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Promoting Your Top Sales Person to Management

Promoting Your Top Sales Person to Management

Lee B. Salz

Before moving your top sales person into sales management, there are some key considerations.

Early Greek mythology tells tales of sailors lured by Sirens. Their sweet music mesmerized the sailors and led them to believe that the illusion was reality. Ultimately, those sailors who blindly followed the tunes crashed their ships on the rocks and their boats sank.

Sirens lure business executives and small business owners, too. The song that the Sirens sing has one line … “Promote my top sales person, put six people underneath them, and generate six times the sales.” And, like the sailors, many business executives and their companies have been led into harm’s way.

Is It Really a Promotion?

The first issue with promoting your top sales person into sales management is that it’s not a promotion at all. The promotion perception is the first way the Sirens get you. Sales management is not a job elevation, it’s a job change. If you consider this move as a promotion, you probably send a congratulatory email and hold a luncheon for the new sales manager. A nice handshake is offered and the new manager is sent to achieve grandeur. This approach delights the Sirens and your ship is sunk.

If you handle this as a job change, your approach is completely different. Since this is a new job, you provide training and mentoring, as well as monitor their performance. As the manager of the new sales manager, your role is to help them successfully assimilate into their new role.