HOP Nation Podcast – Episode 18 – Dan Weinfurter

Dan Weinfurter is a builder of businesses. As an author, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur, he brings more than 25 years of wisdom and experience creating successful companies with him wherever he goes – from lectern to board room. Dan excels at helping companies achieve more rapid organizational growth by focusing on improving the sales process. He firmly believes that investing time and effort to improving effectiveness by recruiting the right people for critical roles, and coaching a superior team that is aligned, engaged, and committed to success will pay big dividends. As the founder and CEO of three private equity-backed businesses, Dan has provided consulting and interim management to a variety of startups and large public companies. His favorite phrase is “grow or die.”

Dan Weinfurter is currently a Director for Mentor Group UK, running all North American operations. Mentor is a global technology-enabled services firm that delivers solutions that produce dramatic improvements in sales productivity and revenue growth. We do this through a DNA/Blueprint methodology that reviews, designs and integrates technology, process and people solutions within the leadership, enablement, sales, operations and marketing communities of our clients. The result across these foundational areas of a business are productivity gains that are measurable, sustainable and exponential.

Prior to running Mentor Group UK, Dan was the Founder and CEO of GrowthPlay, LLC, an integrated sales effectiveness services business. GrowthPlay grew rapidly from start-up in 2014 to 140 people in six physical offices by 2017. The company provides a holistic suite of sales effectiveness solutions that helped their clients deliver more consistent execution of the business strategy at the point of sale. GrowthPlay’s rapid growth catapulted the Company to be ranked #22 on the 2017 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies, and the company achieved the #1 overall ranking in the Business Products and Services category the same year.

Prior to forming GrowthPlay, Dan was the co-founder and CEO of Capital H Group, LLC. He formed the company after founding and launching Parson Group, LLC, an international firm that focused on providing consulting services for the finance, accounting and business systems areas of large organizations. Parson Group grew rapidly from its start-up in 1995 to be ranked #1 on the Inc. Magazine 500 in October of 2000. Before forming Parson Group, Dan was the number two executive for Alternative Resources Corporation (ARC). He joined ARC during his second year of business as head of field sales and operations, and was responsible for organic expansion that grew revenues from less than $3 million dollars in 1989 to over $100 million in 1994. ARC became a public company in May 1994 and became the 2nd best-performing IPO on NASDAQ for that year.

Dan started his career at General Electric, where he entered the sales training program after graduating from college in 1979. During his eight years with GE, he served in a variety of sales and management roles in four different US cities.

Dan received a BS and MBA from Marquette University. He has served as Director of Brill Street + Company, Direct Fit Inc., TalentDrive, Corporate Technology Communications, ThermoFluids, Inc. and CPRi. Dan was also the Chairman of the President’s Advisory Council for the YWCA of Chicago and a mentor with the Clinton Foundation’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

His book, Second Stage Entrepreneurship: Ten Proven Strategies for Driving Aggressive Growth is a useful guide for any entrepreneur making the transition from start-up to sustainable growth. It was published in late 2013 by Macmillan/Palgrave.

3:14 – Founder’s Story
Started at GE out of college; paper route; bookstore job; “how do you help people get what they want”; student of driving organic growth

5:20 – Organic revenue growth
Taking a company from $3M to $100M; learning from things that go sideways; “falling down the stairs”

7:15 – Driving growth under private equity
Getting needed capital to a business to allow investment ahead of revenue to drive rapid growth; clock starts when you get PE funding and time is not your friend; move quickly and productively to ensure return; management needs to focus to push curve as high as possible; EBIDTA is output, need to manage inputs

12:15 – Dan’s book “Second Stage Entrepreneurship”; Scaling
Principles responsible for growth; some business get stuck in transition first stage to second stage; controlling everything is a death knell for entrepreneurs trying to grow/scale a business; started writing in 2012, published in 2013

14:30 – Human scalability
Course for Kellogg School of Business – Human Capital and Enterprise Scaling; academia usually informs practice – but this is different

17:40 – Working with Mentor Group
Sales productivity improvement for business-to-business selling; setting up presence in North America; financial sponsor business; virtual training and social selling

22:30 – What does sales/training look like, post-Covid?
100% virtual training, as opposed to 30%; North Americans have short memories; sales roles now to bizdev reps; more meeting done virtually

30:26 – High-performance habits
Seeks balance, but prioritizes; exercise; reading and knowledge; staying connected to family, friends, and colleagues in a personal way

34:20 – Final thoughts
Amid pandemic, stay positive; do your best given the circumstances; those businesses who figured out how to invest in their companies in difficult times, come out on the other side in better shape; view it as an opportunity

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