Kevin “KD” Dorsey (VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop) and I discuss how to improve inside sales performance and why taking responsibility for investing in our own sales-education has been key to our success.
Andy Paul: Kevin Dorsey, welcome to the show.
Kevin Dorsey: Okay. I’m excited to be here, Andy. It’s a long time coming.
Andy Paul: It’s a long time coming and I’m looking forward to it as well. So yeah. Where are you? Uh, sheltering in place these days?
Kevin Dorsey: So I am holed up in Marina Del Rey, California with my wife, two daughters and rescue pit bull, penny pickles.
Andy Paul: Betty pickles. Isn’t that? A rug rats.
Kevin Dorsey: So it’s pretty close. I mean, pickles, Tommy pickles. I don’t know if there was a penny in there. Actually. I have to go and look
Andy Paul: just, maybe it’s just the Tommy pickles that I’m picking up on. So yeah. You, you, uh, met my producer, Alec. Who’s also my son and, uh, okay. Alex, you can chime in here. Didn’t you used to follow the Rugrats back in the day.
Kevin Dorsey: for sure.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And what was the other one? Doug?
Kevin Dorsey: Doug was a classic. Right? What else is a real man bringing it way back now for sure. I was, I was a Scooby doo kid though. Like that was, that was my big one. Rugrats was fine, but like Scooby doo is like my go to.
Andy Paul: Okay. Yeah. Oh God Scooby doo. I, that was past my time, but, uh, I’m trying to think cartoons. Well, we had, when I was a kid, we had the mighty mouse. We had all this superhero. Yeah. Once what? So. Huckleberry hound. Yeah. Anyway, we don’t need to go down those roads. So, uh, So one thing I wanted to talk about just sort of off the bat is you and I are, are, uh, I’m in alignment in this topic.
And it’s fun to see as is so on your lead sentence, on your LinkedIn profile is a quote from Jim Roan. Yeah. The famous business thinker. You say formal education will make you a living. Self-education we’ll make you a fortune. Now that, that mirrors one of my favorites, right? My absolute favorite Jim Rohn quote, which is very similar, which is income seldom exceeds personal development.
Kevin Dorsey: Absolutely.
Andy Paul: And so what, what’s the value of that quote for you? How has that inspired you?
Kevin Dorsey: Um, I mean it inspired. It inspires me because it really, that quote really did, I think, make a shift in my life because it is so true. Or then you can wait to learn things. You can wait to experience things where you can learn from someone who’s already learned it and already experienced it. And you know, that’s something I’ve talked to people about all the time.
Like why take 10 years to get good at something. If you can learn from someone who was good at it for 10 years, Right. And so the fact that we were talking about a little bit before him, that you can take a book from someone who has years of experience has gone through all the ups and downs, the failures and all that.
And you can learn their best stuff in five, six hours, like, and why it makes you a fortune is cause it never depreciates, right? Like you get to keep that knowledge. I think very few of us actually remember much of what we were taught growing up. Okay, because someone else did it, that formal education, it’s what you learn on your own that sticks with you.
And I think that’s where the real value comes.
Andy Paul: Well, and this is for me, this is more important than ever because interestingly, just about an hour ago, I got it. Call first time I had spoken with this person and nearly 40 years, this was my first loss in sales. And yeah, he had, he had just retired from a long career in sales with HP Compaq and so on.
And, um, yeah, so we hadn’t talked in all this time, but one of the things we did coming back to was that we were the beneficiaries because we met working for a big computer company of, of sort of this formal training as just a base. But Mmm. That it was still up to us from that point forward through our experience, reading books, listening to tapes and so on too.
Yeah. So really fill out that again, that, that base of experience and knowledge we got in the training. And yet it seems to be a really high hurdle for many sellers to get across. And I don’t, this is not a, it doesn’t have to a generational issue. This has been an issue that’s existed forever. Right? As, as you can sort of look at the top salespeople and the top performers and say, Yeah, these are the ones that are the most curious.
They’re the ones that are investing in themselves.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah, well, it’s interesting because I think one of the reasons why I think that’s so prevalent in sales is because of one of the lies that’s been told about sales for so long that salespeople are natural salespeople. Okay. And because.
Andy Paul: sales person in the world.
Kevin Dorsey: Oh, I’m right there with you. Right. But then that’s also why people like us will search out improvements.
In knowledge, if you’ve been told you’re a natural, if you’ve been told, Hey, you’re really good at sales, you should go do it. It plants the seed that you don’t have to get better. It plants this idea that you already have what it takes to be in sales. Even what we tell people about sales, right? Like if you just put in the work, you’ll get the reward, the harder you work, the more you’ll make.
And it’s not always actually that true. Cause if you’re bad, the harder you work doesn’t mean you make more. But that lie has been told for so long that salespeople are natural. That I think it almost steers them away from seeking out new knowledge. They feel like they’ve already got it.
