- How do you stay updated on the target market?
To stay updated on the target market, I like to read blogs by experts, follow trends on social media, and listen to several sales podcasts. This helps me understand various possible strategies, and how they can be used to connect with the target market.
- In your last position, how did you balance maintaining current relationships with generating more leads?
In sales, while it is important to generate new leads to enhance brand recognition, forming relationships is also key to the growth of the company. Balancing the two can be a delicate task and is decided based on the cost-benefit impact to the company.
- What is your method of handling customer objections?
Acknowledging the objection and suggesting a workaround with the product can help the customer feel heard. At the same time, it gives me the chance to explain another feature of the product.
I feel that being considerate is a good way to handle any customer objections. In such cases, over-talking or dismissing the concern raised by the customer should be avoided. One should take the objection as a feedback for a clearer dialogue. One can even use the point of objection to elaborate on a specific benefit of the product.
- What role does social media play in your selling process
Social media is a great platform as professional sites like LinkedIn allows me to better research the targets to identify their needs. Twitter and Facebook are great for finding a common social ground to build a rapport.
- What is the best way to research possible clients before a sales call?
Researching clients on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can help identify their needs. Competitor testimonials can also be a great learning as they can help identify what exactly worked for the customers with respect to the product or service.
- What according to you is our (company’s) US
The relationships that the Company has with long-standing clients is something I admire. In sales particularly, it is important to have a good rapport with clients as not only does this encourage regular sales but can also work as a reference for potential clients.
- How long should you pursue a client?
An important factor for successful sales is need. If the client has absolutely no need at the time for a product, constant perseverance may be taken as annoying. Here, it is best to stop pursuing the client but be sure to check with them occasionally.
- What is the difference between a short sale and long sale cycle?
A short sales cycle calls for quick action and an ability to close the deal quickly while a long sales cycle promotes extensive dialogue and building of rapport before the sale is confirmed.
- What would you consider to be your most significant sales deal, why?
I had been dealing with a senior level manager in a company for my product and the sale was almost finalised, when he went on a sabbatical. His replacement was someone quite different in personality and didn’t seem eager on continuing the deal. I had to modify my approach and reconnect with him in a way that he found suitable. Although it took a while, I felt rewarded when I closed that deal as my perseverance paid off while cultivating two business relationships.
- Share an example of a sales deal that failed. What was your key take-away?
In one instance, I was too focussed on selling the attributes of the product rather than understanding the client’s requirements. Instead of taking a step back and letting the client explain his need, I kept pushing the product. I didn’t get the deal, and I realised that even though I may know how perfectly the product can be integrated in their business, it is important to respond to their questions and hear their requirements first.
I was working in a team and we were pursuing an important client. However, as everyone wanted to be the one to win them over, we often stepped on each other’s shoes. The client got irritated because he would receive calls from different team members saying the same thing without moving forward together. I learnt that communication within the team is crucial to put a united front for the client and to avoid overloading the client with information.
- Do you have a follow-up system with clients, if so what?
Yes. Regularly checking in with the clients after the sale via email or call is important to build a healthy relationship while supporting better customer service.
- How do you cultivate a rapport with a prospect?
I prefer to study the prospects before speaking to them. I generally look for common grounds online on their social profile or company website. Finding a shared sport or business idol can help break the ice and bond easier with the client.
- What excites you most/least about sales?
I love meeting new people and finding new ways to communicate with different people. I also love being the go-to person. Sales is a great fit as it allows me to engage with clients and offer them solutions for business problems they may be facing.
My least favourite part is turning away a client when they are interested due to stock problems. I also dislike leaving a potential client midway as I love closing the deal.
- Tell me some of the core values every salesperson must have?
There are many important qualities that a salesperson should possess.
- Listening skills
- Networking skills
- Ability to relate to customers from different backgrounds
- Adaptable to different situations
- Enthusiasm and perseverance
- What are the top factors that you would attribute your success to in Sales?
My perseverance and ability to adapt to difficult situations are my key strengths. The support of my team also helped me improve my overall sales pitch and tactics.
- Explain to me what this company does as if I am a prospective customer?
We are a leading player in the Financial world. Our products benefit consumers by providing them the required financial security without having to sacrifice much of their earnings. We have been awarded 2 Premier national awards in recognition of your services.
- Sell me something.
Earlier during the interview, you mentioned that you have been facing an obstacle in your business process. I would like to take a moment to share how it can be resolved with this product. (Product details)
- How can you contribute to this role?
