Craig Wortmann

Three-Time CEO, Clinical Professor and Author
Craig Wortmann
  • Entrepreneur and CEO with over 20 years of sales experience
  • Professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, rated by Inc. Magazine as one of the “Top Ten” courses in the country
  • Helps companies fine tune their leadership and leverage the power of storytelling in sales

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As Founder and CEO of Sales Engine, Craig and his team help firms build and tune their sales engine. Craig’s firm works with teams all over the world to develop their knowledge, skill and discipline, and translate those key assets into higher performance.

As a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Craig designed, developed, and teaches the award-winning course called Entrepreneurial Selling, recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the “Top Ten” courses in the country. He also teaches Building the New Venture and a course on leadership called Personal Leadership Insights for the executive education program. He is the recipient of the 2012 Faculty Excellence Award for teaching. In his capacity with Booth, Craig travels the globe teaching and motivating leaders, business executives, and alumni about the nuances and core competencies of each of his classes.

Craig is also the author of What’s Your Story? a book that looks at how leaders and sales professionals use stories to connect, inspire, and overachieve. In his book, Craig demonstrates the powerful impact stories have on the three most common performance challenges – leadership, strategic selling, and motivation. 

Craig has been a sales person and entrepreneur for more than 20 years. He spent his first year in sales being trained by IBM Corporation in the classical selling style and was the #2 performer in his year-long sales school class. Post-IBM, Craig covered three-quarters of the country selling to large retailers for a division of Dean Witter. After earning his MBA from Kellogg, Craig joined a midsize consulting firm called the Forum Corporation and quickly became the firm’s new product launch and client recovery specialist. 

In 2000, Craig was recruited to join a start-up company called WisdomTools as its CEO. Craig ran and grew WisdomTools and then successfully sold the company to a larger firm in 2008.

After founding Sales Engine, the venture backer’s of ClearGauge, an interactive marketing and web strategy firm recruited Craig to become the CEO. Craig executed a turnaround of ClearGauge by immediately building a sales engine and developing a new web presence as well as cutting significant costs. He then sold the company at a high valuation to a much larger agency.

From $250,000 computer systems to $1,500,000 consulting projects and from $20 books to entire companies, Craig has been a consistent high-performer selling products and services across the B2B and B2C spectrum.

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The power of story. The Power of Story keynote speech helps leaders enhance their leadership performance by looking at their everyday communications differently. Using a series of powerful stories, anecdotes, visual examples and his story tools, Craig describes unique challenges we face trying to communicate effectively and demonstrates how leaders create strong connections with people and with the organization's strategy. He discusses the importance of capturing and telling the right kinds of stories and why stories are the most effective method for enhancing performance.

Stories and motivation. The Stories and Motivation keynote speech looks at how leaders of all levels motivate and inspire those around them. This keynote can be quite a ride, as Craig shares different kinds of stories and examples of what causes people to become motivated and how great leaders inspire. This multimedia keynote demonstrates the true power of the human element of storytelling.

Stories and coaching. Stories and coaching... are you picking up on a theme? In this keynote, Craig looks at the usual ways we coach people and he helps leaders change their perspective on why coaching can be such a challenge. He looks at coaching from the perspective of the person receiving the coaching, and in this way helps leaders truly understand their challenge. The keynote then explores how to build stronger connections with people in order to open up more possibilities for coaching and building skill.

Stories and selling. The Stories and Selling keynote speech looks at how sales professionals differentiate themselves through stories. Craig calls on his days as an IBM salesperson to outline the new challenges that salespeople face, and how they can cut through all of the "noise in the channel." With plenty of stories and humor, Craig helps sales professionals distinguish themselves by going beyond "features and benefits" to build stronger relationships with clients.

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