27 revealing sales discovery questions every SaaS rep should know

27 revealing sales discovery questions every SaaS rep should know

Want to understand your prospects better? Then you need to learn the art of asking questions.


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 important information, and you’ll probably waste a lot of time with prospects that don’t fit your product or 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’re going to give you 27 discovery questions you can pick from, including:

  • 11 discovery questions to identify real needs
  • 6 questions that highlight the value of your product
  • 4 questions to see how urgently they need a solution
  • 6 discovery call questions to uncover the buying process

But first, what exactly are discovery questions, and why should you be asking these questions?

What are discovery 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 you’ll 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 discovery call 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 needs, budget, timeline, authority, and other essential factors that are part of your ideal customer profile.

(Psst… don’t have an ideal customer profile yet? No worries—use Profiler, the free ideal customer profile kit, to build your own ICPs from scratch.)

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).

Pick the questions that fit your prospects

Below, you’re about to discover a list of 27 discovery call questions—but the point is not 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.

Photo credit: Gong

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

Depending on what you're selling, and who you're selling to, the optimal number of questions might be more or less. And much also depends on the individual interaction with the prospect.

So, pick questions that:

  • Match the type of lead (inbound or outbound)
  • Fit where the lead is in the buying process
  • Dig deeper into information you haven’t discovered yet (instead of repeating information you’ve already collected in other places)

A key to making sure you’re not asking the lead to repeat themselves is making sure all lead information is tracked in one place. With a CRM like Close, you can have automatic call logging, email import, and even Custom Activities to store lead information in a structured format. That way, nothing slips through the cracks.

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

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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 discovery questions to identify real needs

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

But unless you understand the real needs of your prospects, you can’t pitch your product in a way that will appeal to your audience.

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.

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 has solid motivation 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, underlying reason the prospect is looking for a solution now.

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 this prospect is considering, what they like or dislike about those options, and how those match up to your product.

6 questions that highlight the value of your solution

You know that your solution is fantastic and will make your prospect’s life better—now you have to convince them.

Instead of giving a 30-minute spiel that may or may not be worth listening to, allow your prospects to convince themselves that they need your product by asking questions that highlight value.

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

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

Ex: 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 them and their team. (After all, an improvement in 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?

Ex: 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 key metric is 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 questions to see how urgently they need a solution

Urgency is key—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:

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 discovery call questions to uncover the buying process

As you understand the needs of the prospect and see them as a potentially valuable customer, you’ll also need to understand how the buying process works at their company. This helps you organize next steps and flow faster through the sales process.

Here are 6 discovery questions that can help you do just that:

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 this company purchases software like yours, and whether there is already a structured process to 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 discovery call

So, you’ve gathered some inspiration for your next discovery call. Now, it’s time to pick the questions that you’ll ask your prospect.

Use this article as a starting point to collect your own list of top discovery questions that make sense for your market and sales style. Then, before you jump into a discovery call, you can pick about 10 of those questions to ask during your call.

When you prepare in advance with the right questions, you’ll be able to qualify better and close deals faster.

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

DOWNLOAD B2B QUALIFYING QUESTIONS →