The Importance of Discovery

Garret Erickson
Imagine walking into a doctor’s office after being sick for a few days. You tell them, “I don’t feel great, I think I have the flu,” and they shrug and hand you some flu medicine. How would you feel after that interaction? Would you trust them? Imagine walking into a different doctor’s office after being sick for a few days. You tell them the same thing, but they take the time to go over your symptoms and look you over. They still hand you some flu medicine, but they took extra time with you in the appointment. Would you trust them more than the first doctor? If both doctors are offering you the same solution, why is it so much easier to trust the second doctor? It’s because they took the time to listen to you and come up with the best possible solution for you. Taking that time to build trust and listen is what discovery is all about.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is the process of collecting information to create a precise proposal of a solution to a customer’s problem. Through discovery, you can identify the gap of where the customer is and where the customer wants to be; then you can incorporate that into your demo. Discovery is building trust between customer and vendor, while also gathering all the information you need to give them the best possible service.

Why do Discovery?

Discovery enables the vendor to provide a solution to satisfy the customer. When discovery doesn’t go well, bad things happen. Here is a sample of the things that could go wrong when discovery is insufficient:
  • Delayed decisions
  • No decisions
  • Unwarranted discounting
  • “Buying it back”
  • Slowed sales cycles
  • Wasted sales cycles
  • Harbor tour demos
  • Stunningly awful demos
  • Wasted demos
  • Poor proposals
  • Wasted proposals
  • Inaccurate forecasts
  • Overly optimistic forecasts
  • Living in the “land of hope”
  • Inaccurate pipelines
  • Overly optimistic pipelines
  • Opening doors for competitors
  • Negative differentiation
  • Poor product recommendations
  • Poor product fit
  • Unhappy customers
  • Burn-victim customers
  • Insufficient value perceptions
  • Insufficient business cases
  • Money left on the table
  • Piles of objections
  • Poor relationships
  • Distrusted vendors
On the other hand, when discovery goes well, there are many benefits. Here are some benefits for the vendors:
  • Timely decisions
  • Precise demos
  • Better product fit
  • Closing doors to competitors
  • Positive differentiation
  • Accurate proposals
  • Expanded opportunities
  • “Found” money
  • Reduced discounting
  • Living in the “land of science”
  • More accurate forecasts and pipelines
  • More predictable sales and buying cycles
Here are some benefits for the customers when discovery goes well:
  • Happier customers
  • Referenceable customers
  • Referencing customers
  • Customer UGM presentations
  • Renewing customers
  • Expanding customers
  • Vendors as partners
  • Customer success vs. “customer rescue”
  • Reduced churn
  • Success lanes feedback
  • Realization of CLV (customer lifetime value)
In order to have a winning sales demo, you have to do well in discovery. Demos that mirror the topics discussed during discovery are key.

BANT and Discovery

Often, vendors think that BANT is the same as discovery. It’s not. BANT, which stands for budget, authority, need, and timeline, is well-intentioned, but focusing on those areas as prerequisites before delving in any further can cost you customers and opportunities.

How Much Discovery is Enough?

Just as the second doctor in our earlier scenario took the time to listen to you until you felt that they understood you, discovery is sufficient when the vendor has sufficient information to confidently and clearly propose a precise solution and the customer believes that the vendor has a sufficient understanding of a customer’s situation. Both parties agree that no further questions are needed.

Seven Levels of Discovery Skills

For maximum benefits, you need to ascend to the top level of discovery. Here are the seven levels of discovery skills. 1: Actually listen to problems 2: Dig deeper 3: Broaden pain and find impact 4:  Quantify 5: Re-engineers vision 6: Applies these skills 7: Cohesive discovery methodology In a future article, we will delve deeper into the seven levels of discovery skills to help you create your own discovery methodology. If your sales team needs help with discovery, or any other part of the sales process, reach out to Consensus. We have the tools to help you become more efficient in your sales process, saving your company valuable time and money.


Have you heard about discovery? It has something to do with taking time to understand the situation, listen, and build trust. That way, the person receiving the service can receive the best possible solution, and the party providing the service can enjoy more benefits. Learn more about discovery and its importance in this infographic. The Importance of Discovery for Your Business Infographic