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Why Playbooks Are Critical for Full Funnel Freedom with Tom Short From Kudos

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Hamish Knox: This is the full funnel freedom podcast, supporting sales leaders, and managers to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects. I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results. Lead a great team and hit more targets with full funnel freedom. Welcome to the full funnel freedom podcast.

Hamish Knox today. I am delighted to welcome Tom short chief customer officer at kudos to the podcast. Over the course of 25 years, Tom has used his passion for entrepreneurship and marketing to found numerous, highly successful companies at each organization. Tom has built employee experience has been the cornerstone to building effective teams.

He brings his expertise in corporate culture and team motivation to kudos. Tom leads business development at kudos and is active in speaking engagements and thought leadership activities in the HR industry, he is passionate about the role recognition plays in creating a great employee experience and is dedicated to educating the world about what genuine recognition can do for people everywhere.

Tom, welcome to full funnel.

Tom Short: Thank you very much. Hamish love to be here. And, uh, looking forward to chatting with you about my limited knowledge on sales,

Hamish Knox: you, uh, you have more experience than you give yourself credit for. So expand on the, the intro. That was me reading, but I love to hear from my guests.

Tell me a bit more about you and kudos.

Tom Short: Absolutely. Um, you know, kudos is an employee recognition solution that uses peer to peer recognition through the format of thank you as good jobs and presses and exceptionals as a way to identify the little things that people do every day that lead to extraordinary success.

And it drives performance through the simple power of a thank you. And what's really curious or great about the product and what we've developed is. It gives incredible insights to what's happening in your company, how an individual's doing to how the whole organization is doing with really insane reporting.

So it's all about changing attitudes and behaviors to get the success that you're looking for with simple recognition.

Hamish Knox: Very cool. Very cool. So if we look at that and so this is a software service platform, is that an accurate

Tom Short: that's correct. We are a SAS platform selling to organizations throughout the world.

We're in 80 countries and 11 different lines. Amazing.

Hamish Knox: Amazing. So then given you are this, you know, software service platform, Europe all over the world, how do you define full funnel freedom, maybe as you've evolved into this, this global funnel?

Tom Short: Absolutely. Well, you know, trying to get to the point with our sales team and our reps where, uh, we have sufficient, uh, amount of leads and prospects coming into the system.

But also we haven't really started. Uh, robust outbound campaign. Everything with us is mainly inbound. So we're, you know, our playbooks and processes do follow the San reformat and the submarine. And it's been very beneficial, you know, focusing on our value proposition and our 32nd commercials and asking really great questions, uh, through the process to take people from stage to stage, to stage so that we have a highly qualified opportunities, as well as, uh, you know, uh, a specific.

Playbook to advance each opportunity through the funnel, uh, to get to the point where, uh, we can, uh, predictably and reliably hit all of our sales goals and quotas and so full funnel freedom for us really is just being very focused, very disciplined in the way that we approach things. And then, you know, trusting the process to get us to the outcomes that we're looking at.

Hamish Knox: Absolutely. And, and some of the listeners are probably take it. They don't do outbound. I'm so jealous of them right now, but that can create its own inherent challenges because when you're getting inbound leads, I'm going to guess that not all of them are ideal clients necessarily.

Tom Short: You know, sometimes they're looking for alternate solutions and we just have to be honest with them to save them time, to save us time that if we're not a fit, you know, it's not, you it's me.

I'm sorry. You know, like, but we also try to be a good future partner by giving them good advice on where they should be looking and who they should be talking to. So when they do come back to realizing that, uh, a recognition platform like kudos, uh, would actually help move the dial better than some of the other solutions they think they need now, uh, that we're top of mind.


Hamish Knox: And one of the things that we talked to our clients about is no now doesn't mean no forever. So tell us a bit more about how that model of, Hey, we're not the right fit now. We might be in the future has benefited you and your team in creating full funnel freedom.

Tom Short: Yeah, it will. It helps you focus on the opportunities that are going to get you to where you want to go.