Andy Paul: Kruger effect that Dunning and Kruger came up with 20 years ago, which is yeah. Especially prevalent. I think in sales, as you get yeah. You get that sort of first early success and you think, yeah, I know what I’m doing.
Kevin Dorsey: I got this.
Andy Paul: right. I got this. And then to your point, if, especially if they’ve been told that there are over natural at it is stop learning.
What’s my incentive to learn. If I know everything.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah, it’s unfortunate.
Andy Paul: yeah. So how do we sort of change that? Because it seems like a lot of that’s coming away with coming from, in some part in the way we, we hire people the way the descriptions we’ll use. You know that for me, the S yeah. I hate the word Hunter when it comes to Oh, sales.
Okay. Mmm. For somewhat the same reason, because really what you’re saying is, look, we’re gonna hire somebody based on the, their personality as opposed to what we think they can actually do for us.
Kevin Dorsey: No, absolutely. It starts in hiring and it’s something that I look for. Right? Like I look for people that are already trying to develop themselves really in any category, even if they’re not trying to develop themselves in sales yet I look for people that are trying to learn anything. Right. Cause most people stop trying to learn anything once formal education stops, right?
Like they just stop trying to learn. And so I L I screamed for that in hiring because also too, and we might get into this. I think most people actually have the characteristics of a great salesperson wrong. Like, if you, if you, you know, like people, what makes a great salesperson, Oh, like gritty, confident, tenacious, you know, um, outgoing, extroverted, strong personality, a talker, right?
Like, but if you actually look at what most of the best salespeople are, They actually carry themselves with a quiet confidence. They’re great listeners. They’re very empathetic. They’re incredibly curious and they’re detail oriented, right? Like people don’t talk about that in the sales hiring process.
Right? So your early word Hunter gritty would, was people get twisted by the way. Grit is just another way to say stubborn. And so we wonder why salespeople are so hard to manage. We’ve been building, we’ve been building this culture of hard to manage people because we look for grit. If you took that word to resiliency, right?
Able to bounce back from challenging things, that’s different than grit. And so I think people get the hiring wrong, which then starts this Dunning Kruger, right? We got the wrong people in the rep role, which then often leads to the wrong people in the leadership role. And now we’ve got the industry and the place that it’s in right now,
Andy Paul: Yeah. And I’ve, I’ve written about this again recently. I said, yeah, what’s the one question that, you know, you’re Meyer will never ask you. Yeah. The one question I was going to ask you is, Hey, could you be more salesy?
Kevin Dorsey: Huh.
Andy Paul: Right. I mean, none of that ever asked me to be more salesy. Yep. This is seemingly the prototype that not only did we hire too, but then we train too. I mean, it’s it’s and we’re going to jump into this in just a second. So I want to finish up on this last sort of point we started on is so how do we encourage people? How do we help people change behaviors? Have the motivation two. Assume the mantle of responsibility for their own development, because yeah, there’s not a lot of training that goes on or substantive training or valuable training or training that they retain, um, for sellers because they have to serve this as you’ve done, you know, you’ve got, we logged on.
That’s giving you a hard time about the stack of books behind you saying you were showing off, but, but yeah, you’ve read them. So how do we get. Somebody to say, look, I’m going to turn off the TV for an hour tonight and just read this, this book on sales are mindset or buyer psychology or whatever.
Kevin Dorsey: Well me mean the first is they need examples of people that are. Right. Like if they don’t have someone to look up to, that’s encouraging them to do it. It’s really hard. And like, I mean, this is why the self development industry even exists is because most people actually don’t seek these things out.
Human beings generally are relatively complacent to stay the way that they are. And so, you know, you said the word, most sales reps, you know, again, it starts from the top. If they weren’t trained now you would think intuitively, Oh, I wasn’t trained. I’ll go seek it out. But really what that implies is that training and education isn’t important because otherwise they would have taught me right.
Otherwise they would have handed me this book. And so my teams know this, my managers know this, like I give them books to read, I’m sharing what I’m learning from the books that I’m going through. Right. There’s mandatory readings for my managers and for my reps. And so they see it from the top down. And I think that helps establish like, Oh, this is what I should be doing.
Because if you know, if the reader, if the leaders don’t read, why would the people under them read. Right. If the leaders aren’t sharing what they’re learning, why would the people under them think that’s how it needs to be? And so I think it starts with people like you and people like me showing people, this is the way to do it.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I agree. I agree. And so we have that issue still and we’ll take it up a level. Why aren’t more managers. Okay. More curious. Why aren’t they more interested in developing them people? Okay. The surf reflects even in the way that we, we supposedly coach sellers these days is. Yeah. The, the term was originated and meant to be applied as, you know, how do we develop our sellers is individuals, but the way it’s used today, it’s primarily to, how do we help close this deal?
