What Keeps You Motivated
If your interviewer has been at the company for a while, understanding why could give you some really interesting insight into the company and its relationship with its employees.
How It Helps You
Depending on the interviewer’s answer, you might learn something about the company’s career training, leadership opportunities, workplace flexibility, internal job opportunities, and more.
You might dig a little deeper by following up with related questions, like, “What do you enjoy most about working here?”
Leadership Interview Questions To Ask A Sales Manager Candidate
The jump from salesperson to sales manager is extremely challenging. Salespeople tend to act like entrepreneurs, running their own businesses and maintaining a book of clients. A manager has an entirely different job: Leading, inspiring, coaching, and training a team.
While the first role is self-directed and autonomous, the second role involves collaboration and working closely with others.
Whether youre a salesperson trying to move up or an executive interviewing a candidate, its key to assess leadership potential.
Salespeople, prepare for these. Interviewers, ask these.
How Would You Explain What Does To A Person Unfamiliar With What We Do
Can this candidate distill complex ideas into simple, easy-to-understand messages? That’s what this question will find out.
Part of a sales manager’s job is to regularly translate executive directives and news to their sales staff in clear, digestible ways. Ensure they can do this concisely and without a patronizing tone, before moving forward.
Now, let’s review some behavioral questions to get a better understanding of how the candidate may perform on the job.
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How Did You Achieve Success As A Sales Rep And How Will You Use Your Knowledge To Help Your Team Achieve Success
Listen closely as the candidate describes their methods because those methods will likely play a major role in the way they will train their salespeople to sell.
Make sure that the candidate does not plan to force their methods on all of the sales reps. To be an effective sales manager, they must understand that there is more than one way to sell effectively, and be accepting of alternative methods that have been proven to work.
Sales Interview Questions And Answers
This sample of Sales interview questions will help you evaluate candidates skills and hire the best salespeople for your company. We gathered the most common sales interview questions and categorized them by seniority level and position, including account managers and in-store representatives, to help you pick the most suitable ones for your open role.
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What Do You Know About Our Company So Far
Interviewers ask this because:
They want to know you took time to understand the company and the role before the interview. If they see that youre unprepared for the interview, theyll assume youll be unprepared for sales calls as well. Not a good look.
Doing this research is a key part of being a great sales rep, but they want to hear that you are interested in what they specifically do. Everybody wants to work with enthusiastic people.
How to answer:
Think of this as one of your first opportunities to sell yourself, so do your homework!
Look at their website, and ask yourself who they are selling to and what problems they are solving for that person.
If its a public company, look up their S-1 filing so you can see how they communicate about themselves to investors.
Connect with future colleagues and managers on LinkedIn, ask them about what its like to work there, and look at their social media activity to gather insights about what the job is like day-to-day.
Read reviews on sites like Capterra, G2, Yelp, or Google.
Most importantly: consider your whythe thing that motivates you to be who you are. Notice where it overlaps with the mission of the company and point out the similarities. Let them know specifically what it is about their company that is exciting to you.
Ive been following some of the sales leaders at your org on LinkedIn and Ive seen a consistent message across the board: its about the people.
What Metrics Would You Use To Measure Success In This Role
Asking a question like this shows that you’re goal-oriented and aren’t afraid to be held accountable for those goals. You don’t avoid accountability, you welcome it.
How It Helps You
It’s shocking how many people don’t actually know what they want from their employees beyond a vague idea of some work that needs to get done.
Asking this question will force a hiring manager to figure it out and then can communicate it to you, so you can execute on it.
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Describe A Time You Lost A Deal And How You Followed Up
You cant bat 100% every game, and some deals fall through. A good salesperson knows a lost deal doesnt mean a lost relationship, and that theres still an opportunity to learn from the prospect to improve your presentation for the next lead.
Weak Candidate Answer:
- The candidate doesnt seek out feedback from the prospect and just accepts the lost deal.
- Their answer doesnt describe a complete picture of the scenario with the S.T.A.R. model.
- Theres a tentative agreement to follow up at the end of the year, but lacks a follow-up strategy.
