The Sales Feed Show
A New Discovery Framework with Hannah Ajikawo
This episode covers various aspects of effective discovery in sales, including aligning with the buyer's journey, conducting research before client calls, being consultative, understanding buyers' needs, improving sales performance, analyzing sales performance, mapping discovery to the buyer journey, and effective communication in sales.
Swim with the Current
Hannah Ajikawa believes that swimming with the current instead of against it is the best approach to closing more deals.
Two Types of Discovery
There are two types of discovery that sellers need to identify in order to align with the buyer's journey and close deals faster.
Doing research before client calls is crucial to connect ideas and solutions and show understanding of the buyer's situation.
Being consultative involves understanding the buyer's journey, suggesting ideas and solutions, and helping buyers make sense of their challenges and opportunities.
Understanding where buyers are in their journey and tailoring the approach accordingly is important to win deals and avoid chasing unwinnable deals.
Providing value during sales interactions is crucial to avoid wasting the buyer's time and effort investment.
Ongoing Discovery Process
Discovery is not a one-time event but an ongoing process to determine if the buyer and seller can work together towards a desired outcome.
Building discoveries solely based on uncovering pain points may not be effective as buyers often don't know what they need help with.
Understanding Buyers' Needs
Treating buyers as actual people, understanding their needs, and approaching them differently based on their group can help win deals.
Effective communication in sales involves asking important questions, being humble, acknowledging what you don't know, and focusing on expertise in specific areas.
- Closing More Deals
- Effective Discovery Calls
- Consultative Sales Approach
- Understanding Buyers' Journey
- Improving Sales Performance
- Analyzing Sales Performance
- Mapping Discovery to Buyer Journey
- Effective Communication in Sales
Closing More Deals
00:00 - 06:52
- Hannah Ajikawa believes the best approach to closing more deals is to swim with the current instead of against it.
- There are two types of discovery to identify, and getting this right is how you truly align to your buyer's journey and close more deals faster.
- Hannah Ajikawa started her own sales consulting business because she saw a problem with discovery in sales.
- She believes that many salespeople focus on doing rather than listening, which leads to issues in the discovery process.
- Hannah has always had a biocentric mindset and focuses on understanding the person in front of her.
- She wants to evangelize the buyer journey and change the adversarial nature of sales interactions.
- A bad sales interaction example was given where the seller did not do any background research on the buyer's company before the call.
- This lack of preparation can lead to missed opportunities and frustration for buyers.
Effective Discovery Calls
06:34 - 12:50
- Research upfront is crucial before a client call to connect the dots between assumed ideas and solutions
- Having perspective in discovery calls is different from a fact-finding mission
- Perspective means understanding the value proposition and formulating a hypothesis about the client's challenges
- Setting the context in the call by sharing initial understanding and inviting corrections or additions from the buyer
- Buyers appreciate when sellers show they have done some research and understand their situation
- Making assumptions about relevance based on context is different from assuming what the buyer needs
- Avoid coming across as a know-it-all by not making assumptions about what the buyer needs without listening to them
Consultative Sales Approach
12:35 - 19:06
- Virtual meeting platforms are important for teams to work and communicate virtually.
- There is a fine line between being consultative and advisory in sales.
- Being consultative involves understanding the buyer's journey and helping them make sense of their challenges and opportunities.
- It is important to suggest ideas and solutions without being pushy or telling the buyer what they need.
- A discovery framework helps sellers understand where buyers are in their journey and tailor their approach accordingly.
- Discovery is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process to determine if the buyer and seller can work together towards a desired outcome.
- The framework focuses on guiding, teaching, and helping buyers figure things out or demonstrating credibility as a partner.
- Building discoveries solely based on uncovering pain points may not be effective as buyers often don't know what they need help with.
Understanding Buyers' Journey
18:53 - 25:25
- Treating buyers as if they are new to the industry can lead to frustration and build up negative feelings during sales interactions.
- Salespeople should understand where buyers are in their journey and tailor their approach accordingly.
- Treating buyers like actual people, not just leads, can help win deals and avoid chasing down unwinnable deals.
- Providing value during sales interactions is crucial to avoid wasting the buyer's time and effort investment.
- Different buyer groups have different needs and should be approached differently.
- Using a framework for discovery can help both buyers and internal teams understand where opportunities stand in the buying process.
- Forcing a sale without driving the buyer through the process can result in lower deal value.
Improving Sales Performance
24:57 - 31:37
- Coming in at a very low price can make the prospect less likely to ask questions or consider other options
- Using a scale of one to ten to determine where the prospect is in their buying journey can be applied to any sales motion
- Building a personal relationship with the prospect before discovery is crucial for transparency and trust
- Using personalized video messages can help establish rapport and trust early on in the sales process
- Playing an improv game called Last Word, First Word can be a fun way to practice discovery techniques
- The prospect is experiencing a drop in close rates and reps not hitting their quota
- Competitive pressure may be causing the drop in close rates rather than the state of the economy
Analyzing Sales Performance
31:12 - 37:31
- Tyler's close rate has dropped from 31% to 18% over the past few months.
- Hannah suggests identifying if Tyler is in the research or review stage of the buyer journey.
- Expanding beyond Tyler, Hannah wants to know who else in the organization is feeling the impact and what kind of pressure they are under.
- Hannah validates that Tyler has considered other options before committing to a purchase.
- Using discovery, reps can learn about prospects' needs, questions, and where they are in their process.
- Reps should ask questions that prospects may not have thought to answer yet.
- Observing what is not being said can provide insights into where prospects are in their buyer journey.
- A lack of thorough discovery can lead to missed opportunities.
Mapping Discovery to Buyer Journey
37:04 - 42:52
- In a Simpsons episode, Mayor Quimby is swarmed by reporters after a legal scandal.
- During the consideration and purchase stage of the buyer journey, it is appropriate to ask questions about other options and pricing.
- Mapping discovery to the buyer journey helps understand where the buyer is in their decision-making process.
- Consideration involves knowing the problem and considering options, while decision involves choosing an avenue or direction.
- It's important to check if someone can solve the problem internally before offering a solution.
- Buyers go from building consensus to validating their thinking with vendors' help.
- If a colleague has no knowledge of a program being bought, it may indicate that more pain needs to be identified in the deal.
- Buyers appreciate being asked questions that validate their decisions and provide support.
- Late-stage buyers often seek validation and specific solutions from two or three vendors.
- Approaching the sales process as a teammate or partner rather than just a seller can be powerful.
- Naming conventions for discovery calls should be clarified to avoid confusion and create transparency for buyers.
Effective Communication in Sales
42:32 - 49:07
- Give people an out and let them know there's a door they can run through if the call doesn't go well
- Sales reps may feel insecure about asking important questions to prospects, especially if they are new to the job
- Prospects like to feel important, so it's important not to be submissive but also not pretend to be someone you're not
- Lean into humility as a salesperson and acknowledge what you don't know while sharing what you have learned
- It's okay to admit that you're new and working hard to learn, but focus on your expertise in specific areas
- Defining the level of authority and talk track with prospects takes practice and depends on their experience level
- Ask prospects where they think they are in understanding the issue or opportunity on a scale of one to ten
- Avoid jumping straight into talking about the problem without understanding where the prospect is at
- Take a summer break from new episodes of the podcast, but catch up on previous episodes to sharpen sales skills