Kevin Dorsey: No, but you mentioned it too, is the managers, if the managers weren’t coached, right? So sometimes you know, people in life, it goes one or two ways. If you weren’t given something, do you tend to not give it to somebody else? Right. They give you work, coach, you tend to not coach one. You don’t know how you didn’t have an example, but two, you just don’t think about it.
I think one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about coaching is because I didn’t get it. Like, I want it to succeed so badly, but had to figure it out on my own that now that I’m in a position to lead, it’s like, I want to just try to share that as much as I can, because I know how desperately I would have loved to have had that when I was coming up in the game.
But very few people teach their managers how to coach. Like we spend just as much, most of my time coaching now isn’t on the rep level. Cause that’s my manager’s job. I’m coaching my managers on how to be coaches.
Andy Paul: So here’s, here’s my big question of the week. I’ve been toying around with interest in here and it’s it’s yeah. Somewhat unrealistic. Yeah. But yeah, it’s for the purpose of discussion is so we spent $20 billion a year in the U S on sales training every year of which approximately 5%. Goes to training managers.
Okay. So what do you think would happen to sales results and sales performance? If we flip that on its head and spent 19 billion of that, Mmm. Training our managers, how to manage and coach performance and spent the rest on training sellers.
Kevin Dorsey: I mean, we’d see a massive shift. We’d see a massive shift because also too, you know, the training industry, we also know that very little of the training is ever retained. And it’s not retained because there’s no repetition and there’s no repetitions because the managers aren’t bought into it. And the managers aren’t bought into it because they weren’t the ones delivering the coaching and the training. And so if we flipped that in the managers were getting trained on great methodologies and the managers were getting trade on great psychology and influence, and then also how to be good teachers. So about two years ago, I made a big shift in a lot of my reading to be on the science of learning, because I was like, why?
Like, why are people still not doing what they could or what they should? I was like, well, maybe they’re just actually not learning it. Like maybe the way I’m teaching it as wrong, maybe the way my managers are teaching. So I spend a lot of time learning about learning and that. Oh, I love range. I think range speaks to me personally.
I’m like all the different things that I’ve done. Right. And all the different industries and it starts to come together. Right. But like reading things like the talent code, the science of accelerated learning, make it stick, not made to stick, make it stick, like learning how people actually retain information, because what’s actually interesting.
We’ve been taught our whole lives, but we were never taught how to learn. We were never taught how to actually learn what it means to be a good learner. And so I try to employ a lot of that with my managers and with our onboarding is to do it in a way that people can learn. But then that way the repetition comes from the managers.
The managers are in there every single day, following up on the training, following up on the coaching. Right. So I start with my managers and then to the reps, not the other way around.
Andy Paul: Okay. Yeah. And I, I think one way to serve, put this in perspective, for sure, for people. I want to ask you this question. Cause I was just having this conversation with somebody. Mmm. Is so where did you learn how to sell? Who taught you? Right. You’d you’ve referred to it before, as you didn’t really have the training, but even people have training.
I mean, I look at my own experience and I, so I went to work out of college for a huge company, right. 10 weeks of classroom training the first year, uh, on the job. And yeah, I would put that as last on my list of where I learned how to sell. Yeah. I learned from experiencing like, and my customers first. So am I losses?
Second self-education third, my peers fourth and fifth was the formal training.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah. I mean, I, jeez, if I look at my background and career, I had a stroke. I had no sales manager in college when I started selling. Right. It was like doing door to door and insurance. Right. Like there was no manager, so there was no support there at all. I got a strong mentor in like when I was, I was running some gyms in Los Angeles and I had a mentor there that had a sales background.
So he got me, like, he started me into like selling, right. Actually understanding like the tips of the trade and things like that. Then after that, like again, I never really had a boss. In fact, more often I got moved into the boss role very quickly. And so. Most of it was learning from customers, like actually paying attention to data, which a lot of salespeople aren’t very good at like sales people love the number one.
If it works once, Oh, I got this magic line, like, Oh, I know it worked. I got this magic line that will handle that objection. But the flip side is also true. You teach them something and it doesn’t work once. Oh, that script was garbage is garbage. It doesn’t work. Like they don’t pay attention to the actual results of what they’re doing.
And so I really did. I was split testing scripts. I was split testing emails out, split testing, everything long before like big data, little data became like a thing. So, you know, learning from customers first and then a lot of self-education and you know, we’re, we’re joking about books a little bit, but.
