[Replay] Kevin Dorsey: Deal signals that increase revenue

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This is a podcast episode titled, [Replay] Kevin Dorsey: Deal signals that increase revenue. The summary for this episode is: <p>Success in sales leaves clues that point to what works and what doesn’t. Are you tracking 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.</p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><p>06:59 - What are the patterns of my sales team?</p><p>13:22 - Develop people, manage processes</p><p>15:39 - The first deal warning: problem agreements</p><p>18:27 - Data Breakout: Plan your next steps...sometimes</p><p>25:14 - How skill-based metrics can help your sales team</p><p>32:30 - Listen to the language of your prospect</p><p>37:21 - Using your tools to make a change</p><p>41:18 - The psychology of sales.</p><p>43:44 - Micro-action: Make your own checklist</p><p><br></p><p>Want to explore Revenue Intelligence for your org? It starts here: <a href="https://www.gong.io/revenue-intelligence/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.gong.io/revenue-intelligence/</a></p><p>Connect with Devin Reed: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/</a></p><p>Connect with Sheena Badani: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/</a></p><p>Connect with Kevin Dorsey: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/kddorsey3/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/kddorsey3/</a></p>
What are the patterns of my sales team?
01:18 MIN
Develop people, manage processes
01:47 MIN
The first deal warning: problem agreements
02:47 MIN
Data Breakout: Plan your next steps...sometimes
01:20 MIN
How skill-based metrics can help your sales team
01:31 MIN
Listen to the language of your prospect
00:49 MIN
Using your tools to make a change
00:30 MIN
The Psychology of sales
00:57 MIN
Micro-action: Make your own checklist
00:45 MIN

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. You know, 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, we did a teaser last week, and now I think I'm ready to reveal. Should we reveal what it is?

Sheena Badani: Oh, yes. I love revealing things.

Devin Reed: So this Wednesday, we are going to launch our four- part series, where we have special episodes dropping on Wednesdays with our new friends over at the Advanced Selling Podcast. So what we did, we took a unique spin on this. This one's pretty fun. So here's what we're doing. You know Gong. We love our data. And so what we did was opinions versus reality, so the ASP folks, Advanced Selling Podcast, we are going to go to their podcast, and they're going to drop special episodes where we talk about the opinions of different sales topics. Things like, is it good or bad or neither to curse on a sales call? Should you be using slides on your discovery calls? And other such questions. Then we're going to do an intermission, we're going to break, and we're going to come over to The Reveal Podcast on Wednesdays, and we're going to share the reality, the data that we have to say which of those things are true, which of those things are false, and how you as a sales professional, as a sales leader, can be more effective.

Sheena Badani: I loved all of that. Reality, show me that reality. And Bill and Bryan are, if you listen to their podcasts, they're great. You know what you're going to get. They are experts in all things sales. They've been doing this podcast for... decades? I forgot. We talked about how long they've been doing this in the show.

Devin Reed: The line they say is, they are the longest running sales podcast in the history of podcasting. That's what they say. I don't know if that's decades or just one decade, but it's been a while.

Sheena Badani: But they're awesome, and they're tons of fun. What I really like about working with them is the camaraderie that they have with each other. They have fun with each other, we had fun with them, and we hope that while you listen, you enjoy each of these little mini episodes too.

Devin Reed: Another, dare I say another... I'm bragging. Another great podcast that has two great hosts. I'm going to say it.

Sheena Badani: Oh, yeah.

Devin Reed: There, I said it. If you're listening to this, you must think we're okay because hey, you're hanging out with us and we appreciate you. So if you're not already, make sure you subscribe on wherever it is you listen to podcasts, and make sure you follow Gong on LinkedIn, because these are going to be the two best ways to see and to know that these episodes are coming out. They're shorter, they are faster paced if you're into any of those two things. And if you're not into those two things, you should still listen anyway, because it's a lot of fun, a lot of great data. So with that, make sure you check it out this Wednesday. Jump over to the Advanced Selling Podcast and then jump back over here to Reveal to hear the data. That's it. See you there.

Sheena Badani: Yeah, see you.