My experience in sales is an ideal fit for this company. I am confident that I can bring a fresh and unique style to the company. I am good at analysing data and can help identify the stronger potential targets to close more deals. Also, I see that you have been trying to branch out in the Medical industry and 30% of my clients in my previous company were from the medical field. I am certainly eager to further my learnings.
- What are your strengths as a salesperson?
A salesperson needs to have multiple qualities. Some of my strengths as a salesperson would be:
- My ability to listen
- My ability to ask the right questions at the right time
- My social and interactive nature
- My ability to stay motivated at all times
- I am able to build a rapport with different people quite easily.
- How comfortable are you working in a team?
I am a good team player as I believe that working in a team can help each individual member learn something from the other. Not only does it help the members to interact with each other and build a relationship, but it also helps them to grow on an independent level. All this can be done while accomplishing the common goal of the team.
- What is your main motivation for sales?
I am goal-oriented, self-motivated, and money-motivated – all of this fits perfectly with my interest in sales. I love challenges and tailoring each sales pitch to connect with different clients is a major motivator.
- How important is money for you?
Money is important for me as it can be a crucial source to accomplish a lot of my dreams. However, I also enjoy the challenges and dynamic nature of the sales industry which constantly allows me to meet people and converse with them. I love networking with people, learn new things, and explore business opportunities.
- How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy reading autobiographies and fiction books. Currently, I am reading XYZ. I used to play football in college and now enjoy watching it with friends. I also like to socialise on the weekends.
- Do you have any questions for us?
- How many people are there in the sales team currently?
- How do you measure success in sales?
- What is one thing you would like to see this role accomplish in the first six months?
- What are some of the reasons why you love working here?
- Where do you see the company in ten years?
- What made you successful as a sales rep? How will your processes inform how you manage your team?
Just as successful sales managers understand that every rep is motivated by something different, they also understand that every rep has unique strengths they use to achieve their goals. What’s the “right” way for one salesperson is not likely to be right for the entire team.
Be wary of candidates who hint that they plan to force their methods on their direct reports. Instead, look for candidates who want to identify and develop the specific talents of each team member.
- How important is money to you?
Yes, money is important to everyone. But as Andrew Quinn, HubSpot’s director of training and development points out, money is inextricably entangled with self worth for some salespeople — and that’s okay. This attitude simply means the rep isn’t suited for sales management.
Better steer a primarily money-motivated salesperson to a new territory or another opportunity at the individual contributor level rather than promote them to management.
- What do you think makes for a successful rep coaching session?
The candidate doesn’t have to give a sample agenda of what their one-on-ones would look like. However, it’s important that their conception of a coaching session includes actual coaching — not just a dry discussion of the numbers.
Listen for responses that include mentions of career development, goals, skill building, and problem solving in addition to data review.
- What do you like and dislike about the sales process? How comfortable are you with upholding it?
Every rep has an opinion about the sales process, and some ignore it entirely. But it’s the manager’s role to uphold the sales process in the name of organizational consistency and forecasting accuracy.
Ensure the candidate is comfortable with taking on the role of sales process police, and ask about their strategies for making reps adhere to the regimen.
- How comfortable are you with technology?
Sales managers also act as CRM sheriffs, ensuring all reps are using the system properly. CRM aside, sales managers are also involved in the vetting, selection, and deployment of new sales tools.
While sales manager candidates don’t need to be computer whizzes, some technological savvy is necessary.
- What training method is most effective for new reps?
It would be nice if a sales manager could do ride alongs and listen in on each and every call a new rep makes, but this model is impractical at scale.
Make sure the candidate acknowledges the importance of a repeatable training process that doesn’t center around an informal passing down of knowledge.
- What do you think it takes to be a good leader?
The jobs title might be “sales manager,” but that doesn’t mean leadership skills fall by the wayside. Sales managers need to be able to lead through example and inspire others to action.
Although this question is last on the list, it’s probably the most important of all.
- What does a good manager need to do within this organization?
The goal of this question is twofold. First, you want to find out their management style and goals for their employees. They should touch on metrics for success, staff development, and executive communication.
You also want to understand how much research they’ve done about your company and the sales organization. If they make sweeping statements about attracting more enterprise business — when your website clearly states your mission is to help SMBs grow — it’s probably a sign this candidate hasn’t done their homework.
