How Buyer Enablement is Changing Discovery

How many of us have actually purchased enterprise software? What did we dislike about the process – what did we appreciate? How can we, as vendors, enable both novice and experienced buyers to make their buying and value realization processes as frictionless and successful as possible? What is the role of discovery in supporting these efforts? We’ll examine these topics and more in this session…!

In this webinar, guest speaker Peter Cohan of Great Demo and Doing Discovery, discusses the importance of buyer enablement in the sales process and emphasizes the need for more experience and focus on buyer enablement in the industry. Cohan offers insights into the buying experience, discusses champion enablement, anxiety levels during the sales process, and the importance of doing discovery. He also highlights the importance of a methodology for conducting discovery, the importance of understanding a prospect’s background and culture, and how to uncover and quantify the value associated with making a change. Finally, Cohan discusses lead churn, the recycling of leads, and preventing them from churning by becoming the cloud above the funnel.

  • 00:00:00 The webinar host encourages attendees to chat and introduce themselves by sharing their location, job title, and objectives for the session. They also introduce the speaker, Peter Cohan, founder of Great Demo and Doing Discovery, who helps software organizations improve their sales and marketing processes. Attendees are asked to participate in the webinar by engaging in the chat box and asking questions in the Q&A box. 
  • 00:05:00 Peter Cohan presents some numbers related to the technology adoption curve and the typical preparation work for the sales process. He then discusses the importance of buyer enablement and how the sales process should be about helping the buyer execute their processes instead of driving a sale. The audience, composed mostly of early adopters and innovators, shares their experiences with the buying process and the common challenges they face, such as pressure from salespeople and lack of understanding from vendors. Cohan emphasizes the need for more experience and focus on buyer enablement in the industry.
  • 00:10:00 Peter Cohan shares the audience’s responses to his question on buying experience in terms of enterprise software, which showed that only about one out of seven people in his poll identified themselves as a sole decision maker, making it difficult to enable something that people don’t necessarily understand. He suggests that buyers who have never bought enterprise software before should speak with someone who has to better understand the process. Peter also notes that buying experience varies depending on the product’s complexity and the buyer’s experience. Those who are inexperienced with buying complex offerings will require the most guidance, while those experienced with buying complex offerings may benefit from mapping their experiences and enabling the buyer to guide them through the process. Finally, Peter asks the audience how many of them have been champions, sponsors, or coaches in the buying process.
  • 00:15:00 Peter Cohan discusses the concept of champion enablement and how to make the buying process smoother and easier for those who may be new to the process or inexperienced in buying complex offerings. He suggests providing case studies, suggesting NDA agreements and legal agreements early on, as well as value analysis and risk assessments. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of considering the other groups involved in the buying process, such as legal, procurement, and governance, and how to enable them to help the vendor with a bias towards their offerings. Cohan also shares a four quadrant graph that highlights the hardest scenarios in terms of buying difficulty and low buyer experience.
  • 00:20:00 Peter Cohan discusses the anxiety levels of both the buyer and seller during the sales process, with a graph showing the ups and downs of anxiety over time. As the buyer gets closer to the point of purchase, they enter the risk stage, where they question whether they are buying the right thing, getting the best price, and if other options should be considered. After the purchase is made, the buyer’s anxiety increases because they have invested a quarter-million dollars in a software package and have yet to get the value out of it. Cohan emphasizes the importance of doing discovery, which is the single most important element of any sales and buyer enablement processes. Cohan also mentions their newly published book called Doing Discovery and the importance of sales reps doing a good job of discovery, which according to an anecdote Cohan shares only 20% of one sales team does well.
  • 00:25:00 Peter Cohan, the host, emphasizes the importance of doing discovery and explains how it should be thought of as a mutual exploration to achieve a solution that benefits both parties. He further distinguishes qualification from discovery, explaining that qualification alone is insufficient. Cohan uses the examples of a scraped knee and surgical experience to illustrate that the amount of discovery necessary will depend on the complexity of the situation. Additionally, he provides a list of outcomes that occur when discovery is insufficient versus a list of potentially sustainable competitive advantages resulting from executing wonderful discovery. Later in the section, Cohan conducts a discovery skills assessment, providing different levels of depth in discovery while asking the audience to evaluate their own team’s current level.
  • 00:30:00 Peter Cohan discusses the importance of a methodology in building complex structures, such as a house, and how it applies to conducting discovery as a sales technique. He compares methodology to a complete toolkit and explains that methodology addresses three key questions: why, what, and how. Cohan then goes on to demonstrate proper discovery flow and elements by using the scenario of asking a real estate professional questions about herself. He illustrates that this is an effective way of establishing rapport and asking about a prospect’s needs. This method of discovery helps enable sales coaches, guidelines, and processes to put a building together in the proper order.
  • 00:35:00 Peter Cohan discusses the importance of starting a discovery conversation by asking about the prospect’s background and culture. By learning about a person’s background and the culture of their organization, the salesperson can gain valuable insights into the prospect and their needs. Cohan also emphasizes the importance of collecting demographics and other easy-to-answer questions to move the conversation towards uncovering the prospect’s pain points and major pains. The methodology includes exploring pain points more deeply by using methods like workflow analysis and quantifying the impact of problems on the organization.
  • 00:40:00 Peter Cohan discusses how to uncover and quantify the value associated with making a change by looking at the related pain and culture. He mentions that culture plays an important role in organizations, and vendors who understand and map to it tend to become happy vendors with happy customers. Additionally, he suggests that discovery calls should be two-way conversations, and it is important for the vendor to give a little something back to the prospect to make them feel comfortable. Finally, while discussing how much discovery is enough, Cohan recommends using a tool like a Great Demo Situation to measure if the prospect feels that the vendor has a sufficient understanding of their situation.
  • 00:45:00 Peter Cohan discusses the concept of lead churn and how it affects vendors. Lead churn occurs when potential buyers are disqualified due to not being ready to buy or not meeting certain criteria, resulting in the loss of a potential customer. Cohan offers several solutions to this problem, including a no touch or tech touch approach, a low touch approach, and a high touch approach. He also suggests taking extra steps to train sales teams and presales teams to improve their demo and discovery skills to prevent lead churn. Finally, he highlights the importance of connecting with seasoned veterans who can provide a rich and brief discovery experience to potential buyers.
  • 00:50:00 Peter Cohan explains how they are changing the traditional sales process, where leads go through the funnel and flow back eventually to the vendor. The objective now is to recycle the leads, and when they are ready to enter the buying process, they do so productively. Cohan suggests becoming the cloud above the funnel as a way to prevent leads from churning. The ultimate goal is to have the lead rain back on the vendor’s mountain when the person is ready to enter the active buying process. The section concludes with a summary of the webinar and an invite to check out the book, articles, and resources.
  • 00:55:00 In this section, the hosts wrap up the webinar and announce that a recording of the event will be available to the public. They also ask the audience if they are interested in a future webinar about the strengths and weaknesses of using discovery on the fly, to which many respond positively. The hosts thank the audience and the guest speaker for their time and promote DEMOFESTx in London and other upcoming content and webinars from Consensus.


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.

Experience It Yourself

No more talk! We drink our own kool aid. Want to check it out?

Watch Now
Lend your voice to help us uncover the state of sales engineering
This is default text for notification bar