Karl P. Knutson

Why Würth Baer needs a strong leader in the Midwest.

Many reasons...

  • 13 years at or above sales plan
  • Always employed by best in class companies...never cheapest
  • Behaves like an entrepreneur in a corporate world
  • Driven by innovation, visibility and accomplishment
  • Does NOT settle, stay under radar, or follow the pack
  • Naturally driven to make those around him better and more engaged
  • Creative, Resourceful and Unconventional

Natural Leader...

"Every job that I have had in the last 13 years, I have instantly engaged the skills and strengths of others, sought out those that wanted to succeed and those that struggle and found ways to help them and make them better without condescension.. I get excited about whatever it is I sell because I choose companies that are the best. that way, I can look my customers and fellow colleagues in the face and tell them why we are better. I draw out the best in people wherever I go and it is impossible for me to be disingenuous for my own gain. They appreciate my honest and unfiltered candor and seek me out because they know I won't sell them a bag of goods....unless they need a bag of goods."

Why Karl should be a manager despite the lack of literal title?

Because being a leader, mentor, innovator and catalyst is who I naturally am...

  • Ability to read a person, empathize, understand them quickly and determine if they are in or out.
  • Experience training and developing sales personnel at all levels through National Account and Business Development Mgr roles (Distributor/Dealer Sales, Internal Acct Mgrs, Fellow counterparts)
  • Degree in Education
  • Experience selling in virtually every environment...Deisel Repair Shop to Pharmaceutical Mfg....steel toe boots to wing tip shoes...apprentice mechanic to CEO.
  • Highest level of polish in presentation
  • Only worked for the best companies...Kenworth, Navistar, Kohler...that collect a premium just like Würth Baer Supply Company....therefore, had the best training, resources, processes. The fact that this level companies hire me speaks higher than a person with a manager title coming from cheap, commodity competitor
  • Chosen for Paccar Institute for Managerial Leadership (15 chosen globally anually) nominated by peers and chosen for innovation, use of technology where none existed, and ultimately led to being chosen to champion a sales Beta test that went on to change entire sales force structure.

Quick story that says it all...

Kohler Co put out an internal social networking site called "Yammer" and expected people to use it. In my small division, it was looked at as a waste of time, but I saw it as a chance to use the resources of the company as a whole and make new connections. I would get little jabs from peers, called me the Yammer Guy...they just did not see what I did. One day I was thinking about the differences of my company and my competitors. It dawned on me that we are a manufacturing company and my competitors were just services. I thought, "Who sells raw products to Kohler? How much do we buy? Would they also be a good target for me to sell to?"

I asked the question on Yammer and was told to talk to a gentleman in our Global Procurement Dept. I did just that. Soon, I had a list off all companies that mfg and sell to Kohler, how much we buy, and who the sales person is...Top of the list is a major Paper company that sells us 50 million in Cardboard...what do you think happens when you ask the salesperson that sells you 50Mil in product annually for help?...You became their largest, sole source vendor for rental solutions in the history of Kohler rental....and you get to laugh in the face of all the people that called you the, "Yammer guy"

So then what?

Did I milk that one acct and do nothing else? No. The head of our division called all the sales people in the country to a meeting in WI so that I can divide up the rest of the leads, tell them what I did, how I did it, and made myself available to come to their areas for ride-alongs, blitzes, etc.

What are your concerns?

Lack of HR experience? Recruiting? Hiring? Firing?

I think that putting numbers on the board and making things happen in the Midwest is the goal here. That is what I do. I can learn those others skills easily.

Here are some ideas I would pursue right away to triage the Midwest and put on path to success...

  • Quickly and dynamically assess the current situation
  • Examine Marketshare and immediate opportunities...then longer term strategy
  • Bring Sales Team together for meeting with candid discussion, break down walls, and get right to laser beam focus on immediate goals. (While observing communication, put sales people into categories based on effort, potential, performance, attitude, knowledge and determine who is worth investment in immediate energy and resources. Most bang for Buck.)
  • Begin weekly meetings sharing activities and determining who is a commodity and who is a solution seller. Also see who is willing to grow and who is not.
  • Focus on developing potential performers, maintaining and feeding the stars, and implement performance plans or exit plans for those who contribute nothing

In closing...I want to be part of this company. I want this challenge. I know that I can get to the heart of it without wasting time making spreadsheets, talking about "best practices", and "circling back" "at the end of the day"...I dont play corporate games and talk to hear myself talk. While people are paralyzed in meetings, I am out in a greasy, dirty shop somewhere in Des Moines with a sales rep making things happen. An object in motion stays in motion. You need action and action is all I know how to do.