How To Make A Discovery Call To Assist In A Sales Handoff

Wondering how a discovery call can assist in a sales handoff? In this episode of Sales Secrets, we’ve discussed a few tips to help ensure calls are productive conversations. Keep reading to find out more.

RELATED: 4 Steps to a Seamless Lead Hand-Off Process

In this article:

  1. Handoff Between Sales Development and Account Executives
  2. Discovery Score as a Tool
  3. The Basics
    1. Step 1: Reframe the Previous Conversation
    2. Step 2: Build Rapport and Provide the Agenda
    3. Step 3: Move Into the Discovery Process
    4. Step 4: Provide a Solution for Them
    5. Step 5: End With a Call to Action

How to Use a Discovery Call to Improve Sales Handoff

Handoff Between Sales Development and Account Executives

More often than not, the handoff between sales development reps and account executives can be messy. It could be about compensation, or it could be the criteria to be promoted from one stage to another.

What’s worse, there’s no technology to handle this handoff in the sales process. However, to improve this, you can start by improving the marketing to sales development handoff process, which is part of the lead qualification process.

In this process, you start by filling out a lead form. This form would ideally be scored based on demographics and other predictive elements.

If the lead hits all your criteria, a stamp is automatically put on it that says this lead is marketing-qualified and has met the standards that everybody in the organization agreed upon.

Now, once that moves forward, a sales development rep will pick that up. There’s an SLA in most organizations, and there are also flags and emails that go out during the sales process.

If it’s not responded to in a certain timeframe, then a business development rep can accept or reject the lead. But sometimes, there are no people accountable for the marketing-qualified leads.

Discovery Score as a Tool

A discovery score is a tool I’ve used in different organizations. It’s a way to structure a discovery call.

It’s also a valuation concept that determines the strengths and opportunities of your company’s discovery calls. It’s broken down into different sections so different people, from SDRs to sales reps, can determine whether a discovery call was a good one or not (which might require training to get everyone on the same page on what’s “good.”)

Ultimately, this process will hold an account executive and an SDR accountable for a discovery call. By measuring discovery calls, they can be improved.

The Basics

businesswoman taking a call | How To Make a Discovery Call To Assist In A Sales Handoff | discovery call | discovery call script

Making a sales handoff without stress

To start, I always like to put on it the sales development rep name. I also make sure to include the following:

  • Client details
  • The actual call recording
  • Account executive name

Ultimately, there are going to be some differences in your call structure, depending on what your company is selling. But to help your sales team know the difference between good and bad discovery calls, they can take advantage of the discovery score.

Step 1: Reframe the Previous Conversation

The first part of a discovery call script is reframing. To begin, your SDR should reframe or recall the highlights of their previous session with the potential client.

This helps both parties align their key goals and expectations with the current deal’s progress.

Sample Statement to Reframe the Conversation

“Hi, John. This is BD Rep _____, we spoke on Thursday, and I have my account executive on the phone here as well. The AE’s name is _____. We’ll do an introduction here in a minute, but I first quickly wanted to reframe our conversation from Thursday.”

Getting that reframe in makes the conversation flow so much better. Sometimes, I see account executives get on the phone and ask really terrible questions so conversations end terribly.

If the SDR use a certain form of reframing in the discovery call template, then there can be a great connection point with the potential client. The SDR can end by asking if they missed anything before turning it over to the account executive.

RELATED: How To Align Sales and Marketing

Step 2: Build Rapport and Provide the Agenda

After doing the reframe, the next step involves three points that have to be covered in this section:

  • Introductions
  • Rapport-building
  • Provide the agenda


To start, the AE can go ahead and introduce everyone on the call. They can go ahead and just introduce everybody, including yourself, so it doesn’t take up too much time.

The only exception is if you have company execs on the call. Let them introduce themselves.

Build Rapport

Once the introductions are out of the way, it’s time to start building rapport before diving in. One way to do this is to bring up mutual connections.

This strategy helps build rapport — maybe get a laugh or a smile, and make that common connection.

Providing the Agenda 

The next step is establishing a simple phone call agenda. This is very powerful because it makes the discovery call and decision-making process more systematic.

I love when reps are able to make a transition from introductions and rapport-building into something a little bit stronger. Rather than diving directly into discovery, you have to first set up the key agenda of the conversation.

This will help your team and the clients determine their objectives and foresee what the call is going to look like.

Here’s a simple agenda I like:

  • Let them talk a bit about their business.
  • Go into who you are and how you can help with their business.
  • Talk about the next steps.

Also, you can then ask your customers if they have something to add in the agenda, such as the goals they want to achieve. Remember, it’s important to make your clients know they’re part of the conversation because this will help them understand what they’re getting into.

Step 3: Move Into the Discovery Process

smiling man using headset | How To Make a Discovery Call To Assist In A Sales Handoff | discovery call | what is a discovery call

A good sales discovery stage of a sales call

In this part, I usually like to see a couple of types of discovery call questions:

  • Strategic Questions
  • Tactical Questions

During the discovery process, your team should be asking strategic questions, which will give them the opportunity to see the bigger picture of the clients’ business goals. They could ask about their go-to-market strategy, metrics they use, and what success looks like for the client.

You can also tactical questions, like the number of sales reps their business has and the kind of technology they use. You can also ask how their sales and marketing teams collaborate to determine their sales pipeline.

Make sure you end your discovery section with a strong reframe. You can summarize the whole conversation, then transition by saying “Now, let me talk about how our company can fit in there.”

Step 4: Provide a Solution for Them

Once you’ve learned all about their business, it’s time to show the client how your business can fit in the picture and provide a solution for them.

Here are the four things to remember when creating your pitch:

  1. Don’t leave the conversation without them knowing what you can do for them and how you’ll do it.
  2. Hit customer stories. Talk about how your clients have succeeded with your help.
  3. Talk about your value differentiates — what sets your company apart from the rest of the pack?
  4. Don’t forget to bring up the core benefits you’ll bring to the table.

When it comes to doing sales pitches, I’m a visual person, so I’d suggest having a video or a couple of slides on there.

I’m not a big believer of just going through a demo for your sales pitch. I prefer something where the presentation is customized for the clients. This will help you show how your company’s solution or services could solve the clients’ problem.

You can show the customers a demo, then highlight how your other customers have earned stronger revenue marks and improved sales cycle because of your team’s solution.

Step 5: End With a Call to Action

The final step is to schedule your next steps and push for the next event. Avoid saying you’ll just be emailing each other — get something hard, such as a schedule for the next meeting.

At the end of the day, the last thing sales leaders would want is to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Avoid having to choose sides by ensuring both teams are working as close to seamlessly as possible.

At the end of the day, you’re all just working towards one goal, so it’s crucial to get everybody to work well together.

What sales handoff-related issues are you encountering and how are they affecting your organization? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below. 

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