Working in the B2B area takes mostly more time to gain a good knowledge of our client than in B2C. Many factors can describe it: choosing a long-term partner takes more time than a short-term one, the higher price of the services or products, or the number of people involved in the decision making process.
We, at Amsterdam Standard, have a standardized procedure for launching a new client. We are interested in providing the best quality services to them, which is why we take the onboarding process very seriously. Through specific sequences of procedures as emails with detailed information, code-reviews, backlog analysis, phone calls, and video-meetings, we make sure we understand the clients' needs in detail. One of the essential steps in this process is the Discovery Call.
What is a Discovery Call?
A Discovery Call or meeting is a form of investigative meeting used by our consultants, designers, sales professionals, and project teams to learn more about a potential client's requirements.
In other words, it's a call or meeting where the potential client describes their product/ project, the stage of it, their existing solutions, and issues they have. The sales or project team dig deeper by asking discovery questions. The goal of a sales team is to learn what is happening at the client company to understand their business and offer a solution to the problem. Discovery questions are great tools to provide the context for forming a solution. A good discovery call should be performed by an employee prepared for these types of detailed conversations and with a high-level understanding of the business. This person should also be able to translate the information gathered on a session into a strategic document outlining the direction of future campaigns and projects or share this information correctly with the rest of the team.
What is the purpose of a Discovery Call?
As we can get from the definition, the purpose of a discovery call is to investigate the product or project and understand the client's requirements to solve their issues. On the other side, it is an opportunity for the client to learn more about our company and project team, our services, and experience. They also might have specific questions about a product feature or a term.
Discovery Call by Amsterdam Standard
Amsterdam Standard develops software, websites, and apps for their clients. Our customers often have a shortage of developers or not have enough knowledge of software development and managing development teams. We can solve these problems. We organize Discovery Calls to understand better the product or project of our clients, their previous solutions, methods of work, and "pains" they currently have. During the call and after it, we are thinking of the best possible solutions, and after the call, we can provide the best candidates from our staff to fit the project. To gain all this information, our sales and project teams ask correct discovery questions, which include, but not limited to, the following topics:
Gathering detailed information about the product or project
The first thing we need to understand is what their company does and what industry they are in. Of course, we have the information about it before as well, but this time we obtain a fuller and detailed description. Also, we are touching the topic of the goals they are pursuing. What should be the project outcome? It can be software, new processes, a new team, documents, hardware, deployment, or upgrades.
Knowing this information, we can quickly move into further exploration. And it's the most critical part in case if the product doesn't exist yet and should be developed from scratch. For an existing product, we will ask about the background and what has been done already in the past.
Product roadmap - where we are, where we want to be
To plan and track the progress of development for reaching your business goals and to keep stakeholders updated - a product roadmap is a great tool.
A roadmap is a strategic plan that defines a goal or desired outcome and includes the significant steps or milestones needed to reach it.
It also serves as a communication tool, a high-level document that helps clear strategic thinking behind both the goal and the plan for getting there.
A product roadmap involves the defined tasks, team members responsible for their execution, timelines, budget, and possible issues and solutions to prevent it.
We expect our potential clients to prepare a roadmap before the call or give us a summary during the discovery call. A roadmap is a living document that is easily adjustable to the changes during the development process.
The process of development
When it's an existing product or an on-going project, we need to know what has already been done, by who, which ideas and solution worked and which did not. We expect from the client a short story of the project development process from the beginning and till the current moment. Regarding this topic, the following questions could be asked:
- Is it a custom-made system or a pre-made system?
- Does the company have its own/ in-house developers, how much are they involved in the current project?
- If there is no own team, who was working on the project before?
- Who has access to the source?
- Is the decent documentation available?
Learning about problems or issues they currently face
The two previous parts were a summary for a better understanding of the client, product, and the way how they came to the current situation. This part of the conversation is figuring out the pains, which we will treat. We most probably have an idea of prospects' needs and challenges. But we want to dig deeper to make sure to understand their needs and challenges correctly and can provide right-fit solutions.
Further, we will think and work together with the client on the development of getting the best possible results in the agreed time and budget. The essential knowledge at this part of the conversation should include the timeline and deadline of the project. Examples of the questions which the sales team should ask:
- Why the system/solutions were not successful?
- Which issues/ problems does the company currently have?
- What are the priorities for solving these issues?
- Are there any special requirements for solving these issues?
Viewing the product, processes, and structure
To dig even deeper and to understand the user flow logic and the current state of the system, we might have a look at the product. Regarding the specifics of the project, both front-end and backend codebases can be viewed.
Snap check of the front-end of the product.
Understanding the business logic of the back end.
Determining the complexity of the application, looking at it from available user scopes.
Additional valuable information
All projects are different; some of them include many connections; others are created for a particular device. We need to gather this data to get the full picture. Think of questions like:
- Which connections does the current platform/software have: APIs, databases, another?
- Is there a mobile version of the website? Or is there an app for the digital product?
- Where is the system hosted, and how is it deployed?
- How are the application environments managed?
- Which features are existing and which of them should be changed?
Even though we are experienced in software development and management of the projects and have long-time expertise in holding the Discovery Calls, it's not possible to think of all meaningful questions. In any case, the client knows his product and requirements better. That's why there is one last question we always ask: "Is there anything more or different you'd like to get out of this call today?"
Thinking of best suitable solutions or candidates
With all the data and information provided, we, most possible, already have some ideas to solve the client's issues. For some projects, we will need a bit more time to consult with our specialists in certain areas to come up with the best decisions. If the client is looking for a dedicated specialist or team, since the moment of discovery call, we will start the selecting process from our specialists to find the best fit for specific projects. Most often, the customers already know the profile of people whom they are looking for, it makes our research more apparent, and we are coming up with CV's of potential candidates in a short period.
In any case, at the end of the discovery call conversation, we make sure the conversation moves forward by confirming the next steps, who is responsible for them, and the expected timeline for things to happen.
We ask clear, simple questions to reveal the existing problems, and then align these to what our team can provide. Every discovery call will take a unique course. Typically, a call like this ends up deciding on the next step in the process.
Are you looking for a custom software development company or would like to hire developers for your project? Don't hesitate to contact us and ask for all the necessary information. We are looking forward to hearing from you.