Heavy-Duty Commercial Operating Model: How an Industrial Machinery Manufacturer Grows Sales and Profit

By James Dorn, President

In the competitive landscape of industrial equipment sales and marketing, achieving sustainable growth and profitability requires more than just innovation in products or services. It demands a strategic evolution that aligns vision, operations, and sales processes to meet the dynamic needs of customers while maximizing internal efficiencies. The story of Compass Systems and Sales, a leading provider of engineered material handling solutions, exemplifies this journey of transformation and success.

Crafting the Blueprint: Strategic Vision and Foundational Framework

At the heart of Compass Systems and Sales’ journey was a strategic vision that redefined its purpose beyond mere product delivery. Bill Trautmann, Director of Sales at Compass Systems, emphasizes the pivotal role of aligning the team with a clear strategic vision. “We had to get everyone in the boat rowing in the same cadence,” Trautmann recalls. “It was about managing the conversation and communication with the private equity group to ensure alignment and focus on activities that would drive the business forward.”

Compass Systems and Sales operates in demanding markets, serving global giants like Ford, Toyota, and International Paper. Their clientele relies on mission-critical equipment with stringent uptime requirements. Recognizing the need to evolve beyond traditional sales approaches, Compass embarked on a journey to enhance its commercial operating model.

Evolving Sales Dynamics: Customer-Centric Strategies for Continuous Growth

When Trautmann joined the company, he encountered a sales process devoid of structure or efficiency. Sales reps lacked incentives, and quoting was manual and disjointed. Recognizing the need for change, Trautmann led the adoption of a comprehensive Commercial Operating System (COS). This five-pillared approach revolutionized how Compass managed its sales pipeline, from opportunity assessment to order fulfillment.

The implementation of a CRM system brought order and visibility to the sales process. By capturing data and automating workflows, Compass empowered its sales team to achieve four times the output with the same resources. “We increased our close ratio and improved our efficiency,” Trautmann explains. “With data-driven insights, we could refine our campaigns and engage customers more effectively throughout the sales cycle.”

Another critical aspect of Compass’s strategic evolution was enhancing customer engagement to maximize share of wallet and acquire new customers. Leveraging data analytics and CRM capabilities, Compass identified opportunities for upselling and cross-selling to existing customers. Moreover, targeted marketing campaigns enabled the company to expand its reach and attract new clientele.

The success of Compass Systems and Sales underscores the importance of continuous improvement and adaptation. By instilling a culture of performance and accountability, Compass fosters innovation and agility in its sales and marketing efforts. Trautmann emphasizes the significance of maintaining clear communication and alignment across all levels of the organization.


In conclusion, the strategic evolution of Compass Systems and Sales exemplifies the transformative power of aligning vision, operations, and sales processes in industrial B2B sales and marketing. Through a commitment to strategic pivots, Compass not only achieved sustainable growth and profitability but also solidified its reputation as a trusted partner to its customers. The outcomes speak volumes, with Compass experiencing an astounding increase in revenue of more than 450% and EBITDA growth of more than 1,050 basis points. As companies navigate the challenges of a dynamic marketplace, the journey of Compass offers valuable insights and inspiration for achieving remarkable success.