You know, very few people, especially sales, people read, even fewer people actually finish the books and even fewer people actually do anything with what they read. Okay. Whereas if you go and do that self-education and then actually do it and test the results, you can learn so much so quickly.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, I mean, there should be a point as to why you’re reading a purpose for why you’re reading the books. Right? It’s it’s one thing to say, yeah, I’m gonna read this book and know it’s in my field. I’m sort of interested in it, but if you didn’t learn anything from it now, maybe you wasted your time and if you did learn something from it to your point, go try it. I think that when I talk about it also with learning from customers is that if you actually pay attention to your customers, oftentimes they’ll teach you how to sell to them. And for me, this was, this was crucial early in my career when I was selling some, uh, yeah. Moderate sized systems. Yeah. Today’s dollars, you know, half a million dollar type systems that, that, uh, the customer pretty much walk me through it.
Right. If I was screwing up, they’d correct me. I made one kind I’ve written about before that he was going to give me the order, but he maybe jump through hoops. He made me understand what’s really important. Um, in terms of listening, in terms of connection, building the relationship building trust have learned anywhere else.
Kevin Dorsey: Well, it’s funny. I was talking about this and I’ve really been starting to bring this up a lot on webinars and conferences I’m at, which is WW YCS. What would your customers say? Okay. Salespeople, especially now, like, you know, going back a little bit, there was more account management within the sales role for a long time before it’s like over specialized.
Now that it’s so specialized. Salespeople hardly ever talk to customers. We only talked to prospects. We never talked to customers which causes us to do things that our prospects can’t stand or don’t understand because we don’t approach them the way we should, because we don’t know what customers actually think.
Right. So I tell people you got, if you’re new to sales or you’re in a new industry, or even if you’re not new to sales and you’ve just never done this, you need to go talk to 30, 40 customers and ask them, why did you buy. What does our product do for you? How do you describe our product to your friends?
What were you afraid of before buying our product? What’s your favorite part of our product? And what’s changed the most since you bought our product. If you went asked 30, 40 customers, those questions, your scripts would be better. Your voicemails would be better. Your demo would be better. Your email would be better.
Everything would be better. But sales people don’t talk to customers. We only talk to prospects.
Andy Paul: it’s such a great observation. And I think back to my own experience about. What I learned from talking to the customers that I would have missed out on completely. It had a huge impact on how I sold, which was, and I learned this lesson several times early on in my career as well. We’re selling a computer system to. Good size home builder. And as far an accounting application. Yeah. And we had, wow. Jump through hoops to demonstrate every single accounting package you had in depth, yada yada, yada it’s long put out a, after talking to all the vendors, they narrowed it down to final three, send out an RFP P huge compliance matrix and RF, which we diligently filled out. And then six months after they started implementation. Yeah. Rebecca several times before that. But yeah, I was walking through the office and talking to the one operating the computer and it was, you know, so what are you doing? Oh, we’re just doing billing. wait, wait. We demonstrated every package under the sun for you.
So, and so she goes, yeah, but we only need this to do billing. That’s what’s paying for it. And an every day major opportunity I’ve worked on my life. Sold closed hundreds of millions dollars with us. Large systems is that there was always that one thing. But if you never went back and talked to the customer, you’d never know that there was always just that one thing.
Kevin Dorsey: no, absolutely. That’s, it’s huge. And knowing the, those things is so important. Also sales people are listening. You also need to understand people only buy for two to three reasons and justify with one to two more. They don’t buy for 17 reasons. So, so stop showing them 17 different reasons why they should buy, find out what matters to good discovery and focus there, who sales reps across this country right now are losing deals over pieces of their product that the prospect didn’t even care about.
Andy Paul: hasn’t carried out. Absolutely. What’s. That’s why, when I, I teach, discover, I talk about, you’re finding the one thing, right? You got to find that one thing on one person who, who cares the most about that one thing. Yeah. And that’s your ticket to getting the order? always, there’s always one thing.
And your job as a sales person to find out what that one thing is.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah, for sure. Like it can be simpler, not necessarily easy, but it can be simpler than most salespeople make it. And it makes things way harder on them than it needs to be.
Andy Paul: Well, but you’re sort of touching on a, a watch word or an expression. My first, my hiring boss, the boss that hired me, uh, told me the start of selling. I’d been out. Yeah. Pounding my head, making sure 30, 40 cold calls a day in person, you know, walking business parks door to door, selling computer systems.
And he, he said selling is really quite simple. It’s not easy. Okay. But it’s really pretty simple. Yeah. Yeah. I think you hit it right on the head with that.
Kevin Dorsey: Sure.
Andy Paul: So you have alluded to specialized sales roles, which we’ve seen as the growth of a lot over the last 10, 15 years. So let me ask you a question about yeah.
Why haven’t we specialized management roles in the same way. Yeah, we’re still, to my way of, of looking at an analyzing it is based on my experiences. We’re still fundamentally managing sales the way we did about a hundred years ago. You’ve made all this progress on the seller side with specialized roles.
