You’ve just completed a sales discovery call, and it sounds like you’ve got a great opportunity on your hands. What do you do next?
You can – and should – celebrate the win. But before you move on to the next prospect on your list, there are a few additional steps you’ll want to take to lock in your chances of moving the deal forward.
Add each of the following activities to your sales discovery call workflows to ensure you’re getting the maximum possible value out of every conversation:
1) Add captured information to your CRM
The first thing you’ll want to do after hanging up the phone on a sales discovery call is to write down the important details of the conversation, while they’re still fresh in your mind. A few items you may want to capture include:
- Whether the person you reached is above or below the power line at their company
- Whether or not they were the right person to connect with at the company
- Information on their purchase decision-making process (including timelines, size of the buying committee, etc.)
- Any details that provide insight into how urgent their need is
- Any details on how specifically their need is manifesting in terms of pain points
- How receptive they seemed towards taking the next step with you
- Any insight they gave into the current atmosphere at their company
- Whether or not you were able to schedule a follow-up step
- Any information they requested
Add this information to your CRM – especially if you receive an unexpected call back from the prospect. Once you’ve captured this information, it’s also a good idea to revisit what you’ve recorded after a few days. You may find that re-thinking how the call went helps you to gather new ideas you didn’t think of before.
2) Assess how you can add value to your prospect
Once you’ve gone through this initial data capture and call analysis process, you should have enough information about the prospect’s needs and the challenges they’re facing to evaluate whether or not you can help them.
Asking yourself a few questions can help standardize this process so that you remove wishful thinking or other emotional responses from your prospect evaluations. Give any of the following a try:
- Is the prospect actively seeking a solution to their need?
- How significant is the pain the prospect is experiencing?
- Can my company help the prospect meet the need they expressed?
You could even add a rating scale to these questions to determine which prospects should get your immediate attention. For example, take the question, “How significant is the pain the prospect is experiencing?” From there, you could assign a value of 1-5, where a score of 1 represents a minor inconvenience, while a score of 5 is something that’s actively causing a detectable loss in revenue, morale, etc.
When you’re evaluating sales discovery calls in order to determine which prospects you’ll prioritize in terms of follow-up, having a rating system like this ensures that you’re putting the most energy into deals where your solution is tailor-made to suit both the prospect and their challenges. Doing so increases the odds that you’ll connect with the prospects that are most inclined to purchase your product or service.
3) Send a Follow-up Email
Whether or not your rating system reveals that your prospect is a good fit for future attention, be sure to send a follow-up email after the call. That’s just good manners – even if the connection isn’t a fit right now, you never know how things might change in the future.
Depending on the circumstances of the call, your follow-up email might include any or all of the following elements:
- Confirmation of any action items or next steps. If you made an agreement during the call to do something or to connect at a later date, capture that in your follow-up email (and make sure it’s added to your calendar or to-do list as well).
- A reiteration of any key points discussed during the call. Capturing key points here ensures you and your prospect are on the same page and prevents disagreements or miscommunications down the road.
- An invitation to build a relationship. Invite prospects to connect with you on LinkedIn, follow you on Twitter, or take some other step to grow your new relationship.
- Your appreciation. No matter what happened on the call, reiterate that you’re thankful to them for taking time out of their day to speak with you.
Here’s an example of what a follow-up post-call email template might look like:
Thanks so much for your time today. As promised on our call, I’ll set up a follow-up meeting for us on [date] at [time]. You should see the calendar invite come through shortly.
Just to be sure we’re on the same page, these are the highlights I took away from our call:
I think you’ll find that [our company] is well-positioned to help with the challenges you described. I look forward to sharing more in our next meeting, but until then, let’s connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch.
4) Identify things to improve for future calls
Finally, turn your attention inward to analyze how what happened, how your actions contributed, and what you can learn from the experience.
If the call was successful, what got you there?
- Had you done more research than usual?
- Was the prospect better suited for your solution than others you’ve connected with?
- Did you call at a different time of day than usual?
- Did you use different appeals, questions, or benefits in your conversation than usual?
- Were you better rested or in a better mood than usual?
- Were you able to apply new sales techniques you’d learned since your last sales discovery call?
Conversely, if the call was unsuccessful, ask yourself what you could have done differently:
- Did you book enough time so that the call wasn’t rushed?
- Did you use language that was misinterpreted?
- Could your descriptions or appeals have been more compelling?
- Did you reach the prospect at a bad time?
- Were you talking to the wrong person?
You’re not going to win every sales call, nor are there always going to be things you could have done differently to achieve a better outcome. Some people just aren’t going to be the right fit for you or your solution.
However, that doesn’t mean you should write off underwhelming calls as having resulted from a poor fit or other factors outside of your control. Take the time to really evaluate what happened – good or bad. Chances are there are at least a few lessons you can carry with you to make future calls even more successful.