And so, you know, so if you're, if you're not wasting time, you know, just chasing the wrong prospects because you're just shooting at anything that comes up in front of you. Uh, you know, you're going to be able to spend the right amount of time and to use the tools and tactics and strategies that will allow us to hit higher conversion rates and, and again, be more consistent and create more predictability on your revenue models.

Yeah, fair enough.

Hamish Knox:  Fair enough. So when we look at having a full funnel and that funnel that is not just full for a day or a week or a quarter, but it's consistently reliably full. What have you noticed in terms of payoffs to your sales team, to the business and even to yourself, when you can look at that funnel and go, ah,

Tom Short: it's good.

Yeah, absolutely. First of all, we want our salespeople to be successful and, and to be successful, they need to make sure that they have, uh, you know, by. Opportunities and a sufficient enough of opportunities to continue to work, but not too many so that, uh, you know, the, uh, items start falling through the cracks, you know, because, you know, you can only do so much, and that really comes down to great qualifying, uh, being very disciplined in your approach.

When we do move to more outbound, you know, it's all about creating the habits. That will ensure success, like making your 30 calls a day, following the playbooks and scripts based on the personas and recalls that you're going after, you know, selling on, uh, you know, the value proposition and, and, uh, the, the benefits laying a few landmines to hopefully change minds in regards to some of our competitors and what they feature as key elements.

But you know, it, you know, it does come down to, you know, just. The team is always in balance and always really most importantly are setting up those micro-commitments and next steps so that we know that that anything that is in the funnel is valid and moving in the right direction. And if it's not, you know, it's okay to say not, no, not now.

Totally just say, that's set this up in the future, but even trying to get that into the calendar at a future date so that it's not like call me sometime and there isn't any kind of a real commitment to it.

Hamish Knox: I think when you say call me sometimes some of the listeners cringed in voluntarily. Yeah. When you look at qualified, because I know I sold software service, and I'm going to guess that when you get your inbound leads, uh, you know, the first thing out of their mouth or very close to is hi, nice to meet you.

Can I have a demo is the request from the prospect. And so how have you supported your team in instilling the fact that not everyone gets a demo, you got to qualify? What was that like in terms of, cause, I mean, I know as a salespeople, I just want to show off house and my product is.

Tom Short: Yeah, well, again, it's coming back to processes and playbooks and training, and then we do have a train, the trainer methodology, uh, you know, where I've been lucky enough to work with you and from you quite a bit.

And, and several other of our team members and all of that's being instilled down through our teams. And so I think we actually do a pretty good job. We can always make improvements and that's where listening to calls and doing ride along. Helping out and coaching, uh, team members all the time. But you know, when that does happen, when somebody does ask like, Hey, I just want to know what the price is and get a demo and you know, what are your core features?

Uh, we go, Hey, we're happy to show you that. And we'll get to that in a moment, but I have a few questions that I really need to understand, to make sure that I'm showing you the right things and understand your points of pain so that we can demonstrate how our product is the right solution for you. And if it's not the right.

We'll let you know that too, just so that we make sure we're being respectful of your time and clients always go, okay, that sounds good. And then we get into the questions and then the questions, you know, they're, they're revealing to us, you know, what's important to them. And then we try to use those elements as we, uh, take them down the path.

And we even try to dig a little bit deeper where we can just. Tell me more about that, you know, is there anything else that you would really like to solve? You know, if you had to prioritize these things, which ones are the most important to you? And if we could hit three out of four of these items that you identified, would that be a win and would you be comfortable moving forward with our solution?

And, uh, and so those types of things, you know, it doesn't happen all the time. Of course, it's really interesting how, uh, you know, uh, all the best processes and playbooks, I think it gets everybody to the point where. They're hitting 70 to 80% of the elements. Most of the time, you know, no, no one ever gets a a hundred percent home run, like absolutely perfect sales call, but, uh, but as long as we're moving the people along in the right direction and getting micro-commitments and getting them to validate to us where one of the best questions we use all the time is after.

