We know you’re looking for sales manager interview questions and coming across this guide you’re most likely in one of two camps. You’re either recruiting and are looking for some questions that you can ask a candidate at a sales manager interview or you’re on the other side of the table and wanting to prepare yourself on what questions might be asked by the interviewer.
Either way, we have you covered. This guide lists the most common and some unusual and tough questions that are asked at sales manager interviews.
One of the first things you need to know about a prospective sales manager is their familiarity with the industry. Are they following current sales trends, and can they guide your sales team toward success whatever may come? A strong understanding of sales in general is essential for any member of management.
Imagine looking through a stack of five new sales leads. How would you determine which ones are most likely to lead to a closed deal?
How do you think advancing technology may impact the sales process in the next 10 or 20 years?
What was one of the first problems you encountered as a sales representative, and how did you overcome that problem?
Experience & Performance Interview Questions
What career experiences have prepared your job candidate for the role of sales manager? How have they performed in past roles, and how do they communicate with clients? Does their history give you some confidence that they’re ready for a managerial role? The following interview questions for a sales manager will help you size up your candidate’s professional history.
Can you tell me about one past work experience that really challenged you?
Is there one past work experience that has defined your career in sales?
How did you first get into sales, and what motivated you to choose this career field?
How much experience do you have with sales forecasting? How comfortable are you with that process?
Have you ever been responsible for letting a sales representative go due to performance issues? How comfortable did you feel with that process?
In previous sales roles, how would you characterise your relationship with company clients?
In previous sales roles, how would you characterise your relationships with other members of the sales team?
Do you have any experience using advanced technology in previous sales roles? If not, how comfortable are you learning new programs?
Can you tell me about one of the biggest sales targets or milestones you have ever reached and how you felt hitting that goal?
How many years of sales experience do you have?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your satisfaction with your sales track record to date?
What industries have you worked for in the past? Is there an industry that you feel best fits your expertise in sales?
What has been your favorite work environment to date, and what did you like about it?
Can you tell me about a work environment or company that really enabled you to succeed? What was it about that environment that helped you excel?
Tell me about a time you were certain you had a deal closed, but it didn’t work out as planned. How did you handle that experience?
Can you tell me about one time you were disappointed in your own sales performance and how you reacted to the disappointment?
Tell me about the worst day of work you have ever experienced. Did that experience somehow change how you approach your career?
Think about the last time you made a significant alteration to how you approach a sale. What stimulated that change and how did it change your performance on the job?
Leadership & Training Interview Questions
Sales managers do more than close deals. They also serve as the primary point of contact for employees on the sales team. It’s essential that every sales manager know how to lead effectively, guiding the team to reach bigger and bigger goals. These questions for a sales manager interview will help you determine the leadership style and experience level of prospective managers.
What is one strategy you might use to keep members of a sales team motivated?
Have you filled any managerial positions in the past?
Can you tell me about the first managerial role that you secured, and how you transitioned into that role?
How would you approach a sales team member who isn’t performing to expected standards? What would you cover in a sales role play with them?
Do you believe sales quotas motivate salespersons, or are they just a source of unnecessary stress?
Can you tell me about one defining moment in your managerial career that you will never forget, and why?
How closely do you believe a sales manager should work with members of a sales team?
How important do you think team meetings are, and how frequent do you think those meetings should occur?
In previous roles, have you worked under a manager or director who really inspired you? If so, tell me what impressed you about their leadership style.
It’s important to understand what motivates a potential sales manager. Where do they get inspiration, and what type of sales personality do they have in general? These sales manager job interview questions are designed to bring out key information about a job candidate in general.
What drives your personal motivation when in a sales position?
Can you tell me briefly about your educational background or future aspirations to further your education?
If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be and why?
Do you believe it’s best to jump right into action when pursuing a new goal, or is it best to slow down and take the time to plan for future success?
Can you tell me about an experience, professional or personal, that changed your mindset or attitude in some way?
How do you think your life might change in the next 10 years?
What is one personal weakness that you’re aware of, and what are you doing to improve in that area?
What strategies do you use for time management in your work and personal life?
If a friend or relative asked what we do at this company, what would you tell them?
How did you hear about this role, and why did you decide to apply?
Do you feel you’re an ideal salesperson for our company specifically, and why?
Why are you leaving your current role?
In ways do you think working with our company could improve your overall life satisfaction?
Will securing this sales manager position help you meet a personal or professional goal?
How do you deal with conflict?
How often do you set goals, and how detailed do you get when creating plans of action?
Role-Specific Interview Questions
At least a couple of interview questions should relate to the specific role that the candidate will fill. That ensures they’re a good fit for that role. The following sales manager job interview questions to ask candidates will help you make the best decisions for every position on your team.
