Discovery on the Fly? Some Plane Thinking

Join us on December 20th @ 10am MT

The temptation can be strong to try Discovery on the Fly, particularly when the prospect initiates an inbound lead by clicking the “Book a Demo” button. After all, they want to see a demo, right? We’ll just ask them a few questions along the way…

We’ll explore when and when not to use Discovery on the Fly. We’ll explore the risks, challenges, and best practices to help you make your discovery flights safe, productive, and on time! We’ll cover:

  • Avoiding Harbor Tours and Similar Crash Landings
  • Avoiding Buying It Back
  • The Reverse Demo
  • Vision Generation
  • Vision Reengineering

Let us know if there are other topics you’d like us to explore. Looking forward to seeing you there!

The webinar, presented by Consensus, introduces Peter Cohan as the founder of Great Demo! and author of the book Doing Discovery, which discusses the need to improve discovery practices. Cohan explores the Wright Brothers’ experiments and how communication and trial and error played a significant role in their success. He also touches on risk management and emphasizes the importance of effective discovery practices in B2B sales. Cohan discusses the common mistakes made during “discovery on the fly” and explains why it’s important to ask questions and focus on prospect needs during discovery demos. He also discusses the benefits of using Consensus’ tool for autonomous flight for discovery on the fly. The webinar concludes with the recommendation of resources to improve discovery skills.

  • 00:00:00 The speaker introduces himself as Peter Cohen, the founder of Great Demo! And author of Doing Discovery. He mentions his experience as an individual contributor manager and c-level team member in Marketing, Sales, and Business Development. The session is presented by Consensus, an intelligent demo automation software that helps scale pre-sales with interactive video demos. Peter will provide tips and strategies to make Discovery conversations competitively outstanding and demos crisp, compelling, and surprisingly effective. 
  • 00:05:00 Peter Cohan talks about the need to improve discovery practices and introduces the idea of doing it better. He then engages the audience in an activity where they guess four sets of data that reference the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight. The speaker then moves on to discuss the typical dialogue that occurs during discovery demos and calls out the need to be more proactive in asking and answering questions during these demos. Finally, he talks about the importance of avoiding the insanity of doing the same things over and over again and the need to try new directions to achieve success.
  • 00:10:00 Peter Cohan discusses the historical experiments of the Wright brothers in the field of aviation. Despite being known for their groundbreaking successful powered flight, the Wright brothers also invented a wind tunnel to test airfoils and propellers due to the lack of reliable information in the written literature. They also discovered the need for three different motions in controlling an airplane, which led to their invention of wing warping that became ailerons later on. Cohan emphasizes that their experiments involved a lot of discussion, argumentation, and refining. He also touches on the idea of disco demos, which is a term used to describe doing discovery on the fly without preparation, but he suggests that the harsh definition does not reflect the purpose of this approach.
  • 00:15:00 Peter Cohan shows examples of the unfortunate impact of doing discovery on the fly and explains the risks associated with traditional discovery on the fly. He argues that although there is nothing inherently wrong with doing things the way they have been done for years, average is insufficient if you want to gain a competitive edge and have customers for life. The focus on the software is also a recurring theme throughout the presentation, as the moment you share your software, that’s what you tend to focus on. The speaker then lists the issues associated with discovery on the fly and invites viewers to type “D” in the chat box if they agree with the long list.
  • 00:20:00 Peter Cohan discusses the common mistakes made during “discovery on the fly.” Some of these mistakes include sticking to the standard demo instead of actual discovery, failing to explore pain, only touching on the customer’s infrastructure and Tech stack, and not uncovering value or tangible numbers. He also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a good talk to listen ratio with the customer during discovery and not focusing too much on talking about their software.
  • 00:25:00 Peter Cohan emphasizes the importance of thorough discovery for B2B complex products, instead of the common approach of “discovery on the fly”. He compares it to flying in the clouds instead of the open sky, where visibility is limited and there is no flight plan. Cohan suggests a broad exploration of the prospect’s pain points, tech stack, required integrations, and specific capabilities. He uses the analogy of going out to eat, where instead of limiting oneself to the typical burger, fries, and soft drink, one can explore different cuisines, dining experiences, price ranges, and personal preferences. Cohan believes that by conducting thorough discovery, sales teams can avoid crash landings and refunds and increase success rates.
  • 00:30:00 Peter Cohan discusses the variety of cuisines around the world and how the same concept applies to discovering new opportunities in business. He explains that by focusing on the software alone and not exploring the driving force, critical business issues, value, and timing behind a sale, companies are encouraging no decision outcomes. He advises that by using the discovery methodology and obtaining tangible quantities of information, no decision rates can decrease, and businesses can do better. Finally, Cohan discusses “buying it back” and how the perception of offering more capabilities and functions may not always be the best approach.
  • 00:35:00 Peter Cohan discusses the importance of understanding the prospect’s perspective during Discovery demos and how it can affect the negotiation of a license agreement. When vendors flood prospects with too many features in a demo, it can create the perception that the product is too expensive because the prospect doesn’t want to pay for all the capabilities they don’t need. This can lead to a request for a discount during the negotiation. The speaker emphasizes the need to ask questions and focus on the prospect’s needs and wants rather than just showing capabilities during Discovery demos. Instead of showing capabilities, describing an arc of asking first, responding, and confirming can be used to ensure that the prospect’s needs are met while avoiding overwhelming them with too many features.
  • 00:40:00 Peter Cohan discusses the importance of listening to a prospect’s response when highlighting the capabilities of a software. If the response is positive, he recommends offering to show the capability right away or adding it to the list of specific capabilities. Cohan also uses a metaphor of flying in blind weather to discuss how it’s important to use the guidelines for great demo methodology for effective discovery. He shares some of the areas where discovery on the fly can be used constructively, such as vision generation demos, visionary engineering, and completing great demo situation slides.
  • 00:45:00 Peter Cohan discusses the use of discovery on the fly, which involves using software screens to generate a prospect’s vision and re-engineer their perspective. This can be done by showing them how to drill down and explore underlying data, or by capturing missing information about their current situation. Using this approach, he explains how his company’s customers have been able to reduce wasted demos by up to 50% and increase revenue dollars per demo by 10%.
  • 00:50:00 Peter Cohan discusses the use of autonomous flight for discovery on the fly, which is a way to do discovery without physically being there. He recommends using Consensus’ tool, which allows for a quid pro quo between the seller and the prospect. In return for asking for information, the seller is providing a little bit of information through these recorded videos, making it a give a little get a little situation. This is a wonderful way to apply this portion of discovery on the fly, according to the speaker.
  • 00:55:00 Peter Cohan recommends the book Doing Discovery as the go-to manual for effective discovery practices. He also suggests signing up for the upcoming Doing Discovery workshop, which will allow participants to improve their discovery skills. To round off the webinar, he recommends two articles on transactional demos and discovery. Attendees are encouraged to send Peter an email if they have any additional questions, and the webinar concludes with a link to Consensus’ new pre-sales community on Discord.

About the Presenter

Peter Cohan

Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of The Second Derivative and the Great Demo! and Doing Discovery methodologies, focused on helping software organizations improve their presales, sales and marketing results – primarily through improving organizations’ demonstrations and discovery skills. He has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, business development, and as a member of the C-suite. He has also been and continues to be a prospect and a customer.

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