You know, share our value proposition or something that makes us different. We say, well, what do you think of that? Does that resonate with you? Does that feel right? And then, and then we let the clients sell themselves at that point. They're like, oh my gosh, that's perfect. That's exactly what we're looking for.

You know, we're like, oh, tell me more, you know, kind of a thing, you know, how do you see that solving problem a or problem B, and then they start telling ya and, uh, then we just shut up.

Hamish Knox: It's a great way to sell, sell without selling, right? And you can't be a pushy salesperson when your prospect is pulling you forward and saying, this is why I buy this, and this is why I'd buy this.

So I'm sure even with all these inbound leads, at some point in your career at kudos, the funnel, might've, slendered up a little bit. It, might've got a little skinny for a little while. What are some of those early warning signs that leaders who are listening should look out for that their funnel is maybe going to start to shrink a little.

Tom Short: I think it's, um, you know, having, it's not so much the leads that are coming for us. Uh it's uh, you know, we would, we need to compliment and do more outbound, especially as you move more upmarket, you're trying to get go after more mid-market or enterprise type of clients. Um, you know, our product is kind of universal and that every vertical, every country, every.

Company could use our products. So again, you have to narrow it in, but I think that the, uh, when the funnel does start to get thin, it's more about having, you know, bad prospects. You know, it doesn't mean that they're, they're bad companies that we don't want to work with, but it just means that we don't have the commitments or insights as to where they truly are in the process.

They, they they're driving. The conversation versus us driving the conversation. And then when that happens, that's kind of where the alarm bells started to go off saying, saying that your funnel you've got a lot of people in your funnel, but not all of it is qualified anymore. Some of it has disqualified.

And so you have to get more to make sure that you're always managing 30 to 50 types of opportunities that could be near term to long-term, but all giving you the correct. And moving in the right direction and committing to, you know, a mutual plan to get this over the, over the fence, even if it's six months out, some move very quickly.

But if nobody's, if they're not returning, your calls are up there, um, you know, they're ghosting you, which is a. Problem that we all face, like why aren't they phoning me? You know, having ways to either get that back on track or just biting the bullet and saying, I'm going to move that to a nurturing campaign where it'll stay, you know, our marketing team will keep in contact with them, but I am just not going to waste any more of my time, trying to reanimate.

Hamish Knox: I imagine this is a difficult conversation to have with your sales team, because they're all pumped and excited. And especially if it's a big logo, right. You work with some pretty big logos looking at your website. Uh, it can be kind of tough to be like, ah, focus on something else for a while. Is

Tom Short: that fair?

Yeah, exactly. They don't want to give up on certain things that they've invested in. But we're just saying, you're not giving up on it. You're just moving into a different cycle for connection and communication. You know, you, you can follow back up and you can use these other methods and methodologies to, uh, to find out what happened.

You know, if they are ghosting. In those scenarios where, you know, an email and a little fun saying, pick up the damn phone, you know, kind of a situation. And then after you do a couple of cycles of that, even, uh, you know, making sure you're using other products like LinkedIn as another format to connect with people and, uh, even getting down to, uh, Somebody's really, you know, depending on the level of relationship, but even when it gets to a ghosted scenario and you're maybe, uh, haven't really been able to connect with them and you've already done, you know, you emailed a couple of times, your voicemail dated a couple of times, you've linked in a couple of times and nothing is resonating.

I have found that, uh, uh, what works really well, if you have it, whether you can get it through a product like zoom info or, or something like that, if you have have their cell numbers, Just send him a text at that point. Cause you've done everything to earn that it's not like it's not like you're coming out of left field and you know, doing something that is, uh, inappropriate in regards to this relationship.

You're not invading their, their world. You've actually tried all these other things. And what I've found is nine times out of 10 and 99 times out of a hundred, there's like, oh, Hey, glad you glad you texted me. I was just. Yeah. It was like,

Hamish Knox: what are you thinking about? And are you going to pay me? Are you going to sign up?

