Developing Your Strategy with Tom Slocum

About This Episode

Director of Enablement with Milestone Inc, Tom Slocum knows a thing or two about developing and creating effective strategies to grow your pipeline. So much so, he co-founded Outbound SOS to help train and develop sales talent.
Tom and Brad discuss Milestone Inc, as well as what led Tom to help to found Outbound SOS. Tom breaks down the issues he sees in the current development strategies and explains the difference between what is true, and what’s not true, about the sales world, and how to develop an effective strategy for you to be successfully navigating it.

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Developing Your Strategy with Tom Slocum

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So Tom, tell me how tell me where you, how you got to, where you’re I tell me about the business and tell me how you got to where you’re at.

[00:00:07] Tom Slocum: Yeah, so I’ve had an amazing sales journey. I’ve been doing it since 2007. Right now I’m actually in transition. I am a director of sales enablement for a digital marketing agency, known as milestone just hitting my two years next year.

And I’m also transitioning into going public with my own company, outbound SOS with my partner, Jeff Swan. So kind of making that transition over the next 30 days or so, and kind of becoming this entrepreneur. But in the last few years, you know, it wasn’t always that for me, right. I started in oh seven at discover cart, a financial company.

And I learned, I loved cold calling. I loved being in the sales floor. I loved being, you know, headset on calling people. Then I kinda took my S my skills to selling cars. I landed at 1819 being able to sell cars on a car. And, you know, I just, I don’t know, fell in sales from there and never left it.

You know, and now I’ve been able to find my place in the world of film development for about six years now. And that’s kind of found my niche and now that’s why I’m doing outbound SOS. I’m, you know, working as a director of sales development and enablement with milestone, helping companies build and scale their sales teams in a way that are.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So Tom, tell me how tell me where you, how you got to, where you’re I tell me about the business and tell me how you got to where you’re at.

[00:00:07] Tom Slocum: Yeah, so I’ve had an amazing sales journey. I’ve been doing it since 2007. Right now I’m actually in transition. I am a director of sales enablement for a digital marketing agency, known as milestone just hitting my two years next year.

And I’m also transitioning into going public with my own company, outbound SOS with my partner, Jeff Swan. So kind of making that transition over the next 30 days or so, and kind of becoming this entrepreneur. But in the last few years, you know, it wasn’t always that for me, right. I started in oh seven at discover cart, a financial company.

And I learned, I loved cold calling. I loved being in the sales floor. I loved being, you know, headset on calling people. Then I kinda took my S my skills to selling cars. I landed at 1819 being able to sell cars on a car. And, you know, I just, I don’t know, fell in sales from there and never left it.

You know, and now I’ve been able to find my place in the world of film development for about six years now. And that’s kind of found my niche and now that’s why I’m doing outbound SOS. I’m, you know, working as a director of sales development and enablement with milestone, helping companies build and scale their sales teams in a way that are.

[00:01:20] Brad Seaman: Now, now his milestone is, so the one thing I want to make sure that we cover is I want to talk about the lessons that you learned, selling cars. And then I want to learn a little bit about the journey of how you go from cars to probably more of an insight. Role and business development role. But before we do that, what can you tell me a little bit about the two, about the two businesses?

So milestone, just so that everybody can have some context around what your, what you kind of, where you’ve come from. So as miles, so more of a digital agency and then your trees. Okay.

[00:01:53] Tom Slocum: Yep. So they’re are digital marketing you see for the enterprise space. And so we help companies with their SEO picture everything from schema to web design to the way that they’re appearing online.

And I’ve been here two years, helping them build and scale their fellows development. And so started at the first SDR. Now we have a team of seven and, you know, we’re cruising and doing really well in the sales world. So that’s my nine to five or what’s my nine to five. That’s what I had found, you know, building a second team for the second time.

Prior to that, I did it for three years. Grew a team from three to 30 SDRs. It was an SDR operations manager at the end. And then, you know, took over from milestone. And now it’s led me into this great world over this last year with COVID and kind of the way the sales communities popped up. And there was a way for me to really shine.

