Dear Databox: How to Increase the Volume of Discovery Calls?

Sales Jul 4, 2023 20 minutes read

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    You’ve perfected your pitch and you’re all ready for your next discovery call. But, before you have an opportunity to impress your lead during the call, you need to get your foot in the door: the lead needs to book a meeting with you. And that’s not an easy endeavor.

    If you’ve seen the number of booked meetings go down, you’re not the only one. In fact, we’ve just received a question from a company founder who experienced the same:

    “Our Discovery Meetings are down 15-20%. I’m curious to learn two things. First, what steps have other founders taken to address a dip in booked meetings and “Deals Created”? And second, is anyone else seeing a significant drop in booked meetings or deals YOY?”

    SaaS Founder

    Keep reading to learn how many discovery meetings other businesses similar to yours manage to book, how companies generate leads for discovery calls, and what strategies they implement to increase the meeting volume.

    This article is part of our Dear Databox series where you can send an anonymous question via your benchmark group and get valuable tips from the industry’s leading experts.

    HubSpot Sales Benchmarks

    Databox gathered data related to the number of meetings booked and deals created in a month to help you understand how you’re performing compared to other similar-sized companies in your industry. According to the HubSpot Benchmarks for All HubSpot Customers and 279 contributors, the number of meetings booked in May 2023 ranged from 27 to 165, with the median value being 67.

    HubSpot Sales Benchmarks for numbers of meetings booked

    Based on the data from 748 contributors from the same group, the Number of Deals Created during May 2023 ranged from eight to 136, while the median value was 33.

    median value for number of deals created, according to Hubspot Benchmark Groups

    To learn more about these metrics, join 1,300+ other companies in our HubSpot Benchmark Group and compare your performance to other businesses.

    How Companies Generate Leads for Discovery Calls

    We recently surveyed 51 companies and agencies to find out how they typically generate leads for discovery calls.

    We learned that the top three ways to generate leads for discovery calls for most companies are:

    • Inbound marketing (70.59%)
    • Outbound marketing (64.71%), and
    • Referrals (54.90%)
    How Companies Generate Leads for Discovery Calls

    About 10% to 30% of leads turn into discovery calls for most companies. For a tad over 20% of survey respondents, this percentage surpasses 30%.

    what percentage of leads turn into discovery calls

    For 66.67% of our respondents the percentage of leads that turn into discovery calls has increased in the past year, while for 27.45% it remained more or less the same. The percentage of companies that have seen a decrease in the number of leads turning into discovery calls is below 2%.

    has the percentage of leads that turn into discovery calls changed in the past year?

    For most companies, a conversion rate from discovery calls to sales is about 10% to 30%, while around 15% of survey participants see a conversion rate of over 30%.

    conversion rate from discovery calls to sales

    For 56.86% of our survey participants, this percentage has increased in the past year, while it has remained the same for around a third of the respondents. Around 8% of companies claim they’ve seen a decline in their discovery call to sales conversion rates.

    has your conversion rate from discovery calls changed in the past year?

    Related: 32 Prospecting Tips to Help You Book More Sales Meetings

    How Frequently Should You Reach Out to Prospects for a Discovery Call?

    We were also curious to learn how often our participants believed you should reach out to prospects to turn them into a discovery call.

    How Frequently Should You Reach Out to Prospects for a Discovery Call?

    About 65% of our respondents reach out to potential customers for a discovery call weekly, while almost 20% do it daily.

    For about 57% of respondents, as shown in the image below, the average length of time between initial contact and a discovery call is between one and two weeks. Less than 20% of companies wait between two and four weeks before they reach out to a prospect.

    average length of time between initial contact and a discovery call

    7 Expert Strategies for Increasing the Volume of Discovery Calls

    Over 70% of prospects will want to talk to sellers who can present them with solutions that will help them generate better business results, studies find. The key is knowing when to talk to your prospects and how to approach them.

    For our poll that we quoted above, we talked to 51 companies, most of which have products or services that have been on the market for longer than 3 years.

    The results show that improving website content is by far the strategy that brought the highest number of leads for most of our respondents.

    Running ads and Creating targeted email campaigns come as 2nd and 3rd. Interestingly, more than half of the respondents stated that they don’t use offering free trials or demos (52.94%) or offer other incentives (78.95%).