- How would you explain what [company name] 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.
Hiring a sales manager is a big step for any company. Don’t rush the process. Instead, be clear about the role and the attributes the right hire will possess. Then, don’t settle until that right person walks in the door and blows you away.
34. WHAT SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS WOULD YOU LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A SALES REP FOR YOUR TEAM?
A large part of a sales manager’s job is to hire a staff of high performing sales reps. What constitutes a high performing rep can vary from company to company based on the product they’re selling, as well as the mission and values of the organization. This question can give you great insight into the candidate’s hiring abilities. You’ll get an idea of what they value in a sales rep, whether or not their management style is a fit for your company, and perhaps even a foreshadowing of what kind of sales team they’ll end up building.
- GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF A TIME YOU HAVE HAD TO ADDRESS A SALES REP THAT IS CONSISTENTLY FAILING TO MEET THEIR QUOTA. HOW DID YOU HANDLE THIS SITUATION AND WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME?
Questions like this (i.e. ones that require a candidate to provide a real world example of how they dealt with a challenging situation) are some of the most powerful questions you can ask in a hiring interview. Rather than asking them a leading question that “coaches” them into saying what they think you want to hear, these questions require a concrete answer. Ultimately, you want to learn how the candidate deals with a team or a rep that isn’t meeting company standards. A great answer to this question will be one that demonstrates how the candidate indentified the specific reason the rep was failing to meet their quota, how s/he addressed that issue, and whether or not it was ultimately rectified. A good follow-up to this question is, “Have you ever terminated a sales rep for any reason? Under what circumstances?”
- WHAT MADE YOU A GOOD SALES REPRESENTATIVE? WHAT MAKES YOU A GOOD MANAGER?
Most sales managers have worked their way up from a sales rep position, and this question gets at the heart of a very important truth: many great sales reps turn out to be terrible managers. While a sales rep turned manager can certainly put themselves in a sales rep’s shoes and therefore understand their motivations, an ideal candidate will know that the skills of a sales rep are very different from the skills of a great manager. While sales reps are often responsible solely for their own goals and accounts, a manager must think about his or her team as a collective entity. Rather than being competitive and hands-on, they must be able to step back from the limelight and concentrate on helping others succeed. An ideal candidate will be able to give specific examples of their motivations and skills as a sales rep, and understand that those skills and motivations will have changed when they became a manager.
- WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE GIVEN TO A SALES REP ON HIS OR HER FIRST DAY ON THE JOB?
A great sales manager is a natural leader and teacher, with genuine enthusiasm to help others succeed. If they’re only driven by meeting quota or closing deals, they may be better suited for a sales rep position. This question will help you see what kind of mentor the candidate will be, and how they will help your team grow and evolve. Look for a candidate who has a desire to help others, not someone who gives you a generic answer. Look for personal stories––the candidate should be able to demonstrate her ability to connect with people on a personal level.
- WHO IS THE SMARTEST PERSON YOU KNOW?
This may seem like an odd question, but it can give you great insight into what traits the candidate values. By asking them to describe someone they know personally, you’ll be more likely to get a genuine answer.
39.“What Do You Think Motivates Teams the Best?”
This is one of those sales manager interview questions that really sets the pace. It will help you to understand whether the candidate has been thinking deeply about what moves others forward and what holds them back. A leader needs to recognize the levers of motivation in others.
Subsequent questions will give you a better sense of what motivates the individual candidate. He or she needs to respect that not everyone comes at sales from the same angle: Answers like “money” or “the thrill of the hunt” aren’t universal, so look for a nuanced response.
40.“Tell Me About a Time You Lacked the Skills of Knowledge to Reach a Goal.”
Open-ended questions are awesome – just as much so for interviews as for discovery sessions.
The structure of this question doesn’t assume anything about the problem, the action a candidate took, or what key aspects of what happened:
- What the situation was.
- Why the goal was unattainable.
- What lessons the candidate learned.
A can-do attitude is essential, but everyone hits some roadblocks along the way. A good answer here speaks to the candidate’s ability to reflect deeply and take lessons learned on board.
- “How Would You Describe Your Leadership Style?”
Even reps with no managerial experience should have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses as leaders. Everyone leads in one way or another, es the ultimate outcome was. It’s up to them to tell the story, which requires some quick thinking. You should see clarity of thought and some creativity on display here.
A good response will cover three pecially on a sales team where junior members can always benefit from mentoring.
