Alyce Shultz made it brief: She had a great run as VP of sales and marketing for Sterling Worldwide, but it was time for her to move on. She was leaving corporate America to open a bakery in her hometown.
After congratulating Shultz, Sterling President Darnell Forman considered his options. Shultz had done such a stellar job with succession planning and coaching her staff that he had two terrific people who could fill Shultz’s position. The challenge was to select the right person—and retain the other, as both would expect to be considered.
Forman listed his priorities: A customer-focused approach to business, balancing short- and long-term revenue goals, profitable growth, and strong collaboration between sales and marketing. Then he listed the strengths of his two frontrunners.
First is Janet Black, director of marketing planning and analysis. Black insists that data inform everything from creative to copy to media selection to segmentation. Black’s oversight on such marketing activities as campaigns and conferences has helped increase their effectiveness since joining the company three years ago. She’s a team player—and needs to be, because she supports colleagues across the marketing organization.
Forman’s other candidate is Grace Sanders, key accounts sales director. Sanders is a pro at building and nurturing long-term customer relationships. She’s led several of Sterling’s largest accounts for the past five years and increased their wallet share during that time. One reason is her ability to foster collaboration internally to best serve clients and deliver on her promises.
Who should Forman choose, and why?