Episode 80: Filling the Top of the Funnel With Quality Door Openers – Caryn Kopp

Predictable Prospecting
Episode 80: Filling the Top of the Funnel With Quality Door Openers - Caryn Kopp
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If you are trying to figure out what to do next when it comes to starting new business and getting doors opened with high level decision makers. This show is for you. My guest today is Caryn Kopp of Kopp Consulting. Caryn’s business is all about  opening doors and meeting with the right decision makers. If you aren’t talking to the right person it is impossible to close the deal.

Caryn is also the author of Biz Dev Done Right which is all about uncovering and managing the blind spots in the sales process. When business development is done right there is no limit to what we can do. Caryn is the Chief Door Opener at Kopp consulting, and her service has helped thousands of business owners and salespeople secure meetings with the right people. Today, she shares expert insights into the sales and business development process.

Episode Highlights:

  • Her book is an Amazon bestseller and it helps uncover the blind spots that keep sellers from executing as they should.
  • It uncovers the strategies and methodology to get the sales success we all deserve.
  • It creates a predictable selling machine to get your foot in the door.
  • The different types of salespeople that are out there. Farmers who grow the business and hunters who find the business.
  • There are many different types of hunters. Closers and those who create new relationships. These are the openers who you want to hire to get business in the door.
  • Salespeople are often strong in closing or opening. Kopp Consulting only hires openers.
  • They offer outsourced openers with a proven process for creating sales messaging for high level prospects.
  • Sometimes salespeople can’t get the meetings because of lack of time.
  • Outsourcing to keep the top of the funnel full with new relationships.
  • Then the sales people only have to go to meetings and close the sale.
  • Getting the relationship open is a very different skill set.
  • Having a full top of the funnel is a very efficient process.
  • How when working with companies it is the bigger the better. They often work on the whale accounts.
  • The client sales cycle may have different lengths, but they all want to keep the top of the funnel full.
  • How they have short term and long term ongoing sales client relationships.
  • How the right messaging, prospect, and readiness opens the door. This process takes two weeks for Caryn’s team.
  • Two week onboarding at the top of the funnel. Launch with messaging and meetings. The handoff once they get the meeting includes remote access email through the client’s company. The communication is seamless.
  • They send the invite, and the meeting notification, and then an appointment report with the entire background of the meeting and client needs.



Marylou: Hi, everybody! It’s Marylou Tyler. This week’s guest is Caryn Kopp. Caryn and I have met a couple of years ago in Boston at a sales event and I was very intrigued with what her purpose. I asked her to join us on the podcast today because, I think, her offer, what she does with her group is incredible for those of you who are on that fence or trying to figure out what you should do next in terms of starting new business, getting those doors opened with high-level decision makers. Caryn’s work is all about doing that.

She’s also author of a book called Biz Dev Done Right. I’ll let her tell you more about that book. It’s an incredible book and I highly suggest you go out and get that, download it on Kindle, it’s available on Amazon and all the major bookstores. She, in that book, talked about a formula of opening doors in this high-level account. But there are sometimes situations where you may be good at it yourself but want to supplement what you’re doing or you may decide that that’s a piece of the pipeline that you prefer to outsource or extend to another firm, and that’s when Caryn comes in. Welcome to the podcast!

Caryn: Thank you, thank you for having me!

Marylou: Tell us about the service that you offer, and the book. My first question to you is going to be obviously when do you decide that it’s time to look towards… I call it outsourcing, I’m sure there’s an eloquent way to say it, to outsourcing that function of opening those doors?

Caryn: I’ll first talk about the book, Biz Dev Done Right, is an Amazon bestseller that my co-author, Carl Gould and I, wrote. It’s all about the blind spots in the sales process that can keep the business leaders and their sellers from the success they really deserve. There are a lot of different options when it comes to executing from a business development standpoint and there’s a lot of options when it comes to strategy.

As you know, Marylou, you could go down one road and you can triple the size of your company, or you can go down another road and get zero. Well, if we could tell you, “Go down this road so you could triple the size of your company.” Wouldn’t that be worth reading what that methodology is? That is what this book is all about. We share everything, we hold nothing back so that everybody can get the success that they really deserve.

