A sincere pleasure to sit down with The Transition Group’s Craig Hill, as he discusses his journey in entrepreneurship and sales. Craig covers a bit of his earlier career journey, how he grew and led the sales teams of organizations and found success in those ventures. He also covers his work as an entrepreneur and the unique challenges associated with that journey. Ultimately, it’s a good discussion on navigating the journey of sales and digital transformation. We discussed a couple of books today, linked below for your convenience.

Bob Burg – The Go-Giver: https://amzn.to/3rAnJIK
Matt Dixon – The Challenger Sale: https://amzn.to/3cnDJrj

We discussed some Donald Miller material, but what was referenced was a seminar, not a book. One book I’m reading of his that is on my reading list is Business Made Simple https://amzn.to/38pom00


Aaron Spatz  00:05

You’re listening to America’s entrepreneur, the podcast designed to educate, entertain, and inspire you in your personal professional journey. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And on the podcast, I interview entrepreneurs, industry experts, and other high achievers that detail their personal and professional journeys in business. My goal is to glean their experiences into actionable insights that you can apply to your own journey. If you’re new to the show, we’ve spoken with successful entrepreneurs, Grammy Award winning artists, best selling authors, chief executives, and other fascinating minds with unique experiences. We’ve covered topics such as how to achieve breakthrough and business, growing startups, effective leadership techniques, and much more. If you strive for continual self improvement, and enjoy fascinating and insightful conversation, if the subscribe button, you’ll love it here at America’s entrepreneur. excited to welcome our guest today we have Craig Hill joining us Craig Hill is in the Greater Fort Worth area. He’s he said, he said a pretty exciting career, a bit of an entrepreneur in terms of all the things that he’s been able to do and so most recently, is serving right now as a president of the transition group. It’s it’s it’s a project near and dear to his heart and things that he has been things that he’s been growing and companies and organizations that he’s been able to positively impact. So I’m really, really excited to talk with him about his entrepreneurial journey, his business career and all that goes into that. So, Craig, I just want to welcome you, man, thank you so much for being here this morning. Thank you, Aaron.

Craig Hill  01:38

Good to be here. Awesome. Well,

Aaron Spatz  01:40

you know, let’s let’s start with the the fun obvious question of, you know, are you originally from DFW? If not, where the heck are you originally from?

Craig Hill  01:50

No, actually, I grew up in rural Arkansas, and a small town Magnolia about 45 miles east of Texarkana. And I moved out to the Dallas Fort Worth area in 96. I got a degree from Louisiana Tech where I met my wife and she has a TCU degree. And we move forward. Got married, about 1996. So been here ever since and call it home. I’ve left for a small step and then came back. So it’s definitely feels like home. Great place to raise our kids. And so I really enjoyed it.

Aaron Spatz  02:26

Yeah. That’s, that’s awesome. So I mean, she’s doing the math. That’s that’s all that’s almost 25 years in terms of just being here. So that’s that I can’t imagine can’t imagine the growth, right, the growth that you’ve seen in Fort Worth, because Fort Worth, Fort Worth is still growing like crazy growing. But yeah, I can’t imagine just rolling back the clock 2020 or so years, and just seeing what else like what has happened, like seeing just seeing it all grow up.

Craig Hill  02:52

What’s really interesting seeing just the growth from a population standpoint, a lot of you know, a lot of the the resources and the the amenities of Fort Worth are we’re already here, obviously, with the zoo and the cultural district on the stockyards. But I can remember when we first moved here, the only thing that was kind of South Culinaria was just the mall, the mall and all of the other shopping centers and things like that were around. So it’s been interesting seeing that fill in. And then about 14 years ago, we bought land in Parker County, and we moved to Alito 12 years ago, and we’ve seen that urban sprawl and coming out this direction and seeing neighborhoods fill around. And it’s definitely been been interesting. And then just from a business climate, it’s been interesting to see a lot of the organizations that have came in and grown and sold to large organizations as well. Yeah, well,

Aaron Spatz  03:52

you I mean, you’ve you’ve, you’ve had a front row seat to that. So I mean, your your business career is taking you all over the place in terms of just your experiences and the different things you’ve been able to touch and see. And in really, I mean, really, you’ve really liked legitimately you’ve had a front row seat a lot of the stuff so like, let’s, let’s dive into that. So like you moved here to Fort Worth, take us take us on a little bit of a tour of your business career, and then I love to kind of learn where where the entrepreneurial bug kind of kind of came out.

