Eyes On The Prize

Outside In

The same criteria apply if the manager is coming from outside your company. If you go outside in your search, get sales numbers from candidates, and, if possible, speak to some of the people they managed. Also talk to each prospective manager's former employer and customers. And, as with any position you're trying to fill, find out the reason for the job switch.

Finally, don't rule out your top salesperson. If that individual has enough of these qualities, he or she can succeed. In fact, says Fox, there are many successful sales managers who were their company's top seller. However, he says, there is some truth to the old sales saying, "If you want to lose your best salesperson and gain a lousy manager in the process, make him or her your sales manager."

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Eyes On The Prize.

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