30 Questions to Ask on a Call During the Sales Discovery Process

30 Questions to Ask on a Call During the Sales Discovery Process 

The discovery call is the most vital phase in any B2B sales process. It’s the first call that marketers have to make after getting in touch with a prospect via email. During these calls, marketers need to determine if their products/services and their prospects match by asking the prospects a series of questions that unearth their requirements, problems, and objectives. 

For this initial step in the sales qualification process to be successful, buyers and sellers need to have collaborative conversations. Each party can benefit from building better rapport and engaging in value-driven dialogue. To create more trust with the potential buyer, the seller must share relevant insights and probe the buyer’s issues in a way that builds a strong case in favor of the purchase. 

“How to Ask Effective Questions During the Sales Discovery Process?” Here’s a list of 30 questions that top sales professionals use during the discovery phase to uncover the maximum amount of information they need to generate leads. We’ve divided these ‘conversation sparking’ questions into four categories – 

  1. Introductory questions. 
  2. Questions that qualify the prospect. 
  3. Questions that disqualify the prospect. 
  4. Questions that guide potential buyers to taking the next steps. 

Before getting started with these questions, sales professionals must – 

  • Thoroughly research the target buyer.   
  • Practice active listening. 
  • Learn how to use high-impact questions that encourage target buyers to speak more. 

Bear in mind – the point of sales discovery calls is to learn as much as possible about the customers. The following 30 questions will help sales professionals spark conversations, create trust, and guide potential buyers towards taking conclusive steps. 

1. Introductory Questions

These are the questions that help sales professionals learn more about the target customers’ specific situations. Sales professionals may already know some answers to these questions beforehand (via their research). 

So, these questions give them a chance to validate their research, understand how things work internally (at their company), and gain the insight they need to push on deeper into the sales process. 

Q1. Would you mind describing your company and what it does? 

Ask this question after introducing yourself. Don’t make it seem as if you haven’t done any prior research. Clarify the details you already know and gently ask them to build upon your account of their company. 

Q2. What is your role in the organization? 

This slightly more personal question is directed to the employee on the other line, not the company itself. Don’t draw out this question. Ask this casually to build rapport with the employee. 

Q3. What are your organizational responsibilities? 

This question is slightly less casual. It aims to quantifiably confirm whether your product/service can help the responder be better at their job. Uncover this information to get a sense of how your product can help the company’s and the employer’s goals.

2. Questions that Qualify the Prospect

Once the introductory phase is complete, it’s time to discover what problems your products/services can solve for the prospect. 

Q4. What are the key financial and operational goals of the organization within a specific time period?  

It’s time to get into the specifics. Choose a timeline and ask about what goals the company aims to meet during this timeline. For instance, if you’re selling a security tool that gives a healthy ROI within the next three months, ask about the company’s half-yearly goals. 

Q5. Do you have products or services in place that help you achieve these goals? 

This question should uncover whether they have proper plans in place to meet their organizational goals. If they already have similar tools or services that you’re offering, start preparing some points (in your mind) that position your product/service over the tools they’re already using. 

Q6. What additional tools do you need to achieve company goals? 

How urgently does the company need better tools or services to meet its short and long-term objectives? The answers to this question will help sales professionals determine whether the prospect is a “good fit.” 

Q7. What are some obstacles your company is facing while attempting to meet its goals? 

Allow the customer to bring up any issues their company may be facing. Use this query to learn more about their business challenges. 

Q8. Can these obstacles be resolved with your product or service? 

Don’t ask this question directly. Instead, keep the flow of the conversation open-ended. Allow the responder to drive the conversation toward a specific area of the business that your product or service can enhance. 

Q9. Why is your company facing these obstacles? 

Dig deeper by asking this question to uncover specific pain points that the prospect is distressed about resolving. Once you discover the sources of your prospect’s problem, creating a value-based sales pitch will become much easier. 

Q10. Why is removing these obstacles an organizational priority? 

