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Caring for the "Person" in "Salesperson": Why Sleep Matters for Sales Leaders

Focus on process over outcomes is a sales leadership superpower. VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop Kevin "KD" Dorsey knows that process starts with sleep.
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Kevin Dorsey, VP of Inside Sales, PatientPop

In this week's episode of the Rise Science Podcast, I interviewed Kevin “KD” Dorsey, VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop. KD is known for his human-centered approach to sales and leadership, an approach rooted in his years spent running personal training studios in LA. In helping people reach their fitness goals, KD found himself grappling with how to change people’s behaviors for the better. This question would eventually lead him into the world of sales. 

Habit-centric leadership philosophy

People often tell me: you can’t change behavior. You just can’t. Behavior is too hard to change.

This is not true for KD, who agrees that behavior change can be hard but not impossible.  

You absolutely can change someone's behavior, but most leaders don't even try anymore. -KD

While many leaders believe they can just hire “the right” person for the role, KD thinks this view is short-sighted. Leaders build successful teams by helping people improve their habits. It is incumbent on leaders to figure out how to help that person improve.

Principle #1: you can help people improve their habits; you can coach people through behavior change to success.  

To this end, KD tells his sales managers to be positively unrelenting when it comes to coaching their teams.

Positively unrelenting doesn't mean you're only giving positive feedback. You're positively unrelenting trying to change behavior. But if someone needs to have negative feedback delivered, it's delivered, and very directly. -KD

This orientation around behaviors extends to his philosophy on sales, which is all about celebrating the process, rather than fixating on the outcomes or results. To KD, “celebrating the process” is a virtue of his organization - it determines how people behave, while values determine what people believe. 

For sales leaders looking to adopt a habit-centric management approach, KD recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the behavior I want my team to do?
  2. Why do I want it?
  3. What are the smallest steps I can create to help my team on that journey?

Principle #2: Start small - “laughably small” - when it comes to behavior change. 

Don't try to get a rep to go from 22 dials a day to 50. Try 24. Then 26. You'll be at 50 in a sustainable way before you know it. 

KD believes that focusing on behaviors and processes also gives a useful perspective to sales leaders who are coaching their team during a pandemic - when the results might not be a reliable indicator of how well your team is performing.

Focusing on the person in salesperson

When sales leaders  show care for their team it lays the foundation for a strong culture. Teams with strong cultures are more resilient and can tackle greater challenges.  

Since every person needs sleep, KD counts on Rise to help his team sleep better. KD knows  team sleep is his responsibility as a sales leader. Indirect care - from HR or another part of your organization - is simply not as meaningful, he insists, as when it comes directly from your team leader.  

You can’t outsource relationships and you can’t outsource trust. That’s what KD means when he talks about focusing on the “person” in “salesperson.” As a leader, he wants his team to be the best that they can be - to live better, have more energy, have more joy and have more fulfillment. That’s why, in caring for the “person” in “salesperson”, KD turned to Rise.

[Rise] takes care of my people and that's what matters right now. It shouldn't even just matter right now. That's just what matters. -KD

KD’s performance tip

Five minutes of intention is better than an hour of attention. -KD

Leaders are busy people, jumping from one meeting to the next. Hopping from call to call according to tightly packed schedules, reminders and alarms.

But leaders are also human - with imperfect memory and dips in energy or productivity. 

That’s why KD’s tip for high-performance is: Act with intention.  

One way KD ensures he acts with intention is to schedule his meetings 10 minutes apart. This gives him just enough time to set his intention for the next meeting.  

Acting with intention, he says, improves your results, your fulfillment, your joy and even your sleep.  

That's my intention with sleep. It's to recover and refresh, not just go to sleep. Just having that intention before going to bed at night improves my sleep. -KD

And with Rise, sleeping intentionally becomes a habit.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Rise Science Podcast here.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can find us here.


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About Rise
Rise is the only app that unlocks the real-world benefits of better sleep.

Instead of just promising a better night, we use 100 years of sleep science to help you pay down sleep debt and take advantage of your circadian rhythm to be your best.

Over the past decade, we've helped professional athletes, startups, and Fortune 500s improve their sleep to measurably win more in the real-world scenarios that matter most.

Rise Science is backed by True Ventures, Freestyle Capital, and High Alpha; investors behind category winners Fitbit, Peloton, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.


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