Craig Hill  04:23

Right, I would say that I’ve always kind of had an entrepreneurial spirit. Even even in high school, I had a little one business, you know, and that’s probably similar to a lot of entrepreneurs. And then, you know, started working for a entrepreneurs in college and kind of seeing that and how that worked and enjoying working in that environment. Apologize for the disruption. No, it’s all good. It’s all good. But yes, working for entrepreneurs in college and then After college or started, my first job after college was a claims adjuster. Okay, and for Farmers Insurance and personal injury work with a lot of attorneys and enjoy that probably the first entrepreneurial bug in my professional world post college was whenever I worked for linear, and I both care at sales territory, and I started really treating that sales territory as my own business and growth and understanding the market and the competitors and how to grow that. And that led me to some success and then led me into management, you know, in that industry, and that was in that industry for 19 years. And, and probably back, I think it was around, Oh, 405. It’s going back a few years. But But I actually stepped out of working for an enterprise in that space. And it’s, it was a time in the industry, where there was some shifts in technology. And there were a lot of companies that were trying to take over managing printers and things like that. And I stepped out, started a consulting company there. And that was kind of my first experience with being self employed. You know, post graduation, post college, and it was a it was a great experience, I learned a ton. It was a it learned a lot. It was an expensive education, as well, but but it was definitely worth it. And then I entered back into the workforce and being direct contributors and managing managing teams after that. And using my knowledge, my expertise that I gained, Paul was self employed. Yeah, on that. So it’s, it’s been really good. I’ve always kind of had the entrepreneurial spirit, I’ve had partial ownership and other companies as well along the way. So yeah, it’s been really good.

Aaron Spatz  07:06

Like you’re in and I like and I appreciate you sharing it the way that you did, because I think it gives other other folks that are maybe younger, and their entrepreneurial journey, and your shoot Gregor, you’re, you’re a young dude still, but like guys that are like fresh out of fresh out of school or, or trying to just get just to get going right? Like the way the way that you laid that out in terms of you going to go to work for somebody else, you got a little creative, you decided to go do the self employed route. And then and then you jump back into back into the corporate route a little bit. And so it’s like, kind of kind of understanding how you’re able to kind of recalibrate, retool, but there’s a ton of things that you learn and I even want to go all the way back to linear group, or low sorry, linear worldwide. So you know, your, your your sales, your sales track record, there was was crazy man like you were you are crushing it in terms of the goals and and just just can you just so for those that are in sales, because I think I think a large part of what entrepreneurs do too, right? Is sales. But like, what, what for you? Do you feel like really did it for you in terms of understanding the sales journey? What like what, like what was unlocked for you mentally in terms of understanding the sales process? And in how to increase your sales? Like what what do you feel like that that was

Craig Hill  08:33

well and linear had an excellent training program, they, they trained a lot. I have weekly sales, trainings, technology trainings, really a lot of what helped me, and I’ll share it with a lot of people it’s the same way is someone else investing in me? When I had a, I had a great sales manager that would ride with me in the field several times each week, in really a lot of it in the beginning. And whenever I’m gauging sales and coaching settles, really there’s there’s a couple of things you want to track is your efficiency and your effectiveness and the efficiency and how fast you’re working and how much you’re working. And then also the effectiveness of how effective you are in the sales process and what what results are you able to produce? In the beginning, the efficiency is a lot more important than the effectiveness because you basically have to outwork what you don’t know. Right, so it kind of goes to the the old phrase, the harder I work the luckier I get. So you just have to outwork what you don’t know in the beginning, and if when you can continue that pace, and outworking what you don’t know and you’re actually increasing your effectiveness. Then you start getting the snowball and the flywheel theory To where you have exponential success.

Aaron Spatz  10:02

Interesting. Yeah. And I think that’s where everybody wants to get to right is like, okay, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got enough activity going on in my pipeline. I’ve got, you know, enough contacts, I’ve got I’ve doing all the doing all the different things right at different stages of, of, you know, of the cycle of the process, however you want to label it. And then you’re, yeah, that’s a that’s, that’s an interesting way of seeing it in terms of, you know, the, would you say, the, the, the harder I work, the luckier I get. And so it’s a yeah, that’s, that’s fascinating. So like, you’re so you’re so you went from linear, you’re, you’re doing some your own consulting work, and then you’re went back to the, into the business world. So tell me, tell me a little bit about what that what that journey was like for you. And then kind of like, just just kind of pick up a story from there and moving forward?

Craig Hill  10:50

Yeah, if you could repeat the question.

Aaron Spatz  10:52

I’m sorry. No, it’s all good. So like you had, you had jumped back into the business world after, after a stint of doing some of your own consulting work. And so just pick pick up the story for me from there. So like you’d you jump back into it was technology like managed print and Document Services? And then, and then, like, just continue the journey on from there in terms of what what you’re working on?