Marylou: Yeah. I read the book a year ago, and I still reference it because like you said, everything is in there that you need. It’s a nice roadmap to create a predictable selling machine at that top of the funnel when you’re trying to put your foot in the door. I’ve used many of what you’ve written in the book for my practice here in Des Moine, Iowa to great success. I’m very appreciative of you writing that book and I’m excited that today, we’re gonna talk about what in the book we can use, should we decide to create an internal machine that does what you do, and also, look at the option or what do we need to know to look at the option of whether outsourcing is a good thing for us to do next.

Caryn: One of the concepts in the book is about the different kinds of salespeople that are out there. This is a blind spot for many people. Most know that there are hunters and there are farmers where the farmers grow the business and the hunters find the business. But, what many don’t know, which is a blind spot in the hiring process is that within the world of hunters, there are different kind of hunters.

There are many who are good at going on the meetings and closing the sales. We call those in our world the closers. And then on the other side of the coin, there are those who are intuitively phenomenal at creating new relationships where none existed before. Those are the openers.

The openers are the people who you really wanna hire when you need to get in the door to start new conversations with prospects who you don’t know. Because this kind of a salesperson is very hard to find, the businesses will often find themselves hiring sales people who say they can do the whole part of the sale but either they’re strong in closing or they’re strong in opening. What we do is we only hire openers so that when people come to us for help in outsourcing, and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that word. It does imbibe the process.

Marylou: It is what it is

Caryn: Right, it is what it is. When people come to us to outsource the process of door opening, they come to us because we only hire openers. We have a proven process for that. We also have a proven process for creating the sales messaging which will get the doors open with the difficult to reach, high-level prospects and we are able to get our clients meetings that their sales people often can’t get. When we think about why can’t their sales people get these meetings, sometimes the sales people can’t get the meetings because they just don’t have the time. Sometimes, the sales people are so busy working on the lower part of the funnel and closing the sales and lead nurturing so that the sales move through the sales process to a close that they don’t have the time to keep the top of the funnel full.

When companies outsource to a company like ours, we can make sure that the top of the funnel is continually full with new relationships, new meetings with the right level people who are interested in learning more so that the sales people only have to do what they do best which is going on the meetings and closing the sales. Though sometimes they just don’t have time to fill the top of the funnel, other times, they don’t have the skills. Filling the top of the funnel and getting that relationship opened is a very different skill set as I described. When you have somebody who not only is great from a skill set perspective but really wants to spend their time that way, they choose to spend their time that way, the whole process works a lot better.

There are some people who would just rather put a stick in their eye than do this part of the job even though this part is part of the sales process. We’re always keeping the top of the funnel full so our clients’ sales people can go on the meetings and keep closing and it creates probably one of the most efficient processes for sales that I’ve ever experienced.

Marylou: Indeed. I think, to add a third one to that that I see a lot, people may have decent skills for opening doors but the problem is, it’s also timing as you said. It’s this habit of doing this every day or two days a week or setting that block time to prospect. That, I think, is a third area that they may have no time because of closing. But, if there are times in the day or times in the week, they’ve not consisted habitually with prospecting in those time blocks. That is what I see with people who just do prospecting is it’s one of the biggest issues that we try to overcome, changing them or changing that mindset from this grit of how to get in there and prospect to a natural, habitual, enjoyable event that they do everyday or twice a week or whatever it is in order to generate a number of opportunities that they’re looking for.  

Caryn: Right, that’s true. That goes back to the person. There are some people who really love this job and they can’t wait to sit down and see what all their little prospect friends are doing today and really roll up their sleeves. It’s not a matter of I’ve gotta make 50 calls. It’s more I get to make 50 calls, and each call matters. Every conversation matters. Somebody that you call, one of the prospects will give you some sort of an objection, instead of taking that objection, allowing yourself to be shut down and moving on to the next, you roll up your sleeve, you dive right in there and you start asking questions to keep the conversation going. And then all of a sudden, you may get a very different outcome. The person who does that job has to really want to do it, has to really like it in order to feel like they get to make this phone call as opposed to they have to.

Marylou: Given that you offer this service, is there a segment of the market that… I am a CEO of a company right now. I have my whale account, I trained 300, our targeted accounts. The next level up from that are the folks that are pretty good revenue for us but they are not necessarily the whales. And then I’ve got all the minnows out there, the third level, people who could use our product, we don’t want to spend a lot of time on them. Is there a better fit for the type of service you offer or it does it matter at all?

