Moving the Needle

A case study with Wilcox & Associates, LLC in the value of rethinking strategic processes.
Nov 1, 2016
Tammy Davis
Steve Vorderman

When Jim Wilcox founded Wilcox & Associates two years ago, the company primarily focused on teaching Sandler Training® methods for improving sales outcomes. As his customer base grew, Wilcox quickly discovered that their needs go beyond sales training. Applying Sandler principles, Wilcox expanded his offering to address development and execution in four key areas: strategy, structure, staff and skills.

“To call us sales trainers is really a disservice,” Wilcox explains. “We go deep into the organizations we serve. Those four S-areas have become the core of our business.”

Today, Wilcox & Associates helps transform companies and individuals to raise their benchmark for success. The Sandler principles Wilcox incorporates foster an attitude of leadership rather than overemphasizing technique, and reinforcement training facilitates the development of new behaviors to improve outcomes. Wilcox describes the ideal client for these services as one who is “willing to step outside the comfort zone to grow and achieve different results.”

The 4-S Model

The 4-S model allows Wilcox & Associates to impact the entire organization, not just the sales function. Each area can be addressed autonomously or in combination, depending on the needs of the organization. Strategy discussions often revolve around not only how to develop the company’s leadership or a particular discipline, but they also include dialogue about what type of business to pursue. Early in the process, Wilcox and his team use discovery sessions to identify an ideal customer profile for the companies they work with. According to Wilcox, “There are prospects that companies should not pursue. They just aren’t a good fit—or profitable—to the organization.”

When addressing Structure, Wilcox looks to design repeatable processes so the client organization can scale and grow. He commonly uses mapping techniques to identify flow and bottlenecks and then suggests improvements. It isn’t out of the ordinary for Wilcox to help a client completely redesign a process in order to realize significant gains in productivity. For example, the work Wilcox & Associates did with a client in Goshen identified that individual salespeople were selling to groups of people making decisions. Because the process could not be effectively scaled, success was limited by each salesperson’s capacity. After working with Wilcox, the company restructured the entire sales team away from the one-to-many model and moved to enterprise selling, leading to greater gains.

Although Wilcox & Associates does not handle the recruiting function itself, it does participate meaningfully in the hiring process through the Staff component of the 4-S model. A proprietary Total Hiring Tool adds to the process by templating certain aspects such as Candidate Profile. In addition, it assesses talent for organizational and functional fit and assist with onboarding. According to Wilcox, the Staff component is becoming more and more critical to organizations. “Most companies can’t afford to make many bad hiring decisions,” he says. “The cost of a bad hire is astronomical.”

Finally, the Skills component ties it all together with formal training. Wilcox & Associates handles everything from executive coaching to customer care to the Sandler Management and Sales training on which the company was originally founded. Wilcox offers both classroom training and personal sessions, depending on the nature of the relationship. 

Collectively, the components of the 4-S model share a common denominator: an intent to challenge the status quo. Wilcox clients who engage in any or all of the four areas not only capitalize on successes, but also—and perhaps more importantly—learn how to grow from failure. 

Case Study

Background: JH Specialty, a Fort Wayne business that specializes in marketing, websites, events, and promotional product fulfillment, has engaged the services of Wilcox & Associates in several of the 4-S areas: management training and sales training (Skills), Strategy, and Structure. The company initially signed on to receive Sandler Sales Training and over time has extended the relationship to include other areas. 

At issue: As a growing company with a burgeoning salesforce, JH Specialty found it increasingly difficult to ensure consistency of message when training team members. In addition, the company needed a way to empower the team and boost their productivity while reinforcing morale.

Finding a solution: JH founder John Henry III was drawn to Wilcox & Associates because “Jim has ‘walked a mile in our shoes’ and has real-world experience in the field.” In addition, notes Henry, “Jim and his team are skilled and knowledgeable. The Sandler approach helps empower people to be their best selves, not just the best salesperson.”

Results: After working with Wilcox & Associates for sales training, Henry reports that JH Specialty has become more efficient in the sales process. He explains, “The Sandler approach allows us to understand a prospect’s needs and wants in a timely fashion and ultimately understand his budget. This allows us to qualify an opportunity out of the gate so we don’t waste time on unrealistic expectations.” Henry adds, “Our people have learned a lot about themselves through the training provided at Wilcox & Associates. A part of the process is understanding who you are, what your communication style is, and what makes you tick. The bottom line is that our organization is better because of the training we have received from Jim and Wilcox & Associates.”

Moving forward: Since initially engaging in sales training, JH Specialty has continued to avail itself of the services of Wilcox & Associates. Most recently, Wilcox led the JH team in an exercise to identify the company’s ideal customer, which it now uses to prospect and qualify opportunities. Based on his experience, Henry actively recommends Wilcox & Associates to others.

Results like those of JH Specialty fuel Wilcox’s passion for the business and allow him to continue to build out the 4-S model. Like his clients, Wilcox has found success by challenging the status quo and continuing to look for new opportunities. “I love helping companies grow and transform,” says Wilcox. “In order to get a different result, you have to try something outside your comfort zone.”

Wilcox & Associates, LLC, Sandler Training

Owner(s): Jim Wilcox

Address: 8211 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite 309 Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804

Phone: (574) 320-7360



Years in Business: 2

Number of Employees: 3

Products & Services: Sales, managment, customer services training and business consulting

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