This is a continuation of the previous question. Knowing how urgent this issue is for the prospect will help sales professionals draft better pitches later on in the conversation. 

Q11. Why are these problems still unaddressed? 

Has the target client tried removing these obstacles before? If so, why have they failed? For example, many businesses don’t have the budget to remove organizational roadblocks. In such scenarios, sales professionals can use the answer to this question to qualify/disqualify the target client instantly. 

Q12. What is their dream solution to this problem? 

Let the target client discover their ideal scenario. Even if their ideal solution doesn’t involve your product/service, use this question to learn how the prospect’s mind works when it comes to resolving important business issues. 

Q13. What do you expect from a solution? 

Discover whether your products/services can meet their ideal, long-term expectations. This set of questions will ultimately confirm whether this call will actually lead to something fruitful. Listen without motives or judgment. Then, move on to the next set of questions. 

3. Questions that Disqualify the Prospect 

Be it budget or time constraints – learn about all the factors that may disqualify the prospect from your sales goals. 

Q14. What’s stopping you from implementing a solution for your business problem? 

You’ve already asked about the roadblocks the prospect’s company is facing. Double down on this question to get very specific answers. 

Q15. What would be the ideal time to implement a solution? 

Does your product’s implementation schedule match the prospect’s time constraints? If not, you and your prospect’s business goals may not align. For example, if you’re selling a sales tool to a company that’s only focused on market research for the foreseeable future, they’re not a good fit for your product. 

Q16. Does your company have the budget to solve this issue? 

Start talking budget. Does the prospect have enough funding to invest in your project? 

Q17. Who is in charge of your company’s spending? 

Learn who or what funds the company’s annual or monthly budgets. Is it a single person (e.g., a sponsor) or the whole department?  

Q18. Who are the prospect company’s main funding managers? 

Be it a senior-level employee or a C-suite executive – it’s important to learn more about the people behind the organization’s budget.

4. Questions That Guide Potential Buyers to Taking the Next Steps

Once you’ve qualified/disqualified a prospect, it’s time to move them along the sales pipeline. This stage of questioning should be purely focused on providing solutions, explaining why your product is of value, and offering the steps that enable them to finalize the purchase. 

Q19. What are your criteria for choosing vendors? 

Learn what criteria you have to meet to take the call to senior executives. 

Q20. Have you worked with similar vendors before? 

Irrespective of the answer, establish a competitive advantage by describing why your products/services are better. 

Q21. Is there someone else you’re considering purchasing a solution from? 

Don’t sound judgmental or defensive – just learn who your competition is. 

Q22. Who makes the decision to choose vendors for the company? 

Learn about the gatekeepers of the organization. Learn how involved each senior figure of the company is in the decision-making process. 

Q23. Who creates the criteria for vendors? 

Learn what factors shaped their attitude towards working with specific vendors. 

Q24. If you purchase our products/services now, what procedure will you have to follow? 

Learn about the prospect’s typical purchasing processes to identify potential roadblocks that may pop up later on in the deal. 

Q25. Have similar deals been halted before by roadblocks? 

Understand whether any unexpected changes that may damage the deal in the future. 

Q26. How can I prevent the deal from coming to a halt? 

Be it additional resources about the product or citations from previous clients – clarify the steps you can take to ensure the deal is not halted in the future.   

Q27. How will this solution make the responder’s job easier? 

This is a rapport-building question that will make the conversation with the responder a lot easier. 

Q28. How will this solution help the company? 

Ask the responder to envision a typical day at the company after they’ve purchased your product/service. These are the details the responder will use to present your solution to the company’s chief decision-makers. 

Q29. What does the company’s long-term future look like with our solution? 

More customers? Better customer service? More brand awareness? Detail the ways in which your solution will enhance the company. 

Q30. When should I follow up? 

Close the call by scheduling another call to smooth over any remaining details. 

