Play the King & Win the Day!

Episode 18 - Kevin Hopp, CEO of Hopp Consulting Group and Host of the Sales Career Podcast

June 26, 2022 OMI: We Make CRM Work.. Season 3 Episode 18
Play the King & Win the Day!
Episode 18 - Kevin Hopp, CEO of Hopp Consulting Group and Host of the Sales Career Podcast
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 18 we interview Kevin Hopp CEO of Hopp Consulting Group and Host of the Sales Career Podcast. Kevin shares his experience helping early and late-stage Technology companies put the right technologies, process, and people in place to do sales outreach correctly. His strategies start with a conversational approach first.
 
Hopp Consulting Group has a podcast called the Sales Career Podcast dedicated to bringing the best-selling practices through interviews with today's top sales leaders. Tune in to the podcast here https://www.hoppconsultinggroup.com/podcast-1   

About Hopp Consulting Group:

Hopp Consulting Group was launched in 2018 when Kevin realized that his natural ability and love of cold calling was truly unique. The first year of Hopp Consulting Group was all outbound-as-a-service, with Kevin making cold calls and converting at a remarkably high rate for his clients. HCG evolved when the opportunity came for Kevin to help build a company that did outbound-as-a-service, so Kevin could transfer his knowledge to others and build a team that converts cold conversations into warm customers. That experience parlayed into HCG taking on a much more strategic approach to helping businesses looking to build outbound process and structure.

Learn More:
https://www.hoppconsultinggroup.com/

Play the King:

This podcast is sponsored by OMI.The company that makes CRM work!Today's guest is Kevin Hopp CEO of Hopp Consulting Group.So Kevin,welcome to the podcast.I would like to start just by asking you about Hopp Consulting Group,obviously,the autonomous consulting group.What do you do?Who do you serve?I'm familiar with your podcast,which is excellent,but let's assume that the people listening are not,tell us about yourself.

Kevin Hopp:

Sure thing.Yeah,my name's Kevin Hopp.I run my own small consulting business and I make sure to say the word small,because I am very committed to being a solo entrepreneur for at least the next year and a half.So all my clients get my time.Why is my time important?Why would they work with me?So I,I work exclusively with early stage and late,early stage tech companies.So my experience in the working world has all been with early stage tech companies.So I've been the first hire in a business four different times.Three of those were software companies.So I've always been the only guy in the room when the founder looks around and says,who are we gonna sell to?How are we gonna do this?Like what's our go to market look like?So I've had to do that so many times that now I have a passion for doing it the right way for early stage technology companies.And I do feel like,I've unlocked a bit of a cheat code here.<laugh>with,what I do for VC backed tech companies.The idea of if you have capital and you want to go talk to your market,you want to get net new conversations going.I really Excel at building those software systems,like a technology stack with a whole process around why building it that way with the whole process around how we use that technology stack to generate net new business for tech startups.So the shortest way to say it is I do outbound sales consulting.The longest way to say it is,I'm a cold calling geek with a lot of really specific experience.I only work with tech companies committed to growth!

Play the King:

And this may be obvious,but most of your clients,I assume,are B2B companies,right?

Kevin Hopp:

Yeah.That's all my experience.So a hundred percent of my experience is B2B.And I only work with B2B companies because I know that motion very,very well.Uh,The bottom line of my methodology,I call it conversation first.So I'm all about cold calling,the way I tell that story is making what is old new again,you know,the rise of the silent sales floor,the rise of sales,automation,sales,enablement,marketing,all that's really,really great.If your company invests in marketing the right way,you might not have to do a lot of that ice cold outbound motion.But the founders that work with me work with me because they say,shoot,you're right.Like my sales floor is quiet.My sales reps don't know how to talk the talk because they spend all their time taking orders and we need to go make it happen for ourselves.And that is not easy.Right?Cold calling is not anybody's favorite thing.And I,I know that and I acknowledge that and I make it suck less!

