Do you know what it will take to increase your company’s top line?
Many owners, CEOs, presidents, and other senior executives believe they do. Others have a few ideas but don’t know how to put them to work. Either way our team of highly experienced business professionals can help meet your growth challenges in ways designed specifically for your company.
For more than 25 years, Productive Strategies has helped clients of all sizes, industries, ambitions, and capabilities achieve aggressive growth objectives-and sustain them-affordably and without disruption of day-to-day operations. And we can do the same for you.
At Productive Strategies, you work only with experienced, senior-level executives. We come from a variety of backgrounds-manufacturing, technology, creative, publishing, training, sales, marketing, organization development, professional services, account management. But we all have one thing in common: extensive business experience that reduces the time to get things done and increases the quality of the results.
President and Founder
Phil Krone founded Productive Strategies, Inc., a marketing and management consulting firm, in 1993 to help companies, nonprofit organizations, and professional services firms define and reach their growth objectives. His real-world selling and business development experiences, coupled with field research, led him to develop the proprietary consultative sales training course FOCIS®. The course teaches and reinforces the behaviors of the very best salespeople and business developers—the 20 percent who consistently bring in 80 percent of the business. The course also develops a customized sales process for individuals, companies, and professional services firms.
Before launching Productive Strategies, he was president of a manufacturing firm serving large corporations and Tier One suppliers to the federal government, including Ford, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Tellabs, Vought, United Technologies, and others. He is a founder of the Die Casting Development Council, a trade association dedicated to expanding the market for its process. Krone is the recipient of the Gullo and Trieber Award for marketing excellence and the Austin C. Lilligren Award for service to manufacturers. He has contributed to various trade publications and business magazines throughout his career.
A sought-after speaker, Krone has addressed many industry and professional groups, including the American Marketing Association, TEMSCON 2018 (an international engineering conference hosted by Northwestern University), the North American Recycling Institute, the Kellogg Alumni Entrepreneur Conference, the Chicago Coalition of Women’s Initiatives, the Commercial Development Association, and the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association. Among Krone’s popular, proprietary presentations are “Using Sales Representatives to Help You Market at Higher Levels,” “The Five Levels of Marketing,” “Increasing Referrals,” and “Collective Marketing Programs for Trade Groups.”
A graduate of Duke University with a BA in psychology, Krone holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Chapter of The Entrepreneurship Institute, the Illinois Council of Feed My Starving Children, and the Vestry of Christ Episcopal Church, Winnetka.
Tom Hazlett brings to clients a wealth of strategic consulting experience in business development, high-level executive performance assessment, and management effectiveness. Not only is Tom especially skilled at helping clients understand and resolve immediate, urgent issues, but he also knows how to guide his clients in determining the impacts of solutions over the longer term.
Before joining Productive Strategies, Inc., Hazlett was the president of Hazlett Associates, Inc., a retained executive search consulting firm headquartered in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1990, the firm provided search consulting services on a national basis to a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, privately held firms across a wide range of industries, with an emphasis on consumer and business-to-business direct marketing, data management, and financial services organizations. Search assignments included C-suite and senior level positions in marketing and sales, general management, client services, operations, finance, information services, human resources, and consulting.
Before entering executive search, Hazlett had a successful 16-year career in corporate marketing and advertising agency management, working with some of the country’s leading consumer products companies, including The Quaker Oats Company, Procter and Gamble, Miles Laboratories, Ford Motor Company and Sara Lee. He holds an M.B.A. in marketing and international business from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. in American Studies from Amherst College. In addition, Hazlett served three years of active duty as an officer in the United States Navy. He is actively involved in charitable and civic affairs, and currently serves on the executive committee of the board of the Youth Job Center and the Advisory Council of the Northlight Theatre.
Christopher Mayer co-leads our nonprofit and social impact organizations practice area. He’s a nonprofit and not-for-profit professional with a background in grant writing and fundraising, program development and administration, clinical research, and behavioral healthcare.
Christopher has consulted on fundraising strategy and grant proposal development with a wide array of nonprofit organizations, including healthcare practices at major hospital systems, criminal justice reentry programs, therapeutic schools, and adolescent-substance-use recovery centers.
These experiences allow him to balance the competing demands of executive-level fundraising and strategy with an understanding of the demands and challenges faced by front-line nonprofit workers committed to providing the best services possible to clients in need.
Christopher holds a M.A. in social service administration from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in psychology from Northwestern University. He serves as a recovery counselor at Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare; serves on the board of Serenity Academy Chicago, where he has also been a member of the academy’s fundraising advisory committee; and has worked with St. Leonard’s Ministries, a client of Productive Strategies.
John McDermott is a senior consultant at Productive Strategies with particular expertise in helping companies, firms, and organizations grow their top lines through better alignment of sales and marketing efforts. His hands-on, small-group workshops and consulting services can improve sales and internal communications for businesses of nearly any size. In addition, he is an instructor for our popular consultative selling course, FOCIS®.
McDermott’s career spans 30 years with publicly traded companies in marketing, operations, safety, quality control, and business development in manufacturing, distribution, energy, and consumer electronics. Productive Strategies clients will benefit from his extensive knowledge and experience leading cross-functional teams, developing and implementing strategic initiatives, and incorporating customer and client experiences and points of view into business-to-business promotions and go-to-market programs.