Measured and well-thought-out sales discovery calls can help sales professionals understand important details about their prospects’ situations. With these calls, sales professionals can – 

  • Ensure prospects understand the products/services they’re offering. Prospects can receive answers about specific product features that gauge their interest in the deal. 
  • Sales professionals can give the impression that they understand the prospect’s problems. Successful sales discovery calls aren’t focused on getting the clients’ money – they aim to prove that the seller is invested in the buyer’s commercial objectives. 
  • Most importantly, discovery calls give sales professionals the chance to ‘qualify’ each potential client. Sales pros can tell from the prospect’s attitude towards the call whether they’re interested in purchasing the product/service they’re offering. 

The list of benefits goes on. Optimizing these benefits will become much easier for sales professionals if they follow this 30-step template.  


2021 Marketing Strategies for Software Companies

The CMO’s Guide to Creating Efficient Marketing Strategies for Software Companies

The software development industry is one of the most competitive markets in the world. Without proper marketing and sales development strategies, it’s impossible for software development projects to get off the ground. These strategies need to be focused on building visibility, improve the software company’s search presence, and creating valuable content for target consumers.

The target customers are out there – searching for solutions, benefits, and great deals. Software development companies need to reach out to them by building solid inbound pipelines. Creating comprehensive digital marketing strategies is the only way to increase the volume of leads these companies receive.

In this article, we’ll explore the best marketing strategies for software development companies. Here are the key elements of an efficient marketing strategy that we’ll cover in this article –

  • Sales Prospecting
  • Content Creation
  • Website Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Product Testing and Free Trials

Sales Prospecting

Sales prospecting is the process of defining and finding potential buyers and clients, i.e., prospects. This is the first step that software development companies should take after launching their products. Reach out to as many target customers as possible, with the aim of registering them into long-term sales funnels.

Sales Prospecting for Software Development Companies – Key Points to Remember

  • Identify everyone who can benefit from the software that you’re offering. The long-term aim is to convert these prospects into customers.
  • Assess what needs, and pain points your software is addressing; share this information with your customers or brand partners.
  • Software clients are always looking to hear from software development companies, especially when they’re looking for products that help them improve their business. Inform them how the software will benefit their business. The more detailed this explanation, the higher the chances of lead generation.
  • Most consumers and decision-makers at companies prefer email communication. Use short, personalized, and to-the-point emails to share important product-related information.
  • Timing is critical for creating successful sales prospecting strategies. Assess your target audiences’ budgets, future plans, etc. Strike when the iron’s hot. For example, if a target company has recently secured a lot of funding, design your prospecting funnel around their commercial plans. Tell them how, why, and how quickly your software will benefit their long-term objectives.
  • Software buyers like knowing who they’re talking to before they initiate sales-related conversations. Make sure the software development company’s website and LinkedIn profile are optimized for visits from target buyers.

These are the prospecting basics every software development company should follow while launching its marketing programs. Define your target customers, reach out to them with personalized content, track your rejections/approvals, and make prospecting a habit. The more you follow up with potential prospects, the higher your chances of generating sales.

Content Creation

Investing in content creation allows software development companies to educate their customers about important topics and product-related details. More importantly, it allows these companies to gain search engine authority. To get the best of these benefits, software development companies need to create two types of content –

Landing Pages

These web pages are purely for SEO purposes. They should feature full of multiple relevant keywords and “Contact Us” forms. For example, if the core function of your software product is helping small businesses find the best wholesale deals on the internet, your landing page should be titled “Price Optimization Software for Small Businesses.”

Any leads who search for that term will be redirected to this landing page. Search engine leads are highly valuable for software development companies as they have extremely high close rates.

Supplementary Content

The aim of this content is not to bring search engine authority to the software development company’s website. It’s not to talk about the company’s software products either. It’s meant to provide customers of this industry with unique insights and relevant information.

Surprisingly, companies that share this type of content via blog posts rank much higher than companies that don’t have valuable information to share with target customers. Thus, creating supplementary content is part of every successful SEO strategy. It’s the easiest way for software development companies to demonstrate a sense of authority among target audiences.

