Kevin Dorsey: Deal signals that increase revenue
Devin Reed: Welcome to Reveal, the revenue intelligence podcast powered by Gong. We're your hosts Devin Reed.
Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality instead of opinions, making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.
Devin Reed: And it's made up of three success pillars: people intelligence, deal intelligence, and market intelligence, the things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week we interview senior revenue professionals and share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.
Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to market teams win as a team, close revenue with critical deal insight and execute their strategic initiatives, plus, all the challenges that come along with it.
Devin Reed: Sheena, when I think revenue intelligence, I think of you. I really do. And I know that when we're in these interviews it's easy for me to get my sales guy hat on, and I like to get tactical, and I always love that you have really good questions to bring us back to our purpose, right, which is making business decisions and driving revenue by looking at data. I have to imagine today's interview had to have been one of your top five all time, had to be one of your favorites.
Sheena Badani: Oh, it really was. At one point I say, " Oh my God, this is music to my ears." I wanted to say that after every single one of his comments. I'm like, " I can't keep saying the same phrase." And now I don't know how to extend that analogy, but so true. The way he balances the analytics and the data and that data- driven mindset with some of the softer skills that he pulls out through skill development of his people and through the voice of the customer was so on point. I loved it.
Devin Reed: I thought it was great too. The reason also is I've been looking forward to meeting Kevin Dorsey aka KD for a while. We've talked online. I've known who he is for a long time. But I was really impressed with, like you said, the balance, right? I think a lot of times we talk to people and they're like, " Eh, data is for sales ops, right?" And then the other side there's self- acclaimed science nerds or data nerds in the sales space, right, and they really like that. I was really impressed that KD had such a good balance of that, and the thing I really like, too, he topped it off with, was him and his team their sales development, their inside sellers, their field sellers, it's a little channel too. He's been using revenue intelligence for a few years now, and the last thing he's unlocked is the holy grail, which is hearing the unfiltered voice of your customers and how to use that so his team can speak like his target audience. And he also knows, " Hey, here's what we should be pitching. Here's what we should be focusing on. And here's things that we should not be focusing on." And you can tell from this interview he has a well- oiled revenue machine, and it is very intentional.
Sheena Badani: He hated on marketers for a second in there, so that's the only part of the interview where it was not music to my ears, but yeah, you're totally right.
Devin Reed: I saw your facial expression change a little bit there. I just nod. You know what, you either have to hate sales or you have to hate marketing.
Sheena Badani: That's true.
Devin Reed: Everyone's in one of those two groups.
Sheena Badani: But I'm glad that he is of the mindset that he wants to share his approach with the world. He has online courses. He posts on LinkedIn all the time, and now he's here with us today to chat about his ways. So I'm grateful for them.
Devin Reed: Let's go talk about deal insights with KD. KD, I am pumped that we are finally meeting face- to- face or screen to screen. I have followed you for a while. We've chatted online. But this is a big moment. I'm not going to say for me. I'm going to say for both of us. This is a big moment for our relationship.
Kevin Dorsey: Yes. I don't know if this is maybe second base, maybe shortstop, but we're progressing. I like where this is going, and I'm excited about it, man. It's about time.
Sheena Badani: KD, it's a pleasure to meet you. Same. I feel like we know each other from LinkedIn, but this is actually the first time seeing each other, quote on quote, face- to- face. So I'm glad you're here. And for folks who don't know you, just a bit of context. You're the VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop. Can you tell us a bit more about who PatientPop is and what you do there?
Kevin Dorsey: For sure. So PatientPop is a practice growth and efficiency platform. So we work with private practices across the country, and we help them bring in more patients. So I help them bring in the right the types of patients and also have a better office experience. Medicine is one of these industries that for as long as it's been around, it has not evolved nearly as much as a lot of spaces have. So it's a really fun space to be in, and I lead the Inside Sales org. So I have a large team of SDRs. I have a large team of closers as well with some channel people in there too. And in the field I work with the field org through my SDR. So my team's it's over 100 now and still growing. Yeah, I love what I do.
