Jun 15 • 3 min read
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Christopher Wallace, MBA ’10 | Managing Director, GrowthPlay

Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.

“Sales teams often aren’t aligned with their organization’s strategy,” says Fox School alumnus Chris Wallace, managing director of GrowthPlay. In his recent Harvard Business Review article, co-written with author and Harvard Business School lecturer Frank Cespedes, Wallace discusses how organizations typically spend three times more on sales than advertising. Yet these companies deliver, on average, 50-60 percent of the revenue predicted in sales forecasts. An edited version of the old John Wanamaker quote is applicable: “Half the money I spend on sales is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” (Wanamaker’s original quote was: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted…”)

Throughout his career, Wallace has dedicated time, effort, and brainpower to solving unique sales effectiveness challenges like this one. This is still true in his role at GrowthPlay, where he partners with clients to drive revenue growth and elevate selling from a transaction to a value-added experience.

Recently, GrowthPlay conducted a study of over 700 sales professionals, middle managers, and senior executives to determine why organizations aren’t getting the return they expect from sales. The study concluded the problem occurs due to misalignment with communication, perception, awareness, sales team organization, processes, and other factors that hinder reps’ ability to deliver value to customers. It isn’t as simple as “our people can’t sell,” which is a trap many companies fall into. The findings prove that even in the digital age, sales remain a people-centric discipline.

Wallace’s passion for sales force effectiveness started early in his career. In 2006, he left his position in sales and marketing at the PGA Tour and joined the entertainment division of Comcast to sell cable television programming. He worked at Comcast as a regional director for over five years, and during that time decided to pursue an MBA.

“I looked at a variety of programs I chose the Fox School because of the flexibility of the Executive MBA program, the school’s reputation, and its vast alumni network,” he says. “I was very eager to advance in my career, and even more eager to learn what drives business and sales strategy, finance, and profitability.”

One year after he graduated from the Fox School, he founded Incite, a sales force strategy and effectiveness firm. In January, GrowthPlay acquired Incite in order to diversify its portfolio of clients and strengthen its position in the sales effectiveness market.

“I could never be where I am today if I didn’t earn my MBA,” he says. “It changed my career, and helped me see the value of putting people at the center of any business strategy. Today, I help develop better performing sales teams using the skills, knowledge, and business acumen I learned at Fox.”

When asked to give advice for prospective and current MBA students, Wallace says, “Start your MBA program with a plan, but be willing to widen the scope of what you think you can do. I never intended to be an entrepreneur, but I saw a need in the marketplace and reacted. Be open to changing your path.”

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