Promotion of a Top Sales Person to Sales Manager – A Mistake?

First off – I am a huge believer in promotion from within, but it comes with a couple of caveats.


Here are 9 other questions that need to be answered first:

  1. Tenure and individual performance, while important, are not the only things to consider.
  2. Do they align with vision, mission, values, and strategy of the organization?
  3. Do they desire the promotion?
    • many very skilled salespeople, engineers, and purchasing managers do not desire to take on the next level of responsibility – this is ok.
  4. Did they achieve their success with fellow team members cheering them on or quietly hoping for his / her failure?
  5. Do they demonstrate through action the understanding that they achieved success within a team environment (administrative, sales support, showroom, product / service excellence, quality control, finance, etc)?
  6. Are they able to hunt for new business and farm for additional revenues?
  7. Do they get genuinely excited about helping others achieve success?
  8. Are they able to teach a sales process or are they uniquely gifted or benefit from having previous relationships that paved the way for their current success?
  9. Can you envision them as a coach who develops and inspires people capturing both their hearts and their minds?




Selection Interviewing is an often-overlooked skill and people who excel at one level are assumed to be able to excel at the next level of responsibility. While ideal this is not always the case.  Whether you decide to promote from within your organization or look at bringing in talent from outside the organization it should be done with careful thought and preparation.