Devin Reed: I can tell you love what you do because you're on Patreon. You're active on LinkedIn. You're big on coaching, personal development. You're constantly talking about books that you read, books that you buy, which I appreciate. So you're all about sharing what you know and your own journey, which is why I've always liked you. Aside from wanting to meet you directly, I asked you to come to Reveal so we could talk about how you use data to coach your team, specifically around deal insights. So let's just start really broad here. How do you use revenue intelligence today? Or in other words, how are you using data to feel growth today?
Kevin Dorsey: So if I look back really through my career, I think something that has helped me a lot is pattern recognition, being able to look at things and pick on like, " What are the patterns? What's the pattern? What is this rep doing more consistently than this rep? What types of deals seem to close faster? Which ones have a higher ACV or contract value, right?" So I've always spent time looking for those things. And it really hasn't been until the last maybe four, five years that tools started to be able to help with, right? You used to have to go in and listen to every call. You used to have to inspect every single deal. And you can't do that. And so with the revenue intelligence, as a category, what it's really helping me do is pick up on patterns faster, so then I can then coach my team on the right things or to target the right types of deals or to work in a certain even strike zone like, " What's my strike zone?" So once you know the pattern, right? So it starts with awareness. Then there's the pattern recognition. Then there's the process. And then there's the practice, putting it into practice. So that's how revenue intelligence helps me scale. Because once I pick up on it, everything else goes to the side, and we're going to double down on the things that are working.
Sheena Badani: That's music to my ears. I love everything that you just said. Can you tell us a little bit more about your deal checklist or those signals and patterns that you're looking for to really understand if a deal is on track to close?
Kevin Dorsey: For sure. One of my favorite books, I've posted about this a lot, is The Checklist Manifesto. I'm a big believer in checklist. If you can help save people's lives in the hospital, you can help salespeople sell a little bit better. Because one of the things I talk about with my team and my managers is I don't want you to think. I want you to listen, right? The more time we spend thinking, we're not listening to what the prospect is saying to us. So I'm a big believer in checklist, right? So I have a call scorecard, which maps out like, " Here are the things that we know lead to a great discover, and if we miss these things, we know we have a less likely chance of closing that deal." Then we also have a wrap up or a next step checklist, and this is how we look at pipeline management is like, " Okay, did they agree to a scheduled follow up call, yes, no?" No means it's less likely to come through. Did you ask for the business, yes, no? And so we use the checklist there. Again, there's guides and reminders of, " Here are the small things we need to do to give us the best chance to succeed." And when we miss them, we also know what we have to do next, right? For example, if they did not accept the follow- up invite, and that's very clear. My managers are asking the question. The rep knows they're going to be asked the question because they have their checklist. Cool, but then this also where revenue intelligence starts to pull it all in of like, " Hey, you haven't touched this deal in three days. It's on your commit. I looked at the notes. You don't have a scheduled follow up call. You haven't touched in three days. Why is this in your commit?" But then a lot of reps are like, " You're right. I'm going to move it out of commit." No, pull it into commit. Go do the things that you missed to pull it in. And so those are the ways that I try to leverage reminders and checklist and guidelines of what we know lead to success, and it does. It makes a huge difference, and we know because the reps that have the highest call scores, they also have the highest follow up scores or that have the highest close rates and the highest revenue on the team. It's straight up dotted line, linear causation, correlation, whatever you want to call it. I know it, and I can teach to it.
Sheena Badani: To dive a little bit deeper and maybe a little tactically on the deal checklist, tell me more about that. Where does that live? When are reps and managers going and looking at that checklist? Tell me more about that.
Kevin Dorsey: So we have certain things that are built into the tools that we use with prompts and reminders like, " Did this question get asked, right? If it did, great. If it didn't ..." We actually have certain things that will pop up and say, " Hey, this is a deal. This was not asked, right? Follow up dates were not confirmed." But then the flip side of it is this is just a checklist that lives in Google Docs that the managers and the reps have access to, and they go through it. And what I like about this too is the rep knows that they're going to be asked as well, right? And so for my sales leaders that are listening to this, do you know you go in there and you say, " Hey, so what's up with super bits?" The rep goes, " Oh, let me see, right? Oh yeah, that's got to..." No, we don't ask what's up questions. We ask, " Did you agree that they have a problem? Why do they want to solve it? Who else is involved in this decision? Do you have a follow- up meeting? Did you ask for the business?" It's very clear what we're going to dive into, which also allows us to work through pipeline faster more often than not, right? The rep can say like, " Bam, bam, bam, I have accomplished all these things. The only outstanding thing is I need to send a problem- based proposal. Let's talk about that too, right?" So it lives in Google Docs. It also lives in some of the tools that we use and even Salesforce fields. I have certain fields in Salesforce that you have to fill out so I know you accomplished certain things. And then back to the first question. Now I can pick up on patterns. Wow, for deals that don't have this filled out, I can track what that close rate or what that sales cycle looks like compared to ones that do. Now I have a pattern. Now I can put it into practice.