But yeah, we still look to the KD as being yeah. That heroic figure that knows everything, right. He’s an expert on performance and managing coaching performance is an expert on mindset, expert, all these things. That’s just him possible for one person to embody. And yet when we looked at other sort of performance based professions, like professional sports, and you look how they staff their coaching staff, these days it’s full of specialists. Why haven’t we gone specialized on the management side.
Kevin Dorsey: Man it’s it’s, this is funny that you bring this up because this is something I’ve been playing with, um, mentally, and also like I’ve kind of mapped out a little bit along these lines of,
Andy Paul: me too. Trust me.
Kevin Dorsey: so this is so it’s actually funny. You’re the first person that’s really like, I think approach this with me. So we’ll, we’ll dive into it.
I agree. First of all of that. Every manager tends to have something they are better at than the other managers, especially if you’re building a good diverse team. Right? So like when I’m hiring and I’m looking at managers or directors, I want people that compliment me. I don’t want them to be like me because one, you only handle so much me.
I’m a bit of a handful, but two, if we have the same strengths in the same weaknesses, They only get amplified. Right. And so it’s interesting. I, um, last year, at one point we’re trying to hire an ag manager and it came down to two phenomenal candidates. Like one of the hardest hiring decisions I’m actually had to make in a while.
Like I had one spot and they were both great. And I was sitting, I was like, which one do I pick? Right. Like, I don’t have a reason. Either way. And I went with the one who is the most different from the managers we had. I was like, you know what, I know what I’m going to get with this manager. I think I know what I’ll get with this manager.
And it’s different. And I went the different route and it was exactly what we should have done. It was the right hire. She’s been amazing. And it’s had an incredible impact on our team. But what I’ve been playing with to your other question is if I have a team of 40. And that’s, you know, five managers with seven to eight each, instead of trying to find five world-class managers.
What if I had three world-class managers and three coaches under them?
Andy Paul: That’s where I’m heading. That’s where I’m
Kevin Dorsey: That’s that specialized in prospecting, closing. And like mindset and wellness
Andy Paul: Yeah, for example, right.
Kevin Dorsey: and budgetary wise, it’s actually a easy swap. I think it gives the reps more of what they actually need because a manager with 10 reps can only do so much coaching per rep. But if I have someone whose full time job it is to do coaching. Thinking get way more. So I’m I’m with you and I’m dabbling. I’m playing around with how I could potentially make something like that work, because I think it gives you the best of both worlds.
Andy Paul: All right. We’ll have to, I keep talking about that because that’s, that’s a huge passion project of mine. I think that, yeah, I serve someone or summarize in saying, you look at the way we manage sales is, is the only message you can really take away from it. Is that. In leadership positions, whether it’s the C suite or the executive sales leadership position that, Hey, they don’t understand performance and be as is.
They really don’t fundamentally care about it because they not prepared to invest in them. And as evidenced by the fact, again, we’ve fundamentally managed sales, the same we’ve done. I said, Radical changes on the selling side. Yeah. We still set her manage in a very archaic fashion. And I, I, you know, people try to understand, I give them the example of, of what I’m talking about.
If I don’t know if you ever watched the show, billions,
Kevin Dorsey: I’m familiar with it. I haven’t watched it. No,
Andy Paul: what about hedge fund and so on, but one of their key employees is an on-staff psychiatrist.
Kevin Dorsey: right?
Andy Paul: the sellers get into a slump, they go visit Wendy. I mean, it’s like, yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Why aren’t we doing something like that?
Kevin Dorsey: I have, I have looked into having a full time or on call, like therapists hypnotherapists from my team. Because of how much of an impact it had on my life in terms of confidence and stress relief and, you know, undoing the baggage of growing up, that we all carry around and pretend we don’t have, but we all do like as why wouldn’t die, right?
Like if I swapped out and you’ll budget wise, one SDR for a full time onsite therapist, what I see the return on that. Absolutely. Absolutely like, no, no, no doubt.
Andy Paul: Yeah. It’s a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. I mean, and so we. We have this issue with, you know, with all this incredible technology to use, to, to help our sellers potentially get better. But yeah, the missing link is we don’t know how to coach them and we don’t have people that really understand that.
Instead, what we’re saying is let’s go throw money at sales training, all the zone, $19 billion a year on sales training. That’s your point is quickly forgotten, not retained, and doesn’t move the needle.
Kevin Dorsey: Well, and what’s interesting there too. And like, I’ve seen that stat and study, but as a sales leader who talks to a lot of other sales leaders, I’m like, where is this $19 billion going?
Andy Paul: And the answer is yes.
