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A CEO’s Story of Change


Once upon a time…


Once upon a time in the Land of Manufacturing worked as a CEO, Charlie Wilson. He as the CEO of Big Blue Widgets.  The most successful Widget maker in all the Land.

Charlie worked hard developing a strong brand that represented the highest quality widgets in the Land of Manufacturing. Big Blue Widgets enjoyed little competition.

The company and all the stakeholders enjoyed great success for decades because of the sustainable competitive advantage of the Big Blue Widget company!

Every day Charlies’ sales team traveled throughout the Land of Manufacturing.  The sales team would fill their mornings with demonstrations, and write orders in the afternoon.  After all, how could the buyers go wrong with Big Blue Widget? Everyone knew their widgets were great.

Until one day when a few Large Widget Buyers had a big widget problem that Big Blue Widgets could not solve, nor had they had anticipated.

The Big Blue Widget sales team did not know what to do.  After all, the sales team’s mission was about presenting the widgets in the way the Big Blue super-smart widget engineers had designed.

Because of that problem at the Large Widget Buyers, they did something new.  They started to look outside the Land of Manufacturing for a solution.

There in fact were other widget solution providers in the nearby Land of Solution.  No one ventured there because the travel had been so difficult and expensive.  There was a new path between the Lands, so the Large Widget Buyers started to gather more data and information.

So, the salespeople from the Land of Solution started having sales calls with the Large Widget Buyers to gain a better understanding of their new prospect’s challenges.  It turned out that the Large Widget Buyers did not all have the same problems.

The salespeople from the Land of Solutions had many types of standard Widgets. But they had something better, the ability to sell consultatively or ask enough questions of the Large Widget Buyers to uncover real problems. This allowed the Land of Solutions salespeople to find an effective solution from their own Line Card, and occasionally bring back a new problem to their super-smart engineers.

Because of that group of salespeople from the Land of Solutions, revenue at Big Blue Widgets started to decline each month.

You see, it was not just the Large Widget Buyers, but all the Widget Buyers in the Land of Manufacturing who needed help.

This troubled Charlie Wilson very much.  The Board of Directors demanded action.  Charlie called his Sales Leadership team together to demand answers.  They have been selling Widgets for years and years.  How could our sales team be losing?

Because of that the Sales Leadership Big Blue Widgets suggested discounts and more calls.  Sell More Widgets to win a trip to the Land of Oceanfront Resorts!  This will motivate the team.

Charlie learned that the salespeople from the Land of Solutions were actually selling widgets at a higher price with a greater margin.  How could this be?

Charlie was concerned, worried, and frustrated with his Sales Organization. He knew that more calls and contests would not save his job as CEO or the company he built!  Big Blue Widgets was losing market share.  This could not continue.

Until finally, Charlie Wilson bumped into a friend at the CEO Club, Beatrice Baxter.  Charlie knew Beatrice for 20 years.  Beatrice was the CEO of Best Ball Bearings, Inc.

Beatrice noticed Charlie was upset and asked, “What’s the trouble, Charlie?”  Charlie shared his situation, “…and we are losing market share, revenue is down, and profit is way down because the sales team is discounting out of desperation…I just don’t know what to do Beatrice”

Beatrice sat back in her big CEO chair, took a long pull on her cigar, looked Charlie in the eye, and asked if she could speak candidly.  Of course, Charlie said.

Beatrice started with, “Things have changed, Charlie and Big Blue Widgets haven’t.”

It sounds like your sales organization has not adapted to the market changes.  Your salespeople operate like the Buyers need them; and Charlie I am sorry, but your salespeople suck!  I know because we hired one a few years ago before we figured out our problem.

Beatrice handed Charlie a business card.  Call this company, SalesQB.  They will guide you through a process to transform your sales organization from top to bottom. They helped us!

And ever since then Big Blue Widgets grew, and grew; gaining back market share because Charlie Wilson changed the Strategy.  The sales function and the engagement with the customers is focused on a solution, not the brand, or the widget.

The Big Blue Widget sales teams are not order takers and relationship managers any longer.  The Salespeople learned to create value.  Most of the Widget Buyers were willing to pay a little more for real value.

The moral of the story is salespeople do not sell widgets, even when they do.  They sell solutions that allow the customer to believe in a future that is better.

Thank you for indulging me in this Pixar Story format.  Many CEOs need to look closely at their sales organization for reasons like Charlie’s, yet they just are not sure how or where to find guidance that is third party and effective.

Our approach is different than a consultant who creates a big binder of information, makes a presentation, and leaves.  We help you evaluate the situation, share the reasons for the issues with the sales organization and provide a plan to fix the problems, and….roll up our sleeves and get to work executing!!

Our niche is the Mid-Market Company in the manufacturing space, perhaps you have multiple channels, a sales team of 5 to 50 and revenue between $10mm to $75mm.



If you want to be ready for the next economic downturn or you are like Charlie and are serious about growing your business today, maybe we can help.

Is your sales team able to pivot?  Please send us an Email. We don’t need the whole story, just put Solutions in the subject line.

You can click here, and we will make it easy to schedule the time. The goal is to ask each other some questions and determine if there might be a fit; not to sell something. Contact us for help!


Would you like to learn more about understanding your sales organization? Click here.

Would you like to see how salespeople score in each of the 21 sales core competencies?  Click here.

Maybe you are hiring salespeople and would like to learn about a tool that is predictive of sales success.  Click here.


With 30+ years of experience in business development, sales coaching, and sales management positions, Walter has gained deep understanding of, and rare insight into managing and implementing a sales process. His unique, best-in-class sales assessment tools and CRM software have proven to be exactly what businesses need to transform their sales team and process.

You owe it to yourself and your sales team to find out how Helix Sales Development can transform your business. Schedule a call today, and discover a renewed sense of potential for your business.