Devin Reed: It sounds like, KD, you and your team of leaders are able to cut the game of catch up. You know what it is. You're in the pipeline review, right? It's like, " Devin, what deals do you have?" " I'm working on super bits." It's like, " Okay, who are you talking to?" " I'm talking to this person." " Okay, what did you talk about, right?" You go through that loop and you end up spending most of Devin's turn in the team pipeline review on getting you caught up to where the deal is. It sounds like you've nixed that, and now you've got this GPS like, " I know my route to get to the end goal as quickly as possible." Is it fair to say it's changed the way you coach deals to be a little more like the strategic side?
Kevin Dorsey: Absolutely. I want to avoid the fluff. I want to avoid the stuff I can't do anything with, right? And so this is on both sides, right? This is also on the manager. I don't want my manager asking questions that they could clearly see the answer to, right? So you don't go in asking your reps like, " Hey, when is the follow- up date?" That's a field in Salesforce, right? That's actually disrespectful to the rep. They did their job. You didn't do your pre, right? So it's making sure they are focused on the things that are actionable, things that we can do something with, right? My team knows this, and anyone that's hang out with me for enough time knows I'm not very patient with conversations that aren't going anywhere. It's like, " Joe," like, " Cool, awesome. Have you sent them the proposal yet?" I know the other things. I looked at it, or I already listened to the call. I already went through and looked at the notes, right? So I think it's avoiding the fluff and focus on what's actionable, right? Same with even our one- on- ones. Our one- on- ones are structured. They know what metrics they're reporting, what numbers they're going through, what their commit needs to look like. It's all a process. I talk about this with my directors a lot but even my managers. You manage processes. You develop people. You don't manage people. You manage a process. People are impossible to manage. We are just impossible. You develop people, but you have to have a process to manage, and we have processes for damn near everything. And then I'm going to keep circling back to the pattern recognition. Once you realize something's working, you build a process around and then scale that out to the team.
Devin Reed: How is this conversation going so far? Are we getting towards the end goal? Are we getting fluffy?
Kevin Dorsey: We're good. I'm enjoying myself right now.
Devin Reed: All right. I passed the first heat check from KD. So I think we were circling around it. KD, I want to know what are those signals, right? So you said, " Hey, I've got these fields, and I see these things that are missing or if I see these warnings, I know what to act on." What are those deal warnings that are coming up for you?
Kevin Dorsey: So the first deal warning is problem agreements, right? And so this goes all the way to the very beginning of discovery. Did we discover and agree to a problem that needed to be addressed, right? Reps know this, by the way, too. If they ever come to me for help on a deal, they know the first question I'm going to ask them. They know. And they'll roll their eyes. If any of my reps listen to this or end up watching this, they'll probably shout at the computer like, " I know what he's about to say." What problem did they agree they have? Until you have that, almost none of the other things that we're going to talk about matter, right? " Oh, they're pushing me back on price." " What problem did they agree to?" " Well, they want more patients." No, that is not a problem. Wanting more patients is not a problem. Not seeing enough patients is a problem. Did you get them to agree to that? The first thing that we look for is problem agreement, right? So that's in discovery. Then we look at why they should change and impact. Did we gather that throughout the demo or the sales process? Those are called the demo check- ins of like, " These are things I'm going to ask just to know if the demo went well or not." Because this is where people waste so much time. They waste so much time talking about the follow- up and the sales process and navigating the deal flow when you never sold it the right way in the first place. And so then you wonder why it goes dead. I don't want to worry about a proposal or pricing if I didn't get that problem agreement. If I didn't get the problem agreement, you got to go back and get it. So once we move from the actual demo, then we're looking into, " Okay, are there scheduled next steps, right?" It's scheduled a date and time. The are you sold question, right? So whether they're going to buy or not is different, but do they believe it will solve a problem, right? So did they agree to that? Has a recommendation been made yet, right? The recommendation needs to happen over the phone or over Zoom. It should not come from a proposal or an email of like, " Here's what pricing is going to be." So has a recommendation been made? Has a problem- based proposal been sent? And then from there it almost continues to repeat. All right, you have that next follow- up call. All right, did you reconfirm that they had the problem? Did you reconfirm they were sold? Did you resell them on what we're going to do? Did you make a secondary recommendation? Did you update the problem- based proposal? Schedule the next steps, and that becomes the ongoing process that we go through.