Kevin Dorsey: Like, I don’t know, like where is it going? Because I don’t, I know very, very few teams that I think heavily invest in sales training. I know some of like the bigger corporations do, and I know that’s where a decent amount of that goes, but where is it going? And who’s tracking whether it’s working because this $19 billion.
Doesn’t seem to be having the ROI we want, considering that quota attainment by reps has dropped by 40% over the cross five years.
Andy Paul: Right. Well, clearly it’s not
Kevin Dorsey: Like who’s tracking this shit, right? Who’s in charge of this 19 billion because I’ll sign up, I’ll take some of that 19 billion.
Andy Paul: well, but, and some of it’s just wasted, right? Sure. Let’s, let’s bring in the sales training company for a day. And Dan now run people through. It’s not like content does bad as to your point before is we’re trying to do, I teach people in a way that’s ineffective.
Kevin Dorsey: Right,
Andy Paul: re no retention. It’s this is the point I was trying to make the. A sales trainer who got really mad at me because said, your training doesn’t work. Okay. And yeah, yeah. Somebody went to your training class and like called me up and said, can you come teach us how to sell? And it’s not, there wasn’t any value in what they’re learning, the way it was taught. There was no retention
Kevin Dorsey: Right.
Andy Paul: and it doesn’t really help them in yeah. Sort of game time situations. So as it’s like, Yeah, we just cool people do that all the time to hire people like me to come in and talk at a sales kickoff.
Me and that counts as training.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah.
Andy Paul: the kickoff at a brand name company. Okay. Tech company. And I said, you, I’m not going to bid on this unless you agree that we’re going to follow on activities. Yeah, that we’re going to have yeah. Uh, monthly and quarterly reinforcement webinars and so on and reinforce the points we talked about with your sales team.
Okay. And they said, sure, sure, sure, sure, sure. And then they never did them.
Kevin Dorsey: That’s crazy. That’s just crazy.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And they paid a lot of money for it. So sir, last topic it’s aligned with, what we’ve been talking about is, cause you talked about rep performance and. There’s a bigger topic of productivity in sales. And one is, is I don’t, I don’t think we define productivity the right way.
I mean, I define productivity the way it kind of misdefined productivity, a rate of output per unit of input. Okay. Mmm Hmm. But in sales people tend to look up productivity as well. How many calls did I make? So to me, it’s like timelines to improve. We have to improve productivity and, and performance art goes along with it.
Yeah. I just wonder whether he, or completely focused on the wrong things like quota, for instance, those quotas still have value. If so few people are making it.
Kevin Dorsey: Oh boy. So there’s a few things to unpack there, right? Like quotas, quotas have value, but many people don’t set the right quotas. Right, because what’s also happened over the past, you know, five, really 10 years, especially like how much more like VC money has been thrown in to the world. So there’s this additional pressure to go hit numbers that aren’t feasible or possible to go hit.
Right. And so to the question there, right? Like productivity, the efficiency and attainment, it does all come down to numbers. And this is where a lot of people like they’ll build plans or build quotas that are mathematically impossible to hit. But then on the same side, people will push back and say, Oh, well, it’s not about, it’s not about activity.
It’s about the end result, which is true. But also there’s math that leads into that end result. Right. Right. Like if I know my connect rate is 7% and my conversion rate is 35% and my close rate is 42%. And my show rate is 80. I can map out what I need to do to get to that goal. And so where I’ve approached this in a lot of ways is when it comes to like the rep data day.
I’m not, I’m not actually, I don’t know if product, maybe I look at this the wrong way or have a different definition. I don’t look at productivity. I look at efficiency. If you’re going to work for eight hours, how much can we get done in those eight hours? Right. So it’s not dialing for dialing sake. It’s not like, Oh, you have to make 50 calls because you know what?
You might be able to get your goal off 30 calls. But if you’re working for eight hours, that just also means you’re being inefficient. If you’re only getting. 30 calls done in that day. Does that make sense? So I look at it on both sides is like, what, what do we need to get there? Just numerically, what do we need?
But then also if we’re structuring our days properly and working the right way, how much can we get done in a day?
Andy Paul: So I look at it differently. So why don’t get productivity is, is fundamentally. Yeah. Just like we measure it in the economy at large is, is in the case of sales. It’s how many dollars of revenue can I generate per hour of selling time? Now, if I know that then I can calculate a capacity for the organization, because I know how many hours I have of selling time and it’s not gonna be eight.
That’s gonna be whatever. Okay. Our status was three or four hours per day. Okay. But it gives me more information to work with and saying, what are the levers I can pull to increase? I’m not going to worry about the number of hours available to work. Initially, I’m just going to work on how can I make it this person more effective to generate more dollars of revenue per hour. And so I, I start managing teams this way back. Okay. 30 years ago. Yeah. Where we collected every hour that a sales engineer, a seller it’s spent on presale, whatever inside sales. And I knew exactly how many hours has taken me to close certain amount of revenue. Now, knowing that what that factor is, I can say, okay, well, based on that and based on the staff and so on, this is my theoretical capacity right now.