A manager may be hands-off or might love poring over every detail to optimize the sales process. Any approach can be successful if it’s applied consistently and with best practices in mind – but sales VPs should be alert to whether this answer matches the company culture.
- “Which Team Members Have You Enjoyed WorkingWithin the Past?”
It’s as simple as this: A sales manager absolutely has to be a team player.
Candidates may not know all their co-workers inside and out, but they should be able to point to one (preferably two) who they have a rapport with. If they can’t, they may not have devoted enough time to relationship building, and that makes it harder to get the whole team pulling in the same direction.
While not disqualifying, it’s a challenge VPs should see coming.
- “What Do You Think Makes for a Successful Rep Coaching Session?”
The best sales reps take advantage of all the opportunities they have to sharpen their skills.
One of the most valuable of these is coaching and mentoring they’ve gotten from senior sales professionals. Truly self-aware candidates should recognize what has inspired them to greater heights and how they acted on the opportunities senior personnel presented to them.
Coaching style naturally develops over time. No manager will go into a new post with a menu of skills that work perfectly for every team member. It’s vital, however, that they have some idea of what will form the cornerstone of their coaching: An outlook they aspire to and believe in.
- “How Will You Earn the Respect of Your Sales Team?”
Building trust with sales reps isn’t done overnight – managers have to be in it for the long haul.
Many sales experts love to do things their own way. They find something that works for them and stick with it. To spark positive change, a leader has to show that he or she knows sales, knows the company, and knows how to act in the team’s best interest.
Some ideas include:
- Work hard – leaders shouldn’t ask anyone to do what they wouldn’t do themselves.
- Advocate for the sales team in terms of targets, external resources, and compensation.
- Drive automation so reps can spend more time on higher-order strategic tasks.
- Provide specific, actionable feedback that helps sales pros achieve their best.
- “What Tools or Resources Are Currently Missing That You Feel Would Raise Performance?”
This starts to give you a sense for what your candidates will advocate for, as well as their insight into current sales trends and standards. Where do they feel tomorrow’s opportunities lie?
Sales managers are a strategic force multiplier for their entire team, so they should always be thinking about what can makes reps happier, more efficient, and more productive.
- How would you describe your perfect work environment in sales?
This question helps you uncover the expectations they have of their ongoing workload, their team, the office atmosphere and even the way tasks are planned and delegated.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, it should help you work out how open your candidate is to reflect on their work, upskill on an ongoing basis and lift other team members up as opposed to aiming for individual goals only.
47. How did you land your most successful sale?
With this question, your potential sales rep should light up when thinking of this success and go into plenty of detail on their strengths.
A good answer is one that reveals their unique way of moving a sale forward. Make sure to ask follow-up questions to learn more about their mindset throughout that success, as well as the way they dealt with any hurdles and even the way they celebrated this sale.
48. Walk me through your approach to the sales process in your most recent role.
A sales process question is a pure knowledge test. If your candidate keeps talking about all the sales they won in their last job, but can’t name the stages of the process or approximate how long they took, they are likely being dishonest with you.
You’re looking for an answer that clearly shows actions they’ve taken to move their prospect through the entire sales cycle.
49. What is your least favorite part of the sales process?
Honesty is important, and sales is difficult. In their job, they are bound to deal with difficult people, roadblocks in the process, rejections and failed deals.
Even if they genuinely enjoy being part of that process, it’s unlikely they are always 100% motivated and content. When you get an initial answer, make sure to ask follow-up questions to uncover their approach when it comes to difficult moments.
50. How would you describe our company based on what you’ve seen so far?
It’s not only important that the candidate is right for you, you have to be the right option for them, too. Asking this question will ensure that they know what they’re signing up for and the products, market and environment they will be surrounded with daily.
This answer should reveal if they’re a good fit for your company culture. If the company stands for working smart over working hard, but they believe you encourage working overtime and hustling 24/7, ask yourself whether this person will match with the rest of the team and the company.
51. Why are you looking to leave your current job?
Another question that has no perfect answer, but it’s important for any industry and any type of role.
An answer should reveal their true intent for a job change. As long as it’s a positive reason, such as an opportunity to grow or even leaving an environment that wasn’t a fit for their personality or style of work, you’re looking at a great candidate. If they’re talking negatively about their current job or employer, beware.
Make sure to ask more questions if their reason to leave is something that might be the case in your company, too.