Sheena Badani: All right, everyone. In every episode we have a data break out, a quick sidebar to look at the data. A critical item on KD's checklist is establishing the next step and scheduling the follow- up meeting. At our Gong Labs data back setup, successful reps spend 12.7% more time on next steps than their unsuccessful peers. And in the fastest deals the seller spent a whopping 53% more time discussing next steps during the first meeting than deals with slow sale cycles, but here's a twist. Spending more time discussing next steps matters much more for the first meeting. The duration of time spent discussing next steps in later calls has no impact on sale cycling. Why? Because the buyer hasn't yet mentally worked their potential next steps. They're simply evaluating whether or not they should start the sales journey with you. That means discussing next steps at length during this moment of truth will help build trust and help move them into an active buying process. Here's a quick pro tip. Shorten your pitch and leave yourself enough time to work through next steps. You don't want to talk about critical next steps when your prospect is rushing to get to their next meeting. Stay tuned to the micro action at the end of the episode for other actions that need to be on your selling checklist.
Sheena Badani: Do you use the same process across different teams that you manage? Because you said SDRs, inside sellers, some field too, right?
Kevin Dorsey: So I guess, yes. Same process, different checklist, if that makes sense. My SDRs also have a checklist of reminders if they're supposed to go through, right? So if you can tell, I have processes that are similar, but then tailored to that's going. By the way, the things I'm talking about do you think I maybe also have checklist and processes for my managers?
Sheena Badani: Mm- hmm(affirmative)
Kevin Dorsey: I've got checklist and processes for them too. So we have this thing called the issue diagnosis chart where it's like, " Okay, someone is struggling with closing. Here are all the things you need to go look for to give them that guard rail." People get this wrong all the time. And sometimes it's been fun watching all the content that you all put out around revenue intelligence because everyone loves to focus on revenue and they forget the intelligence part, right? We need more revenue. If it were that easy, I wouldn't have a job, " Hey, guys. We need more revenue. Go get it." And you know this. You talk to a lot of sales leaders. There are a lot of sales leaders that still lead that way, " Yo, we need more revenue. Where are we at?" And you're like, " Oh, I found some. There's a revenue tree. I just want to pick some revenue out." You can't do it. So now people are starting to at least get a little more mathematical, " Okay, well, we need to bring our close rates up. Go get it." How are you going to bring it up, right? And so we have the issue diagnosis chart, and then we follow a system that we made internally called BPS, behaviors, process or skill. So say someone's close rate is low. You went through your checklist to identify why. Is it a behavior problem? Meaning they're just not doing it. It's a process problem. I mean, we have taught them. We haven't trained them. We haven't documented. It's inefficient. Or is it a skill problem? They're doing it, but that it's bad. This is what then gives them the tools to say, " Okay, this is what I'm fixing to then bring that number up, right?" And this goes all the way to the manager level as well.
Devin Reed: I love that because at the end of the day I think the number one vehicle to get everything that you're talking about is visibility.
Kevin Dorsey: Right.
Devin Reed: If you can see what's going on. I've got a list for you. I've got a process. The process even has checks and balances, or if the process is broken, the process will... You know what I mean?
Kevin Dorsey: Mm- hmm(affirmative).
Devin Reed: It's like water proof here. I love it. I'm just thinking through the BPS aspect. I have to imagine it also makes your manager and directors more efficient.
Kevin Dorsey: Oh, yeah.