Strong Candidate Answer:
I was recently working with a local coffee shop that was interested in our point of sales systems. They wanted tablet stations for self-ordering and checkout, but the initial installation costs were higher than they anticipated.
I offered a few alternatives to reduce the number of stations or implement hybrid POS systems. Ultimately, they decided to invest in better online ordering for customer use. I thanked them for their time and sent a survey link to provide feedback on our product and sales process. I also marked time to reach out after two and six months to see how their online solution was working for them and share any new products that may be a fit for their needs.
How Do You Keep Up With Your Target Audience
Keeping up with industry trends allows salespeople to better connect with clients and leads while understanding their needs and potential concerns. Beyond current trends, experienced salespeople look to the future so they can position their product as a solution to current and upcoming needs.
Of course, even in the same industry, two businesses experiences can vary significantly. While one may be experiencing large layoffs and client churn, another may have more secure funding or partnership with a stable industry that helps them thrive through economic turmoil. Digging into the details helps salespeople remain empathetic and sensitive to individual needs rather than casting blanket assumptions based on big-picture trends.
Weak Candidate Answer:
- Less impressive answers mayshare actionable ways theyve kept in touch with industry trends or a businesss news, but not both.
- Vague answers like signing up for newsletters dont apply their personal experiences or more impressive actionable steps.
Strong Candidate Answer:
When I started my current position, I didnt have any experience in the technology industry. Its a huge industry to keep up on, so I started small with my specific niche in IT solutions. I learned about the different types of IT roles and common challenges by joining career-oriented groups on social media sites.
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I Read On Your Website That One Of Your Company Values Is X In Practice How Is That Value Manifested
This question usually sticks in your hiring managers mind long after the interview. It shows youve done your homework, and signals that youre thinking about the companys principles and how theyre carried out on a day-to-day basis.
Theyll be excited to hire someone whos highly likely to contribute to their sales teams culture.
What Metrics Are Most Important For Evaluating Performance
Its helpful to ask about a broad range of metrics that will be used to evaluate your performancenot just quota. Asking this question shows that youre goal oriented, and understand the importance of data analytics in modern sales.
As a follow-up, ask about the process for evaluating performance and tracking metrics. That shows youre serious about accountability.
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What Are You Most Excited About In This Company’s Future
Want to inject a little positivity into your phone call with HR? Ask them what has them pumped up right now.
What motivates them to get up in the morning? Put yourself in HR’s shoes: Wouldn’t you love to answer this question, especially if you love the company you work for?
Asking the HR rep what they’re most excited about shows them that you, too, thrive on enthusiasm. It also brings the best out in your interviewer a good headspace for HR to be in as they hand you off to the hiring manager.
Behavioral Interview Questions For Sales Managers
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Why Do You Want To Work In Sales
If the candidate simply replies with, “It’s something I enjoy” or “I like it”, this doesn’t tell the interviewer anything about the candidate’s actual interest in sales.
What is it about sales that motivates or excites them?
You should look for candidates who provide an example or real-life story about where their interest in sales began. Did they start as a first-time rep and create a long track record of success? Or was there a pivotal moment in their life when they discovered their passion for sales? Answers to questions like these will provide the interviewer with more detail about the candidate’s dedication to the sales industry.
Questions About The Specific Job
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How Do You Feel About Leading A Sales Team
Applying for the role of a sales executive means you want a leadership position within the sales department. This question lets you tell the employer how you feel about the position, what motivates you as a leader and what you seek to achieve when heading a sales team. It may be beneficial to discuss how your skills and knowledge helped you perform in leadership positions in the past.
Example answer:âI have some experience leading sales projects in my previous position. Leadership involves working together with your team members to ensure success. I had brief meetings with my team members during those projects, discussing the best approach to achieve the desired results. Every team member made contributions, and I gave them all subtasks that targeted the final goal. As a leader, it was my job to assign responsibilities, monitor progress and report to the management. Building a good relationship with my colleagues ensured a smooth process.â
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+ Sales Interview Questions And Exercises To Find The Best Talent
Sales interview questions and prompts run the gamut, from the classic Sell me this pen to some less helpful questions like Which animal would you be and why? Here are the ones to prioritize.