Craig Hill  11:16

Right. So so whenever I got back into the industry, I was helping a couple of different organizations start their managed prep practice. And, as I mentioned earlier, that was a new trend within the marketplace and a new offering within within that industry. And it’s something that I’ve worked on it while I was in my consulting company, so I was taking my expertise there, and helping grow those practices. And that was very beneficial. And, you know, it’s relationships are key in in any business. And I had a gentleman call me that I had actually bought in product and services from whenever I had my consulting company, he called me and said, Hey, I’m working over at this organization and and that was over an image net. And he said, would you want to come over and talk they’re wanting to grow their sales, their sales department? So I joined that team and, and I was there around six years, and worked my way up to Director of Sales for the Dallas Fort Worth area. Oh, wow. Okay, so

Aaron Spatz  12:24

So kind of the same thing. So like, you’re, you’re, you definitely have a talent when it comes to sales, right? Because then you come in, and you just continue to continue to grow. And you’re and you’re obviously doing, you’re obviously doing things. Right. Right. So you’re able to, you’re able to continue advance. So what was that, like, you know, you’re you’re able to come in and, again, is that it can’t just be training at this point. Like you’re you there’s something about you that like you understand what it takes to generate and close more deals. So like, what what what do you feel like that is I know, I’m probably doing a bad job asking the question, I’m just trying to understand what like, what your what your methodology is, because you’ve you’ve obviously got something figured out. Right? Right. Well,

Craig Hill  13:08

and one thing that helped me whenever I was at image net, the goal was to grow the forward market specifically, that’s where we started. And we continue to grow that a lot of it has to do with your business network, doing a lot of networking, how you and I met many years ago, and actually, we’ve met through a couple of different channels. Yeah, the business that work in your business relationships are really key, especially in especially in the Fort Worth market. And that’s something that really helped me. You know, making sure that that you nurture those business relationships, really to the point where they’re not just business relationships a longer they’re their friendships, and you nurture those and you you actually deliver on on the promises that you make, do a good job for them create value. I had a, I had a manager. Early on, actually, Alinea was a regional vice president and I remember him saying, he said relationships will get you in the door, but you still have to create value, and provide that value. And it’s just something that I never forgot. And it is something that I continually focus on, as well as to make sure that I’m nurture those relationships. Help my candidate a great book is The Go Giver, to read for that. And then, you know, continually create value and provide value for those for those relationships as well. Awesome. Yeah. And

Aaron Spatz  14:42

yeah, I mean, I think that I think the way you summed that up is really, really vivid because it is true, like if you’re in again, you it’s been you’ve been in Fort Worth for a few minutes now. So it’s like you’ve been able to, you know, learn early network and get to know a lot of different people a lot of different business It says, like you understand, you know, the local climate here. So it, it helps when you’re, when you’re working on things you do, like you’ve got, you’ve got a deeper network, that that will, they’ll actually they’ll actually answer the phone when you call, right, they’re not just gonna, they’re not just gonna kick you to voicemail or start blocking your calls. So that’s a good sign, because then it goes to your second point, which is, you know, make sure you that you’re, you’re creating value. And so it clearly that’s something you’re doing. So, you know, for those that are, maybe earlier on in their, in their journey, maybe a sales reps, right, like maybe, maybe we’re talking to some sales reps right now. So like, what, what what do you feel like, are some of the biggest things that that new, like newer people to sales need to learn or need to understand in order to be successful?

Craig Hill  15:47

You know, that’s, that’s, that’s a great question. One in the in the easy answer is work hard, and improve yourself, you know, read the books, put the hours in, put the work in. But really, it takes a mind shift, as well. And a mind shift in the mindset is part of my professional learning. Not only am I stretching myself, but I’m also looking for resources that I can help and provide value to reps that I manage, and my clients. Now, and I’m actually going through a study I made a post not too long ago, but I’m going through studying a program right now, business made simple by Donald Miller, which I’m a huge fan of Donald Miller. And it’s he’s actually part of my story and my journey. But but that is a great resource, and just knowing how to be a value driven professional, yeah, understanding what the expectations of your employer are, what those expectations are, and then also how to deliver on those above and beyond what they’re just asking. And really what they’re looking for in key employees.

Aaron Spatz  17:02

Well, you know, let’s select. I mean, you open the door, man, I got it. I got I got I got a run through this door now. So you meant you mentioned that he’s, he’s a part of your journey. I love to love to understand what like what you mean by that.

