Discovery Calls with Educated Prospects

November 19, 2018

Shawn Parrotte

During discovery we mostly think of the things we need from the prospect — budget, authority, next steps, timelines... the list goes on. But what about the value the prospect expects to get from the call? In our last article in the Discovery Call blog series, we called it an ideal discovery experience.

This experience is even more critical for the “educated” prospect.

What is an “educated” prospect? #

Educated prospects possess a lot of knowledge about your category or product before meeting you. They have high awareness based on research they’ve done. Analyst reports, your website, case studies, G2Crowd, TrustRadius or Capterra reviews for your competitor and you — they’ve read it all. Internet has enabled prospects to do more research and come into the sales cycle armed with a lot more information that ever before.

Educated customers will want to seek value from their very first sales conversation.

Is this dangerous for the sales rep? As per Chorus Data Science, no. Read further to find out why.

“An educated customer is our best customer" — Sy Syms, 1974 #

An educated prospect is your best prospect — Chorus Science, 2018.

Win rates for deals with educated prospects are more than 50% higher than win rates for other deals. They. Are. Gold.

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Their higher awareness and time spent in research means they are also more purchase ready. These prospects have skipped a few steps of the sales cycle by investing their own time to get to know more about you.

Educated prospects are really great to have on a call, but be careful about jumping over more thorough discovery.

Todd Nilsen

Senior Sales Coach, Procore

Todd’s suggestions #

  • Educated prospects are likely to be aware of your solution's broad-based features and benefits.
  • It’s our job in sales to ask questions that facilitate "their" discovery.
  • For example imagine if the prospect asks - "So what we're saying Mr.ABC sales rep is that if we were to change how we do x, we could see as much as a y change here? And we could accomplish this by using your product? How does that work?”
  • Boom, you tell a story right there and it becomes mutual discovery!

So how do I detect if a customer is educated? #

Chorus Science also suggests that educated prospects ask many more questions during discovery than others. Which means your Talk / Listen ratio could go for a toss, but all for a good reason. Educated prospects ask you one or more questions every 3 minutes of the call.

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Also, this frequency is found to be consistent across the conversation. So, if in the first 15 minutes of the call you have already fielded about 5 or more questions, it's highly likely you are talking to an educated prospect.

There are some other easy ways to identify an educated prospect. SDRs and Sales Reps could use one of the following questions to detect the level of awareness -

  • Have you heard of before? If yes, how?
  • Sounds like you did some homework/research on us which is great. Did you discover anything that was new and interesting for you?
  • Have you ever used a product in this category?
  • Have you checked out our website (or analyst report or G2Crowd reviews)? If so, how did you land on it?

How should I handle discovery with an educated customer? #

Chorus Science findings suggest that reps should not try to ask too many questions of an educated prospect. When reps ask more than 5 questions during discovery with an educated prospect, win rates reduce by 24%.

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It is likely that they will answer most of your discovery questions on their own. So your best bet is to focus on answering the prospect’s questions the best you can.

Tips on dealing with educated prospects

  • Let them lead the discussion and get their expectations early on
  • Focus on answering their questions through most of the call
  • When you do ask questions, focus on pain points and value so your responses are relevant
  • If an SDR picks up early signs of an educated prospect, have a product expert or sales engineer on the call with you

Want to create an ideal discovery experience for your educated prospects? Use any of our free templates to get started (no sign-up needed)

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