Right? That's what, that's the ultimate question we're asking you. I, uh, uh, one of the things that I, I coach my team on, especially now, cause we've, we've expanded, we've got a sales group now is that tying off loose ends? Right. So, Hey Tom, it's the end of the month. It's the end of the quarter. And you know, as my friend Marcus Kochi says, everyone's client centric until the end of the month or the end of the quarter, and then become pushy.

Whereas if we can lay back and say, Hey, Tom, tying off loose ends. It's the end of the quarter. You and I spoke back in beginning of quarter, kind of curious where you're at, if it's delayed. Great. If it's not, if it's not. Just let me

Tom Short: know, man, just let me know. Yeah, that's all we're I think from a, any salesperson out there, that's all we really want is we just want that mutual respect or, uh, you know, equal status where, you know, where you can actually, uh, you know, get that type of response.

And you have many conversations that you and I have had over the years. You know, a lot of people just don't want to give you bad news. And we just got to give them permission to give us bad news because. It'll be, it'll make them feel better and they won't be wondering about how to break it off. And we won't be wondering what the hell happened.


Hamish Knox: the blessing and curse for now, we're so still so into human beings, right? And they've got their own hopes and dreams and they don't want to make us feel bad and all those kinds of things, even though you can still lie to a salesperson and getting to heaven, we all know that you're allowed to do that, but it's one of those challenges where if we, if we don't give them that clarity, if we don't make it okay to tell me know.

Are really valuable is our time. And like you said earlier, if we can be focused on better opportunities or opportunities that are going to be closing in the near term and nurture those longterm. Awesome. Let's do that. So when you look at your, your team and you're talking about, you know, training the trainer and those sorts of things, what sort of conversations are you having today with your teams in terms of role-playing with them or coaching them on specific skills to keep that

Tom Short: funnel full on a consistent base?

Yeah, absolutely. We do Monday morning check-ins and Friday afternoon checkouts with the team. We have individual stitches, uh, with the team. Our director of sales will, uh, work with the team members and review calls and coach on calls. Uh, we'll do a couple of ride along. So there's little things that we're doing all over the place.

You know, micro adjustments, uh, you know, in addition to kind of reverting back to, uh, reviewing the playbooks and talk tracks and things like that, uh, we could obviously most like everybody else do a lot better at it. Cause you know, we're always busy, you know, to keep up with the. The flow and drinking from a fire hose.

And there's always so many things to do. It's like just moving little elements forward slowly and surely because you have to focus on this and you got to go focus on this and you got to go focus on this. But as long as we're on track with, uh, you know, our overall sales goals, uh, we're trying to help each individual sales person also contribute, uh, by hitting their photos or their, their targets that are on target earnings.

And then just making micro adjustments and, and learning from one another. The team even gets together. Uh, on their own, without any directors or leaders to share information in a kind of a safe environment on what's happening for them, and what's not working for them. So even, even they take on personal responsibility for trying to figure out how to be better.

Hamish Knox: Well, that's amazing. That's, that's really valuable as a leader because. You could also have the scenario where they're just sitting around, waiting for you to tell them which mountain top to, to guide to. And it sounds like your team is really proactive and they have a lot of support from you and your director of sales, but then they also have their own ambitious and drive to be the best that they are.

Tom Short: Is that. Yeah, it's very, they're all very professional, but they're also very competitive, but at the same time, they're also, it's more like, how do we win as a team versus how do we win individual? Like, you know, one person doing better than another, it doesn't help the team. If that person has learned something or, or give advice on how to.

To try little tactics and strategies. They share that quite well, but we're, we're maybe in more of a unique situation where we don't have territories. Uh, we don't have, um, you know, specific verticals. Everybody works more on, uh, you know, client size, like, is this, are you focused on clients under 500 users?

Are you. Yeah, 1000 to 5,000 and so focused on enterprise. So it's more about the SMB mid-market enterprise, large enterprise capabilities based on years of experience and capabilities with our team. Uh, you know, as it's broken up. Very

Hamish Knox: cool. So you're talking about doing, uh, the, these call reviews and things like that.

