Effective sales discovery: The key to closing complex B2B SaaS deals


Many higher-end B2B SaaS companies struggle to achieve their revenue goals.

An effective discovery process is among the most important foundations of a good sale.

A good sale is one that…

  • Satisfies the needs of both your company and your customer
  • Provides a good customer buying experience
  • Closes at an acceptable customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Earns solid profit margins
  • Leads to happy customers with low churn and strong referrals

Why it matters now

It’s hard to find experienced sellers who know how to close complex deals. Besides being hard to recruit, such sellers are also expensive.

Early-stage or expansion-stage SaaS companies may find themselves trying to close big deals with sellers who have less training or experience.

It takes a lot of training and experience to run an effective discovery process. And the process is likely to vary from one company to the next.

Even senior sellers may not be playing their best discovery game as they adapt to selling remotely during and after Covid-19.

In the current environment, it’s easy to disregard or overlook the essential elements of an effective discovery process.

But your company is likely to pay a high price for doing so.

Ideas to consider

  • Many B2B sellers rightly look for the shortest, fastest route to closing sales. But in many cases, the shortest and fastest route is the most thorough and deliberate one. It’s not the easiest. Cutting corners on your discovery process can burn you badly. The bigger the deal, the worse the burn.
  • Many less-experienced sellers tend to conflate the discovery process with the qualification process. Both are important. But qualification occurs mainly at the beginning of a new relationship with a prospect. Discovery happens throughout the entire relationship.
  • The depth and complexity of the discovery process should depend on the size of the deal, the complexity of the buyer’s decision, the complexity of the solutions you offer, and the amount of risk for both parties.
  • Discovery is a key element of all value-selling sales methodologies.
  • Some sellers rightly say their prospects don’t want to be grilled with too many questions. No worries. You can conduct a thorough and effective discovery process without making prospects feel they’re being interrogated.


To view an evergreen mind map on this topic, go here.

The map is likely to be useful to these groups:

  • For sellers new to complex sales, it offers a solid introduction and overview of discovery processes.
  • For sellers highly experienced in complex sales it provides useful reminders and maybe useful new tips.
  • For revenue leaders, it provides background and resources for use for training and coaching.

The map contains more than 40 topics and subtopics. It also includes diagrams and links to resources.

The detailed version of this map moves behind a pay wall after 2 weeks.

Then for a fee, you’ll be able to copy, download, share, edit, and collaborate on future versions. You will also have access to ongoing updates.


Date of first publication:  2021-06-21

Date of most recent revision: 2021-06-23

Driven issue number: 65