Devin Reed: This week we have a huge guest, and in fact, it's actually a replay from one of our fan favorites and one of my favorite interviews as well. We have KD joining us today. And for any basketball fans, no it's not Kevin Durant, but it's another great Kevin, it's Kevin Dorsey. Kevin Dorsey is the VP of inside sales over at PatientPop. You might know him from LinkedIn, where he's been a LinkedIn Top Sales Voice multiple times I believe, definitely in 2020. He's got over 77, 000 followers on LinkedIn. He's always sharing great sales leadership tips, tactical and strategic. This is a fantastic interview and one of my favorites, because there are a couple dozen takeaways. A couple great ones is, you're going to hear how to diagnose pipeline issues using data, and if you double down on that, specifically how to use qualitative and quantitative data to really understand the art and the science of sales, and the forecast more accurately. And as Kevin calls it, the Holy Grail: how he uses the voice of the customer to learn how his customers speak and what they're truly interested in so he can help coach his managers. So with that, let's go hang out 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, it's 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 "KD" Dorsey: Yeah. So 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" face- to- face," so 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 "KD" 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, right? Help them bring in the right types of patients, then also have a better kind of office experience. Medicine is one of these industries that, for as long as it's been around, 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 there. 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, kind of like I work with the field org through my SDR. So my team's about... it's over a hundred now, and still growing. And yeah, I love what I do.

Devin Reed: Well 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 kind of 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 fuel growth today?

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: So if I look back really through my career, I think something that has helped me a lot is pattern recognition, right? Being able to look at things and pick on like, what are the patterns? What's the pattern, what does this rep do more consistently than this rep? What types of deals seem to close faster? Which ones have a higher ACV or contract value, right? And so I'd always spend time looking for those things, and it really hasn't been until I'd say the last maybe four, five years that tools started to be able to help with that, right? You used to have to go in and listen to every call. I 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. 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, right? Putting it into practice. So that's how revenue intelligence helps me scale, is 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 "KD" Dorsey: For sure. So I mean, one of my favorite books, I've posted about this a lot, is The Checklist Manifesto. I am a big believer in checklists. If it can help save people's lives in the hospital, it 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, right, we're not listening to what the prospect is saying to us. And so I'm a big believer in checklists, right? So I have a call scorecard, right? Which maps out, like here are the things that we know lead to a great discovery, and if we miss these things, we know we have a less likely chance of closing that deal. Then we also have a... call it a wrap up or 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. Right? And so we use the checklist there again as guides and reminders of, here are the small things we need to do that give us the best chance to succeed. And when we miss them, we also know what we have to do next. Right? So 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 is also where revenue intelligence starts to pull it all in. Right? 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 it 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. So those are the ways that I try to leverage reminders and checklists and guidelines of what we know lead to success, and it does, it makes a huge difference. And we know, because the rest that have the highest call scores, the reps that have the highest follow- up scores, all that, have the highest close rates and the highest revenue on the team. It's a 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? Where are reps and managers going and looking at that checklist? Tell me more about that.

Kevin "KD" 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 that 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 what they're going to be asked as well. Right? And so for my sales leaders that are listening to this too, you know right? You go in there and you say," Hey, so what's up with Super Biz?" And the rep goes," Oh, let me see," right? And like," Oh yeah. That's going 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 pipelines faster more often, right? The rep can say like," Bam, bam, bam, bam, 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," right? So it lives in Google Docs, but 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 inaudible. 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, which is, 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 Biz." 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." And is it fair to say it's kind of changed the way you coach deals to be a little more on the strategic side?

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Yeah, 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, you're like," Hey, when's 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 that we're focused on the things that are actionable, things that we can do something with, right? My team knows this and anyone that's hung out with me for enough time, I'm not very patient with conversations that aren't going anywhere. It's like," Yo, 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, already went through it 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, because 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 kind of the pattern recognition. Once you realize something's working, you build a process around it, and then scale that out to the team.

Devin Reed: How's this conversation going so far? Are we getting towards the end goal, or are we getting fluffy?

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: We're good, we're good. I'm enjoying myself right now.

Devin Reed: All right. Passed the first heat check from KD. So I think we're kind of circling around it. KD, I want to know what are those signals, right? So you said," Hey, I've got these fields, and if 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 "KD" Dorsey: So the first deal warning is problem agreements, right? 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? Refs 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 could 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? So it starts with, 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? So those I like to call the demo check- ins, right? These are the 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'll 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've got to go back and get it. So once we moved 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? So I don't want my reps... the recommendation needs to happen over the phone or over Zoom. That should not come from a proposal or an email of like," Here's what pricing's going to be." So has a recommendation been made, has a problem- based proposal been sent, and then from there it almost kind of 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 next steps? And that becomes the ongoing process that we go through.