1. Walk Me Through Your Current Sales Process.
There will be plenty of time to talk through wins and losses. Most of all, you need insight into the candidates approach to selling, and thats why this is one of the most common sales interview questions.
Can they clearly explain their step-by-step process, from preparing their pitch and contacting leads to closing the deal and keeping relationships strong? How does it change based on customer segment, territory, etc?
2. How Do You Decide a Prospect Isnt the Right Fit?
To achieve or exceed sales quotas, sales personnel need to be able to identify a worthwhile lead from a bottom-of-the-pile lead. Whats their criteria? What lead qualification skills and practices are they coming in with? How do they decide where to focus their energy?
3. Describe 2-3 Times When You Didnt Meet a Goal or Lost an Opportunity. What Did You Learn?
Everyone from a brand-new sales representative to an experienced VP of Sales should have a great answer to this question.
4. When You Lose a Deal, How Do You Follow Up With That Prospect?
Sales professionals have to expect and embrace the no. So, this question is great for digging into the specifics and understanding whether youve got a go-getter on your hands.
6. Teach Me Something.
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Additional Indicators To Look For In Your Sales Candidates
While questions that interviewees ask are important for employers to note, their overall conversation can also be very telling. Look for wording and conversation indicators that support your sales employment screening results. Strong candidates will be:
- Adaptable and agreeable
- Willing to take constructive feedback
If you can find all of these traits in a prospective employee, then chances are good that you will not have to experience the same difficulties of a churning sales team turnover rate as your competitors.
The key in the process it to use a balance of science-based tools, like a sales assessment, and your own knowledge and intuition on company fit. By using a sales assessment test as a standard tool in your hiring process, you will find a pool of qualified candidates much more efficiently and effectively than hiring solely based on traditional methods.
Your ideal candidate should take the initiative to ask you in-depth questions like the ones listed above, while highlighting his own skill set by engaging in meaningful dialogue.
When a candidate can bring that level of depth to an interview process, then you have likely found the right fit for your company.
What Do You Believe To Be The Main Motivator For Sales Reps
There is no doubt that money is a big motivator, but effective sales managers know that motivation is more personal than that.
When your candidate is answering this question, they should communicate that motivation depends on each salespersons specific situation. This way you can feel confident knowing that they are able to motivate every rep on their team.
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What Is Most Important To You In Your Next Company
Interviewers ask this because:
They want to be sure you are a great match. As much as you want to show you are a good fit for them, they want to be sure they are a good fit for you.
They might also be trying to get a sense of your thought process as you search for a new role. Did you apply because you were just throwing spaghetti at the wall, or did you see something about their company that specifically drew you in?
How to answer:
Again, be honest. Come up with two to four things that are truly important to you in a working environment. They dont necessarily need to be things you already know about the company to which youre applying.
Maybe they reference workplace culture, tools that are available, management styles, access to resources, etc.
Its important to me that Im part of an organization that aligns around a shared mission, and that it shows in my interactions with colleagues in other departments. Im also looking forward to being part of a team where everybody holds high standards for themselves and those they work with.
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In This Role What Distinguishes A Great Performer From A Good One
According to HubSpot senior sales recruiter Devon Brown, this question demonstrates that youre committed to exceeding expectations from day one.
It also shows youre focused on finding a good fit, she adds.
Pay close attention to the hiring managers answer. A good one will know what distinguishes the top reps on their team so they can actively cultivate those traits in other reps.
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What Is The Culture Like Here
It’s important to most companies that they hire team members that are a good cultural fit, and this question will demonstrate that you are aware of this. This question shows that you are examining whether their culture aligns with your values.
Summary Of Questions To Ask The Hiring Manager
Some good questions to ask at the end of an interview to hiring managers include the following:
What about this position is most important? How does it support management and serve direct reports?
What would you want to see me accomplish in the first six months?
How would you measure my success, and what could I do to exceed your expectations?
Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly?
What are the expectations about managing workflow?
How is the feedback process structured?
What professional development opportunities will I have to learn and grow?
What is the most challenging part of your job? What is your favorite part of your job?
How did you get to your role?
Do you have the tools and resources to do your job well?
Do you feel that your opinions count?
Is there anything I have said that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?
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