What are good sales manager interview questions?


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sales manager interview questions

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What are good sales manager interview questions?

From asking about the advantages of tech to learning about a previous successful sales campaign, here are answers to the question, “What’s a good interview question to ask a sales manager?”

  • How Did You Respond to a Bad Revenue Quarter?
  • What is Your Leadership Style?
  • Ask About Sales Challenges and Solutions
  • Ask About a Previous Successful Sales Campaign
  • How Do You Handle Rejection?
  • How Would You Overcome the Sales Challenges That…?
  • How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?
  • How Would You Manage a Team and Manage Your Schedule?
  • How Do You Plan to Leverage the Advantages of Tech?
  • Sales Philosophy is a Conversation Starter
  • How Would You Respond to Your Team Underperforming?
  • Why Would You Like to Handle Sales?

How Did You Respond to a Bad Revenue Quarter?

It’s important that a sales leader can be resilient, because it’s likely they will experience a bad sales period. It’s good to ask a sales manager about a time when they didn’t hit quota and how they responded. Look for signs of tenacity, teamwork, and creativity.

Logan Mallory, Vice President of Marketing, Motivosity

What is Your Leadership Style?

Ask a sales manager what their leadership style is like. While this isn’t sales-focused, they’re still leading a team of salespeople. Do they take more of a hands-on approach or allow employees to work independently and collaborate when needed? While sales experience is important, you want to be sure they can lead the team effectively as well.

Karim Hachem, VP of Ecommerce, La Blanca

Ask About Sales Challenges and Solutions

One good interview question for a sales manager might be: “Can you give an example of a tough sales challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it?” This question can help you understand how the sales manager approaches problem-solving and deals with obstacles in their sales process. It also gives you an insight into their strategies, creativity, and negotiation skills. A good sales manager should be able to provide a clear and detailed example of a difficult situation they faced and the specific steps they took to overcome it. By listening to the sales manager’s example, you can gain a sense of their strategic thinking, creativity, and ability to adapt to different situations. It also might show how a person interacts with potential customers. Additionally, you can also ask about the outcome and the results of the situation and how it impacted the company’s revenue and growth.

Nina Paczka, Community Manager, Resume Now

Ask About a Previous Successful Sales Campaign

One traditional question could be: “Can you walk me through a specific example of a successful sales campaign you have managed in the past, and what were some of the key factors that contributed to its success?” This question allows the sales manager to provide a specific and detailed example of their experience and success in managing a sales campaign.

Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade

How Do You Handle Rejection?

Ask a sales manager how they handle rejection from a customer. This is a common occurrence in sales, and a manager needs to be able to help their team members when this happens. Did they take “no” for an answer or did they ask follow-up questions? Is there a strategy behind responding to rejection? Whatever it may be, they should demonstrate this in the interview so they can properly lead their team.

Randee Machina, Director of Marketing, Simpli Pleasures

“how Would You Overcome the Sales Challenges That…?

“How would you overcome the sales challenges that come with an economic downturn?” This highly relevant question, especially during the troubling economic uncertainty we are all experiencing, gets right to the point and demands a practical answer from your candidates. Every sales manager can put run-of-the-mill efforts to work and drive a team to meet targets in even a highly competitive market. When they have to face challenges ranging from the curbing of resources to a reduction in the spending capacity of clientele, their true grit and resilience are put to the test. A candidate who convincingly puts forth practical solutions to this problem is your ideal candidate.

Neil Platt, Director, Emerald Home Improvements

How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?

Every hiring manager should ask candidates about their experience with a difficult customer, whether it ended on a positive note, such as a sale, or even a time where it ended poorly. This question can help managers determine an applicant’s sales strategy and how they interact with consumers, so they can decide if they’re a good fit for the role.

Lindsay Malu Kido, CEO, Empower Pleasure

How Would You Manage a Team and Manage Your Schedule?

Asking questions about how a Sales manager handles their people is important. As a manager, this person’s responsibility will be to get the most out of their team. If they only focus on the what and the how of the sales, they may end up forgetting about the who. This can lead to an inefficient use of your sales team’s talent and an overly heavy focus on numerical results. Make sure that your hire is equal parts sales and management. This will ensure an easy and efficient transition for your hired professional into a role of management within your business.

Neel Shah, Founder, EZ Newswire

“how Do You Plan to Leverage the Advantages of Tech…?

“How do you plan to leverage the advantages of tech like AI in your sales strategy?” Adopting technological solutions such as AI is a highly relevant addition to a sales strategy in today’s business environment. It is especially of consequence in a market where competitors are making the most of innovation. A sales manager who believes in new tech and innovation won’t just be an asset to your company’s sales team but will also encourage other teams across the organization to embrace a tech-first approach. A candidate who convinces you of their commitment to new tech solutions will be one of the best people for the job.

Brendan McGreevy, Head of Strategy, Affinda

Sales Philosophy is a Conversation Starter

“What is your sales philosophy?” This is a great opening question because it cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, and will absolutely open the door to follow-on questions, all of which are relevant to a sales rep interview. Remember, when interviewing, you have two objectives: 1) to help them understand if you are a good fit for them, and 2) to help you understand if they are a good fit for you. The responses and associated dialogue about their sales philosophy will go a long way toward helping you understand the culture and expectations you’d be getting yourself into. This applies to both the sales manager and to the company as well.

Brian Bennett, Head of Sales and Marketing, Optimum

How Would You Respond to Your Team Underperforming…

How would you respond to your team underperforming for two straight quarters? Firstly, research shows that “situational” interview questions tend to outperform “historic” questions; i.e., asking what they would do is better than asking someone what they have already done. Past-oriented interviews are vulnerable to lying and deception, with deceitful candidates readily fabricating favorable scenarios. Asking how they would respond to underperformance removes any benefit of deception, becoming a purer measure of ability. Secondly, dealing with team underperformance represents a particularly challenging task, which separates poor managers from effective ones. If a sales manager cannot effectively act during crises, they cannot be relied upon during tough times, making them a weak link in the chain. Moreover, given the current economic outlook, managers must have clear contingency plans in response to turbulent market conditions, and must be realistic about their team’s performance.

Ben Schwencke, Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Why Would You Like to Handle Sales?

Interviewers often use this question to learn more about my motivation for the transition, since being a sales manager is very different from being a sales representative. For example, I have enjoyed my time as a sales representative, but I would really like to use my seven years of experience to help newer and younger colleagues succeed. I am aware that my managers have had a big impact on my success, and I want to do the same for others.

Inga Broerman, VP of Marketing, BluLogix

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