I found, you know, something I’ve been working on for four years in the background of building and scaling sales development teams with people and mentoring, you know, individual contributor. I was able to take this company to an actual company, right. It can be my full-time job. It didn’t just turn into side projects or side conversations, but actually turned into ways that I was able to build something and, and find a partner.

So now I’m transitioning to that, right? That’s going to be my, my nine to five, right. Is me building my own company, going to market to help sales development teams be more successful in profit. So I’m working with CEOs and founders to kind of educate them and consult them on building out their outbound.

And then if they’re pulling STR team already taking them through interactive training to level up their, their email, their social, selling their cold calling, maybe some of their processes designing playbooks for them and putting them through that, you know, that program

[00:03:40] Brad Seaman: as well. So was it a little bit a hands-on co coaching, but it sounded like you had some operational background.

So as part of that, setting up the setting up the email tools and setting up the stack it’s is it, is that right? It’s optimized.

[00:03:54] Tom Slocum: It’s doing the whole thing. Yeah. It’s a whole 12 week program. That is, you know, self-lead with a mixture of consulting or coaching right. Sessions through, for, you know, teachers like myself.

And it covers everything right from, from identifying the ICP, your Tam, your, your target market, to your operational pieces. What’s your tech stack going to look like, you know, what can you afford? What do you want to put into place? And then, you know, how do you want to build out your CRM sales process?

Right? What is the handoff going to look like? All of that scalability there, and then the actual points on the board, the messaging, the, the cadences, the processes that, you know, you’re going to build that. To where then you can finally bring in that player coach or that first hire and they’re set up for success, right?

I’ve watched for two years, three years, people bring people in and then, you know, hire three directors in less than a year because there’s such broken communication. How a sales development team supposed to be ran versus what you’re expecting from somebody to come in and do you know, those expectations are a little off.

So this is an opportunity for us to give back and coach some of those startups or those founders on, Hey, you’re starting to go to market. You want to bring in that first hire, but let’s take a step back and build out your process first. How’s it going to look, let’s tee them up with the right messaging and then bring them in.

And then that’s led to kind of establishing and staffing, right? We’re starting to feel head counts for people. You know, Hey, I’ll use my power of my network. I run a sales community known as rev league that has about 1600 members in it. SDRs, AEs. So a lot of talent, right? So then we plug in people that align with our methodology that we’re teaching.

And then, you know, we can hire, get them in play with these companies or they know that they’re going to hire somebody and give them up right off the bat, you know, a profit that’s going

[00:05:39] Brad Seaman: to work. What do you think the biggest? So you talked about. Kind of executive levels, bring people on, have an off expectations.

What do you feel like the biggest misnomers challenges or just oversights that an executive team makes as they’re bringing on a sales development rep or a team or building out a team?

[00:06:02] Tom Slocum: Well, the first one is the expectations, the metrics, right? Understanding what that actually means. What goals are you going to assess for this person?

What’s their, day-to-day going to look like. And, and being able to build that out you know, is it 40 meetings a month? Who knows, maybe it’s only 10, right? Like, what is that? How do you define that? And what are you going to, you know, set those goals as, and then the other thing is giving them the right tools.

Too many are held back on trying to, you know, throw some duct tape at it, right. They bring in a player, coach, one person, and they think they can hold it all together and, and build in pipeline and prove this proof of concept. But they don’t want to put any investment into it. And they’re just hoping, Hey, can I give you a phone book and a phone and you can get to work, right?

Like, could you just start booking meetings? And it’s like, there’s a lot to it that, you know, unfortunately not everybody’s, there’s not a program out there this whole. You know, college that puts you in a position to understand the world, that films development, right. It’s just like when people open a restaurant, they are good at cooking, but they don’t know business.

So sometimes it’s not good that, you know, they may not succeed because they just know how to cook, but they don’t know how to run the books or, you know, set up the real expectations of when are you going to pull that first actual paycheck or profit. Right. All that stuff. And that’s kind of the same way with startups and founders.