Caryn: It does matter. We like to work with companies whose prospects, after they close, are worth north of $25,000 to $30,000, and that can go up to millions. The bigger, the better. Most of the time, our clients will bring us in for the whales, the ones that they can’t get on their own. Sometimes, those have a slightly longer sales cycle as well. It’s hard for people to dedicate the time to work on those because they’re so busy closing the ones that are in progress. But the bigger, the better, that’s for sure.

Marylou: I heard you say the bigger the better but also there’s a sales cycle or sales process cycle time involved. Is there a minimum cycle time that you’d like to see or does it matter?

Caryn: It doesn’t really matter to us. It’s really more our clients. Sometimes, our clients come to us and their sales cycle is 18 months. Other times, our clients come to us and their sales cycle is four months. But, they all have the same requirement. They really need to keep the top of the funnel full and they need to fill it full of conversations and meetings and that’s what they’re unable to get and that’s what we get for them.

Marylou: Okay. I know that you have some impressive records of the lifetime value of the clients you worked with. I remember when we were having coffee you were telling me about that, so what is the average tenure of the client of yours staying on with you as you work through getting these top of the funnel meetings set? This is a relationship that last quite a long time for you, correct?

Caryn: Yeah. We have some clients who have been with us for six years and counting. They’ve closed upwards of a million dollars in new revenue from any one client. That’s what they do and they don’t ever intend to hire salespeople who are getting them in the door. They always intend to work with us as their outsourced solution for this because it’s hard to hire these people. These people need to be managed slightly differently than regular sales people. They never wanna actually bring that internally, they always intend to outsource it.

We have another client who has been with us going on three years, same thing. Never wants to have to hire a group that does the outbound. We are their outbound solution and we’ve gotten them million dollar contracts and they even competed for a $43M contract while working with us.

And then, on the other side of the spectrum, we have some who come in for four to six months, almost like a shot of B12 where they just need some appointments and they have maybe some capacity constraint. They can’t take an on-going six-year relationship of lots of meetings like that. But, maybe 20, 30, 40 meetings is really all they need to sustain them for years to come. We work with both kinds of clients.

Marylou: Tell us about the onboarding process. Working with people who are in-house, I’ve done it for going on 30 years now and there’s a timeline that we try to work towards, it’s a little on the lengthy side. We have this crawl, walk, run, schedules because we know that when you onboard new business developers, it does take some time. How have you been able to shrink that for clients, and what is your average on-boarding before you start generating opportunities or meetings for your clients? On average.

Caryn: The on-boarding process is the first two weeks, we do the messaging strategy and preparation as well as the technology set up, and then we launch in week three. From week three to the time that meetings start to occur is usually about three additional weeks as we’re reaching high-level decision makers and peaking their interests and getting the meeting set. And then after that, it’s just ongoing. The meetings are set every week after that, typically.

Marylou: Another issue that I find a lot is the concept of the list. When we’re working through our ideal prospects, we sometimes realize that we’re short on the number of records that we need in order to generate the number of conversations we’re looking for. Are you expecting a healthy list in that two-week window or have you done this so long that you actually have the records on site? How does that work?

Caryn: We create a new list for every client. Because, people, the decision-makers, are constantly moving around and we need to make sure that by the time our door openers get to it that they are not spending their time on researching and getting contact information, that all of that has been done ahead of time and checked.

We typically start with 150 to 200 names that have been checked, so these are the strategically selected prospect groups. The companies within those groups, the decision-makers within those companies, and then we check to make sure that those decision-makers are still there. We check the email address, we have list resources but all of them are about 50% accurate so we may build the list with one resource and check it against another.

But then, we have people internally in our research group who are making contact but they don’t have the conversations. They just make sure that the email addresses are working, that they don’t bounce back, and that the people are still in their positions and they’re the right position.

Once all that has been checked, it goes over to the door opener who then has mastered the messaging, that’s a critical piece is that the door opener has mastered the messaging before that person goes live. We test that internally so we’re not ever practicing on our client’s prospects. And then with the right messaging, with the right prospects, and the right level of readiness of the door opener, then we go live.

All of that happens in two weeks. If you go out there in the world to hire a salesperson, the recruiters I know tell me, figure, at least three months and then there’s the on-boarding process. If ours all happens within two weeks, we’re live in week three.

Marylou: I think it takes me a month of assessment just to ready the process and we haven’t even started the messaging pieces. Some of the messaging is in place, but we haven’t been able to role play or practice. I am excited to hear about this two week window. Is it seasonal? Does it matter? Could someone call me tomorrow and then in two weeks, depending on the season, you’re up and running and ready to go?

