Goodheart-Willcox is a company that provides instruction materials for career and technical education – an industry with 3 million job openings that can’t be filled due to the lack of trained professionals. Wow. Want to make a $100,000, invest the time to become a welder. Who knew?
My talk with Jim Walsh, Director of Sales for G-W, was inspiring. Be on the lookout for this up and coming company providing high value to the education space.
One of the traits that really shone through in my talk with Jim is his passion for education and keeping kids in school. He is absolutely committed to making sure our kids have the right text books and digital learning tools available to them. Good guy to know and good company to follow.
Jim’s been with G-W 18 years, having started in the Field Sales ranks and progressing into his role now as Director. He’s seen some tremendous changes in his business. Here are a few.
Dionne: What does your sales team look like now in 2015?
Jim: We have an outside sales team and an inside sales team. We started our Inside Sales team 3 years ago, about the same time I attended my first AA-ISP Summit in Chicago. Back in the day, we could sell in person by walking right into the school, shop class, etc. Due to unfortunate incidents, the schools have rightly so taken some great proactive measures to keep our students safe. However, it also locks out our Field Reps. Knowing we needed to still service our customers, our Inside Sales team was born.
Dionne: How is that going?
Jim: I’m pleased to report that our Inside Sales team carries the same quota as our Outside team. And our customers are happy to buy the materials they need remotely. In fact, I closed the largest sale for our company last fiscal year remotely.
Dionne: How have you been able to get your team up to speed so quickly?
Jim: Great question. When my VP of Sales dropped off the information for the AA-ISP Leadership Summit three years ago, I did not want to go. It was bad timing. Our fiscal year ends in April and of course, that brings reviews, numbers, planning for next year, etc. Boy, am I thrilled and blessed to have gone.
Dionne: What are the top 3 take aways that were so impactful?
Jim: The research. Back in 2012, I attended a lot of the sessions that talked about the rise of Inside Sales and their research was all data driven. It really helped me and my management team back at G-W make sound decisions. Networking. I’ve been able to meet folks and build a network of colleagues and peers that we can bounce ideas off one another. Which is super helpful as Inside Sales/Sales is so muti-faceted. Lastly, the exhibitor area is very important as you get to see solutions that actually work, can help expand your team and increase success.
Dionne: What do you see on the horizon for your Sales team?
Jim: We’re going the route most organizations are going and starting to specialize. Education is not a fast moving industry, so we tweak a lot of the best practices for our industry and customers. That being said, Sales Role Specialization still works for us and we’ll be looking to expand our team here shortly. It’s all about focus, focus, focus.
Dionne: What do you see on the horizon for your customers?
Jim: We’ve implemented digital educational tools our customers leverage in addition to hard copy text books. I see blended learning continuing to take off and we are poised to help our customer and prospects succeed in educating our students now and well into the future.