interview questions 2

15 Essential Sales Manager Interview Question and Answers

Discover the top 15 interview questions to ask a sales manager in an interview to assess skills and knowledge and how to answer them as a candidate.

Jemima Owen-Jones
Written by Jemima Owen-Jones
October 18, 2023
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Sales managers are crucial in driving revenue growth and managing sales teams. They are responsible for leading and motivating a team of sales professionals, setting sales targets, developing strategies, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Sales managers are instrumental in achieving organizational goals with their ability to train, guide, and inspire their teams.

Key facts and data

  • Median salary per year: The median salary for a sales manager in the US is approximately $57,906 annually. However, salaries vary significantly based on location, industry, and experience
  • Typical entry-level education: Entry-level sales manager roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related fields. Gaining experience in sales and often starting as a sales representative can be a stepping stone towards a sales manager role
  • Industry growth trends: The sales industry is evolving due to technology and consumer behavior changes. E-commerce and online sales have grown, leading to a focus on digital marketing and CRM software. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are becoming important factors in sales strategies. The pandemic accelerated remote sales strategies and virtual tools adoption, making digital proficiency and international perspective increasingly important for sales managers
  • Demand: The demand for sales managers remains robust across various industries. The demand for sales managers is expected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, adding approximately 43,200 new jobs

This article explores the key interview questions for sales managers, providing both recruiters and candidates with valuable insights.

1. Tell me about your experience as a sales manager

Aim: Gauge the candidate’s experience level and ability to articulate their accomplishments.
Key skills assessed: Leadership, communication, and problem-solving.

What to look for

Look for examples of successful sales strategies implemented, team achievements, and the ability to overcome challenges.

Example answer

“In my previous role, I led a team of 10 sales representatives and successfully increased sales by 20% within a year. I implemented a training program that improved the team’s product knowledge and customer engagement skills, increasing customer satisfaction and repeat business.”

2. How do you motivate your sales team?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s ability to inspire and motivate their team to achieve sales goals.
Key skills assessed: Leadership, motivational skills, and team-building.

What to look for

Look for strategies such as setting clear goals, providing incentives, recognizing achievements, and fostering a positive and collaborative team environment.

Example answer

“I believe in setting clear goals and aligning them with individual and team incentives. I regularly recognize and reward outstanding performance and create a supportive and collaborative team environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to excel.”

3. How do you handle underperforming team members?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s ability to address performance issues and provide constructive feedback.
Key skills assessed: Coaching and mentoring skills, conflict resolution, and performance management.

What to look for

Look for a structured approach to performance improvement, such as identifying areas of improvement, providing targeted coaching, setting clear expectations, and offering support.

Example answer

“When faced with an underperforming team member, I first identify the root cause of the issue. I then provide targeted coaching and development opportunities, set clear expectations, and closely monitor their progress. I also involve HR to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken.”

4. How do you develop sales strategies?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s ability to analyze market trends, set goals, and develop effective sales strategies.
Key skills assessed: Strategic thinking, market analysis, and goal setting.

What to look for

Look for a structured approach to developing sales strategies, including market analysis, competitive positioning, goal-setting, and alignment with the overall business objectives.

Example answer

“I start by conducting a thorough market analysis to identify potential opportunities and challenges. Based on this analysis, I set clear and measurable goals and develop strategies that leverage our strengths while addressing any weaknesses or threats. Regular monitoring and adjustments ensure that our strategies remain relevant and effective.”

5. How do you handle objections and negotiate deals?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s ability to handle objections, negotiate effectively, and close deals.
Key skills assessed: Persuasion, negotiation, and objection handling.

What to look for

Look for practical communication skills, understanding and addressing objections, negotiation tactics, and the capability to close deals by finding win-win solutions.

Example answer

“When faced with objections, I actively listen to understand the customers’ concerns and address them empathetically. I highlight our product or service’s unique value proposition and emphasize the benefits. I negotiate by identifying mutual interests and finding creative solutions that satisfy both parties, ultimately closing the deal.”

6. How do you manage customer relationships?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s ability to establish and maintain strong customer relationships.
Key skills assessed: Relationship building, customer service, and communication.

What to look for

Look for examples of strategies used to build and nurture customer relationships, such as regular communication, anticipating customer needs, providing exceptional service, and addressing concerns promptly.

Example answer

“I prioritize building strong relationships with customers by ensuring open lines of communication and regularly checking in to understand their needs. I go above and beyond to provide exceptional service and promptly address any concerns. This approach has resulted in high customer satisfaction and repeat business.”

7. How do you stay updated on industry trends?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s commitment to continuous learning and staying ahead of industry trends.
Key skills assessed: Industry knowledge, adaptability, and continuous learning.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate stays informed of industry trends, such as attending conferences, engaging in professional networks, subscribing to industry publications, or utilizing online resources.

Example answer

“I am committed to continuous learning and staying up-to-date with industry trends. I regularly attend industry conferences and webinars, join professional networks and organizations, and subscribe to industry publications. This allows me to anticipate market changes, identify new opportunities, and adapt our sales strategies accordingly.”

8. How do you handle tight deadlines and competing priorities?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s ability to work under pressure and effectively prioritize tasks.
Key skills assessed: Time management, prioritization, and stress management.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate has successfully managed tight deadlines and competing priorities, such as effective time management techniques, delegation, and the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure.