Right. They’re building, this is there’s broken communication on what those expectations look like. What’s the proper tech that I actually do need to invest in for my team so that they can win. And then how can I help lead, you know, from, from above here, you know, and put them in a position to win.

[00:07:34] Brad Seaman: I read that and I think I read this in her, in her book, Trish, too.

In the sales development playbook said that she had a client and they’re kind of, they’re, they’re six months into the outbound program and it’s going awful. And they said, Hey, we think we’re going to wind it down. And she says, Hey, just give it six more months. And she said, when they talked to her after six more months, it had recovered.

And it turned into a strong channel for them. I think one of the big challenges people make with Alba. Is that, Hey, they think it’s inbound. It’s not always separate. And then it takes time, right? It’s a, it’s a different, it takes time. And and if you can get it going, what the biggest organizations in the, in the world have outbound sales development.

They wouldn’t do that if it didn’t work, you know, it so, so I think the one thing that people just, my observation is people don’t give it enough time. Right?

[00:08:33] Tom Slocum: You can be the best on the phone and it’s still, you can’t just walk into somebody’s business one day, pick up the phone, make 10 phone calls and potentially book a meeting.

Right. It’s very rare. You don’t just get to walk in and just pick up a phone and make that deal. It takes time, it takes brand awareness. It takes consistent activity. Right. And building that buzz. So when you’re first getting into that, The first couple of months is just getting the value out there, getting it out hard and fast, right?

Letting the reps fail, make a hundred dials a day, just not for the metric of making a hundred dials, but for the at-bats and just getting buzz out there, getting the emails, going start doing outreach. So that way, what you’re doing today impacts you three months from now, right? Because it’s all about planting seeds every day.

Even on rolling a zero in the day, isn’t a bad thing. You plant it. 30 seeds today with your intentional outreach by sending that email or making that extra phone call. That, you know, you got to tend to your garden. It takes time for that garden and the gun to fruition. And the one day you take off and don’t, you know, actually nurture it.

You’re going to feel it in a week or two, when those things don’t sprout because you didn’t water them for three days.

[00:09:42] Brad Seaman: Yeah. I bet one of the things I got a lot of conferences I go to, you know, fireside chats and I hear a lot of people talk. And the biggest mistake that I think most companies make is that they just don’t do it right.

Right. Like they dabble. Right? So you know, it does whether it’s inbound, whether it’s outbound they’re not focused on a specific direction and they’re throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to try to get something to stick. And at some point you gotta channel, you gotta, you gotta focus in and channel your, your efforts, whether that’s inbound, whether that’s how.

You’ve got, you’ve got to focus on getting a specific result. Now, one of my favorite, I don’t know why I like this quote so much, but Roger Penske, Indianapolis guy. So Penske buys the speed way. He’s like kind of a legend here and you see his trucks every day. Just, you know, he’s I, if you don’t know much about Roger Penske, He’s not just a race car driver owner, but he, he owns a lot of stuff.

He’s a billionaire. He owns a lot of stuff. So he owns Pinsky everywhere, everywhere. I think I read a Young’s like 225 dealerships or something, and a lot of them don’t even have his name on them, but. But one of his kind of ongoing lines is effort equals results. And I think that’s really true in a lot of stuff.

Typically. Now that’s not to say, look, we’ve all seen a sales development rep who who’s maybe hustling. That’s not getting the results, but in most cases, if you’re not putting in the effort, you’re not getting the results. It’s, it’s pretty much that it’s pretty much that. It’s

[00:11:15] Tom Slocum: there’s no secret sauce, right?

I’ve I’ve been doing cold calling and I’ve been doing outbound sales for 14 years. I pick up a phone, I make my lead list. I do it. Yeah. And there’s a lot of education on LinkedIn content out there there’s trainings, everything, but it really does just come down to your efforts and putting in the work. It’s a very hard job.

It’s a lot of rejection. It’s a lot of repetitive behaviors. But there’s also every day is a new challenge. Every day is a new scenario. You’re gonna. But it’s all about the effort, right? You’ve got to put in numbers, you got to put an activity fails. I, I’m probably gonna make a lot of people mad because people don’t like to agree to this, but sales is numbers.