Play the King:

<laugh>so,I want to ask you a bunch of questions about,your business and,who you guys help and,why companies come to you.But I'm curious about just your background real quick.You know,it sounds like you specialize in going from like zero to best friends,right.Or at least that's the goal with whoever you're calling at,what age did you figure out?Okay,I'm an extrovert I'm very good at insinuating myself or being charming or,you know,just the skills that,that it takes to be somebody who can get on the phone with somebody who doesn't know who you are and,and then have them sort of eating out of your hand in the next five minutes.

Kevin Hopp:

That's wow.Really good question.<laugh>because you know,what I like to say about people that are good at outbound sales and most like people that end up kind of in sales,we are the kids that growing up,like your parents and your friends and people would be like,man,you should be a lawyer.<laugh>Look at the way you argue,you point there,look at the way you get what you want all the time.You should be a lawyer.And then like the kids that end up in sales are the ones that don't like school<laugh>that's me.I didn't like school.I graduated with a four year degree,but man,I didn't,didn't turn around.As I walked out the door,I was like,all right,I'm out,I'm done with school.But,I noticed that I had the gift of the gab.It took me until my working years.I thought sales was a dirty word.I,you gotta understand like my background though,like my father,was a PhD in mechanical engineering,my mother was a stay at home Mom.I didn't know any sales people.Like I knew nobody that was a sales person.The only person I knew growing up that was a salesperson was my friend's dad.And what I knew was that he got laid off every few years and like that he was constantly without a job.And like my family didn't talk positively about that.<laugh>right.Interesting.Like,oh yeah,Bob got laid off again.Mm-hmm<affirmative>and so that's what I thought sales was.So when I got into college,I did some internships.I realized in the working world,like I interned at this company called Invoca,they raised$30million.It was a tech startup in downtown Santa Barbara.That felt like Silicon valley.It was really,really cool.Mm-hmm<affirmative>and all the noise,all the fun,all the energy in the office was in the sales corner,right.Where the10sales people were and they were doing demos and banging gongs and all that stuff.And then I,I was doing a customer success internship with account management.And I was like,dude,I am clicking in a spreadsheet all day and sitting quietly in an office while someone talking on a Polycom to a customer about a problem.And I'm looking out the glass door of the office,like leaning over at the sales pick,going,God,that looks fun.You know?And then I just have that kind of high energy attitude.So long story short,you know,my first job out of college was I was the first hire at a startup.I was the first hire,so I got to do everything.But then I noticed right away that I'm like,oh wow.A lot of people struggle with sales.They struggle with this.And they,they are just not like,oh man,cold calling.No way.I'm like,yeah,I don't care.I'll call them,sure you tell me there's money in it for me.Let's go.

Play the King:

<laugh>that's actually,I mean,well,you talked about,you know,sort of in your family sales,having a bad rap,you know,it feels like it was just,you know,not appreciated the,the importance of it right.In,in a,in a business like cuz cuz in,in certain businesses,salesmen are like the,you know,they're the,the,the fighter pilots,right?They're the,the golden boys.Um,what,uh,you know,talk to me about businesses that get this right?Who,who,what do they,what do they understand about needing this role to really be sort of like acing it for them?

Kevin Hopp:

That's a great question.It's kind of a,I mean,there's,there's,there's two little answers there.I think one of the answers is,you know,my,my perspective of sales growing up came from not knowing any sales people,right?Like,and my dad as an engineer,loathed sales people,because he never had to deal with them.And when he did,it was like for a big project he's working on and then he hated it.Right.Mm-hmm<affirmative>.But as I've seen in my consulting work and in the first few,first six years of my career,when I was working w twos,there,there tends to be a lack of respect in general,around sales that,that salespeople are a dime a dozen or that salespeople are only coin operated.Right.Like I,I have,I think Umbridge with that idea too.Uh,when I tell people that I'm a sales consultant,a lot of people will say,oh cool,well,I'd be happy to hire you commission only mm-hmm<affirmative>and I'm like,whoa,no,I'm a consultant in that.I teach process,structure and strategy at the same level as your,you know,project management consultant,the same level as your engineering consultant,where it's very strategic and my knowledge is what you are buying mm-hmm<affirmative>right.So I,I'm not coin operated.I don't work commission only.And I,I actually really,haven't made straight commission in probably three years,three,four years.Everything I do is project retainer based.So I think,um,that's what I look for.I look for organizations that are looking to get a more pure definition of how to do the job of sales.Right.And if you're committed to that,a guy like me is who you want to bring in.