Craig Hill  17:16

Yeah, so so a lot of it was kind of divine timing, I think as well. But I went through a study of Donald Miller backing up whenever I was at image net, and I went to a conference in Aspen. And it was a technology conference. And it was really centered around and it was hosted by a print company. But in all of the breakout breakout sessions, they never talked about printers, it was all about futuristic technology, and things that you’re going to see coming into the market coming into the workplace. And really, that changed my entire perception of where technology’s going. Also, a saw a lot of consolidation in the print industry. Simply what cause print is declining. Overall. Now there’s some there’s some divisions of print, if you will, like color usage and things like that, that are they’re going up. Or at least they weren’t whenever I said that a few years ago. But it’s really changing a lot of consolidation. And it really left me questions. Is this industry something that I can stay in for a long period of time? And where is this industry actually going to go? On in where’s that going to? Where’s it going to be whenever I’m at retirement age. And about that time, I started doing a study, and I think it’s part of hero on a journey, or he wrote a mission, something like that, that Donald Miller has a program that Donald Miller has, but it was creating my life plan or creating your life plan. The whole premise behind this plan, it was not a week study, combination of video series and workbooks and exercises. It was a nine week study that I did with some other guys that I’m close friends with. And the whole premise behind it is where do you want to be when you’re 75? And break that down? And put it in reverse to today? And what do you need to change today in order to accomplish that? And a lot of the things that that came out of that really just kind of led to self employment and entrepreneurship. And that that was a major part and a major shift and in my career in a huge part of my my career change from working in the enterprise in an enterprise setting to and corporate world more to an entrepreneurial environment. Wow.

Aaron Spatz  19:59

Thanks. So thanks for sharing that. Because it’s, it’s, it’s important, I think that people have their own versions of that experience what you just described, right? Because it gives you, it gives you a long range vision, and I think it really helps put your y in into perspective, because it’s like, okay, you know, where we’re like, where do I want to be when I’m 75? Right. And like, I mean, guys, like you and I, and we, like we, we consult with, with companies and like I a lot of what I do, I’m consulting businesses on like, where they want to be right, short, like, short term compared, like, at 75 years old, but like, maybe a year, you’re 36 months from now, like where we want to be in. So it’s like, take, take kind of like that same idea for yourself in terms of like business, but then lay that on your own on your own life. Right. So it’s like, okay, well, 75, like less backwards, less backwards plan this baby, like, how do we, how do we get there? And what are the different milestones or the different things that we need to hit and see? And so, I can’t imagine that? Well, I mean, I can’t imagine because I’ve gone through version, a version of that. But it that’s, that’s a, that’s a very, like, tell me what you think of the statement. Like, for me, it was it was a bit of a it was a really emotional journey, I think like articulating, articulating like, what your, what your future could be, or what you want it to look like. And then I think it’s the idea. And I think where it gets emotional is like you’re taking what you may perceive as being a dream, or maybe even unrealistic, right at first, and then in an unpacking that backwards, and like, you know what, I’m not actually that crazy. I might be a little crazy, but I’m not that crazy. Like, what’s your thought on that?

Craig Hill  21:42

Yeah, so I think it maybe rephrase the question. Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron Spatz  21:49

No, no, just like, like, what’s, what’s your, what’s your thoughts on like, the, the emotional process of that, like was, was that an emotional journey for you in terms of like, or was it or was it pretty clinical in terms of when you’re putting that together? Like, what? What did that do to you, internally, as you were as you’re mapping that out?

Craig Hill  22:09

Okay. Yes. Thank you for rephrasing that. Yeah, I would say it’s fairly, it was fairly clinical. Yeah. You know, but I think, probably, depending on one’s personality, yeah, the approach that that process is going to be different as well. I have a high logic kind of drive in me and very kind of analytical. And sometimes that could be even to cover up the emotional portion of that as well. But, but there’s definitely some emotional elements to that, that I had to, to work through as well. You know, and a lot of it one of the exercises within that it’s kind of interesting that you bring that up is, what are the milestones? And you kind of had to create a timeline of your life and the defining moments in your life. And whether or not you have it has it has a neutral line? And then it has, is it either a positive or negative milestone within your life? Well, and it’s, it’s, you really have to look at in someone around our age, you know, mid 40s, something like that should probably have about 15 major milestones in their life. And it’s really those milestones that you can see that they’re redirected your life and kind of change your life and even change who you were, how you approach situations. And in there is an exercise that all of the negative situations that you had, if you’re holding on to that negativity, how do you release that negativity, so that you can move forward on that? So there is an emotional element to that? I think a portion of that, for me was the actually worked through that. Some of those negative issues and negative milestones rather, so yeah, yeah. It wasn’t as as much of an exercise emotionally for me as it might be for others. Sure.