Uh, is your, uh, is your director of sales, like, uh, they call it zoom alongs. Now, is that a ride alongs or using some kind of technology in the backend? I know there's lots out there that records and analyzes. How are you accomplishing that? Cause that's starting to become a really key management. Yeah.

Tom Short: Absolutely. There's so much, so many good tools out there. That's, it's incredible, you know, and, uh, and it can become a bit overwhelming, you know, how many tools do you have? Obviously everyone needs a great CRM to have a, you know, a system of truth. Uh, you know, like with us, we're using Salesforce in that capacity based on the size that we're at.

And, and again, it's one of those things that's so robust and big and can do so much that it's, it's sometimes it's really hard to. Configure it and get it right with the right, collecting the right information in the right stages. And so we're always working on that, but, uh, but then having other, uh, tools that can help you like gong, which is a great tool for, uh, coaching and mentoring, because every call is recorded and it.

Captures a really great details on, uh, you know, the calls and the key trigger words and things like that that you might want to get in on. And then you can go in and comment and provide feedback and pull best ones out and put them into kind of training categories. So that's really helpful. Uh, and, uh, you know, and then using other systems, whether it's, you know, dialers or, uh, data hygiene tools, or even a sales process tools like a sales loft, you know, now some of this isn't.

Possible for all teams, because these things aren't cheap, you know? So, um, but then again, that comes back to the idea that if you don't have these tools, you're kind of at a disadvantage because you don't have, you know, it doesn't mean you need all of those tools. There's comparable tools that you can use.

Uh, like we started off with pipeline deals, uh, millionaires, and then moved up to Zoho and then moved up to Salesforce. So. Yeah, transferring that data if you even can so that you have a better history, but you can start moving up through, uh, tools that are more price appropriate that give you some of the, you know, the controls and the reporting and the forecasting.


Hamish Knox: fair enough. It's avoiding the shiny object in tech for Tech's sake syndrome, and really am sitting back and analyzing it from a leadership perspective. What exactly do I need out of this in order to be able to make better choices down the road is what I'm hearing.

Tom Short: Yeah, absolutely. Cause if you don't know what's happening, that, you know, you, can't correct, you know, where you're going wrong and, and, and fix things and, and, uh, individuals have really unique selective memories when you, if you're doing it in a manual way, sometimes.

You know, people will make it seem better than it is, or remember it incorrectly. Whereas if you have these tools and you're collecting the data along the way, it becomes more quantifiable. And, and, uh, and, and if you're working off of having data and rich data points, it just gives you that ability to kind of figure out where you can make improvements and where you might be going off track.

And, and again, getting back to that, more of a ability to predict. What's going to happen in the future by using technology and following processes to get there and then adjust as necessary because sometimes it's not right. You just have, you can't make changes if you don't have the data to understand what changes to make well.


Hamish Knox: because otherwise then you're saying, well, my tummy thinks that we should do this

Tom Short: in here. You're guessing might

Hamish Knox: be not. So it might not be so positive on a long-term

Tom Short: basis. Absolutely. Absolutely. So Tom,

Hamish Knox: if we, if we cast your mind back, uh, to your career, and if you could coach your younger self on something that you might've done differently or better to keep your funnel consistently reliably full, you've been a very successful entrepreneur.

But if you could go back in time to your younger self and say, you know what, if you did this. Yeah, it might've been a little bit more successful or you might've had a little less stress in your life. What, what might that be?

Tom Short: Well, it's kind of funny. Like, I would really like relating it back to just understanding what's going on.

Like I knew what was happening, you know, what I was trying to do. And I was just using just raw talent and energy and whatever, uh, you know, uh, You know, sales tactics. I could have very intuitively just doing my thing, just trying to be a good listener and, uh, you know, be, uh, you know, likable, you know, those, those types of things.

