Many sales and presales practitioners say they are skilled at doing Discovery – but are they?

Here is a simple method to assess, based on five levels of increasing proficiency:

Level 1: Uncovers statements of pain.
Level 2: Uncovers pain and explores more deeply.
Level 3: Uncovers pain, explores deeply, broadens the pain, and investigates the impact.
Level 4: Uncovers pain, explores and broadens, investigates the impact, and quantifies.
Level 5: Uncovers pain, explores and broadens, investigates impact, quantifies, and reengineers vision.

Technical Sales: Maximize your Discovery Impact

Start with the end in mind. What attributes make up a great customer?

Discovery: It is not just about taking shots on goal but taking the right shot on goal.

Frame: Targeted prospecting ensures the need for product fit.

Intent: Understand improvement.

Tempo: Gauge sponsorship and engagement.

Questions to Help Optimize your Discovery


  • Does the buyer meet or exceed the desired company’s profile for your business?
  • Who is originating the request to learn more and engage with your company?
  • Can your buyer greatly benefit from your offerings to better serve their target buyers?
  • Is there an executive-level sponsor and/or initiative to look into your offering?


  • Is there openness from the buyer to be challenged in the way they operate today?
  • Has the buyer provided explicit intent for improvement using your offering?
  • Is your buyer experiencing market pressures from their competition so that they need your solution to be more competitive?
  • Is the buyer’s organization culturally open-minded to make investments in your solution?


  • Has the buyer identified a particular time frame to implement a solution?
  • Is the buyer following up on prior commitments?
  • Is the buyer actively looking at alternative solutions and has some specific timelines to make a go or no decision?
  • Have budgetary dollars and resources been allocated for a solution like the one you offer to be utilized at a particular time?

Use FIT for Discovery

The great customer: Start with the end in mind. Define your great customer profile based on what you have to sell now.


  • Quantify and qualify attributes such as the number of employees, request originator, and product fit to the expressed needs from the buyer.


  • Understand disposition for change and desire for improvement utilizing your service, solution, and/or product.


  • Gauge level of engagement and urgency for next steps from your buyer’s organization.

We’ve explored each of these briefly, but you can find the full article from Peter Cohan here. Additionally, Hub and Peter developed a simple framework to maximize your discovery impact during your technical sales, presales, solution architect and sales engineering sales motion. Enjoy.

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