Aaron Spatz  24:08

Well, no, the. So I think I think for some people, it’s just this realization, I think, and I’ve seen this with people is like, when you put the plan together, it’s like, you know, aiming for a goal, but you don’t really know, the stepping stones to get from here to there. And I think, articulating that, okay, there actually is a path to get there. And I think there’s like a bit of a relief to under like, oh my gosh, like there, there is a path there is a pathway to get there. And then on the other side, though, too. And this is probably a little bit more common. We won’t spend a lot of time talking about this, but I’ll just mention it but I think there’s a lot of times when you know how do we deal with our disappointments how do we deal with the our shortcomings and things that maybe we we were planning on and not working out the way we wanted to and like so how do we recalibrate how do we readjust and so that that can be that can be a toll and again, we’ll we’ll leave that alone because there’s a lot there’s a lot there’s a lot there. because we we all, all want that every single one of us deals with when we have goals, we achieve a lot of them, we miss some of them. And, you know, if you’re if you’re a high achieving person, which I definitely, definitely sense that you are correct, then like your your you might, you might have a tendency to beat yourself up, right, you might have a tendency to do those things. And so, and I’m speaking to myself too, in that statement, but you know, so no, I just I appreciate your sharing a little bit about that. And in fact, I think I have his book. I just, I, you said that. No, I know, I know, I have it, I know, I’ve got to render somewhere. Because I’ve been making it a point of when I’m talking to people, if they mentioned a book, I’ll jot it down as a note, and then I will pick a point to go order it within the next couple of weeks. And I’ll kind of do a book run. And then I’ll have to stop because now I’ve got a lot of reading I gotta do.

Craig Hill  25:58

By the way, my, my library on my, my bedside table is pretty large right now. I need to catch up on that.

Aaron Spatz  26:07

Okay, so Alright, so let’s, let’s, let’s dive down that rabbit trail just really, really quick. So I like I like to know your perspective, because some somebody challenged me, I can’t remember who it was. But somebody challenged me on, on the professional reading list journey. And so for a long time, I was just, I was bent on making sure I read every single book that I like, like I’ve had a list of 10 or 12, or 15, or more titles that I want to read in a given year. And, and I want to read it from cover to cover. And I’ve had and there’s somebody who pointed that out to me, he’s like, Hey, it’s okay. To it’s hard if you’re mildly OCD, but it’s okay to start the book. And if you if you get halfway or 65% of the way through that book, and you realize, Hey, I’ve either gained the major lesson learn from this that I need, or to I understand there’s not this isn’t going the direction that I thought it was gonna go, it’s okay to put it down. So like, what, what’s, what’s your approach to your professional reading list?

Craig Hill  27:09

You know, I’ve tried to get 123 key elements out of anything that I read or study. And it’s really just what are those? What are those takeaways? And the overriding theme of that, and the direction that I need to take from that? In what’s, what’s the action that I need to take for that. And I think a lot of the a lot of the books that are read, are, sometimes are very difficult, but it’s almost either like therapy or some type of group setting or anything else is you take which can you leave the rest? Yep. So So what are those key points? How, how can that make you better? How can that make someone else that you know better? And maybe that’s challenge how does it challenge you? And and how do you need to dig in? to process what’s your view the content that you’re consuming? Absolutely. And, and, and then or how can you utilize that to challenge someone else and help them become better as well. And just just kind of take what you can and leave the rest and really focus and and I would say you become A Faster Reader whenever you do that as well to where you’re not focusing on, you know, just every single word or every single and memorizing outlines or right, whatever the case might be, you know, in chapters and chapter flow. So, right, yeah,

Aaron Spatz  28:36

no, that’s cool. That’s great. So Alright, so let’s get it getting back on course a printer, appreciate you going down he is a, these are these random random rabbit holes with me so so you so take Alright, so take me through, then you’re at image net consulting, you’re doing that from the rear. So share with me kind of the rest of that journey and then catch us up to the present day.

Craig Hill  29:00

Right. What? Well, I mentioned that there was you know, I had some concerns, I guess. And there was some concern as you’re where the industry is going ImageNet was there an industry leader I mean, they were getting 3d printed 3d print and paperless environment content management applications and digital displays and really office technology as a whole. You know, they they’ve since added some managed IT services, which you’re familiar with things like that. But really, I looked at it and said, where is this going to take me long term? And I mentioned always wanting to create value for clients. So I started replicating kind of the the model that I had previously with manage print. Okay, and the idea behind the transition group was originally to help companies with technology and provide value with all these different types of technology that can help them become better and more efficient through the utilization of technology. And then there was a major shift in that I actually left and did a short term project with Johnson and Johnson, it was a global print rollout, a lot of vendor transition, vendor management, transition management through that change management from the adoption rate of new technology, things like that. And then it took kind of a major shift. And again, I feel like it’s really divine intervention, in a way because it all happened in one meeting. And I met with a friend of mine and I in a business relationship that I have known this gentleman for, for a long time. And we were we were having lunch, and he said, Craig, I’ve got some clients that need some help with some sales, would you be interested in doing that I know that you’ve, you’ve had some some sales experience in the past. And I started, just started working with those clients. And that was kind of the the foundation for the fractional VP of sales, and then outsource sales management that I’m currently doing. And it’s worked extremely well. And I’m able to provide a lot of value for my clients, we’ve seen significant growth, and all of my clients and my client locations, and it’s really a place that I can create value with them. But then also I love watching people grow personally. So being able to help those individuals come in and grow professionally and individually is something that I really enjoy seeing. So I mean, it’s worked out really well. And and it’s been it’s been great. And I look forward to a lot of success in the future. And, you know, just kind of seeing where that goes. And working the plan again, going back to the Donald Miller, but but applying that to my to my business and scaling the business and seeing where that goes. Wow.

