The Daily Briefing - April 2, 2020 - AEs Are Still Creating New Opps but Discovery Is Soft

April 2, 2020

In Today's Daily Briefing, Chorus CEO Jim Benton was joined by Dan Dawson, CSO of Force Management to discuss the relationship of new opportunity meetings and discovery meetings in this current climate. Ultimately: Account Executives are still meeting and starting new opportunities, but discovery is dropping. There’s a slight dip in new opportunity meetings with Account Executives, but mostly holding steady. - 22% drop in Discovery Meetings MoM - 31% Drop in Discovery Meetings YoY - Sales Reps Are Still Starting New Opportunities The data shows that contrary to popular opinion, Account Executives are starting new opportunities and setting these meetings regularly. Jim sees this as a bright spot in the data. “This signal is consistent with what we’ve seen across the data. The sales community is continuing to get out there and do what they do best.” Dan added that it’s essential to come prepared to these meetings. “Do your homework. Prepare yourself and understand their situation - but that’s nothing new. So the sales community is well equipped to do this.” **Are Sales Processes Changing in Response to COVID-19?** The data shows a steep drop off - 22% month over month and 31% year over year. “We can interpret this to mean that the sales community isn’t conducting discovery the way they used to,” explained Jim. One change to the sales process is that buyers can get further along the buying cycle without interacting with an Account Executive. This isn’t a new idea - there is a huge influx of content creation and consumption by which buyers can educate themselves. But this may not always be in the favor of the sales rep. “Without discovery,” Dan said, “you’re making a ton of assumptions.” There are a lot of reasons why discovery must happen, those haven’t changed much. “You are aligning two organizations to get value,” he added. “In discovery, you’re qualifying and educating… The potential buyer may not understand their problem in the way that the seller understands it. Without discovery, you’re guessing.” There are those that think that because we’re dealing with an unprecedented situation, there is less time to do discovery. “The data shows that almost all calls start by discussing COVID-19,” said Jim. “How do we conduct a different type of discovery meeting, knowing that there is less time to get into discovery once we’ve covered the Coronavirus and its impact?” The point remains the same: Do your homework. Qualify your prospect as much as you can and understand where they are at. In some segments, there is less shopping around right now. “Buyers have made a determination that they’re ready to make a call,” Dan added. “So sellers don’t necessarily want to go back to discovery at that point.” But you must identify where buyers are at before you jump past discovery. If you’re unsure, you should retrace your steps to discovery. **Why Are We Seeing a Drop in Discovery Meetings?** In this poll, the top answer was: Discovery Skills Need to Be Better Developed. This is also nothing new. But Dan reminded us that it remains essential. “Research tells us that buyers don’t see value in sellers to go straight to the pitch,” he said. “It’s important that they know the true value of your service, not your features.” And this comes from discovery.

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