[00:11:54] Brad Seaman: Well, I’d like to agree. That seems to be controversial. And why, why, why do people, why, why do you say sales is a numbers game? And everybody goes to arm.

[00:12:06] Tom Slocum: It’s it’s a hot tank. And I don’t know why, because it’s, it’s sales, it’s numbers, it’s math, it’s data. It’s, there’s a science to sales. Is it an art or a science?

Right. And what is that debate? And this whole thing about it’s not numbers. It can be very specific, right? Why go make 200 dials to get one appointment when I can make 10 dials this specific way? And that’s fine. And there is an art and people will find their lane. But every single one of us at the end of the day have to show up every day, everyday rent is due and you have to put in that effort there, it doesn’t matter.

So I, I, and I think data doesn’t, you can’t lie if it, if I go over a whole quarter and I booked 60 meetings in that quarter, I should be able to know how I did that right by, Hey, I did, for every 50 dials, I booked a meeting. Okay. And then for every meeting I had half of them show. Okay. And you work back off of that because that data is important.

It puts you in the right way to find the art. Right.

[00:13:08] Brad Seaman: Could you imagine if you went to the major league, if you went to the baseball major league baseball coaches and said batting wasn’t about no.

[00:13:16] Tom Slocum: They’d be an uproar. They’d be like, what do you mean? Oh, it’s all about the art. You just got to watch the ball.

No, you don’t stop. Stop. It’s there’s a lot more to it than just, okay. You know, some pitches right? There is an art. It’s a round bat with a round ball. And that is a challenge, no matter who, who

[00:13:34] Brad Seaman: a hundred and some miles an hour for what is it? 10 yards. How far away? How far is the plate?

[00:13:39] Tom Slocum: I think it’s 20 yards, right.

Something crazy. And like watching from a TV, you don’t even notice it. Right. It seems so close. And then you’d go out there and you’re like, oh wow. Like you’re hitting the ball from that far. Like what? Around that? It’s a challenge. And that’s the same thing with cold calling, right? Or warm calling or whatever you want to call it now.

Outbound calling people. Out of the blue is, is a challenge. It’s, you’re dealing with the curve ball of the fast balls, all that nonsense. But at the end of the day, you have to get into reps. What have they been sharing recently? Have you seen, they’ve been talking about Kobe, right? What did he miss? 15,000 shots in his entire career.

15,000 shots. It’s the most in NBA history, but he’s one of the greats and we don’t talk about that. Right. But he had to put in those reps to be able to reach that greatness. Same with you. You have to put in the reps to reach the greatness. It’s just.

[00:14:28] Brad Seaman: You got it. So, so there’s so much I want to cover, I want to cover here.

So I’m going to hop around. I probably got out of order. So you, you, there’s kind of two things that you said I want to make sure I highlight. The first one is you said he sold used cars. So I want to go back. I want to talk about a bad experience, how you made the transition, what you, what you. And then the other thing is that you set appointments for a marketing company.

I know marketing companies, service businesses. Don’t always gravitate towards inbound. So I want to cover that. So let’s go back. Let’s go way back and let’s start with selling. So unused cars how’d you get the job. And then what’d you learn?

[00:15:03] Tom Slocum: One of my most amazing experiences. So at the time I was living with my grandparents, I, like I said, I was working at discover card.

And I really enjoyed it. But my grandparents were in for a new car. So they had went to Nissan alpha in our neighborhood and we’re going through the process. And my grandmother is a social butterfly talks to anyone and everyone. And so she got talking with some people and they were looking for some openings and she was of course bragging about her grandson.

So I got the opportunity, right. They landed this interview and she was like, Hey, my friend’s looking for a rep. You know, I thought it would be great for you to check it. So I was like, okay. So I went, I landed the job at 18 years old. Got into it selling cars. And I went through this crazy training that was down in like a weird building, like business offices.

And I had to show up every day at 8:00 AM, till five in the afternoon, and like learn this concept of what it was like to psychologically sell the psychology behind selling cars and learning all these little like into windows and behaviors. And then this. For four block car sales process, like trade in value, monthly car payment costs.