Aaron Spatz  32:09

Well, no, I mean, so for me, it’s it’s kind of interesting to see like to see your journey now. So it’s like, because, like you mentioned, you and I met a number of years ago, when you’re principally doing a lot of like it was more technology related work. And so it’s funny to see you talking a little bit more about the sales side of things, because like, when I look at your journey and your background, like this dude is a rock star, when it comes to like the sales methodologies and a process because you, you’ve obviously got to, you’ve got to figure it out. And so it’s, it’s exciting to see you It’s exciting to see the trajectory trajectory that you’re on. Because I think that you’ve got I think, like I think you’ve got something right, like I think you’ve got something where like, okay, I can take my past experiences, package up all those lessons learned all the all the wins all these setbacks, and everything else. And now I can take that forward into whatever organization I’m serving, and I can help guide them through some maybe the initial grumpy, so are you dealing primarily are you dealing with a lot of startups? Are you dealing with small cap mid cap companies? Like what’s what’s kind of where we’re all of it? Okay, well,

Craig Hill  33:18

this is startup to small cap companies. Okay. And really all industries. So friction industry, housing industry, nonprofits, even, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of different organizations that I’ve worked with and not in all industries. And it goes back to what you’re saying, Just setting that sales methodology, and the processes in the place where you gain those efficiencies and a lot of it has to do with hiring the right individuals. And make

Aaron Spatz  33:52

sure hiring the right sales reps, right, like the people that are working your frontline sales like that, that’s your most important hire.

Craig Hill  34:00

Absolutely, absolutely. That that is very critical and not rushing into bad hiring decisions. Making sure that you find that right individual because you know, not only is there significant growth that comes from hiring the right sales rep, but then there’s also a lot of opportunity cost whenever you hire the wrong sales rep. You make a bad hire. So yeah, and a lot of times making a bad hire is a lot more costly than the benefit of hiring a good one as well. So

Aaron Spatz  34:31

yeah, man Yeah, you know, I think I think there’s probably I think you’ve got probably case study after case study on that too just just given given how much work you’ve done I’m sure I’m sure you’ve seen that I’m sure you’ve seen the effects of what of what a bath what a bad hire can do to an otherwise healthy organization and glue Yeah, wow, that’s not so let’s let’s let’s shift just ever so slightly it’s still I’m we’re still on topic here. But so talk with me and through then like the consult During the consulting side, because there’s, I think there’s a lot of people right now. And I think any you know, I think actually, you and I talked about this, when you and I met, I think we’re talking about the gig economy, right? That was one of the things that we’re talking about. And so, you know, he, I think there’s a lot more of a market right now, I think there’s not just consulting, there’s a lot of other work going on out there. And there’s, and there’s obviously a million flavors of consulting. And so, for you, like, we’re, we’re Have you seen, I’m trying to think of how to phrase this phrase as well. But like, what do you see as being some of the things that set apart? You know, I’ll use the stereotypical phrase like, you know, a good consultant versus a great consultant, like, like, Where, where, where do consultants set themselves apart? In terms of in maybe a crowded market? Like, how are? How are you able to set yourself apart from all the other sales, like sales related consultants?

Craig Hill  35:55

Right? Well, a lot of that is the value that you bring. Okay. I mean, that’s, that’s one of your one of your there. Now, something that I’ve got working for me that other consultants may have a challenge with is, is ROI. Sales is very easy sales has a clearer scoreboard on that. So it’s very easy to calculate the ROI on my consulting services with which helps a lot. You know, but there’s a, there’s a lot of other value that you can bring other than just financial, okay, is well, and always look for ways to help. You know, I hear consultants say a lot, and I hear the phrase alive. And, and the great thing about consulting is that you just tell them what they need to do, and whether they do it or not, is up to them? Well, I kind of have an issue with that that statement, and, you know, in the in the foundational, I guess, mindset, yes, that’s, that’s accurate. But I have a challenge from that. Because if I do not help them with the adoption rate of the processes and systems that we’re putting into place, and those aren’t adopted or implement, and or follow, then they’re not going to experience the value that I’m trying to bring the organization. So so it’s, I consistently try to focus on the value, and how can I read more value? You know, and another project management term is scope creep, and that may end in scope creep, for me, meaning that it’s outside of what the original scope is. But that’s okay. My business model, because I’m helping create value there. Yeah. And is continually focused on on creating value and bringing value.

