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The last in the durhamlane trilogy of webinars to highlight the importance of selling, especially in the ever changing, increasingly virtual world we now live in. This webinar led by Richard Lane and Luke Robinson reveals how you can properly qualify the deals in your pipeline. 


Luke Robinson

Sales Performance Consultant at durhamlane

Richard Lane

CO-Founder & CEO of durhamlane

The Changing World of Sales

Buyer behaviour is changing. 67% of a buyer’s journey is now done digitally, so it’s important to ensure conversations are as effective as possible e.g. asking the right questions, and sales need to be made quickly. In 2014, there was an average of 5.4 people involved in a buying decision, and in 2018 this rose to 10.2 people. There are multiple key stakeholders involved in making a decision, therefore it’s so important to speak to the right people and undertake some role identification within the organisation you are working with. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago. The magic 35 framework allows salespeople to spend more time on sales that will close and not waste time on the 50% of deals that won’t close. 

Challenges for Salespeople

Selling at a Higher-Level 

Question based selling and qualification is key in making a sale. The magic 35 toolkit is so important throughout the Selling at a Higher-Level process and is completed and built over time. Use the gaps in the framework to know how to steer conversation in the next meeting. Instead of jumping into telling the customer how great you are, find out what they are looking for and find out more about them. 

Magic 35 Framework

Within the Magic 35 Framework, there are seven core criteria, reiterating the importance of qualification and disqualification. Each core criteria is scored from 1 – 5, scoring 1 when no information in known and scoring 5 when there couldn’t possibly be any more information to gain. 

These criteria don’t need to be asked in any particular order, its important not to be bogged down by the score you give each criteria and be honest with the scoring. Luke takes us through the criteria in more detail.

  • Budget – There are questions you can ask to get an idea of budget without asking if they have money. Find out when the financial year ends/begins. If you can find out who holds the budget, you start to map out the main decision makers.
  • Defined Need – Example: if a factory worker gets an injury at work, the defined need would be a health and safety process to prevent further injury. The biggest challenge as a salesperson is people’s willingness to change. 14% of people will take their services elsewhere, even if they’re dissatisfied with your service. Your biggest competitor is managing change. 
  • Decision Maker – Ask questions like ‘who other than yourself needs to be involved in making a decision for a project of this size?’. Find out how a decision is made, if this needs to be signed off by a board, make sure you know when the board will meet, you can scope your timeline off the back of this. 
  • Decision Criteria – What needs to be proved for the project to move forwards? Keep confirming this throughout the sales cycle. As the client ‘what are the three most important things that you need to know by the end of this presentation?’ Double check you are on track with the client.
  • Compelling Event – Find the compelling event and what is driving the sale. In the example above, the compelling event is the factory workers injury. This is what is driving change. 
  • Timescales –What control do you have on the timescale? Are you checking in progress regularly? Can you leave actions? Take into considerations decision makers and clients on holiday etc. Maintain the momentum. 
  • Competition – Understand who else they may be speaking to, which may not be other suppliers. Competition could be a managing director who doesn’t want to spend the money or an IT director who doesn’t want to change the system they have worked with for a long time.

These criteria should be marked as shown in the picture on the right.

Click here to access the Magic 35 document – How to spend time where you can be most successful by durhamlane 

“Sales in the life-blood of every organisation” – durhamlane

Questions from the floor

What do you think is the reason that sales take 22% more time than 5 years ago? 

Luke believes it’s probably due to the multi-layer buying functions within organisations. We can see from the above stats that there has been a great increase in people involved in a buying decision. There are so many different hands that the decision needs to go through before a vendor is chosen.

When you mention internal roadblocks, how do you best deal with those early on? In a project I’m working on, there are some internal politics that seem to be out of my control.

Find yourself a coach/sponsor/cheerleader within the company, who want you to win but will also benefit from your success. You can get some inside information to understand those internal politics. You must be sensitive, work out who is on your side and who can help you.

Looking at the qualification framework, when you don’t have everything scoring at 5, what would you say the threshold is for then deciding to disqualify the lead?

Luke explains he’d love to be able to provide a threshold number, but this would be on a case by case basis. You need to find out which problem needs to be solved, do they have a timescale in mind and what is driving the change. If someone loves your pitch but won’t have money for a year, you can disqualify until budget is in place. If the defined need, timescale and compelling event are scoring high, there’s a good chance you can score high in other areas too. 

Good point surrounding the methodology, it does sound like a really great model which we can apply. It’s knowing that tough decision point and knowing when its time to step off. 

There needs to be a Magic 35 attached to each opportunity, so you can prove the reasons for the disqualification of the lead. Challenge yourself in finding reasons for qualification and disqualification. 

Do you have any recommendations for an alternative to salesforce? 

Durhamlane use Hubspot CRM and it is very easy to follow and user friendly. It’s simple to use and easily personalised. 

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