Sales Manager vs Sales Producer
The top producer on your team has been pushing for a promotion and you need a new sales manager. If you promote your top person and put a team of five beneath him, will you have five more superstars? Just because someone can sell, does it mean they can manage?

The process of promoting from within is common, and easy.   You fill the position, keep your salesperson happy and move on.  You think that placing your rainmaker in a leadership position will result in the creation of more rainmakers.  Unfortunately this plan can do more harm than good.  Just because Babe Ruth can hit it out of the park, doesn’t mean he’d make a great coach.

Hiring for a sales manager takes due diligence.  The roles of salesperson vs. sales manager require a different skill set and DNA. Yes, there are some sales people who are promoted to a managerial position and excel.  However when you randomly take your best player, give him a pep talk and send him off to create new and better results, you risk jeopardizing your whole sales function.

Sales Manager Traits vs. Top Producer Traits

Sales Manager

Top Producer



Team Builder

Money Maker









Top sales performers are independent and singularly driven.  Often they like to work outside the boundaries of the organization.   Great sales managers are the opposite.  They think of the team before the individual.  They are managers and leaders and have the skills  to think about what is best for company.

Lastly, top performers are frequently driven by money.  As managers they often believe that others have the same motivation and can’t understand why their team can’t deliver the business like they can.  Good sales managers have patience and the ability to train poor performers.  Just because they have “it”, doesn’t mean they can teach “it”.

Responsibilities of a sales manager include recruiting and training, budgeting, forecasting, developing compensation, coaching and ensuring the success of the team.  The responsibility of a salesperson is direct selling.

When you promote from within, you may think you are getting a sales manager.  Actually you may be getting a salesperson that wants to be a sales manager.  Your new sales manager now has to transition from closing deals to running a small business.  A leap that may be impossible to make.

Image courtesy of sscreations /


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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