Caryn: Right, yes. It depends on who we have in the queue in terms of our new client acquisition too. But usually, by the time the contract is signed, within two to three weeks of the contract being signed, we’ve started the messaging process. Our busiest times of year are coming up, certainly the first of the year. Right now, everybody’s making decisions about how things went this year and whether things are gonna go as well next year or they need them to go better. People are deciding right now whether they should outsource and having those conversations with us. Typically, they wanna start the first of the year.

Our other busiest time is back to school season, which is kind of funny. There’s a whole back to school time period for adults which is the end of August to September where people are coming into the back part of the year and thinking, “Uh-oh! I didn’t get everything I wanted. I wanted to have some outsourced help in getting some additional conversations going.”

Marylou: Let me summarize for the audience because they’re all pretty used to me going through the relative positions in the pipeline. We’ve got the two-week on-boarding, which is unbelievable and wonderful to hear. The top of the funnel which means that right there, we’ve shortened the on-boarding process for a typical in-house person. Then from there, we’re launching in week three with messaging, we’re starting to get meetings. Tell us now, the other spot in the pipeline where we get stuck is the handoff, is the ability to hand it off with whatever information is necessary so that the quota carrying rep can go into their first meeting confident that they know everything that they need to know and what the next step should be. Explain a little bit about how that works once you get that meeting?

Caryn: We get the meeting for our clients. First of all, our people, when they’re communicating with our client’s prospects, communicate as if they were a member of our client’s company. We use a remote access email address from our client’s company and a voice mailbox extension at our client’s office. All of the communications from us to the prospect is seamless. It looks like it’s coming from our client’s company.

When we come across the right-level person who’s interested in learning more, we go ahead and get the date and time, we send the calendar invite to the prospect as well as to our client, so we’re managing that process. We then send a new meeting notification, our client knows about that, makes sure it gets added to the calendar. That gives top line information about who the meeting is with, and a little bit about the meeting.

Then within 24-48 hours, our clients will get an appointment report which gives the whole background of what led up to our client’s prospects saying yes to the meeting. Why did they say yes, everything we know as if it was a job share. Because, our people used to be reps, full-fledged reps from getting into the door to closing sales, we understand what has to happen in that meeting because we used to be there too. When we’re putting together the appointment report, we’re giving the sales rep the information that they need to know including information about the assistant, including the soft information we may know about the decision-maker, hot buttons, questions we might ask if we were going into that meeting, all that is in the appointment report.

In the beginning, when we start working with a new client, we will also prepare our client on the phone. We’ll give them a color behind what happened with our conversations or the email back and forth that led that prospect to say yes. Therefore, our client is ready.

Some of our clients needs some tools and guidance on how to take their meeting readiness to the next level. If they do, we have those tools and we’ll supply them like what kinds of high-gain questions to ask, what are the right best practices for having these meetings and getting the best possible outcomes, all of this is part of it. We get our clients a meeting but we need them to do well in the meetings because we need them to close.

Marylou: This is really great. I’m so happy that we were able to speak about this topic. There’s a lot of mystery around outsourced persons, not outsourcing, and will I have that continuity between the outsourcer and rep? It sounds like, from what I’m hearing, it’s one big family of the salespeople are all on the same team so when the hand off occurs, they have everything they need at their fingertips in order to be successful in that meeting.

Caryn: Exactly!

Marylou: So, Caryn, how do people get ahold of you? I’m sure people are sitting on the edge of their seats right now thinking, “I need to talk with this woman.”

Caryn: They can get ahold of me through our website which is koppconsultingusa.com or they can email me, if they’d like, pkopp@koppconsultingusa.com and we’ll get all of their questions answered.

Marylou: I will make sure, everyone, that Caryn’s information is on the show notes on the page. As you all know, we transcribe the conversation as well as put the links. There were plenty of links to the book and all the things that Caryn wants to share with you so that you have enough of this information ready to go for your conversation with her.

Caryn, thank you so much for your time today. I’m excited about what you’re doing. We definitely need this high-end, high-quality type of door opening service and I think  there’d be a lot of folks who are listening to this call who will finally make that decision that it’s time to look at that. Because they’ve had hiring issues, they’ve had delays in getting started, they’re falling short on their numbers of opportunities because of training, because of skills, because of habit. This is a nice alternative for people who want to have a consistent pipeline to do so in a way, that professional firm that will get you the result you’re looking for. Thanks again, Caryn.