  • Use longer keywords that are related to the core keywords.
  • Discuss the most frequently asked buyer questions in blog posts.
  • Respond to client queries, claims, and complaints.
  • Share relevant industry-related information, even if it doesn’t directly concern your company or your product.
  • Integrate images, videos, quizzes, infographics, etc., into your content strategy. For example, create “How To” videos explaining the key features of the software.
  • Provide links to your landing pages in the supplementary content.
  • Encourage members of the workforce to write helpful third-party articles. For example, your team’s chief software developer can write an article entitled “5 challenges every software developer will face in 2021.”
  • Provide links to other websites that feature relevant or important information. Bear in mind – the primary aim of supplementary content is consumer education. So, if there are articles that you feel will benefit your target consumers, don’t refrain from sharing them.
  • Ask third-party outlets to publish similar content under your company name. Publishing branded content helps software development companies get in touch with people who are not familiar with the brand.

Website Optimization

Software development companies should have highly functional and easy-to-use websites. No customer will trust a software development company with a low-quality website. The company website should also be optimized for search engine websites. It should be the first result whenever target customers search for services or products your company offers.

  • Add calls to action (CTAs) on all web pages. For example, every webpage should have a ‘Buy Now’ option. Users should be able to navigate quickly to conversion pages as soon as they open the website.
  • Customize the content on all web pages, making it more sales-focused. If needed, use infographics and videos that inspire website visitors to take action.
  • Make sure no page on the site has broken/unresponsive links.
  • Don’t describe product features – provide strong value propositions instead. Describe how the different features of your software will benefit the consumer.

Conduct thorough SEO research every week. The way the average search engine user behaves changes all the time. SEO is a never-ending effort. A software development company’s website can’t ever be perfectly optimized. Keep assessing the website’s analytics. Repeat the elements of your SEO strategy that are working. Improve the ones that aren’t.

Social Media Marketing

It’s very easy to gain initial traction via social media channels. During sales prospecting, the company should identify its key targets. Then, by posting content regularly, software development companies can establish direct lines of communication with target audiences.

  • Post regularly using automated social media posting tools.
  • Identify key influencers in your niche. Partner with them and attempt to engage with their followers.
  • Use hashtags to gain access to different communities on social media websites. For example, if you’re launching a data management software tool, use hashtags like #bigdata or #datamining on Twitter. You’ll quickly get noticed by other major players in this niche.
  • Ask employees to respond to user queries. Ask them to open accounts on all major social media platforms. Inform them that respectable behavior on these platforms is mandatory as they’re representing the brand on these platforms.
  • Use paid ads to inform more people about the company and its core products. Facebook ads, Google ads, and LinkedIn ads are the most effective for software development companies.
  • Include links to company websites on every social media post.

Software development companies can rapidly increase their target customer base by spending as little as two hours a day on social media platforms. Identify the types of posts and content that work the best on each social media platform. Analyze the results every week or at the end of each social media campaign. How many leads did the social media efforts generate? Set higher targets with each post.

Product Testing and Free Trials

Software buyers love nothing more than free trials. They don’t want to waste their money on substandard software tools. That’s why software development companies that are confident about their products should never shy away from providing free trials. An even better way of showcasing your software’s best features is by asking third-party reviewers to test your product for free.

  • Tell video creators and influencers in your niche to review your product.
  • Ask them to share their unbiased opinions about the software.
  • Ask them to compare the software to similar products. This type of information will empower your target audiences to make rational purchase decisions.
  • Provide free trials of 7 days (or more) to the viewers of the content creators reviewing your product. If possible, give them access to premium features of the software at discounted prices.

If the test results and the reviews are positive, encourage interested consumers to sign up for free email courses. Free email courses will attract more subscribers to the company’s website. From there, the company can work towards converting these subscribers into loyal customers.

Once these marketing efforts start generating leads, nurture them into customers. Keep engaging with each customer. Software development projects can only be successful if the company continually builds new relationships with potential customers.