Effective discovery is critical to thoroughly understanding customer needs and establishes the foundation for being able to effectively articulate GitLab's value and differentiation in a compelling, customer-centric way. Effective discovery will help you attach to your customers' biggest problems, gain access to higher-level business stakeholders, and serve as a trusted advisor to your customers. This, in turn, will help you build and maintain a healthy and predictable pipeline to meet and exceed your sales goals while helping your customers achieve their business objectives. After reviewing the below information, GitLab field team members are encouraged to take the interactive Effective Discovery course in GitLab Learn.
The first phase of any discovery process is to determine whether or not you should spend time on a particular opportunity pursuit. A good guide for this phase is codified in the Criteria for Sales Accepted Opportunity (SAO) and includes confirmation of Authority, Initiative, Fit, and Timing.
Ideally, effective qualification also includes identification of the prospect's:
The second phase of discovery uses an iterative insight/question loop, often across multiple meetings or conversations, to uncover the prospect’s underlying challenges and motivations, with the ultimate goal of constructing a highly relevant and differentiated value message that ties the GitLab solution to the prospect’s business needs.
Ensure you are ready for each discussion. The level of preparation for each discovery conversation will vary, so use your best judgment for how deep you go and be sure to leverage the information that has already been collected during Prospecting and Qualification. The key point is to be prepared and to not just wing it. Consider the below recommendations.
Researching your prospect may include but is not limited to:
Different roles within the prospect's organization will inherently care about and be motivated by different things. Leverage the below resources to understand the challenges and motivations of the persona you are engaging.
As outlined in the Pre-Call Plan job aid, be sure to consider the below questions.
Approach discovery conversations with a curiosity-led mindset and a desire to better understand the customer’s challenges as well as the implications of those challenges.
Leverage the TED questioning model (see below) to get the prospect to open up and provide more context and detail about their challenges.
Use the Five Whys technique to identify the root cause(s) and understand the "So what?" Check out the short video below and read the Why Salespeople Should Ask The Same Question 5 Times In A Row blog to learn more.
Commit to active and effective listening. Watch the video, listen to the podcasts, and check out the Why Your Active Listening Skills Are Crucial to Hitting Your Number blog.
Command of the Message is a proven, value-based sales messaging methodology from Force Management that allows GitLab sales team members to effectively uncover customer needs and articulate value and differentiation. Leverage the below resources to ensure you are confident in the methodology and the GitLab-tailored sales resources created to help you be successful and delight your customers.
The final phase of discovery identifies the roadmap, along with potential roadblocks, for getting a deal closed as well as key stakeholders who must be involved. Discovery will continue throughout the sales process as you and your account team continue to gain a deeper understanding of all elements of MEDDPPICC to increase the likelihood of earning the customer's business.
See the above section for tips to avoid what may be the most common discovery pitfall.
Resist the urge to prematurely talk about or begin to position GitLab until you have a thorough understanding of the customer’s challenges, the implications of those challenges, how big the problem is, the urgency of the problem, who cares about the problem and why, and more (see below).
You must have a solid understanding of the prospect's key business drivers, strategic business initiatives, and associated objectives and goals to be able to serve as a trusted advisor. These will almost assuredly relate to one or more Customer Value Drivers. Use Customer Strategy-based discovery questions followed by Customer Needs-based discovery questions to identify how GitLab can have a positive impact on your buyer’s business issues.
Watch the short videos below to learn more about the importance of seeking to understand, and helping your prospect understand, the negative implications of their current state. As a salesperson, you must understand the difference between the prospect's current state and the future state that GitLab can help deliver and effectively articulate that difference in a way that compels them to take action.
Sales multi-threading refers to the concept of engaging and developing relationships with multiple stakeholders who are involved in your customer's decision-making process. According to CEB Global, the average B2B deal has 5.8 decision-makers, and that number typically increases along with the size and complexity of the contract. Even if your primary contact has significant authority in the organization, that may be insufficient if the rest of the buying group is not on board with the decision. Therefore, the more connections you have from the buying side, the better your chances of getting a deal closed. To learn more, check out the below articles/blogs and podcast.
Attaching to the Biggest Problem
Identifying the Negative Consequences of Doing Nothing