Devin Reed: I'm not wasting time trying to figure out what might be the cause. I've got a list, and it's like, " Look, if it's behavior, that's a very different conversation," than, " Hey, KD. I think there's a process gap," or, " Hey, let's have a hour long call on Friday afternoon with a beer and talk about the skill because I think the discovery might be actually a little off."
Kevin Dorsey: Everything eventually can be measured, and I'm not trying to say this is all science and no art. But you can tell if someone's doing something well or not. Are you asking this question, right? I can go in and I can type in the question I'm looking for and see if you're doing it or not. I couldn't do that back in the day, right? I had to go and listen to every single one, but even with my managers. All right, so say we're using discovery. If that's where something is broken, I don't need them to listen to a full call. You're only listening to discovery because that's what's broken, right? And so, so many managers they try to do all of it. They try everything. They try to give too much feedback versus, " Okay, close rate is low. I went through my checklist. I realize we're not asking for the upfront agreement on almost all of our demos, so this is what we're going to be practicing for the next three to four weeks until we get it down. Okay, we did. Shoot, close rate didn't still come up." I go to the next thing, right? And so does. It allows them to focus on the right things, and again, this checklist that I've built, where does it come from? Patterns. We know if you could step into any sales org in this country, and if I said someone's struggling with closing deals, there's going to be a certain amount of things that you would look for. That's just patterns that you've built, right? And so that's what's fun with technology is getting closer and closer, pick up on some of these patterns even more so. And I can't wait until it's all the way there because then I can just point people, " Hey, go do that thing. We figured it out all right. We'll see."
Sheena Badani: In order to make sure that your reps are productive, that they're hitting their numbers, that they're being their best, what are some warning signals or patterns that you use to understand whether they're on track or off track?
Kevin Dorsey: So that's just when I get into math, right? So we look at revenue. You can actually ask my team this. I hardly ever talk about revenue, ever, because revenue is the last part of everything else that we do, right? So we have skill- based metrics that we measure, and they all lead up to revenue, right? So I have revenue. Cool. What's your average contract value? What's your average seats per deal? What is your sales cycle? What is your close rate? What is your show rate? What is your connect rate? And what is your conversion rate? And then what's your activity? And so we look at that full process to see if someone's on track or not, right? And that's also then where we found out which levers we need to pull, right? So I built a calculator for my team. My reps know to the dial what they need to do to get to their number, or, " You know what? Shoot, I don't want to make 120 calls today, but if I can bring my close rate up from 20% to 30%, I don't have to do that." And so then that's how we map some of our coaching plans to it. So that's how I look to see if our reps are being productive is are there skill- based metrics within the range I want them to be, right? And then if they are, does the activity match to get them to their end goal, right? At that point it's actually pretty simple. There are oftentimes where I can look at a rep and say, " I know where you're going to finish. If you keep doing what you're doing, I know where you're going to finish. And the only way you'll beat the number I'm putting in front of you is if you get lucky." But at that point it does become mathematical, right? If your close rate's 30% and you only run five demos, how many deals are you going to close? One. Because you can't close 1.5 deals, and it doesn't round up. So you're going to close one with a 30% close rate on five. All right. That's where all these spreadsheet forecasts always break is they include the decimals. You can't close 1. 42 deals. It doesn't work that way.
Sheena Badani: Very true.
Devin Reed: I don't know if you're a gambling man, KD, but I imagine you in Vegas. You might be one of the few people beating Vegas when it comes to sports betting.
Kevin Dorsey: I don't understand crosstalk.
Devin Reed: Calculating over or under.
Kevin Dorsey: So funny enough on that though is I'm actually not good for Vegas because of what I said earlier on in this conversation. I'm not patient enough. And also, two of you can imagine I might be somewhat of a control freak, and so gambling is not my thing. Math is. And so if it's a game of math, if it's a game of true calculable odds, I'm for those types of things. But I got to stay out of Vegas, man. Nothing good happens for me when I go to that city. So I'm good.
Devin Reed: I'm with you. It sounds like maybe one day counting cards but not betting on the Super Bowl.
Kevin Dorsey: Exactly.
Sheena Badani: I really love your scientific approach and how you take what could be like a complex or vague problem for the business or for a manager, and you break it down. You keep peeling the onion like, " What's the next question? These are the four variables that will roll up to this one metric that we're looking at," and making it easier to digest for everybody on the team. I think it's a really, really great solid approach.