Play the King:

Right.You wouldn't hire an HR person and say like,all right,we're gonna pay you based on right.How many,like if our,if our retention rate goes on,people

Kevin Hopp:

Stick ground.Yeah.Yeah.Okay.Exactly interesting.And a lot of that,a lot of that is like unhealthy culture around sales.We're seeing this today,like I'm seeing this right now in,you know,companies just slashing their sales departments,layoffs are going left.Right.And sideways man on LinkedIn,it's just a it's doom and gloom on there.Uh,companies are with the recession.I pending recession and markets crashing and stuff like that.People are just laying off the sales team.because it's like,well,we could always hire some more people that want to hunt for commission next time around.So right.I think the companies to finally answer your question is what,what do companies,what differentiates the company to get sales,right?Is they focus on the process,right?And this is,this is so true.I mean,John wooden talks about this a lot,you know,the,the greatest speakers of our time have talked about don't be obsessed with the outcome,be obsessed with the process.You know what I mean?Kobe Bryant was big on this.The whole idea of like,I gotta make a thousand free throws in practice so that when I go to the game,it's no big deal.Like a lot of companies tend to say like,I need revenue.I need as fast as possible.Ah,hurry up,close,close,close,Hey,Kevin,it's been three weeks.Where's on my pipeline.You know,an attitude like that,the companies that get sales right are obsessed with creating a process over time that will produce reliable results,but you gotta be patient.It's just like any other discipline and it's not coin operated.

Play the King:

Yeah.That's great.So that process is some mix I would assume of technology and,you know,best practices,just like,you know,the motions,maybe just like discipline to stick with it too,but like break those down for me.Like what are some of the key technologies,key sort of practices that you would implement when you go into and maybe we keep it high level,because I'm sure that each of your clients is a little different,right?So,but what are some of the major things you,you tend to see across companies that they need,you know,for you to implement.

Kevin Hopp:

So it's,it's three areas,right?And it's the same three areas that a lot of consultants talk about.I hear it a lot,but I also have an echo chamber right around me,of people like me.But the three areas that I help people focus on really is process,technology and people,all three of those are really important,right?So you can,you can kind of say it,the,the right order,in my opinion is technology first,right?Beause we want to be able to do more with less.And particularly this is a major key here,particularly in today's market.If your company is trying to build a serious go to market function and you just lean on sales people to do the old fashioned quote unquote elbow grease of picking up the phone,10digits at a time,or hunting for email addresses one on one online,somewhere like if you're not investing in a technology stack,you're not gonna retain talent.Okay.So we build the technology stack for an efficient operation,but we all know the biggest problem with software is vaporware.The idea of,I get sold a bill of goods.I buy the software.It's expensive.No one ever really uses it to its potential.So what I do is I help I say,I call my shot.I say,Hey,you use these platforms.Here's how we're gonna use them.Here's my entire like user guide as to how I help teams get these platforms to sing and work.And then we train the person because there,there is an element of sales in particular where the performer matters,right?I saw top gun last night,but,and not to give it away for anybody,no spoilers.But the,the big line in top gun is,it's not the plane It's the pilot.That's my same pitch for sales technology.Right.It's not the plane it's the pilot.Yeah.You can go buy all the excellent tech stuff.But if you don't have,uh,a rep that understands how to have those customer conversations and a rep that understands how to operate the tech in general,it's not gonna work out very well.Right.So it's people,process and technology and that's what the magic of Hopp Consulting Group.I help people blend those in a way that actually works.How do I know I've done it,<laugh>done it a bunch.Right.