But to your point earlier is know, people are saying their capacity is I’ve got 10 sellers at this quota, young, a factor a little bit. That’s my, that’s my capacity potential capacity. And it’s just not the case.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah, no, I,
Andy Paul: the trouble with quota. And the reason I asked the of question about that is that, Hey, is no one’s making it.
So it’s sort of useless regardless of whether swing set fairly or not. But the second part is, is I don’t know if you’ve heard of Goodhart’s law,
Kevin Dorsey: um, I have not. I’m excited to learn though.
Andy Paul: okay. So I think it was Charles Goodhart. I think it was his first name, but he was a bridge economists and he. Came up with this theory that he proved out.
Um, okay. Said that when a, a, uh, target becomes a goal, I have make sure I got this right. Yeah. Excuse me. What a goal becomes a target. It loses all value as a, as a goal. But basically what it’s saying is people optimize their processes to try to achieve the targets. And instead of saying, look, I could, I could do so much more.
Right. They’re aiming at this artificial target and optimizing their processes for that. And, and I think that’s a problem. We start having sales is what if people weren’t aiming at that, but target once sort of getting the self fulfilling prophecy going
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah. It’s, it’s very interesting because one it’s one of the reasons why I don’t like floors on commission plans because it changes what people are looking at for that target, because most of them start to look at the bottom, like, let me make sure I’m safe. And so to your point, exactly, they start looking at the bottom is now the target at least got to get to that.
And that’s what they start to mess with. But to further go to your point, which is with quotas and commissions, like, like it’s not, it’s not working all these comp plans. They’re like, Oh, look at all these juicy accelerators looking at how much money you can make. If you can get to here, it’s not motivating sellers to go get to it.
It does, like, they’re not, they’re not getting their, like, all these comp plans are built in a way for overperformance when half of the team isn’t even getting to performance. So fundamentally it’s broken and people are afraid to admit it. It’s still just this, like here’s was always very funny to me.
Right? A lot of people believe salespeople are coin operated. Right? You’ve heard that before sales people are coin operated. Well, here’s what a lot of people seem to forget. How does a coin operated machine work? You have to put the money in first to get what she wants. Right? I can’t walk up.
Andy Paul: what they’d say, base salary as far, right?
Kevin Dorsey: Right.
But that’s not what coin operated means. Right? KU coin operating. Oh, they’re coin operated. You give them money. They produce. Well, so then why don’t we give salespeople money to produce? I can’t walk up to a gumball machine and turn the knob, get the gum, and then put the money in. But that’s how we treat.
That’s how we treat salespeople go perform. And we’ll give you your coin. And that actually goes against almost all studies done on motivation and productivity is when monetary value gets put on a cognitive task, not a manual task, cognitive task. Creativity goes down. Problem solving goes down, empathy goes down, EPQ goes down.
The ability to learn goes down, but that’s how we pay our sales people.
Andy Paul: Yeah. It relates to good hearts law, which I. I completely screwed up when I was telling you before it. Yeah. The law is when a measure becomes a target, it loses all
Kevin Dorsey: Ah, okay, there we go.
Andy Paul: Yeah. It’s the end of the day on Friday.
Kevin Dorsey: I hear ya. I hear ya.
Andy Paul: But yeah, when a measure becomes a target, it loses all value as a measure, which is you think about that’s exactly right. So. Well it’s so yeah. What you’re talking about, the system being broken. Yeah. Reminds me of this from Edward Deming, you know, the famous quality control, continuous quality improvement guy back from the fifties and sixties. And I just read this quote again recently this week, he said every system has perfectly designed to get the results.
Yes. And I think this was, this is where we’re stuck and say holes, right? We’ve designed these systems that are designed to suboptimally produce.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah, and what’s hard. And this is coming from, you know, a leader in the position is because it’s so rampant. Industry-wide, it’s almost like you’re not allowed to change it. Right? Like I’ve brought these ideas up, but do you think I can walk up to my CFO tomorrow and be like, yo, like, I don’t want to pay my salespeople commission.
I want to pay them full OTE. Maybe like, what are you talking about? Right. Like, I don’t think they should have, you know, a quota plan. I think it should just be straightforward, what they need to produce to keep their, their jobs. Just like every other job. No, we won’t do that. Like it’s so rampant that even someone like me, quote unquote in a position of power, I can’t make those changes.
Even if I want it to.
Andy Paul: Yeah, well, that’s, that’s the problem. As we talked about before it was alluding to before us, we’re just stuck and no one seems to know care enough. They want to change it.
Kevin Dorsey: Okay.