Example answer

“When faced with tight deadlines and competing priorities, I prioritize tasks based on their urgency and impact on our sales goals. I use time management techniques such as creating a schedule, setting realistic deadlines, and delegating tasks when necessary. Remaining calm and focused under pressure is essential to ensure that deadlines are met without comprising quality.”


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9. How do you handle sales team conflicts?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s ability to resolve conflicts and promote a positive team dynamic.
Key skills assessed: Conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, and communication.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate has effectively resolved conflicts within their sales team, such as active listening, empathy, mediation, and the ability to facilitate open and honest communication.

Example answer

“When conflicts arise within my sales team, I first ensure that I understand the root cause of the issue by actively listening to all parties involved. I then facilitate open and honest communication, encouraging each team member to express their ideas and concerns. By promoting empathy and finding common ground, I have resolved conflicts and fostered a positive team dynamic.”

10. How do you measure sales team performance?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s ability to track and measure sales team performance.
Key skills assessed: Performance management, data analysis, and goal tracking.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate sets performance targets, tracks progress, and uses data to analyze team performance. Additionally, look for their ability to provide actionable feedback and coaching based on performance metrics.

Example answer

“I measure sales team performance by setting clear and measurable goals aligned with the overall sales strategy. I regularly track progress against these goals using data analysis tools and reports. By analyzing performance metrics, I identify areas for improvement and provide targeted coaching and feedback to help individual team members reach their full potential.”

11. How do you handle rejection and failure in sales?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s resilience and ability to learn from setbacks.
Key skills assessed: Resilience, learning mindset, and emotional intelligence.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate has handled rejection and failure in the past, such as their ability to bounce back, learn from mistakes, and maintain a positive mindset.

Example answer

“In sales, rejection and failure are inevitable. However, I see each setback as an opportunity to learn and grow. I analyze the reasons behind the rejection and identify areas where I can improve. I maintain a positive mindset and use each failure as motivation to push harder and achieve better results.”

12. How do you use technology to enhance sales performance?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s ability to leverage technology to optimize sales processes.
Key skills assessed: Technological aptitude, adaptability, and process optimization.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate has used technology to enhance sales performance, such as CRM systems, sales automation tools, data analytics, or social media platforms.

Example answer

“I embrace technology to optimize sales processes and improve performance. I have implemented CRM systems that enable better tracking and management of leads and sales automation tools that streamline repetitive tasks. I leverage data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing us to tailor our sales approach. Additionally, I utilize social media platforms to expand our reach and engage with our target audience.”

13. How do you ensure compliance with sales policies and regulations?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s understanding of sales policies and their ability to ensure compliance.
Key skills assessed: Knowledge of sales policies and regulations, attention to detail, and risk management.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate has enforced sales policies and ensured compliance, such as training programs, regular audits, and implementing risk management protocols.

Example answer

“Compliance with sales policies and regulations is of utmost importance. In my previous role, I developed and implemented training programs to educate the sales team on legal and ethical practices. Regular audits were conducted to ensure adherence, and risk management protocols were in place to mitigate any potential compliance issues.”

14. How do you handle a challenging sales target?

Aim: Assess the candidate’s ability to handle pressure and achieve challenging sales targets.
Key skills assessed: Goal orientation, problem-solving, and perseverance.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate has successfully achieved challenging sales targets, such as their ability to break down the target into manageable milestones, develop new strategies if necessary, and persevere in the face of obstacles.

Example answer

“When faced with a challenging sales target, I break it down into smaller, more manageable goals. I analyze the market and competition to identify potential opportunities. If necessary, I develop new strategies or adjust existing ones to align with the target. I remain determined, focused, and adaptable, always striving to find creative solutions to achieve the goal.”

15. How do you keep up with the latest sales techniques and trends?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate’s commitment to professional development and staying ahead in the field.
Key skills assessed: Continuous learning, adaptability, and sales expertise.

What to look for

Look for examples of how the candidate invests in their professional development, such as attending workshops, training programs, or industry conferences. Additionally, look for their ability to apply the latest sales techniques and best practices in their previous roles.

Example answer

“I am passionate about continuously improving my sales expertise and staying updated on the latest industry trends. I attend workshops and training programs, read sales-related books and articles, and actively seek out mentors and industry experts. I proactively apply the latest sales techniques and best practices to achieve better results.”

Next steps

Preparing for a sales manager interview requires a deep understanding of the role’s responsibilities and the skills required to excel in the position. By familiarizing yourself with relevant and insightful sales manager interview questions and answers, recruiters can assess a candidate’s sales skills, leadership abilities, and adaptability.

On the other hand, candidates can use these interview questions and answers for sales managers in preparation to showcase their expertise effectively. With the right preparation and mindset, recruiters and candidates can ensure a successful sales manager interview.

Additional resources

  • Job Description Templates: Use these customizable templates for your open roles and attract the right candidates worldwide.
  • Get Hired Hub: Where global employers and talent can connect and begin working together.
  • Global Hiring Toolkit: Learn all about competitive salaries, statutory employee benefits, and total employee costs in different countries.

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