Play the King:

Right,right,right.Yeah.So make this,make this a little bit more concrete for us.Like what,what is a general process for this?Like,you know,you start with maybe prospecting,right?You find the people you want to call,then you call them,then you,then you,what?Like,and if I get the first two things wrong,like,or it starts before the prospecting,like tell me that too.Like what are the steps?What are the major steps here?

Kevin Hopp:

The major steps are you have to have a place to keep track of who you're reaching out to when and what you said,which is a CRM,right?I don't know many people that skip that step,which is good news,right?So you gotta have a CRM.You want to try and build your tech stack around the customer record because at the end of the day,the most sustainable thing you can do for long term growth is to respect the customer experience.And the customer experience starts the minute that you decide you want to sell to them.It doesn't start the day that they become a customer.Because if they're getting spammy emails or,you know,bunk emails,or they're getting lots of cold calls that are not effective all the problems that tend to happen with poorly trained sales teams,then they become worse customers.They're not happy,or they never become a customer.Right.Mm-hmm<affirmative>so CRM first,data is really important.A lot of people tend to go cheap on data.What I mean by data is prospect data.Like I want George's cell phone number.I don't want Georgia's wife's cell phone number.So if we get a CRM,we invest in a data source to get relatively accurate data.Then we need a productivity tool.The sales acceleration space is bigger than ever,right?And,and I'm talking the outreach,I'm talking sales loft,I'm talking,Zant,I'm talking outplay,I'm talking Apollo.I can go on and on and on.There are all these platforms that are designed to help a salesperson,take a prospect through a buying journey from,okay,I wanna sell to George.I'm gonna put George in this sequence where I,as a salesperson,I'm gonna measure my productivity.And every day when I log in,it says,okay,cool.You called George yesterday.Send him an email today.Okay.You emailed them yesterday,send him a LinkedIn message today.Like it helps you stay productive.Mm-hmm<affirmative>I can't stress this enough.Like maybe this is the biggest takeaway of this point is if you aren't using technology for sales,acceleration around productivity,you are losing<laugh>in2022sales engagementTech is the standard.You need this stuff.I don't work with clients that aren't committed to buying this stuff.Mm-hmm<affirmative>,it's just,it's becoming table stakes.It's as essential as CRM,you know,the CRM had the same revolution in the early two thousands,where are like,holy cow,we need to buy Salesforce.Like,what is this?How do we even use this?You know,<laugh>.Yeah.So that,that is my,my big takeaway there.And then,you know,once you have those base layers laid down,we need to establish a messaging strategy and a,and a base go to market.Right.

Play the King:

You know,I,I guess I I'd be curious,you know,you,you mentioned,you said cold calling and,and I wonder if you meant that literally,like,are,is it always a phone call or,you know,I guess the larger question here is,in what ways have,you know,technology and the,the way we live these days changed the methods you use to reach out to people.And,and where do you see it going from here?Like what,what is the future of,of outbound selling?

Kevin Hopp:

