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How Tom Snyder Started FunnelClarity.com & Helps Several Hundred Sellers Each Month
- Who: Tom Snyder
- Website: funnelclarity.com
- Course Topic: Sales Training
- Interesting Stats: 100 qualified leads per year
Who are you and what course have you created?
I am the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Funnel Clarity, a sales training and consulting company. I have had the opportunity to create many courses throughout my career, but the Quota-Crushing-Sales© course is perhaps the most prominent.
What market does your online course serve?
The course is for any seller that is working on a complex sales cycle. This is typically in the B2B or B2G market segment. These types of sellers have layered sales cycles and have to get consensus on the purchase from multiple decision-makers. The course teaches sellers how to identify real opportunities and how they can be decision coaches for potential client. The approach is entirely consultative and teaches sellers how to drive customer decisions by placing the customer at the center of all their sales efforts.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
Far too often, sellers complain that they don’t know how to move a decision forward. Sellers lose momentum in their deals and are often lost regarding what they should do on an actual live sales call. The Quota-Crushing-Sales© course is highly tactical and leaves sellers with a game plan for every sales call. The biggest benefit is that sellers will never be lost regarding what they need to do in order to move the opportunity forward. The course is not just theory – it’s filled with tactical best practices and examples of skills being executed on real sales calls. The course is very hands-on and teaches sellers by having them do exercises rather than just telling them the best practices.
How did you get into the market?
I became a serial entrepreneur after graduate school. While operating and selling multiple businesses, I realized that sales were far more difficult than they had to be. I figured that there must be some people who had researched sales best practices and formed a training curriculum based on science. My search for this sort of scientific sales training was a big disappointment. Most of what was out opinions were being proliferated as bona fide sales practices. Most former sellers were trying to show you how to be “as good as they were.”
Eventually, I found a scientist who was studying this field. I agreed to help him with his research for a few months. I eventually stayed there for ten years and became CEO of the company. During this time, I learned how to collect real data to determine statistically verifiable sales best practices during that time. Using this method, we then collected data to develop our courses. Our training courses have been refined repeatedly to ensure they address the ever-changing sales landscape. We offer Quota-Crushing-Sales, Fearless Prospecting, Box Out the Competition, Qualifying for Quality, and Selling in a New Marketspace (selling an innovative or disruptive offering).
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
We were early in creating an online course for this market. Most of the training was still being held in person and forced sellers to step away from their roles. We noticed that this was a massive inefficiency. All of us made a bet around 2014 that companies would want to train their salespeople virtually since it was less expensive and did not require sellers to step away from their normal duties to attend training.
We were right; our online courses have been very popular since then. Online courses’ popularity took off during the pandemic, which was timely since we were already prepared to serve our customers through an online platform.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Having great content is an essential part of delivering value. However, it is only part of the story. Far too often, sales training is seen as an “event.” Great sales training requires considerable follow-up with reinforcement and coaching if the client generates a high ROI on their training investment.
It was, therefore, essential to integrate the principles of adult learning and resources to ensure that whatever content was being trained was converted to sales habits by the participants. Our company spent several years and considerable money and manpower creating this post-training path to excellence.
What’s your online course like?
Our courses provide a combination of reading, videos, quizzes, and audio recordings of real sales conversations. The videos are short, with instructors explaining the concepts and tactics in practical form. However, content is just a part of the course. It is filled with exercises for participants to hone their skills. This is important since adults have a very hard time learning new habits. As soon as a new concept and/or tactic is introduced, adults must apply what they have learned to their sales environment to ensure that the new knowledge turns into daily habits. Our courses focus on minimal lecturing and reading with heavy reliance on learning by doing. It aims primarily to be exercise-based, with quizzes for evaluating understanding and competency.
How long did it take you to create your course?
The development of our courses is an ongoing process, with modifications made regularly. Also, it is important to note that any course needs to be created in a flexible design that allows for tailoring and customization to the participants’ particular needs and selling environment.
We began by organizing the best practices that extensive field research proved to be statistically valid as actual best practices. Once this work was completed, we had to develop an experiential learning path that allowed for practice and ease of adoption. The theory is great, but few sellers can easily convert theory to sales practice.