    Expert Strategies for Increasing the Volume of Discovery Calls

    Our survey participants shared their best tips on how to increase the number of discovery calls. We also leveraged the power of social media to add even more valuable insights from top industry experts to this roundup. Here are seven proven strategies that will help you book more meetings with potential customers.

    Improve Website Content

    Well-targeted and compelling website content can attract and engage visitors, effectively communicating the value proposition and benefits of a product or service. If you don’t present value to the visitor in a clear way, address their pain points, and close with persuasive calls-to-action, you’re missing the opportunity to turn a visitor into a discovery call.

    Relevant content also increases your trustworthiness.

    “High-quality, compelling, and engaging content has the power to captivate visitors and keep them on our website for longer periods, enough for them to decide to trust us. When visitors spend more time exploring our content, they are more likely to develop an interest in your products, services, or offerings,” says Sarah Jameson of Green Building Elements and shares how her team ensures quality content:

    “On our website, we make sure that we entice visitors to try out our services through offers and by connecting with them through our newsletter, resulting in lead generation. Our efforts led to a 10% increase in leads coming from our website over the past year.”

    Whenever any visitor comes to your site, they will read or see your content, and if your content doesn’t add engaging value for most of the visitors, then there is no point in investing in ads, trails, or referral programs.

    Robbie Baskins

    Robbie Baskins

    Founder at Voddler

    Want to get highlighted in our next report? Become a contributor now

    Sometimes, what seems to be a small update on your demo page turns out to be a powerful incentive for the visitor to book a meeting. For example, it’s always a good idea to add testimonials and social proof to your website.

    “We recently updated our main demo request page to include high-quality logos that showed where our nearshore talent network has worked. Our website conversion rate improved by 18% by adding this relatively simple form of social proof to a single conversion page. Based on these results, we are looking to see where else we can add compelling social proof throughout our entire website,” shares Dylan Griffin of Torc.

    PRO TIP: Download this free, customizable content dashboard template to understand how your content performs at a glance. See which pages are converting the best, which ones get the most traffic and views, and which ones underperform in terms of having a high bounce rate or low number of users. You can replace any of the data sources in this dashboard with the data sources of your choice that track the same metrics used in this template. You can also customize the template by removing or adding metrics, changing the visualizations, colors, and more.

    content analysis dashboard

    Run Ads

    Running ads can significantly contribute to increasing the number of requested demos on a website by strategically targeting relevant audiences through various online advertising platforms. Well-crafted ads can meet your target audience where they are and work together with your “Request a demo” page to make a compelling case for your product or service.

    Ads are particularly useful because they allow you to target a very narrow audience. Mark Pierce of Cloud Peak Law Group confirms that this precision in targeting contributes for more booked meetings.

    “We have very targeted advertising parameters set, so there’s a higher probability that the people who are shown our ads have the potential to become customers. Targeted advertising helped us increase our discovery call rate by 6%.” 

    Brian Hardesty of On Display Signs shares that he’s had most success with Google and Facebook ads—investing in these campaigns has paid off for his team.

    “Running ads brings us the most leads. We’ve been running an aggressive advertising campaign. Most of our budget and efforts go into Google and Facebook Ads. These ads bring about 60% of prospects that lead to discovery calls.”

    Related: 16 Ways to use Facebook Ads for Lead Generation

    Create Targeted Email Campaigns

    Targeted email campaigns allow for more precise tracking of what kind of messaging works and what doesn’t, relationship building, and timely follow-ups with leads who have shown interest in your product or service, but haven’t booked a call yet.

    If you’re a B2B company, you may be targeting startups and enterprises. These two audiences may be similar in some aspects, but each will face unique obstacles you need to uncover and address. For example, enterprises may not be interested in learning how to establish efficient processes because they probably already have them, but that’s undoubtedly a pain point for scaling startups.

    If you send emails that are too general, you will cover the entire audience, but you can’t be as compelling as when you tackle specific pain points of more narrow audiences. Segmenting your email list based on company size, industry, job role, or previous engagement, allows you to deliver personalized and tailored messages to your prospects.

    Amelia Thomas of KittyGrubs confirms that targeted emails boosted their overall efforts to increase the number of booked meetings, along with ads and better website content.

    “We have invested heavily in targeted email campaigns, which have successfully driven more discovery calls. Combining all these strategies has maximized our returns.”