At Brady Corporation, a global leader in safety, identification, and compliance, McDermott led the workplace safety division as marketing director and a member of the turn-around leadership that reversed nearly a decade of sales erosion. The team’s approach employed sound brand architecture; sales and sales process management training in the expanding contractor and manufacturer segments; and technical safety content for web, digital, social, and print media.
At W.W. Grainger, a premier industrial supplies and equipment provider, he served with distinction for more than eleven years in separate leadership positions in customer segments, strategic marketing, and go-to-market operations. McDermott led product and pricing planning and programs to synchronize transportation, distribution, and other operations areas with maintenance and repair products. Over six years, he also aligned marketing and sales campaigns and processes that supported annual sales growth in safety solutions and service programs to $1.1 billion from $560 million. He has also served as a senior manager in the commercial and industrial business division at NICOR, one of the largest natural gas energy distribution companies in the U.S.
McDermott holds a master’s degree in business administration from Keller Graduate School of Management and a bachelor-of-science degree in operations management from Drexel University. He is certified as a Qualified Safety Sales Professional and has completed OSHA-30 General Industry training.
John coaches the Greater Chicago Dragon Boat Club racing team and does his best to keep up with his wife of 30 years, Kathy, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most kilometers continuously paddled in relay in 24 hours. He and Kathy are the parents of twin adult children, whom they readily admit they’ve never been able to keep up with.
Jim Munson is a highly experienced attorney, arbitrator, and mediator whose expertise covers a broad range of industries, including energy, financial services, healthcare, construction, insurance, media, government, and others. He is a proven business developer—a “rainmaker”—and formerly a 33-year commercial litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, a global law firm with some 2,500 attorneys in 14 offices around the world. In addition to other management roles, Munson was a founding member of the firm’s client development committee and a 10-year member of the billing and collections committee.
Munson’s clients have included, among many others, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Dean Foods, Goldman Sachs, Boston Edison, National Blue Cross Association, Illinois Regional Transportation Authority, ABC, NBC, CBS, Esquire magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Bears, American National Bank, and Wharf Holdings.
At Productive Strategies, Munson uses his extensive client recruitment and retention experience to train law firms and lawyers in business development based on an exceptionally effective approach to building relationships. He customizes the proven consultative selling skills and content of our popular Consultative Selling Course, FOCIS®, to the needs of firms, practice areas, and individual attorneys. Thirty-two law firms have retained our business development services to improve the ability of partners and associates to bring in new clients and retain current ones. FOCIS® teaches the skills and process used by the approximately 20 percent of attorneys who bring in 80 percent of the business, including an especially efficient approach to networking.
A gifted teacher and committed volunteer, Munson has taught or lectured at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, The Law School at the University of Chicago, the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange in France and India, and the Columbia College Film School in Chicago. Pro bono work includes representing education and non-for-profit organizations in zoning matters, indigents in criminal proceedings, and voters in voter rights and special election matters.
Munson holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor-of-arts degree from Yale University. He is also an accomplished actor in plays, films, television commercials, voice-overs, and corporate training productions.
Scott Pemberton guides owners, presidents, CEOs, and other executives in creating and delivering targeted messages that change behavior and accelerate company growth. A provider of sales, marketing, and executive communications services, Pemberton also writes about business topics. He serves Productive Strategies clients as an instructor for the firm’s proprietary sales process development course, FOCIS® Selling and Business Development, and a marketing and content development consultant. FOCIS® enables professional salespeople and managers, non-sales executives, lawyers, accountants, engineers, and other professionals improve their business-to-business persuasion and selling skills in measurable ways.
Pemberton has held senior leadership positions in general management, sales and customer service training, marketing, internal and external communications, publishing, and new product development. He has launched more than 60 new products across several media and produced marketing plans and promotions for many others. Public relations efforts have resulted in coverage by The Wall Street Journal, CBS TV/Radio, NPR, and PBS.
At the Dartnell Corporation, a business and training publisher producing newsletters, books, and videos, Pemberton was vice president and publisher. Dartnell served businesses ranging from entrepreneurial ventures to Fortune 500 corporations. End-users were sales and customer service representatives, managers, owners, and executives. Pemberton was group editor, professional division, at Whittle Communications, a custom publisher of magazines and other highly targeted communications. He is co-author of the book, 60 Years on the Edge of Change: The Digital Check Story.
Working with middle-market owners, CEOs, and presidents has given Pemberton a valuable understanding of leadership and business growth issues that entrepreneurs face. He played leadership roles at the Edward Lowe Foundation in creating the PeerSpectives Roundtable System for middle-market business owners and the “50 Companies to Watch” recognition program for states. He also directed the Entrepreneurship Scorecard national research initiative.
Pemberton holds an MBA in marketing from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a BS in English and English Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana. He serves on the Advisory Board of The Entrepreneurship Institute, Chicago Chapter.
Outbound Call Center
Outbound Call Center
Dale Krone oversees the firm’s finances, including billing and receivables. A graduate of DePauw University and holder of a master’s degree from Duke University, she also serves as a writer and editor.
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