New Ideas for Data Science
Account Intelligence 10.22.2021

New Ideas for Data Science

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In this episode of the Sunny Side Up podcast, Sam Gong dives into why we should change our ideas about data science to empower marketing, sales, and the growth of your company. Sam explains that, up to this point, data scientists have more or less lived in their bubbles because key people don’t understand just how valuable it is. Sam wants key leaders and thought movers in business development to see that using smart data can help narrow the discrepancies in the sales funnel and create more opportunities for generating revenue. His model based on a grading system uses data science to “rate” prospective leads, which allows sales to take them on more confidently, giving them back time to pursue other leads. During the episode, Sam breaks this down along with some other key reasons the best biz dev people in the world should be using data science. He wraps up with some advice to the young entrepreneur, a solid book recommendation, and a few shout-outs to industry leaders we may one day see here on Sunny Side Up.

About the Guest 

Sam Gong is a Director of Inside Sales for Adobe Experience Cloud. He is responsible for building qualified pipelines for all sales teams in the Americas. He’s worked as a solutions consultant, performance marketer, startup cofounder, and in GTM leadership roles, always aligning teams to growth. He lives with his wife and baby boy in Palo Alto, CA, and his COVID hobby has been making custom ukuleles.

Connect with Sam Gong

Key Takeaways

  • From the back to the front, you want to design your sales funnel so that it’s efficient and easier to scale.
  • It’s much easier to measure volume than efficiency, and it requires a cultural shift toward keeping an eye on data.
  • You need to be able to trust your team and see that insights are working.
  • The line of ownership between marketing and business development is rarely clear, unlike the difference between biz dev and sales, for example.
  • It’s important to always keep a curious posture. You’ll get farther if you’re always ready to learn.
  • With scalable data analytics, business development doesn’t have to be so subjective, and more confident leads can be generated, freeing up resources.


“If your pipeline isn’t built to create revenue, then stop what you’re doing. Your model is wrong.”

Highlights From the Episode

Data Science to you is?

Data science means a lot of things to a lot of people, but for us, it means: can we look at what has happened in the past and make predictions about what will happen in the future. The second part of that is drawing out findings so that they’re easy for anyone to understand. It’s about going through the insights and testing what works. Test, learn, and iterate. You need to paint the multi-year roadmap and show the small wins along the way.

How Do We Improve Qualification?

First, the Opportunity Grading Model. You need to track which parts of your sales funnel are working and respond to that. It’s a flexible model, and you can always add more criteria to it, but ultimately you’re looking for a set of predetermined factors that indicate the quality of a lead, much like beef in the supermarket. This model uses a scorecard with A, B, C, or D, and the benefit is that it brings some objectivity to the equation. Because BDRs know when they hand off an A-grade lead that it will most likely be accepted, they can devote more of their time to going out and picking up more leads.

What Personal Lessons Have You Learned?

You need to be able to listen to other perspectives. “Insane is always wrong,” I say. Getting buy-in is difficult over the long haul, so it’s critical to work on consensus building to make that growth as painless as possible. And often that work needs to be done on yourself.

I love that there are still people who are passionate about good copywriting.

Recommended Reading/Resources

I would highly recommend Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. This book describes the process of how predictions are made with data science. It also helped me realize that it’s not magic; it’s a science, and there are limits to science.


Chris Walker – CEO at Refine Labs

Sam Nelson – SDR Leader at Outreach

Becc Holland – CEO & Founder at Flip the Script

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Sunny Side Up

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