And like this formula you have to use to, to get people their payment. So I went through this whole craziness and I loved it. Then I made it onto the lot and I got eaten alive for a little bit. It was intimidating as hell to be around some 40 year old man. You know, sitting in here in the locker room, talk on the car lot and watching when somebody pull up just the viciousness that would come out and they’d start hot, fast, walk in and try to beat the person to their car.

And like, it was crazy. But I did really well. I started learning about referrals. I got taken under the wing by a mentor in there. One of the older guys. Okay. You know, taught to look at my Rolodex of business at 18 years old, my friends he’s like, you’ve got friends that are looking to buy cars, right?

Bring them in here, get familiar with just what you do know that people you are talking about. You know, so I started bringing in my friends with their parents and starting making some deals to get them into some cars, learn the number one trick of you know, the whole point is to get you to visualize yourself in that vehicle.

So my whole point and goal is to get you in a test. Talking about the vision of what it would be like to be in that car with your family going on vacation, single guy, getting that great truck, the mom getting hurt soccer, man, you know, and play the story out.

[00:17:22] Brad Seaman: Do they teach, do they teach you that?

[00:17:24] Tom Slocum: Yeah.

Yeah. The importance of putting the product in their hand, that’s how important it is, right? Like you can talk about. And I had to learn that because I was very. They didn’t really think I was going to make it because the woman who owned the lot, once she found out I worked there actually called me into her office and was very concerned about me working there because she didn’t think an 18 year old could convince somebody to spend $40,000.

Think about it, like she was like, have you ever held $40,000 cash? Do you even know that? And I was like, oh my gosh, like I’m getting ripped apart here. Like, I didn’t realize this was such a bad thing, you know? But she was like, just tell me, can you sell that vision? And I sold her the vision and she was like, okay, you get it.

You know, you don’t have to physically have it. And it was all about just that training. They gave me, which was get them in the car, let them feel it, let them, you know, talk this story through in their head of how they’re going to use this car. And then guess what? They don’t even ask price after that.

They just know I gotta have this car. So you take them back inside and you worked out a deal and you get them to sign the dotted line. Yeah. I

[00:18:24] Brad Seaman: feel like in my, my car experience visualizing the car to seems like the no-brainer, but I don’t know that I’ve ever really experienced anybody doing that very well.

I mean, it’s just pretty simple, like, you know, Hey, you’re driving this thing. What do you think? Walk me through

[00:18:41] Tom Slocum: this

[00:18:41] Brad Seaman: thing. If you drive it off the lot.

[00:18:43] Tom Slocum: I mean, there’s a lot of leads in sales that are pretty simple and obvious, and yet we still don’t do the basics. Right. You don’t even, and sometimes the greatest salesman, you shouldn’t feel that way either.

You shouldn’t feel like you’re being sold to it. Shouldn’t feel like no, I

[00:18:57] Brad Seaman: think the client ultimately has to sell themselves. I mean, if you’re selling them, they get, they’re going to get buyer’s remorse. Right. I mean, you can’t make somebody do something

[00:19:07] Tom Slocum: it’s you can’t right. And it’s the whole point of sales isn’t to, to sell it’s, to promote action and, and, you know, get somebody to make that buying decision or help them get there.

You know, work guidance, counselors were life, coaches were trying to help you. You know, making moves in your everyday life. And people don’t realize how awesome that is, that you can influence somebody from a cold call, an email exchange outreach, and some way to make a buying decision with you and your company.

All because you were able to make a connection with them and get them to think what taking action could mean for me, you’ve motivated them to take action and it’s pretty cool.

[00:19:46] Brad Seaman: That’s, that’s that’s awesome. Yeah, they’d got, I mean, you can’t buy something until you try. So, but one and I, this is not a sales movie, but I think this is, I think this is a good movie because the secret and the secret is it the secret life of one, you know how he’s you know, the, have you seen that movie?