    Related: 19 Email Marketing Statistics That Will Help Marketers Maximize Their ROI in 2023

    Run Referral Programs

    Referral programs can drive qualified leads to your website and increase the number of discovery calls by tapping into the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

    For example, offering rewards like discounts or exclusive access motivates customers to actively recommend your business to their network. These referrals carry a higher level of trust and credibility, making the referred leads more likely to book a meeting or a demo. Referral programs also expand the reach of your company by leveraging warm introductions, enabling access to new leads through personal connections.

    “Referral programs generate the most qualified leads, and we see a higher conversion rate via referrals than other methods we use including email marketing and running online ads,” explains Cynthia Davies of Cindy’s New Mexico LLC.

    “This is because referrals are already slightly warm to warm leads, as they’re coming to us via a recommendation. That element of trust has already been built, making them more willing to schedule a discovery call to at the very least learn more, and at the very best, become a customer by the end of the call,” concludes Davies.

    Related: Here’s How to Increase Your Referral Traffic (Tips from 42 Marketers)

    Offer Free Trials or Demos

    Offering a free demo can encourage leads to book a meeting as it provides an opportunity for potential customers to experience the product or service firsthand, showcasing its value and functionality. For instance, a software company offering a free demo allows leads to explore the platform’s features, understand its user interface, and see how it addresses their specific needs.

    Removing the barrier of cost and providing a risk-free trial builds trust and entices leads to take the next step in the sales process and schedule a meeting to further discuss their requirements.

    “By offering free trials/demos to customers, we have been able to generate a greater number of leads. This strategy helps us build customer trust, which translates into qualified leads. We have been able to measure the success of this strategy as our sales rate has been consistent. We have not experienced any decline in the number of purchases made,” says Guillaume Drew of Or& Zon.

    There’s a great debate over whether you should offer a free trial without asking for credit card details though. If you don’t ask for payment details upfront, you may remove friction from the signup process and generate more meetings booked. However, if a lead is ready to enter their card details to get a free demo, they’re likely qualified and ready to buy, and they’ll convert more easily once the trial is over.

    Both options have pros and cons; the ideal solution would be to test them and compare results to determine what works better for your business.

    Create Time-Limited Incentives and Special Offers

    Offering time-limited incentives and special bonuses to motivate website visitors to book a meeting has multiple advantages:

    • They create a sense of urgency, prompting visitors to act quickly to secure the offer
    • They increase perceived value
    • They provide an opportunity for a more personalized approach

    Ryan Faber of Copymatic agrees that FOMO created by offering time-limited incentives is a great motivation for the website visitor to act immediately and schedule a meeting.

    “We ensure that the incentives and deals are customized to match their particular needs and pain points to show that we know their particular difficulties. We also consider package deals, which combine various rewards into a comprehensive package to raise the perceived value of the discovery meeting. With the help of these tactics, we develop an appealing offer that inspires prospects to contact us for discovery meetings by instilling a sense of urgency and value,” explains Faber.

    Doug Davidoff, Lift Enablement’s CEO, shares his experience with wedge offers. Wedge offers can prompt website visitors to book a meeting, whether the offer is paid or free.

    The biggest barrier to a strong discovery call is the status quo. I see sales orgs push for intent far too much—they’re out before they even have an at-bat. Make it easy and valuable for your customer to gain something valuable from you without threatening their status quo (i.e. how can I benefit from you without having to change).

    Doug Davidoff

    Doug Davidoff

    Founder & CEO at Lift Enablement

    Want to get highlighted in our next report? Become a contributor now

    Davidoff proceeds to give examples:

    “A great example is one you’re very familiar with: the inbound marketing assessment. This would be an example of a free wedge offer. We used to do a sales email playbook as an example of a wedge offer we charged for.”

    Nurture Your Social Media Following

    Consistent engaging of your social media audience helps you build brand awareness, establish expertise, and foster trust. If you dedicate time to respond to comments, messages, and inquiries on social media, it’ll demonstrate responsiveness and personalized attention, further encouraging leads to initiate a direct conversation or schedule a meeting.

    “Watch new followers on the company LinkedIn account. Personally reach out to them and thank them for following, asking what caught their eye about the company. If they respond, follow up with relevant content they may not have seen. Ask if they’d be willing to give feedback on new features or products as sneak peeks.

    These aren’t asking for a discovery call. They are asking to start a conversation. I’ve seen a major lift using this process in engaged prospects and driving people into early access programs,” advises Chris Handy, product marketing director at Crux.