Well,that's a big question.So<laugh>,uh,so technology has made a salesperson's life a hundred times easier.Now,why is that?Because in the,let's say the years,2003,2005,whatever,I'm gonna have to look someone up,I might have some,you know,rudimentary type database CRM,then I'm gonna call their number that I find by hand because dialing tech,wasn't a big deal then.And this whole time,I don't really have a way to visualize what this person looks like,what they might care about,you know,where they went to school,you know,where they,what,where,where was their last job that's called LinkedIn.<laugh>LinkedIn is the Bible for sales people.It is the essential,the greatest gift that sales people have ever gotten.Because at the end of the day,in the most rudimentary form,sales is people selling to people and trust is sales.People do not buy for people.They don't trust.You can't get someone's trust.They don't know you.And they that's.The biggest barrier to outbound sales is they don't know you from Adam.They don't know who you are.So with LinkedIn,we get a chance to create a personal brand,to create an image,to create a,Hey look,I'm a real person,just like you.I have thoughts,feelings,family.Don't be rude.You can trust me.We went to the same school.We like the same things.We have the same sort of opinions.So LinkedIn is really critical.But the other important part to your question about the future of outbound sales,well,geez,it is getting harder and harder every day.And the biggest tech companies in the world are actively working day in and day out to make outbound sales harder.Apple has a feature that the,your iPhone will not ring.If I'm not already in your address book,that kills me.<laugh>that kills everybody,right?That kills anybody.That's trying to do cold calling Google.And,uh,apple also have email features that anonymize your emails and create burner emails within seconds to get lead forms and other things like that.So you never,you can start to,to be much more anonymous as you go around the world and makes it harder to tell who might be interested in things.So all that to say it's getting harder and harder,which means it's gonna take more attempts.Now,call it an email,call it a LinkedIn connect,call it a phone call,more attempts per person to get the same conversion rate over time.Like that is the definition of harder for outbound sales.So like the big blanket message there is you have to have technology and process to level up against this.Otherwise you're simply gonna be playing a losing game,right?If you're not using an auto dialer,you're gonna lose.If you're not using technology to cleanse your domain,use proxy domains,warm up your inbox,do email deliverability the right way you're gonna lose.So that's,that's kind of the,and it it's happening today,but it's only gonna get worse.

Play the King:

Yeah.It makes me think about last week I got an email from someone and it said,Hey,first name<laugh>in the subject line.Then I was like their using technology,but like,you're trying to,you're moving too fast.Maybe,you're trying to hit more names per minute than,you know,because it's harder.

Kevin Hopp:

Oh,I promise you,there was a sales trip by the end of that,that went Duh,you know,like,gosh,darn it.I hit send on the campaign before I had it flushed out.So you feel bad,but

Play the King:

Yep.Yep.This is great.Uh,tell us a little bit about your podcast.I want to give you a chance to plug that and tell people where they can find it and where they can find more information about Hopp consulting group.Um,because you know,I,I think man,just everything,you know,I,I imagine that working with you,I've not worked with you is,is very,very useful.You,you also have just a ton of ton of content out there.And so,you know,which I,which I imagine is part of a,a healthy,you know,healthy sales pipeline.So,tell us where to get into your top of funnel.Basically.

Kevin Hopp:

Absolutely.So LinkedIn is the number one place.Like I mentioned,I'm build,I'm pretty committed to building a,a nice personal brand there.I have a podcast where I'm,I'm generally just obsessed with people's stories.I think there's a world where I want to be Joe Rogan one day,like Joe,Rogan's got the best job of all time,his podcast.He literally just takes cool.People,sits down with them and talks for hours and,and people listen to every minute of it.So like,that's my dream job.<laugh>,I'm a psychology major in school.I'm fascinated by people.So my podcast is called the sales career podcast.If you're in sales,it will be valuable for you period,full stop.It's it's really interesting stuff from some of the,the brightest minds and leaders in sales technology and in the SaaS space,very specifically software space.So highly recommend you check that out.You can go to Hoppconsultinggroup.com if you want to learn more about my services.I have an online course that I'm about to launch.And we mentioned cold calling a few times here I am a cold calling freak.I'm all about it.And I am launching a course called cold calling101.So this is everything you need to know to have a modern approach to outbound cold calling so that it produces.And so that it is something that you don't hate.Like that's my,my big mission statement with the course is cold calling sucks.I'm trying to help it,help you make it suck less,right?So that course is,is really foundational knowledge.I give it all away.It's49bucks,check it out.

Play the King:

Got it.And that is on your landing page.I'm looking at it right now.And,so you can go and log in and sign up to get started.So very easy.Kevin,this is really useful.Thank you for the time today.We really enjoyed hearing about how you do what you do.

Kevin Hopp:

Thank you.I appreciate you having me on!