Andy Paul: SAS business in general, I look at it from my perspective, my experience selling again, different type products, but it’s selling quite a lot of it.
I couldn’t have existed on a 20% win rate.
Kevin Dorsey: Oh, right.
Andy Paul: just couldn’t have, I, I, I would have failed and yet we’ve institutionalized that we set up the whole system, so it creates that. And so that’s not good. How do we change that?
Kevin Dorsey: So it starts, it’s going, the people that are starting to understand this, that the numbers are starting to grow. And they’re starting to get into the VP level and the exact level. And we’re, we’re going to be that next round of executives. We’re going to be those next rounds of people starting to run companies.
And I think that’s when it starts to shift, right. There’s been a long time gap between the called the top and the people coming up. In terms of the environment that they grew up selling in the environment that they gave up with the technological landscape, like it’s going to be this next round, coming up and starts to make some of these changes because we have to, right.
I love the point that you made around like a system and Dunning was the art of scientific management as that Dunning, or is that someone else.
Andy Paul: no, I think that’s someone else. This is,
Kevin Dorsey: All right. Okay. So the system, right? Like people aren’t willing to admit that it’s not working, we’ve specialized and results have gone down and no one wants to admit it.
Andy Paul: well, we’ve applied all this technology and results have gone down.
Kevin Dorsey: Right. We have all this technology, we’ve got all that we’ve specialized, which is supposed to make it go up and it’s not, but we’re just going to do, and the solution now in the sales of it, we’ll just do more of it. Just get more tools, do more, you know what? Now we need specialization, you know, we need left-handed salespeople and right-handed salespeople.
Let’s specialize. Like, you know, it’s, I think in the next, I mean, it has to happen. Otherwise it just all falls apart. But in the next four to five years, as the exec level starts to change and the startup level starts to change a little bit. If I think when you start to see these things start to happen, because there are people out there that are starting to get this and understand this, we just need to get to that next level to be able to make those changes.
Andy Paul: Yeah, well, I’m trying to foment that change here on the. Program as witnessed by the questions. Cause that’s like, it has to change
Kevin Dorsey: It has to
Andy Paul: there was a great, sorry I heard, uh, on a podcast this week, Dan Heath, who’s written this book upstream, which is that very interesting book, then a little reading and talking about problem solving for systems and yeah.
Sort of this apocryphal tale about. Two. Okay. Young men are swimming in a river and they see yeah. A young baby floating by. And so one goes in and gets tons since the water and brings the baby outside of sun in shore and, and suddenly, yeah, two more babies float by and the guy goes back in and it gets to two more.
Okay. And soon as he gets some shore, yeah, two more float by and his friend. It takes off running yeah. Upstream. And he goes, where are you going? We’ve got these babies. I want to go upstream and see who’s throwing these babies on the water. And yeah, that’s sort of this year we have, as, you know, we have to go upstream on this problem and it really starts to point.
We’re just talking. It starts at the top know until the C level starts caring about performance and productivity. And I was willing to commit to changing how we train people, how we hire people. How are you treat management? How we invest in our management to make this happen? Specialized roles of management, so on, yeah, we’re, we’re fighting uphill.
Kevin Dorsey: I do have to say this, you know, real quick, too, as a small caveat, I can empathize also with the C suite cause who taught them. Where where’s the school for CEOs,
Andy Paul: Sure.
Kevin Dorsey: you know, like we invest $19 billion into sales training. How many billion dollars do we invest into startup CEO training.
Andy Paul: Well, but the 20 billion is not just startups. That’s all us
Kevin Dorsey: Right. That’s all in, right. I’m saying across the board.
Andy Paul: But that’s problem extends for companies of all types. It’s not just startups. I mean,
Kevin Dorsey: Oh for sure.
Andy Paul: Yeah. When you’re in the startup world, I came from the startup world. Do we see this more acutely? But yeah, let’s not kid ourselves.
It’s every company is confronting these issues.
Kevin Dorsey: Yeah, for sure.
Andy Paul: Yeah. All right. Well, Katie, it’s been a pleasure. The chat with you,
Kevin Dorsey: No, this is fun, man. We’ll have to do this again.
Andy Paul: anytime, anytime, believe me, we’ll start working through that pile of books behind you. We’ll talk about those as well, so
Kevin Dorsey: Love it.
Andy Paul: it. Okay. So if people wanted to connect with you, how can they do that?
Kevin Dorsey: Uh, you can find me on LinkedIn, Kevin Dorsey. Um, I don’t have any of the other social channels like Twitter gram or snap or any of that. So find me on LinkedIn. I try to post there regularly and respond back to questions and comments. So look me up.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I can second that it’s a great follow follow Kevin. So, alright Katie. Thanks a lot.
Kevin Dorsey: Awesome. Thanks man.