Area Sales Manager Interview Questions
Do you think customer frequency plans are critical or optional?
What would you do if one of your top field sales representatives suddenly starts missing quotas every month?
What processes will you use to evaluate performance for the sales team serving your area?
How do you balance personal responsibilities outside of work with a work schedule that may include a significant amount of travel?
How would you handle a personality conflict with another area sales manager or a national sales manager you work with regularly?
What advice would you give a sales manager interested in improving performance for their representatives?
Can you identify one experience in your career that has prepared you for the role of area sales manager?
If you were asked to create one uniform training plan that all company offices will use to train new sales representatives, what are some topics that you would cover in the plan?
What do you believe are the most important qualities for an area sales manager?
How closely do you think an area sales manager should monitor competitors in the area?
What is one strategy you would use to monitor competitors in your area and make sure you’re as competitive as possible?
Do you feel your selling style has remained the same in the last 5 years? If not, what is one big change that you made and what stimulated that change?
Is there something about your experience or personal expertise that makes you the best candidate for this position?
National Sales Manager Interview Questions
How comfortable are you working with a team of sales representatives?
Tell me about a memorable sales pitch that you have delivered and what makes it stand out in your mind.
In previous roles, how much responsibility did you assume for the sales team’s budget and what influence did you have?
How comfortable are you dealing with the budget for a large salesforce?
What is the largest sales team you have ever managed?
Can you identify two or three qualities that you think every national sales manager should possess?
Have you ever disagreed with one of your sales managers in previous roles? If so, how did you handle the disagreement.
Looking back at your sales career up to this moment, what is one experience that you believe prepared you for management on the national level?
Tell me about the first time you negotiated a new contract with a client. What approach did you take to ensure efficiency and success?
How comfortable are you preparing sales reports for a large and growing sales team?
If you were to come into the role of national sales manager and discover the existing sales team is seriously underperforming, what is the first thing you would do to handle that situation?
Have you been involved in the development of a sales strategy in past roles? If not, how confident are you that you can handle that task for a national sales team?
What is one thing you think every national sales manager should do to motivate their sales team?
How much experience do you have using technology to monitor the performance of a large sales team?
What would you say if a friend asked about what we do and why our role in the market is important?
How important do you think it is for a company to embrace advanced technology to support a sales team?
What do you believe will allow you to stand out from other national sales managers?
If you were interviewing candidates for a new sales team, what qualities or experiences would you consider most important?
Tell me about one of your most satisfying moments as a leader or manager.
What advice would you give an area sales manager interested in improving communication within their region?
How much training do you think a company should provide to keep their sales team up to date with industry trends?
What are two or three concrete actions that our company should take support our sales force?
Can you tell me about a time you adjusted your sales strategy and what stimulated that change?
Imagine you’re in charge of hiring representatives for a new pharmaceutical sales team. What qualities are you looking for in candidates?
What is one experience that you feel represents your success in pharmaceutical sales?
Tell me about your first experience educating a medical provider about a prescription medication. What lessons did you learn from that initial exposure to the industry?
What advice would you give new sales representatives before they go to their first sales meeting with a medical provider?
What are two to three characteristics that you think most successful pharmaceutical sales representatives share?
Imagine one of your sales reps has a question or concern about a product you’re promoting. What would you do to help them understand the product more or feel comfortable promoting it?
What is one thing about pharmaceutical sales that you don’t particularly like or enjoy?
Do you think managing a team of pharmaceutical representatives is different from managing representatives in other industries, and why?
How familiar are you with using technology to set goals and track progress toward those goals?
If you were to create a coaching session for your team focused on approaching new healthcare facilities for recruitment, what tips or topics would you include?
Retail Sales Manager Interview Questions
What do you think are the selling advantages for our brand, keeping our main competitors in mind?
What do you already know about our brand and the products we sell?
What past experiences have prepared you for the role of retail sales manager?
How long have you worked in retail sales, and how satisfied are you with your career to date?
What do you think differentiates retail sales from sales positions in other industries? What retail sales training strategies should a sales rep receive?
What sales strategies do you think work best for the retail market?
What is your favourite part of working in retail sales?
If a friend were considering a career change to retail sales, what would you tell them to do in preparation for a career in the field?
Hopefully, these sales manager interview questions will prepare you for any sales leadership role you pursue or need to fill. A solid understanding of job interview questions for sales manager roles may help you relax and approach an interview with confidence.
When selecting the final questions for a sales manager interview, think about what skills are needed to complete the job successfully. Listing characteristics of your ideal sales manager may help guide your selection of sales manager interview questions even more.