Okay. So basically the whole movie is he’s, he’s kind of a he’s kind of a second. There’s two, there’s two characters in the movie. There’s the guy, Walter Mitty. And then there’s this. Second kind of version of the guy is this the secret life of Walter Mitty? And so Walter middies basically having these day-to-day interactions.

And I think he’s like a librarian or something. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie, but he’s always injecting or re or replaying the visions in his head. Like the movie is basically about how so he has an experience where he meets a I think he meets like an Explorer will all of a sudden he’s an Explorer at his head.

And he’s like playing out all as these adventures as if, as if he was living, then even though he’s just a librarian or an actuary or something like that. So the point that I’m bringing up in this story is that I think that we all have a little bit of that, right? We’re all playing out scenarios in our head.

Yeah, as we’re having inner, as we’re having interactions that can be aspirational, it can be deprecating. But we’re all we’re, you know, as you’re interacting with people and you’re going about your life, you’re having these, these, these thoughts. So ultimately when you buy something, you got to get somebody to visualize actually using the product.

Or making a change. And

[00:21:20] Tom Slocum: I mean, I be buying the newest cell phone, right? Like you’ll be looking at it online and you’ll look at it a couple of days or whatnot, but then that moment you actually go outside or you run by that store and that person lets you feel it, touch it and actually put it to. An item.

You’re like, oh, I need this. Right. It’s just how it is. Right. We want those tangibles. And so that’s why I try to teach me Buhler or help people when they’re out outbound prospecting through cold calling and stuff is create that same experience. I know it’s hard that we don’t have the tangible. But make it a tangible, put it to something with your prospect, right?

[00:21:54] Brad Seaman: It look like so tall, so tall. Like how would, how would you coach somebody I’d asked you about marketing companies? How about sales teams? I want to talk a little bit more about that in a minute, but like talk about in a marketing situation where you’re selling a service. So there’s not a tangible, I can’t put you in this.

I can’t necessarily put you in the driver’s seat. How would you coach somebody through it? Then how would you make something tangible on a

[00:22:19] Tom Slocum: call? Well, you sort of do, right. Like when we’re, when I’m calling these clients about their, their SEO experience, right. What their website looks like, what it’s encouraging their prospects to do.

Guess what I can do. I can show them what it should look like. Hey, are you near your computer? Right? Or, Hey, have you done a Google search on yourself lately? You know? And they’re like, what do you mean. And I’m like, have you looked at your, you know, have you done a search of what it would look like from, from your prospect’s view on the experience?

And they’re like, I’ve never done that

[00:22:51] Brad Seaman: ears are going to perk up a lot because I think there’s so much particularly in the tech space. I think there’s so much focus on the meeting that, that you just got into the intangibles is like interacting with the prospect. Yeah. About, about the things that, you know, we’re so focused on.

Like, let’s get you to the meeting. Let’s get you to the demo. But, but that little, that little move right there. Hey, have you thought I like it. Hey, have you thought of Eddie Google, Google it, or your computer? Google. What that, what comes up?

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So Tom, tell me how tell me where you, how you got to, where you’re I tell me about the business and tell me how you got to where you’re at.

[00:00:07] Tom Slocum: Yeah, so I’ve had an amazing sales journey. I’ve been doing it since 2007. Right now I’m actually in transition. I am a director of sales enablement for a digital marketing agency, known as milestone just hitting my two years next year.

And I’m also transitioning into going public with my own company, outbound SOS with my partner, Jeff Swan. So kind of making that transition over the next 30 days or so, and kind of becoming this entrepreneur. But in the last few years, you know, it wasn’t always that for me, right. I started in oh seven at discover cart, a financial company.

And I learned, I loved cold calling. I loved being in the sales floor. I loved being, you know, headset on calling people. Then I kinda took my S my skills to selling cars. I landed at 1819 being able to sell cars on a car. And, you know, I just, I don’t know, fell in sales from there and never left it.

You know, and now I’ve been able to find my place in the world of film development for about six years now. And that’s kind of found my niche and now that’s why I’m doing outbound SOS. I’m, you know, working as a director of sales development and enablement with milestone, helping companies build and scale their sales teams in a way that are.

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