important to talk about addressing pain points, but it’s often even more effective to focus on the positive outcomes they could achieve.

This part of the conversation will also help you align your pitch with their goals. For example, if a lead wants to generate more social media followers, you could mention past clients who have seen an increase after working with you. We recommend putting this near the end of the template so that your discovery meetings end on a positive note.

7. Schedule a Follow-Up

The best way to end a discovery meeting is by aligning on the next steps. Scheduling a follow-up will ensure that you take advantage of the momentum that you generated during the discovery meeting.

Whether it’s a written sales plan, product demo, or just another call, you want to leave the meeting with an agreement for what happens next. If you aren’t able to align on something during the meeting, give the lead 24 hours and send them an email to follow up.

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Final Thoughts

The first call with a new lead is always exciting, but you need to come in with a plan in order to convert more prospective clients. Without a clear discovery meeting template, you’ll have trouble keeping the conversation on track and showing the lead the value of your product or service.

These 7 elements should be a good starting point for your next discovery meeting template. Of course, you also need to consider your company’s unique value proposition in order to craft the perfect template for your sales model. Download a free Discovery Call Template to get started right away!