27 Revealing Sales Discovery Questions Every B2B Sales Rep Should Know

Do you really know who your prospects are? It all starts with asking the right questions, and this is especially true for discovery calls.

A good sales rep knows that asking the right questions can reveal true motivations, uncover obstacles before they block the deal, determine product fit, and even build awareness of a particular need.

Without the right questions, you’ll be stuck wondering about (or worse, guessing at) this vital information and you’ll probably waste a lot of time with prospects who aren’t ready to buy.

Save time in your sales process and focus on the leads that matter most by learning how to ask the right discovery questions.

Today, we’ll give you 27 discovery questions you can pick from, including questions to identify needs, determine urgency, and showcase the value of your product.

But first, what is discovery, and why are questions such an important part of it?

What is a Sales Discovery Call?

A sales discovery call is the first call in the sales process for SQLs (sales qualified leads). After getting in contact with a lead via cold email or cold calling, sales professionals schedule a sales discovery call to learn about the pain points of the prospect, build rapport, and understand their decision-making process.

A great discovery call will uncover roadblocks early in the buyer’s journey so you don’t have to deal with them later in the sales cycle.

The sales discovery process involves using the best questions to uncover potential customers' biggest challenges, qualify them, and shape your sales pitch to match their needs.

What are Discovery Call Questions?

Discovery questions are the questions you ask to understand whether or not a prospect is a good fit for your product (and vice versa). They’re normally open-ended questions about the challenges, obstacles, and current processes in a business that relate to what you’re selling.

Normally, these are the kinds of questions sales professionals ask in the qualifying stage of the sales process. Don’t think of discovery as a single event—the best way to use discovery questions is to intersperse them into early conversations with your prospect before you move forward to presentations or product demos.

Main Goals of Sales Discovery Questions

First and foremost, discovery call questions are meant to tell you whether or not this prospect is right for your product (and whether your product is right for them).

You’ve most likely done some qualifying work before you even get on the phone with a new lead, whether they’re inbound or outbound. So, discovery questions help you round out the rest of the picture, filling in those essential details that tell you if this is a fit.

Use these questions to learn about your ideal customer profile's needs, budget, timeline, authority, and other essential factors.

Second, discovery questions help you highlight the real value of your product. When you ask questions that turn their challenges into real numbers, prospects understand how much value they’ll get from purchasing your product. (We’ll teach you how to do this below).

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Pick Discovery Questions that Fit Your Prospects

Below, we will share a whopping 27 actionable sales discovery call questions—but you won't need to use all of them!

In fact, our friends at Gong found out that there is a sweet spot for the number of questions you ask in a discovery session: 11 to 14.

Sales Discovery Questions Research from Gong

Photo credit: Gong

That number of questions got the highest success rate in their research at 74 percent. (And asking more questions lowered the success rate!) Whenever you look at stats like this, keep in mind: They're a generally good data point, but don't turn it into a rule that's set in stone.

The optimal number of questions might depend more or less on what you're selling and who you're selling to. Much also depends on the individual interaction with the prospect.

Successful sales reps pick open-ended questions that:

  • Match the type of lead (inbound or outbound)
  • Fit where the lead is in the buying process
  • Can help you qualify (or disqualify) these prospects
  • Dig deeper into information you haven’t discovered yet (instead of repeating information you’ve already collected in other places, such as LinkedIn)

A key to ensuring you’re not asking the lead to repeat themselves is tracking all lead information in one place. With a CRM like Close, you can have automatic call logging, email import, and Custom Activities to store lead information in a structured format.

That way, nothing slips through the cracks.

close sales qualifying leads sales discovery call guide

Sign up for a free 14-day trial to learn more:

Ready to speed up discovery with questions that dig deeper? Here are 27 questions you can pick and choose from to identify your top leads and move them closer to a deal-won.

11 Sales Discovery Questions to Identify Real Prospect Pain Points

The need is one of the most critical factors in closing a deal. If your product doesn’t solve an important problem for your prospects, they won’t bother buying.

But unless you understand your prospects' real needs, you can’t pitch your product as a potential solution in a way that will appeal to your audience.

Sales Discovery Questions

These are some of the top B2B sales questions that help you dig deeper into the pain points that are most important to the prospect, the triggers that led them to reach out to you, and whether or not they’re actively looking to purchase.

Hey you! Ready to crack the B2B code? Dive into our B2B Sales Funnel breakdown now.

1. How did you hear about us?

Sales type: Inbound

What it tells you: The trigger that made them look for a new solution.

2. Talk me through the challenges you’re looking to solve.

Sales type: Inbound

What it tells you: Top-of-mind issues that are most important to the prospect.

3. What’s your current process for dealing with [challenge]?

Sales type: Outbound

What it tells you: Identifies outdated or inefficient processes that can be improved.

4. What solution are you currently using to do that? What’s working/not working with that solution?

Sales type: Inbound or outbound

What it tells you: What they like and dislike about their current solution and whether that matches with what you’re offering.

5. What are your other options to fix this? Do you have a Plan B?

Sales type: Inbound

What it tells you: Whether or not there is an urgent need to purchase a solution.