But if I had to go back now, I played a lot of football when I was a kid from high school into university. I remember when I actually started coaching and I went to a coaching course and I had never thought to stop to understand. You know, playing on offense all my life. What, what the heck was going on on defense and why were they doing what they did?

And, and, uh, I was just thinking about what did I, what, uh, what did I want to do and how, what did I want to, you know, affect the person across the line. But once I went there, I went, damn, I wish I had gone back and then studied, you know, the, you know, what they were trying to do so that I could counter it and understand.

Looking at them or, or, uh, you know, doing things. So if I were to go back and apply that to the same kind of idea in sales, getting sales training earlier and faster, so I would know what I was doing intuitively or what I was doing wrong. Right, right. And I can build on it or, or, you know, if I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing, at least I could start to put together a strategy and a process because processes, the key you got to have, then you've got to then be very focused on making it repeatable.

Yeah. And then, um, you know, and just kept reading more on, you know, just learning from all the people who've been there before me, uh, would have been ideal. So my younger self, I would've said, you know, would have been a good idea to get some training, get, you know, get a better understanding of what the, you know, the person I'm trying to talk to was trying to do to me, versus just when I was trying to do to them now, no different than the football metaphor.

Yeah. And then, uh, keep reading, just read great sales books, learn

Hamish Knox: amazing. And yeah, it's an understanding. I, that's probably something that comes out of sunsuit of the art of war, about understanding your enemy better or something to that effect, but it resonates with me. So speaking of reading, as we roll, roll into the end of our visit today, so what are you reading, listening to watching resources that you go to, to support your own professional and personal development and keep your funnel and consistent.

Tom Short: Yeah, well, I advise this for our team and we have a reading list for the team as they come on, uh, as well. And, uh, and then just being, you know, a ferocious, lifelong learner, you know, all of these, you know, being, doing something like when you're walking the dog or you're, you know, you're in the gym or whatever, you can listen to music or you can listen to a book.

So. Advocate Lily and, uh, not Bitly, but it's a, it's a blink blink. Yeah. So Blinkist is very good to kind of get a 10 minutes to five minute overview of great books, which helps you reinforce it also helps you inform me of what books you would probably like to read the whole thing, which can lead you to lead you to online, uh, audible type books.

And then, uh, and then of course just, uh, you know, picking up books, you know, I asked the team to, because of our training through Sandler and the learnings we had there, I always ask people to pick up the, you can't learn to ride a bike in a webinar. They read that whether they gone to course or not, uh, we also, uh, encourage them to read books like influence and persuasion and Pre-Suasion cause that psychology of selling.

Um, and then other books by like a Jeb blunt, like I just gave everybody on the team, virtual selling, and then I found that book to be a very, very good, because it was more like a manual that you can turn to page to page or chapter to chapter to say, you know, how do I handle someone that goes to me? Or how do I, how do I do an outbound, uh, effort or what do I do in this case or that case?

So it was, uh, it's very big, but it's pretty informative that. Folks can just turn to the chapter that they need and, and get some good insights. Uh, but also, uh, you know, other books like, uh, the one thing, for instance, you know, and just helps you kind of organize your wife. That's more kind of personal development as well as professional or sales development.

Hamish Knox: Absolutely. Well, Tom, very much appreciate you, uh, invest in some of your time with us today to support our listeners in creating full funnel freedom in their organizations. Uh, love that love, kudos, love you and the team. So thanks very much again for being with us.

Tom Short: No, I appreciate it. Hey Misha, thank you again for all your help and support to, uh, you know, uh, your, your stuff really helped us make our stuff better.

So, uh, again, kudos to you, buddy.

Hamish Knox: You've been listening to the full funnel freedom podcast. I'm your host Hamish Knox. Today. We got some ideas and insights from Tom short at kudos on how to keep your funnels consistently reliably. Until we connect with you on the next episode. Go create full funnel freedom.

Thank you for listening to fall funnel freedom with Amish knocks. If you want to increase your sales with ease, go to full funnel,