Kevin Dorsey: It helps, right? It helps speed things up. It helps give people direction, right? It can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you look for when you don't know, right? And so being able to put it down. I think also part of this comes from my memory isn't that great, so having a checklist helps me a lot, and it makes it, "All right, this is easy to do and go through." And sometimes people say like, " Oh, why do I need a checklist," or, " Oh, it's elementary." It works. I don't care. It works
Sheena Badani: Yes.
Kevin Dorsey: That's what we're here for.
Sheena Badani: Surgeons use a checklist when they're doing brain surgery.
Devin Reed: Yeah. crosstalk.
Kevin Dorsey: Thank you. Right. And I've had these arguments. Okay, so a brain surgeon uses it. A jet fighter uses it. But oh, Miss AE doesn't need to use this. We're better than that. Get out of here. Let's go.
Devin Reed: I can't remember what. I don't know if it was a book or something, but I remember hearing this in- depth conversation about checklists in the pilot use case. And they're just religious about it. There's no exception because, like you said, they know this process works, and if you break the pattern, you're just opening up risk, and it's unnecessary.
Kevin Dorsey: So there is the classic story. I think it was either The Rolling Stones or AC/ DC. I can't remember which group it was, but it talked about how they have these crazy backstage demands of like, " I want a bowl full of just the purple M& M's." It's so funny because for the longest time that story got told in a way that made them sound neurotic like, " Who are these stars to ask for these stupid types of things?" And so it finally came out why they did it, right? They had set list that included pyrotechnics, fireworks, sparks, news, all those things. So they added those things in so they would know if everything was accomplished. Because if they walked into that dressing room and they saw a bowl full of all Skittles, they know something was missed on that entire set list, right? So it wasn't them just being neurotic like, " We're a star and we want these crazy little things done for us." It was like, " I don't want to step on that stage and get blown up because your attention to detail wasn't there." And I've always loved that story because what I preach to my managers is, " I don't want you to be micro managers. I want you to be micro aware. You need to understand the small things that are happening that lead to that end result that we're looking for and missing just one thing." You could do everything right, but you miss that one thing. And you won't get the results that you want. It's that level of awareness that's necessary.
Devin Reed: I love that. That's a good story. I actually had not heard the other side of that story. I was just like, " Yeah, of course, early rock stars were prima donnas because they were superstars." Maybe I would too if I could. I don't know.
Kevin Dorsey: That's what they did. And that's why it was brown M& M's one week and Skittles in another week. And it would be different places in the set list. At that point you are talking life and death. And so if the attention to detail isn't there, that was their warning sign. They'd go through the entire set list again to make sure that things were accounted for. See, they weren't things that were just crazy. They were actually really smart. No, they were crazy. They were crazy and smart. Let's be honest.
Devin Reed: It could be both. Yeah.
Kevin Dorsey: They were crazy, for sure.
Devin Reed: So of all the things, you're clearly data- minded, right? We've got process. What's the most surprising thing that you've discovered about you, your team, your business by looking at data?
