Deep discovery is asking the dumb questions: Revenue strategies for SaaS

Jun 29, 2023
Selling SaaS head page showing Duane Dufault smiling into the camera.

I was recently chatting to a product-led growth company about revenue strategies for SaaS. They told me their sales team had to wait 2 weeks to get basic queries run by marketing, in order to answer a prospect's question.

What the hell.

Can you imagine what happened in 2 weeks? The prospect spoke to someone else, bought that software, trialed it for 7 days, and signed up.

It's too late now. Multiple day wait-periods are not how I'd recommend you increase SaaS sales.

I'm going to use a system we often use for discovery with our prospects and apply it to internal processes. Why? Because the same system you use you understand the pain points of your prospects works for solving your own product-led growth team's barriers.

Decomplexifying as a revenue strategy for SaaS

For me, the symptom that product-led SaaS presented was a sign of overcomplication of communication.

I'm not saying the cliché: you need more communication between sales and marketing. You need the RIGHT communication.

This company was actually getting lost in such complex topics in the name of increasing their SaaS sales, that bringing the tone "down" to simpler questions like, "why does this take 2 weeks?" just seemed unrealistic to them.

The reason they needed to ask this, is that the answer would tell them whether the solution needed to be either better systems for marketing or for sales to know what they would need 2 weeks in advance.


Universal Discovery Framework, not only for SaaS sales

Something I've been using for years in all sorts of situations is my Universal Discovery Framework:

  1. What's slowing things down?

  2. How long does it take you?

  3. What does it take from you to get the things you want?

This is deep discovery.

Ask this over and over again for each issue, roadblock, even the things that seem to be working, is going to take you toward a deep understanding of how teams work.

Why? Because asking people to explain why and how makes them connect with the information on a more profound level. You've probably seen this happen when you ask a prospect to explain why they face a barrier, and how asking those "dumb" questions allows them to realize how dumb their current situation is.

Taking stuff for granted is standard practice the larger your corporation gets. I'd even say it's necessary for a company to grow. But when you hit a barrier, you can solve it with deep discovery using the Universal Discovery Framework.


Decomplexifying the decomplexify strategy

Let me make this even simpler:

Ever had a 5-year-old ask you why?

It's green because plants make green from the sun.


Because that's how they photosynthesize.


Because they do that to live.


[Insert either a creationist or evolutionist explanation here to make them shut up]


A 5-year-old doesn't stop asking. They have no fear of looking dumb or annoying you. That's the energy you need to channel!

We let the our own fears of looking or feeling stupid keep us from asking the most impactful questions. The obvious ones. 

When you've asked your team why to the point that they say, "I don't know," substitute why for what if.

Make it adult-friendly by designating a different person to ask why each time. It becomes a game. And with practice, the realization that this is how we reach the deep understanding we need to improve, will emerge.

Once this "game" becomes standard process for internal meetings, your team will no longer feel dumb when asking or answering the dumb questions.

What about the SaaS and their 2-week wait period?

I went back to the product-growth team and asked how they're doing with their revenue strategies these days. "Did you try the deep discovery method?"

They told me their sales team now understood the problem, so not only were asking for information earlier, they were communicating to clients in a way that legitimized their company, making it sound more thorough.

Not the solution I was aiming for but I'll keep working with them! In no time we'll decomplexify that into a scalable, repeatable sales process, and hopefully get it down to 2 hours not 2 weeks!

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