Craig Wortmann
Craig Wortmann

Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Executive Director of the Kellogg Sales Institute

Print Overview

Craig Wortmann is a Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI) and Founder and Executive Director of the Kellogg Sales Institute.

In 2016 Craig was Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.  He designed, developed and taught the award-winning course called Entrepreneurial Selling, recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the "Top Ten" courses in the U.S.  He also taught one of the core entrepreneurship courses, Building the New Venture, and he developed Chicago Booth's Building Leadership Capital course, a four-day, in-depth executive leadership course for senior executives.  Craig joined the Booth faculty in 2008 and was the recipient of the 2012 Faculty Excellence Award, given to the professor who has had the greatest positive impact on the students.

Craig is the author of "What's Your Story?", a book that looks at how leaders and sales professionals use stories to connect, engage and inspire.  In his book, Craig demonstrates the powerful impact stories have on the three most common performance challenges - leadership, selling and communication.  Craig is also a columnist for on the subjects of sales and entrepreneurship.

Craig has been a sales person and entrepreneur for more than 20 years.  From IBM Corporation as the #2 performer in his year-long classical style sales training class, to a Dean Witter company covering three-quarters of the country selling to large retailers, Craig is an expert in all things sales.  After earning his MBA from Kellogg in 1995, Craig joined the Forum Corporation and quickly became the firm's new product launch and client recovery specialist.  In 2000, Craig was recruited to join start-up WisdomTools as its CEO which he sold to a larger firm in 2008.

Craig is the founder and CEO of Sales Engine Inc., a tools and services firm based on the belief that a company should treat sales as the engine of their business.  As a professional speaker and sales advisor, Craig helps to develop the knowledge, skills and discipline necessary to build a successful sales engine.  In 2009, the venture backer's behind interactive marketing and web strategy firm, ClearGauge, sought Craig to become CEO while running his Sales Engine firm.  Craig executed a turnaround by building a sales engine, cutting significant costs and developing a new web presence.  ClearGauge was then acquired by a larger agency.

Craig is a Senior Advisor to Pritzker Group Venture Capital helping to grow the sales engines of its portfolio companies.  He also advises the Driehaus Private Equity group and sits on the board of Innovative Health, a Phoenix-based reprocessor of medical devices. 

Craig graduated from Kellogg in 1995 with an MBA in Marketing and Finance, he obtained his "CPIM" Certification in Inventory and Production Management in 1992, and he graduated Union College in 1988 with a degree in Political Science.

An Evanstonian for more than 18 years, in his free time Craig can be found biking, running or walking his dog along the lake path or wakeboarding, boating and snowmobiling in Wisconsin.

Print Vita
Academic Positions
Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Kellogg Innovation & Entrpreneurship Initiative, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2017-present
Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, 2012-2016
Adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, 2008-2011

Other Professional Experience
CEO, Sales Engine, Inc., 2008-present
President & CEO, Cleargauge, 2009-2009
President & CEO, Wisdomtools, Inc., 2000-2008
Relationship Manager, The Forum Corporation, 1997-2000
Senior Sales Executive, Private Label Credit Services, SPS Payment Systems, Inc., 1994-1996
IBM Agent, Manufacturing Specialist, Whittman-Hart, LP, 1991-1994
IBM Marketing Representative, Mid-range Systems, IBM Corporation, 1989-1991
Legislative Correspondent & Intern Coordinator to Congressman James H. Scheuer, U.S. House of Representatives, 1988-1989

Print Research
Research Interests

Wortmann, Craig. "What's your Story?" : using stories to ignite performance and be more successful. Kaplan, 2006. Print.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Selling Yourself and Your Ideas (KACI-940-0)
We spend much more time selling ourselves and our ideas than we think we do. And we have an increasing number of communications methods at our disposal. Being a powerful communicator means developing the agility to adjust your message, content, approach and style based on the method of communication you are using. It also means having a keen understanding your audience, their expectations, and what success looks like. The overarching goal of our Selling Yourself & Your Ideas course will be to have an immediate positive impact on your outcomes by equipping you with a set of critical communications insights, skills, disciplines and tools to help you become a great communicator, in any setting. The course will address six main methods of communication; conversation, written communication, meetings, networking, presentations and social media. We will explore the distinctions between these various methods and explore what research has suggested about what high performance looks like in each. Finally, we will drill down into the requisite skills and disciplines in each of these situations by discussing how to ask “impact” questions, handle objections and conflict, give (and receive) feedback, tell the right story at the right time for the right reasons, and other elements of powerful, crisp communications. Throughout the course, you will build a personal Communications Toolkit through iterative practice and feedback. An initial assessment, case studies, one-on-one and group assignments, and real world examples are raised to confront students with scenarios for practice and peer collaboration.

Entrepreneurial Selling (KIEI-966-0)
Selling is a life skill. This course is designed as an adventure of discovery. You will be tested, taught and transformed through a series of lectures, discussions and exercises that are designed to push you up and out of your comfort zone. The biggest challenge to growing a successful entrepreneurial venture is selling. Entrepreneurs must build a strong sales pipeline to ensure profitable growth as they tackle other pressing issues like product development, staffing, infrastructure, and financing. In the Entrepreneurial Selling course, you will learn how to acquire and delight customers, use selling skills in different contexts, manage the entrepreneurial selling process, measure your success and use the key tools required for success in building a company. My goal with this course is to make you as efficient and effective in selling as possible, so that when you are spending time selling, not a moment is wasted. Why? Because as an entrepreneur (and a human), the way you spend your time determines success and failure. Period.

Executive MBA
Phase 0: Designing, Building and Communicating Compelling New Ventures (KIEIX-470-0)
This course has been designed to demystify the “fuzzy front end” of starting a new venture and to give you the tools and confidence to build and launch something of your own. You will learn how to identify problems worth solving, test your assumptions about possible solutions, adjust your initial hypothesis based on experimentation and market feedback, and ultimately accelerate the time between inspiration, execution, operations, and growth. We will focus on the importance of achieving “Product Market Fit” – developing the right offer for the right customer – and convincing others to support you on your journey. The tools and skills learned in this class are equally as applicable to startups as they are to corporate innovation projects. The course is geared to: 1) those who want to pursue an entrepreneurial career and are taking this course to develop and pursue a business idea; 2) those interested in a career path in business innovation, whether it’s in a new venture or innovating inside a larger firm 3) those who are curious about a career in entrepreneurship and innovation and want to better understand what it entails and explore if it fits well with their inherent personality traits and talents. The construct of the class is a blend of lecture, hands-on workshops, in-market research, site visits, simulations and guest speakers. We will take full advantage of being in San Francisco and do a lot of our learning outside of the classroom. Coursework will be team-based.