Kevin Dorsey: So I think there's a lot, honestly, because we look at these things all the time. I'm going to lump behavior into data a little bit here too. For example, when we're building our demos and our scripts and all of our emails, things like that, something that matters a lot to me is using the language of our customers, using the language of our prospects. I'm not hating on marketing, but unless you're selling to marketers, you don't know the language of the prospect. You talk differently. Same with sales people. You say type of things all day long that make no sense. So I'll go in and I'll listen to calls to find out when the prospect says, " Wow." When does the prospect say, " I didn't know that." When does the prospect say, " Oh, cool. Wait, really? Could you show me that again? Awesome." It's so funny. A lot of sales leaders will go in to listen to calls and pick out the filler words like cool, awesome, sweet. And they're listening to the rep, and they tell the rep to stop saying those things. I'm listening to prospect, right? And so one of the things that we found, for example, was we get way more engagement and way more, I guess, participation around reviews when we start talking about doctor reviews. But at the time that was part three of the demo, so what do you think we did with that? We moved that up into the demo. We start there now. And we saw close rates come up accordingly, right? We also found out that one of our top reps consistently asked a question, " How can we get this done?" She had a close rate almost 2X higher than everybody else, and it's not just because of that question, but that question, " How can we get this done?" So pick up on the pattern and you go, but also using data to eliminate, right? So you can bring up a metric just by getting rid of the fluff, right? So looking at how close rates are across specialty and size and realizing like, " Okay, these specialties, although we can book a lot of them, don't close." Stop it. And so what then happens is although our total pipeline came down, our total revenue comes up because we replaced about half of those with better demos, and we got rid of the fluff, revenue comes up. For days, you look at the data, you look at the patterns, you look at the processes going into things or the behaviors going into things. You can find it. Actually, I did a podcast way back with inaudible. And I don't know how we got into it, but somehow the topic came up about reps not staying with companies long enough or they jump around. I said, " I'm going to say something I think most people disagree with. I will take a top performer for six months if you'll give him to me." He said, " Six months? You don't get the return." I was like, " You don't think that if I have a world class sales person for six months, that I can't figure out what makes them a world class sales person? I can't duplicate them, but I can replicate them." You follow me here? I can't duplicate. I can't do a pure clone. But I can take 70%, 80% of what they do and roll it out to the rest of the team and watch the entire team come up. So every quarter my team we do an exercise called scaling greatness. As a leader, it's always easy to focus on what's going bad. Once a quarter I want them to handle what's going really, what the patterns are and how we can do more of it. So that's a little bit of a long- winded answer. I'm sorry. But this is what we do. It's what gets me fired up. This is the world that we live in.
Devin Reed: Don't you dare apologize. No, that was phenomenal. When you started the answer, I was like, " Come on, KD. Come on, man, six months?" But it makes sense because, like you said, we're not trying to duplicate it. Let me just extract what's working, get a playbook that I never would have had otherwise, and then I'll write them a rec for the next role, if I need be.
Kevin Dorsey: 100%.
Sheena Badani: But I am guessing that without the technology, without the data analysis, you wouldn't be able to replicate that rep in six months.
Kevin Dorsey: Not as easily. This is just the side of me, whether you can tell. I'm a little bit obsessive about this stuff. If I knew I had only six months with this top performing rep, best believe I'm going to prioritize my time to dig in and find those things. Technology is what helps me do it faster and for more people. I don't think a lot of sales leaders prioritize the right focus of... If you just studied your best for three months, four months, that's all you did, you're going to be able to raise the entire team up accordingly, right? But without revenue intelligence, without call recordings, without data, without math, without dashboards, it becomes a lot harder to do. And that's what's been so interesting to watch, because I feel like revenue intelligence truly has positively impacted my results. I don't always see it across the board. People got all the tools, they got all the things. They're not using them the right way. They're not using it to change behavior, right? The old school saying it says, " What gets measured gets improved." It's not true. What gets measured is made aware. You can't improve it unless you change something. The change is where most people miss the mark on all this.
Devin Reed: Yeah, that also assumes people aren't going to find ways to game whatever is being measured and cut corners. It's something I read a while back about that. It's like, " Whatever number you put in front of someone, they will naturally find the easiest, fastest way to get there." Not the best, just the fastest.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah. Absolutely. We are a very interesting creature as human beings, right? Our biggest benefit and our biggest flaw is our desire for the easy path. Almost every grand invention we've ever made is around simplifying, speeding up, or making something easier, right? So our desire for it is great, but also as a species it also holds us back often from being as great as we can be because we just try to find the easy whereas just 10% more effort we would have gotten the end result we wanted, but we don't because we're always trying to find the shortest path to it. So pros and cons, man. We are an interesting species.
Sheena Badani: I don't think this whole industry around technology would even exist if we didn't have that as an innate part of ourselves.
Kevin Dorsey: And that's where you see, I think, the divide in this industry. You have people just relying on tech while not developing the skill. The tech can't replace skill. It has to amplify it, and you're not seeing that yet, right? What's happened a lot with tech, even revenue intelligence, is it's almost... Actually, it's in the category in itself. Enablement. People forget that enablement can be a negative term too. If you are an enabler, you allow people to get away things they probably shouldn't, or you encourage them to do things that they shouldn't. So you have a lot of tech that people are using to replace the skill, " Oh, my reps aren't good at blank, so I'm going to buy a tool to do it." " Oh, my reps aren't good at blank, so let me fill in there." It's good, right? The teams and the reps that win in the long run are the ones that are good at what they do and they are backed by technology, right? And that's the divide I see most across the industry.