    3 Biggest Obstacles to Getting More Discovery Calls

    Our survey showed that 41% of respondents believe poor follow-up is the biggest obstacle to getting more discovery calls. This response was followed by “lack of lead generation” and “ineffective messaging”—about 25% of respondents voted for each option.

    Biggest Obstacles to Getting More Discovery Calls

    We asked experts how to overcome these obstacles.

    Poor Follow-Up

    Some sales cycles are longer than others and purchasing decisions aren’t made on a whim, especially in the B2B industry. This is why following up with prospects can be key to getting them to schedule a meeting.

    “I have experienced poor followup in the past, and it can be a major obstacle to achieving success. To overcome this, I have implemented a system of reminders and check-ins to ensure that tasks are completed on time,” says Michael Collins of Sphereit and adds:

    “I also make sure to communicate with my team regularly to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are being completed as expected. Additionally, I have implemented a system of rewards for completing tasks on time, which helps to motivate my team and keep them accountable.”

    Andre Oentoro of Explainerd has a similar experience: “We noticed that we were receiving a significant number of discovery calls, but we were struggling to convert these calls into actual business opportunities. Upon investigation, we found that our follow-up process was disorganized and inconsistent, leading to missed opportunities,” shares Oentoro.

    “To overcome this obstacle, we implemented a clear and consistent follow-up process for all discovery calls. We assigned a dedicated team member to handle all incoming calls and ensure that each call was logged in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Our sales team also made sure to gather contact information and schedule a follow-up call or meeting with the potential customer.”

    Lack of Lead Generation

    The number of discovery calls depends heavily on the number of leads your efforts can generate. To increase the number of meetings booked, you also need to look into how you generate and qualify leads:

    “If you don’t bring in enough leads, you’ll have a hard time getting more discovery calls simply because you don’t have enough traffic in your pipeline,” says Tom Golubovich of Ninja Transfers and shares his tip:

    “We increased our lead generation by increasing our outreach budget and expanding beyond email marketing to social media marketing and paid advertising for lead gen purposes as well. This helped us increase the number of prospects in our pipeline and helps to ensure that even during slower periods, there are still leads to reach out to for discovery calls.”

    Ineffective Messaging

    Your website copy is key: it gives you an opportunity to address your audience’s pain points precisely and make a compelling case for your product or service. The copy on your “book a demo” page and within the scheduling form  is the last obstacle between the prospect and discovery call—optimizing the messaging on this page can contribute to a higher number of meetings booked.

    Proper messaging should be used during the discovery call itself. If you provide a positive experience to your prospects during these meetings, you’ll be able to leverage those testimonials to encourage more calls, like Charles Musselwhite of Musselwhite Marketing suggests.

    “A lot of prospects are suspicious, if not fearful, of being sold during discovery calls. We provide “Findings & Suggestions”, which takes on more of a consultative approach positioning us as a partner. We receive a lot of compliments about our discovery sessions and implemented a review request of our discovery calls. We then post these to our GBP. We then take screenshots of these reviews and post and publish across our social media.”

    hubspot_sales_overview_dashboard_template_databox

    Ready, Set, Book More Meetings with Databox

    Compelling website content, well-targeted ads, and special offers for your prospects will help you increase the volume of discovery calls. Implementing these tactics has proven results, but how will you know which pays off the most and where you should focus your efforts?

    With proper data monitoring and sales reporting.

    Databox helps you track the most relevant metrics in a streamlined way and rely on data to make informed decisions and supercharge your business growth. In our all-in-one, accessible dashboard, you can:

    • Build custom reports in no more than a few minutes
    • Track over 4,000 metrics
    • Connect 100+ data sources in one click
    • Get expert support 24/7
    • Automatically share reports with everyone on your team

    Say goodbye to guesswork, using dozens of different tools, and dealing with inconsistent and duplicate data manually. Say hello to useful insights at a glance, customizable dashboards and reports that fit your needs, and time-saving premade templates.

    And that’s not all—join Benchmark Groups to instantly compare performance against other businesses like yours and quickly identify opportunities to become a leader in your sector.

    Sign up for Databox today: create your free account and see why our product is trusted by 20,000 companies worldwide.

    Article by
    Stefana Zaric

    Stefana Zarić is a freelance writer & content marketer. Other than writing for SaaS and fintech clients, she educates future writers who want to build a career in marketing. When not working, Stefana loves to read books, play with her kid, travel, and dance.

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