Sheena Badani: All right, everyone. In every episode we have a data breakout, 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, and our Gong Labs data backs that up. 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 sales cycles. But here's the 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 sales cycling. Why? Because the buyer hasn't yet mentally worked through 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. Do you use the same process across the different teams that you manage? Because you said SDRs, inside sellers, some field too, right?

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: So I guess yes. Same process, different checklists if that makes sense.

Sheena Badani: Yeah, yeah.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: All right, so my STRs also have a checklist of reminders that they're supposed to go through, right? So if you can tell, I have processes that are similar, but then tailored to the role that's going. Because also by the way, the things I'm talking about, do you think I maybe also have checklists and processes for my managers?

Sheena Badani: Mm- hmm(affirmative).

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Right. I've got checklists and processes for them too. So we have this thing called the issue diagnosis chart, right? Where it's like," Okay, someone's struggling with close rate. Here are all the things you need to go look for. Right? To give them that guard rail, right? People get this wrong all the time, and it's something that's been fun watching all the content that y'all put out around like 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, need more revenue. Go get it."

Devin Reed: Right.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: 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? Where are we at?" And you're like," Oh, I found some. There's the revenue tree. I just went and picked some revenue out." You can't do it. So now people are starting to at least get a little bit more mathematical." Okay, well we need to bring our close rates up, go get it." How? 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, meaning we haven't taught them, we haven't trained them, we haven't documented it, it's inefficient? Or it's a skill problem, they're doing it but they're just bad? This is what then gives them the tools. 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 "KD" 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, where if the process is broken, the process will... you know what I mean?

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Mm-hmm(affirmative).

Devin Reed: It's like waterproof here, I love it. I'm just kind of thinking through the BPS aspect, where I have to imagine it also makes your managers, your managers and directors more efficient. I'm not wasting time-

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Oh, yeah.

Devin Reed: ...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 an hour- long call on Friday afternoon with a beer and talk about this skill, because I think your discovery might be actually a little off."

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Yeah. 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 right, so say we're using discovery, if that's where something's 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 to fix everything. They try to give too much feedback, versus okay, close rate's low. I went through my checklist. I realized 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 it. Shoot, close rate didn't still come up. We got to go to the next thing, right? And so it does, it allows them to focus on the right things. And again, this checklist that I've built, where does it come from? Facts. We know, okay, 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.

Devin Reed: Right.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: That's just patterns that you've built, right? And so that's what's fun with technology, is it's getting closer and closer to being able to 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 at people and say," Go do that thing, go do it. We figured it out already." So we'll see, we'll see.

Sheena Badani: In order to make sure that your reps are productive, that they are 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 "KD" Dorsey: So that's just when I get into math, right? So we look at revenue. Revenue, and 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 certain 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 find 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, right? 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 can match some of our coaching plans to it. So that's how I look to see if a rep's being productive is, are their 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 often times 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 right now, 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 is 30% and you only run five demos, how many deals are you going to close?

Devin Reed: Right.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: One. You can't close 1.5 deals, and it doesn't round up, so you're only going to close one with a 30% close rate on five, 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, 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, calculating over/ under.

Kevin "KD" 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. I'm not patient enough, in inaudible, and also too if you can imagine, 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've got to stay out of Vegas, man. Nothing good happens for me when I go to that city. So I'm good, I'm good.

Devin Reed: Okay. I'm with you. It sounds like maybe one day counting cards, but not betting on the Superbowl.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Exactly, right. Exactly.

Sheena Badani: I really love your scientific approach, and how you take what could be a complex or vague problem for the business or for a manager, and you break it down. You keep peeling the onion. 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 "KD" Dorsey: It helps, right? It helps speed things up, it helps give people direction, right? It can be overwhelming. It can be like, where do you start? What do you look for? And 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, right? And it makes it so this is easy to do and to go through. And sometimes people will say like," Oh why do I need a checklist," or, Oh it's elementary." It works. I don't care. It works. That's what we're here for.

Sheena Badani: Surgeons use a checklist when they're doing brain surgery.