Sheena Badani: Well said. So before we end our great conversation, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, KD, we ask all of our guests one question which is, how would you describe sales in one word? KD's facial expression is amazing and so on point right now.
Kevin Dorsey: One word. Sales in one word. It's psychology. That would be my one word.
Sheena Badani: Makes sense from what I know about and what we've been talking about. Can you elaborate a tiny bit on that?
Kevin Dorsey: Oh, I'd be happy because one word is hard. Sales, at it's core, is about influencing another individual to change their behavior. That's what sales is, right? We are hoping that we can educate and influence someone to change their behavior. In order to do that, you need to rely on psychology because you are trying to change someone's mind. And if more reps and more sales teams and more sales leaders focus more on the person side of sales person, the psychology, right? It's not B2B, right? GE doesn't buy anything. GE is not a person. GE is a logo. It doesn't exist without people. And so that's why I say sales is psychology because you're changing people's minds. No matter what tool you use, what products you sell, anything, if you can't change someone's mind, there is no purchase. So that's why I think sales is psychology, and if we remembered people make decisions and why people will change, what matters to people, what matters for their goals, that's why psychology to me is what sales is. Everything else builds up to eventually conversation between two individuals where someone has to agree to change. That comes from psychology.
Sheena Badani: Terrific explanation. Love it. Great end to this conversation.
Kevin Dorsey: Hell yeah.
Devin Reed: KD, for folks who can't enough and already know who you are or this is their first time hearing about you, where can or should they go to, I don't know, stay connected, get more of your content, hear what you have to say?
Kevin Dorsey: So you can follow me on LinkedIn. I don't have any of the other social channels, so no Snap, Twitter, TikTok, whatever. I don't know what all the kids are on anymore. I got LinkedIn. That's all I got. So you can follow me on LinkedIn. I do have a podcast called Live Better Sell Better. I have a Patreon group where I do hour- long trainings and inaudible, just heavy content on Patreon. It's called Inside Sales Excellence. I have a course on Udemy now called B2B Sales Masterclass. I'm just trying to put it all out there for people because I believe people they're hungry for more of the how. They're hungry for more of the actual tactical insights, not just a fluffy post. So that's where you can find me. LinkedIn, Patreon, Live Better Sell Better, Inside Sales Excellence. Let's go, baby. Good times.
Devin Reed: There you go. Thanks, KD. We appreciate it. Thank you for your expertise. Thanks for keeping it real. And I'm sure I will see you sooner than later again hopefully in- person, but at least on LinkedIn.
Kevin Dorsey: Hell yeah. Give me some swag. You promised.
Devin Reed: I did promise.
Sheena Badani: Every week we like to bring you a micro action, something you can think about or put into play today. KD is a big believer in using a selling checklist, a guide that reminds reps of the small things they need to do to give them the best chance of success. Ask yourself what those specific actions are for you, things like did they agree to schedule a follow- up call? Did you ask for the business? Has a problem- based proposal been sent? But of all of these questions, KD says that one is most important; what problem did the prospect agree they have? Agreement about the problem is the lever that moves deals forward. Without it, none of the other details will matter nearly as much.
Devin Reed: Hey, Devin here. Can I make a super quick ask? I bet our VP of sales that we can get to 100 podcast reviews before Q1 ends. That's March 31st for us. It's a gentleman's wager for bragging rights because I love telling them I told you so. And we're already at 73 reviews, so I'm hoping you can help push us over the edge. All you have to do is take 27 seconds to give Reveal a five- star review on Apple Podcast. It's that simple. I appreciate it and thanks for the help. Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.
Sheena Badani: And if you have any feedback or you want us to interview one of your favorite revenue leaders, just email us at reveal @ gong. io.
Success in sales leaves clues—patterns that point to what works and what doesn’t. But are you tracking these success signals across your pipeline? Kevin "KD" Dorsey, VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop, shares how to use data to coach your team, spot at-risk deals, and fuel growth. You’ll learn how to recognize critical success signals, focus on what matters most during pipeline reviews, and build a scalable sales checklist that drives better performance from everyone on your team.