We then beta-tested each course to study how well and how soon learners could be measured as “selling better.” Armed with this analysis, we then modified each course and re-tested it. Once we were satisfied that the learner would be on the path to a high ROI/ROE, we then focused on creating a post-training adoption path for each course.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
Launching each course involved a sales effort focused on the particular challenges that sellers often face and why these challenges, when unaddressed, lead to suboptimal performance. We approached sales leaders with the message that issues like inaccurate forecasts, too many stalled deals in the sales funnel, excessive reliance on discounting, etc., are often symptoms of underlying failure to employ the science of professional sales.
Do you have a lead magnet?
We provide the ability for those interested to take a sample of each course. Obviously, it is important first to ascertain what the potential client is seeking to address.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
We have found our SEO and Paid-Ads efforts to be most effective at driving traffic. Funnel Clarity tries to provide helpful and actionable content for free. We do this through our blogs and eBooks. Our blogs generate considerable traffic. Search ads on Google have also been an effective method for reaching clients who are seeking training for their team.
What online course platform are you using?
Though we are not married to a particular platform, we currently use TalentLMS in most of our online courses. This is another area where we regularly reevaluate platforms and are always looking to find the ones that are most current, most flexible, and provide numerous ways to engage participants.
Do you like it?
Yes, we like it! We have experience with multiple online platforms and consistently reevaluate what is available in order to keep current with new developments. Our focus is on ensuring the user experience is as seamless and flexible as possible.
Are there any features you wish it had?
We wish that online platforms had cutting-edge API capabilities. The current API capabilities only allow us to exchange basic information on the user, such as name and email. It would be ideal if we could exchange more advanced information such as course progress, enrollment, and other engagement metrics. Currently, this is only possible through viewing and downloading reports.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?The most effective way to learn new skills is by learning by doing. A key component in choosing a platform is ensuring that it supports experiential training. - Tom Snyder Click To Tweet
For example, having the ability for users to practice a particular technique or respond to a scenario in either a written format, video recording, or file upload.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
While the online courses are self-sufficient, it is important to have live coaching and feedback. We primarily use Zoom for hosting coaching and reinforcement sessions with participants going through the online course. We also use Hubspot automation to share training reminders, helpful tips, and reinforcement materials with participants.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
- Glorious Accidents – a somewhat poorly written book but one with great content
- Escaping the Price-Driven Sale
- Selling in a New Marketspace
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
We have had a few of what we call “learning moments.” For example, we value any and all customer feedback. We’ve learned that sometimes a customer may not like a particular part of the online course, while another customer may love it. It’s important to recognize those moments and not make rash decisions based on any data point – rather, look at the big picture.
Please share some idea of revenue.
Between our outsource sales coaching practice, consultation, and training, we touch several hundred sellers each month and have a stable of 25 to 30 clients who consistently employ our services each month and have done so for several years. In addition, we generate over 100 qualified leads per year.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
The financial reward for the courses has allowed our team to create an engaging, rewarding work culture where our employees have no limit on vacation time, can work remotely, and have assigned work hours. We also have the ability to invest time and money in their professional growth.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
My vocation has also become my avocation. I love the impact we have on people’s lives. Our contributions help people become better than “good.” They have gone on to achieve their goals, have well-earned promotions, and are leaders of sales teams and organizations. This is incredibly rewarding.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Several clients have been working with us regularly for many years. In each case, the client has been able to achieve extraordinary growth. For example, we have a client that started working with us when they had only 20 employees and was generating a bit over $5M in yearly ARR. Two years ago, this client was sold for well over $2B and continued to grow at the highest rate in their industry.
What advice do you have for people just starting out? What do you wish you knew before you started?
Be honest with yourself. If the course you want to build is based on sharing “what you learned in sales” or “a modification of another course you took,” don’t do it. That isn’t science and risks copyright infringement.
We knew this to be true before we ever started.Start with real research, generate real data, and focus on changing habits, not just training events. - Tom Snyder Click To Tweet