6. What kind of results do you expect from a new solution?

Sales type: Inbound or outbound

What it tells you: Key metrics that are important to the prospect and whether their expectations are realistic.

7. When would you expect to see those kinds of results?

Sales type: Inbound or outbound

What it tells you: Timeline.

8. Why is this a priority for you?

Sales type: Inbound

What it tells you: If the prospect is motivated to make a purchase decision now.

9. Why now? Why not last quarter or last year?

Sales type: Inbound

What it tells you: The real reason the prospect is looking for a solution now and how that impacts their decision-making process.

10. What are the must-have features of a solution? What integrations can your team simply not live without?

Sales type: Inbound or outbound

What it tells you: Product fit based on features and integrations this prospect needs.

11. What other solutions are you looking at? Why those?

Sales type: Inbound or outbound

What it tells you: Competitors the prospect is considering, what they like or dislike about those options, and how those match up to your product.

6 Sales Discovery Call Questions that Highlight the Value of Your Solution

You know your solution is fantastic and will improve your prospect’s life—now you must convince them.

Instead of giving a 30-minute spiel that may or may not be worth listening to, you can build trust and rapport by convincing your prospects that they need your product.

The key is to ask probing questions that prove the worth of your product.

Help them put their challenges into numbers and understand exactly what kind of results your product will give them with discovery call questions like these:

12. If you don’t find a solution for [challenge they mentioned], what will [process] look like in 6 months?

Discovery Call Example: If you don’t find a solution to the high level of churn at the end of your sales process, what will your sales pipeline look like in 6 months?

What it does for the prospect: Gets them to think about the challenges they’ll face down the road, not just today. This increases motivation to solve those challenges before they get worse.

13. How is this issue affecting the rest of your team?

What it does for the prospect: Helps them consider the effect on others, not just themselves.

14. What’s the main metric your team uses to track success? If you found the right solution, what would be the effect on that metric?

What it does for the prospect: Shows them how a key team metric can be improved and helps them think about the results for themselves and their team. (After all, improving a key metric is a good reflection on the team, not just the product.)

15. How much money would you be saving if you could solve [problem]?

What it does for the prospect: Puts a dollar value on the problem.

16. What would a [percentage] boost in [metric] mean for you?

Discovery Call Example: What would a 25% increase in close rates mean for your sales team?

What it does for the prospect: Gets them to picture a situation where their KPIs are improved.

17. What would success look like to you with a new solution?

What it does for the prospect: Lets them imagine a world where they are using your solution.

4 Best Discovery Questions to See How Urgently Decision-Makers Need a Solution

Best Sales Discovery Questions

Determining urgency is key to the sales discovery process—if the prospect isn’t actively searching for a solution to purchase now, then they might just be tire kickers.

To make sure this prospect isn’t going to waste your time as a salesperson, ask questions like these during your sales process:

18. Where is this on your list of priorities?

What it tells you: Whether this is a top priority or something they want to do down the road.

19. Is this a priority for your company as a whole?

What it tells you: Whether the prospect already has buy-in from key decision-makers at the company.

20. Talk me through the goals your team/company has for the upcoming year.

What it tells you: Whether the company’s goals match with the solution you’re selling.

21. What are the main obstacles to these goals when it comes to [area that relates to your product]?

What it tells you: Whether or not your solution can solve key obstacles to important, upcoming goals.

6 Sales Discovery Call Questions to Uncover the Buying Process

As you understand the prospect's needs, you’ll also need to understand how the buying process works at their company. This helps you organize the next steps, flow faster through the sales process, and ultimately close more deals.

Here are six sales discovery questions to get a clear sense of what needs to happen for your lead to convert into a customer in your sales process:

22. Which aspects of a solution are the most important factors in deciding which product is right for you?

What it tells you: Which factors come into consideration, such as price point, implementation time, ease-of-use, support, or the functionality of the product itself.

23. When was the last time you purchased a similar solution? Walk me through that process.

What it tells you: How often does this company purchase software like yours, and is there already a structured process for buying similar products.

24. Who else on your team is invested in finding a solution to this problem?

What it tells you: Which decision-makers and end-users are already on board with this decision.

25. Do you have a list of criteria for a software vendor? Who made that list?

What it tells you: Who the key decision-maker at the company is, and what they’ll likely ask you when they come into the process.

26. If I could give you a solution that fits what you’re looking for, who else would need to get involved in this process?

What it tells you: Exactly who is involved in the purchase process.

27. Who else do we need to get on board with this?

What it tells you: Specific stakeholders that aren’t on board yet and need to be convinced of the value of your product.

Pick the Right Questions to Ace Your Next Sales Discovery Call

Sales prospecting is all about finding the right prospects and seeing how you can improve your job daily. Whether selling a new product or training your sales team on more effective closing techniques, these questions will help shorten your sales cycle and sift through any unqualified leads in your funnel.

Use this list as a starting point to build a list of the most effective discovery questions that make sense for your market and sales style.

Finally, don't forget the follow-up! The discovery call is just the first step in turning a potential prospect into a happy customer.

Looking for more questions that can help you qualify? Download our free list of 42 B2B qualifying questions for sales reps.

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