Aaron Spatz  37:51

Yeah, no, I mean, I think that’s, it’s well said, it’s, it’s focused, it’s simple. It’s, you know, and I think even mentioned it a minute ago, which is it just looking for other just looking for other ways to to help and it’s still, you’re still, you’re still adding value, right? But it may be, you may have an observation about something else that’s going on, and like, hey, you know, I, I know somebody who can help you cover, you know, this need that we just that we just found, so

Craig Hill  38:15

one of my clients, that’s how I got gotten those is the other consultants were, were looking for ways to create value. And a lot of times you create value through your business relationships, and through your business network, and other resources that you can bring in as well. Wow.

Aaron Spatz  38:31

So So let’s talk a little bit more about the transition group. So like, what would have been what have been some projects you’ve got to work on? Like what, you know, if I’m, if I’m a company looking, looking to hire you like, what, what, what am I going to be paying attention to? Or how, how could you help a prospective company, but again, just kind of take us through a little bit about some of the work you’ve done?

Craig Hill  38:54

Yes. So there’s a lot that goes into setting up sales infrastructure and the processes and procedures from sales. Really, you have the the sales methodology and the sales playbook, if you will. What is the what is the sales methodology? What is the what’s the value statement? What are your mission, vision and values? What’s the what are the expectations of the sales departments, what resources you have for the sales departments? What are they need, that you may not necessarily have? And really identifying all of those elements and making sure that they’re clear and concise, to where you can provide those to a sales team and help them gain efficiency is great. I mentioned earlier, you have to outwork what you don’t know. Yeah, well, if we can increase their knowledge base, even in the industry or in the organization, then that’s going to help them be more efficient more quickly, to where or more effective more quickly to where they’re not having to work as as hard to overcome what they don’t know. So really helping with that implementations of CRMs key. And really, you know that and I mentioned adoption, right? That’s very, that’s an element of, of sales, that adoption rate is very difficult because CRMs can be very difficult to utilize and use sometimes sales reps look at them as technology that slows them down. Sometimes unneeded big brother watching. But really setting those up correctly to where you can pull data analytics, data analytics on those and do SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, find key information that’s going to help them close more business, helps with their adoption, right. And then also help with help write compensation plans is something that we do, make sure that the the sales reps are properly motivated. And then also recruit and hire and train train those sales reps as well. So there’s a lot of different elements, with different organizations there they have, they’ve already acquired or they have some of those in place. So it’s, it may take a little bit of tweaking in some areas, and then creation and others, but really helping them solidify kind of what their sales infrastructure is. Okay, and then having a plan moving for a while, and then you’re and then you’re involved in.

Aaron Spatz  41:32

So if they, if they have a team of salespeople, and you’re you’re helping, are you helping train them up? Or are you helping, like, recruit and hire those people? Like, what does that look like? Okay, so, so

Craig Hill  41:45

helping train doing a lot of individual coaching, but when we asked what are the needs individually, and then that takes time, sure, working with those individuals, as well. But doing that, but also hiring, and in recruiting and hiring sales reps as well. And then making sure again, as I mentioned earlier, making sure that those are the right hires. And it’s funny, one of my, one of my greatest success stories in a in a sales rep was he was a former client of mine, actually. And so he was former IT director, I was working with a construction client. And he had no sales experience and no construction experience as well. But working with the the organizational goals, and we identified what we felt was a reasonable target for first year sales. And I mean, this guy just came in, but he had the right personality, we test his personality made sure that you have the right personality fit for sales. He came in he’s 300% of quota in his first year. And you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, highly, highly relational, but very intelligent as well and is done an excellent job. But that’s been really, really fun to watch, watch him come in and have that success very early on. But making sure you hire those run individuals is key.

Aaron Spatz  43:14

Yeah, I mean, it’s I mean, do you care sharing a little bit about that? Like what like what is or what what you’re what you’re looking for, like what what sets people apart in terms of being good versus they’re not not that good?

Craig Hill  43:27

Well, it depends on the organization. If you have a longer sales cycle that’s highly relational, it’s going to be a completely different personality than someone that that’s going to work for an organization that is maybe door to door sales and the high, highly transactional. Gotcha. So so if you’re looking, you need to break down exactly what your organizational goals are, what the clients that they’re going to be serving and calling on actually one day and what that sales process looks like and then higher to that. But I would say that regardless, resourcefulness is something that we watch, and we use disc profiles and some of some other profiles as well. In with the DiSC Profile disc profiles, it’ll show you kind of what their driving forces are. Okay, and commanding, intentional, and resourcefulness are really high on high on the list for good salespeople.