Devin Reed: Yeah, crosstalk.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Thank you, right? And I've had this argument, it's wait okay, so a brain surgeon uses it. A jet fighter uses it. But oh, Ms. AE doesn't need to use this like 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 is no exception, because like you said, they know this process works. And if you break the pattern, you're just opening up a risk and it's unnecessary.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Right. So there's the classic story, I think it was either The Rolling Stones or AC/ DC. I can't remember which group it was. They talked about how they had these crazy backstage demands, right? Of like," I want a bowl full of just the purple M& Ms, and I want..." And it's so funny, because for the longest time that story got told in a way that made them sound neurotic, right? Like who are these stars to ask for these stupid types of things? Until it finally came out why they did it, right? They had set lists, right, that included pyrotechnics, fireworks, sparks inaudible, 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 just them 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 micromanagers, 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 can do everything right but you missed 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 "KD" Dorsey: That's that's why they did it, and that's why it was brown M& Ms one week and Skittles another week, and be different places in the set list. Because at that point, you are talking life and death. And so if the attention to detail isn't there, that was their warning sign, and they would make them all... they'd go through the entire set list again to make sure that things were accounted for. Everyone thinks they're just crazy. They were actually really smart. No, they were crazy. They were crazy and smart to be honest. 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 "KD" Dorsey: So I think there's a lot honestly, because we look at these things all the time. And I'm going to lump behavior into data a little bit here too, but like for example, when we're building our demos and our scripts and our outbound emails, things like that, something that matters a lot to me is using the language of our customers, right? Using the language of our prospects. No, 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 salespeople. We say types 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 prospects say," Oh cool. Wait really? Could you show me that again? Awesome," right? 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 the prospect, right? And so one of the things that we found for example was, we'd get way more engagement and way more I guess participation around reviews, right? When we'd 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? 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-

Devin Reed: Wow. Sure.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: But that question," How can we get this done," right? 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 okay, these specialties although we can book a lot of them, don't close. Stop it. And so what then happened 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. So there's... for days, right? 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 Brandon over at Seamless, 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. So I was like," You know what? 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 them to me. He's like," Six months? You don't get the return." I was like," You don't think that if I have a world- class salesperson for six months that I can't figure out what makes them a world- class salesperson? I can't duplicate them, but I can replicate them." You follow me here?

Devin Reed: Right.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: 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, right? So every quarter, my team, we do an exercise called Scaling Greatness, because as a leader it's always easy to focus on what's going bad. Once a quarter, I want them telling me what's going really well, 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, and so it gets me fired up. This is the world that we live in.

Devin Reed: Don't you dare apologize. No, that was phenomenal, and I'll admit 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 need be.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: 100%, 100%.

Sheena Badani: But I am guessing that without the technology, without the data analysis, you wouldn't be able to replicate that great rep in six months.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Not as easily. And this is just the side of me where you can tell I'm a little obsessive about this stuff, if I knew I had only six months of 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. But 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, is I feel like revenue intelligence truly has positively impacted my results. I don't always see it across the board, right? People have got all the tools, they've got all the things, but they're not using them the right way. They're not using it to change behavior, right? The old school saying right, 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, right? 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. There'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 "KD" 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 is great, but also as a species, it also holds us back often from as great as we can be, because we just try to find the easy way. When it's just 10% more effort we would've 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, 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 "KD" Dorsey: Right. 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 itself, enablement. People forget that enablement can be a negative term too. If you are an enabler, right, you allow people to get away with 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 this." It's good, right? And those will be the teams and the reps that win in the long run, are the ones that are good at what they do, and they're backed by technology, right? And that's the divide I see most across the industry.

Sheena Badani: Well said, 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 "KD" Dorsey: One word, sales in one word... it's psychology. Psychology, that would be my one word.

Sheena Badani: Makes sense from what I know about you and what we've been talking about. Can you elaborate a tiny bit on that?

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Oh I'd be happy to, because one word is hard. Sales at its 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 focused more on the person side of salesperson, 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 product 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 remember why 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 "KD" Dorsey: Oh yeah.

Devin Reed: KD, for folks who can't get 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 "KD" 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 AMAs, and just heavy content in on Patreon. It's called Inside Sales Excellence. I have a course on Udemy now called B2B Sales Masterclass.

Devin Reed: Nice.

Kevin "KD" Dorsey: Just trying to put it all out there for people, because I do, I believe people are hungry for... they're hungry for more of the" how," they're hungry for more of the actual tactical insights, not just kind of fluffy posts. So that's where you can find me, LinkedIn, Patreon, Live Better Sell Better, Inside Sales Excellence. Let's go baby. Good times. Good times.

Devin Reed: There we 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 "KD" 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: 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 really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews go a long way to help get the word out.

Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.

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 that point to what works and what doesn’t. Are you tracking 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.