Aaron Spatz  44:32

Interesting. So, just I appreciate you giving us a little bit of a little bit of a behind the scenes tour of kind of like how you a little bit just a sneak peek a little bit of how you how you how you operate, but it’s, you know, as we’re kind of starting to wind down here like to like to then kind of zoom back out on the whole, like on a macro level. And so, for those that are considering contemplating their own entrepreneurial journey, right like you’ve you’ve you’ve been in the Game four, for a little bit now. So what like what lessons? What, what would you like to say to those that are just getting started in their entrepreneurial ventures? Like what? What words of advice would you have for somebody who’s, who’s who’s just getting going? They’re just they’re just getting their business off the ground? Or Or? Or maybe they’re contemplating starting a business and there and going into going into that? Great question.

Craig Hill  45:23

It, you know, and I would say, and, based on our conversation today, it may have came across is, things just kind of happened. And it kind of led me to where I am. But again, it was, as far as from a business standpoint, the transition group. But I would say, have a plan, have a set plan, make sure that you have clear set, business model clear set expectations, be prepared to work really, really hard. Understand, though, that you’re not going to have all of the answers entrepreneurship is some days like, Okay, what am I going to need to deal with and how I need to pivot today to change, you know, change this. So, sure, I would say that to make sure that you have a plan, but also have flexibility. And understand that you know, that you’re going to need to pivot at times and exercise that flexibility in order to make things work. Sometimes, and then have a great group of mentors around you, as well. And enter that with internet with humbleness and, and have a group of mentors that are continually helping you improve, improve yourself, maybe another, another book, I’ll give you another book, the challenger sale. It’s one that we coached on image net, but the Challenger sale is all about challenging your clients mindset. Okay, you want your mentors doing that with you? How are they challenging your mindset? Are they pointing out the things that that you don’t necessarily see? Okay.

Aaron Spatz  47:03

Good. Make just jot jot a quick note down. So that was good. Well, no, I think it’s, I think it’s terrific. And I think, you know, as some of some of the things that are just going to take people from point A to point B, I mean, it really, it really is a lot of hard work, a lot of reflection, I think the you know, the one big thing there is having mentors, I think that I think I gets overlooked by by a lot of people. And I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and say, like, man, it has made a huge, huge difference. And so like when I when I embraced the, like, just the power of mentors is absolutely insane. Because they can, they’ve been, they’ve been, they’ve been, they’ve been in the game a little bit longer than you they’ve likely gone through the same struggles and challenges at some point in their career, right. And so they, they’ve been there. And so they can point out things to you in a in a, in a way that makes sense. And they can relate to use, I think it’s important. For me, like I’ve seen, it doesn’t matter so much the industry, like I think it does help to have somebody who understands your business pretty well. But I’ve also, I have also seen people that don’t really know your business that well also still be incredibly, incredibly helpful. And so I think, kind of like power power numbers there. So if you got three or four or five people that you can really lean on and call on on a, on a semi regular basis, I really do think it makes a huge impact. So I hope that’s a big takeaway for for people to understand. Mentors play a much bigger role. And I think even the highest achieving performers in business today, regardless of your status, or your perceived level of success, I think they all have, generally I know I’m making broad general statements here, but I think a lot of them have have definitely employed mentors, and you know, a lot of these informal channels of advice and place to have a discussion, right.

Craig Hill  49:05

Right. And different areas, different area. So you have different types of counselors, they can help relationally and then help you professionally and then help you from a business standpoint, you’re an employee in your individual industry and your specific industry. So it’s, I try and have a good board of mentors and almost my private board, if you will, absolutely. They’re always kind of up to me on the forehead and telling me how I can improve you know, and also sharing the weights, ways that I’m that I’m actually succeeding and the things that I need to you know, to continue doing. Successful. Yep.

Aaron Spatz  49:46

100% That’s what the that’s what, that’s what good mentors are there for and so it’s great. It’s great that you’ve been able to be able to enjoy that those relationships because I think I think they’re key and they follow you for a very, very, very long time. And so I think I think it’s pretty awesome. So but but Craig No, I just I really I just want to thank you. This has been such a blast. I’ve loved hearing your journey. Before we go there, how can people get in touch with you? What’s what’s the best way for someone, someone to reach out to you?

Craig Hill  50:15

On the web, the transition group dotnet.

Aaron Spatz  50:18

Craig, again, it’s been it’s been a sincere pleasure. I really I do I really appreciate you sharing, sharing a little bit about your journey and some of the some of the some of the obstacles and some of the things that you’ve that you’ve done and things that you’ve learned and the impact that you’re making. So I really, really do appreciate you taking some time with me this morning. Thank you.

Craig Hill  50:34

Thank you. Appreciate it.

Aaron Spatz  50:39

Thanks for listening to America’s entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course, you can write me directly at Erin at Bold media.us That’s a Ron at Bold media.us Till next time

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