12 Sales Manager Interview Questions (With Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 13, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated September 13, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A sales manager plays a critical role in the organization, mainly because they hold leadership responsibilities. Hiring managers could ask some challenging questions to test whether you are ready to manage the sales team and take on other responsibilities. Preparing for common interview questions for this role can help you make a great first impression and give well-thought-out answers. In this article, we discuss some of the most common sales manager interview questions and provide examples of how to answer them.

Related: Common Assistant Manager Interview Questions

12 Sales manager interview questions

Practise answering the questions below to help you prepare for a sales manager interview. The most common sales manager interview questions include:

1. What are the qualities of a good sales manager?

Sales managers need certain qualities to execute their responsibilities effectively and efficiently. The hiring manager needs to know that you understand which qualities you need to excel in the role. Mention several qualities a good sales manager needs, and highlight your relevant strengths.

Example: “A good sales manager needs to set goals, communicate effectively and train and coach salespersons. Also, competent sales managers need excellent organization, negotiation and leadership skills. They're also good listeners, motivators and problem solvers. I have developed all these abilities, which is why I believe I'm a great fit for the role.”

Related: The Most Important Sales Skills for Your Resume

2. Do you understand the sales process and its steps?

The interviewers want to know if you have experience and theoretical knowledge of the key steps in the sales process. In your answer, define the sales process and describe its process step-by-step.

Example: “The sales process includes repeatable steps salespeople can take to convert potential buyers into actual buyers. The sales process is crucial because it affects a company's ability to make sales and reach targets. It features prospecting, identifying your ideal customer, approaching the potential customer, presenting the products or services, managing objections, closing the sale and following up with your customers to ensure satisfaction.”

Related: How to Complete the Selling Process in 7 Steps

3. What is one of the biggest challenges of being a sales manager?

Hiring managers also want to test your understanding of the challenges of the sales manager's position. In your answer, describe a major challenge you expect or have experienced in this position and focus on how you plan to overcome it.

Example: “One of the key challenges I expect as a sales manager is handling less satisfied customers. A good example is in my last sales role, when someone damaged a product and insisted it was faulty before purchase. I had checked the item with them in-store to show how it worked, and they were satisfied. Such customers put the company in a tricky position because there is a risk of financial loss and reputational damage. To manage this challenge, I read the organization's policies thoroughly so I understand the actions to take in these circumstances. I also request the help of other departments if the need arises.”

Related: A Guide to Sales Manager Responsibilities (With Tips)

4. How do you establish a rapport with prospects?

The question allows you to show the interviewer your method for approaching and convincing prospective buyers. In your answer, describe how you would build rapport with a prospect.

Example: “The first step I take to build rapport with customers is to listen actively to their needs and concerns. Next, I ask questions to get clarity and repeat back what they've said in other words. I also talk about their interests to establish a connection with them. Lastly, I suggest how to fulfil their needs with the products or services we have and prepare a tailored sales pitch to persuade them to buy.”

Related: What Is a Prospective Client? (With Sales Conversion Tips)

5. How do you motivate members of your sales team?

As a sales manager, you are a leader of a larger sales team. Your sales team may experience burnout or become demotivated as they try to meet their goals. The hiring manager wants to know if you can inspire the team. In your answer, show that you can effectively motivate a team and which strategies you use.

Example: “I always aim to turn disappointment or failure to meet a sales target into a learning experience. Whenever a team member misses a target or feels unmotivated, I set up a one-on-one meeting to discuss improvement strategies. I also like to treat the team when they've met the collective goal to keep them motivated.”

Related: How to Motivate Employees

6. How do you motivate yourself?

Apart from motivating the team, sales managers also need to motivate themselves. Your motivation as a sales manager has a social impact on the rest of the team and their performance. Interviewers ask this question to assess your enthusiasm and drive. In your answer, state how you motivate yourself and show that the company can rely on you to work productively.

Example: “Reading about the experiences of other successful salespeople and the challenges they face helps to inspire me. Also, getting potential customers excited about the products is highly motivating. I'm very goal-oriented, so reaching and exceeding my targets and motivating my team to do the same keeps me working hard.”

Related: Interview Question: "What Motivates You?" (With Examples)

7. How would you describe your management style?

Employers want to know how a sales manager's leadership style fits or adds to the company's culture. It helps them to understand if you can help them achieve their goals effectively and efficiently. In your answer, describe the style of management you use and how it benefits the team.

Example: “As a manager, I like to focus on the growth of my team, both personally and professionally. Therefore, I use the coaching style of management. Growth helps them learn how to deal with new and existing challenges. I take the time to mentor, guide and share advice with my team. I also find opportunities to help my team members thrive and improve their sales tactics.”

Related: 9 Types of Management Styles for Effective Leadership

8. How do you monitor your team's performance?

Employee performance metrics are essential for strategizing and decision-making in the organization. Employers want to know how you measure and monitor the performance of the sales team. In your answer, state and show how you can effectively measure and monitor the sales team's performance.

Example: “First, I'd set clear expectations and goals for the team collectively. Next, I'd make sure that everyone understands their individual roles. Thereafter, I'd create a plan to assess both short-term and long-term goals. I'd regularly assess their activities against the expectations and goals.”

9. What do you do if one sales team member is underperforming?

Sometimes your team members may underperform in their roles. Hiring managers want to evaluate whether you have strategies to improve employee performance. In your answer, describe how you handle an underperforming team member and improve productivity.

Example: “First, I'd seek to understand why the team member's performance was low. I'd speak to them directly and identify ways to improve their performance and coach them on these strategies. If they were performing poorly because they were unfamiliar with the duties, I'd first reassign them to another task. Thereafter, I'd train them on the original task to help them learn and grow.”

10. How would you handle disagreements among members of your sales team?

People working in a group may disagree on various issues. Conflicts sometimes arise from these disagreements and can affect the productivity of the entire team. With this question, the interviewers are assessing your leadership and critical thinking skills. A good sales manager needs to minimize disputes and resolve issues between team members. In your answer, use an example to show how you've managed this in the past.

Example: “I usually encourage team members to first try to resolve their conflict privately. However, I'm happy to get involved if they need a mediator. In my previous job, I managed sales representatives who got overly competitive. It got to a point where they were not speaking to each other and would not share client information for the good of the organization. I called them in and discussed the issue with them. Thereafter, I assigned them similar responsibilities where they could work together to promote teamwork.”

Related: How to Answer Conflict Resolution Interview Questions

11. What sales management tools do you have experience using?

Technology is an important factor in sales today. Employers want sales managers who keep up with technological trends and can leverage various tools to increase productivity and sales. In your answer, describe the tools you have experience using. Explain how you can adapt quickly to the systems and tools a company uses.

Example: “In my previous job, I used tools like social media to manage and promote sales operations. I'm also familiar with regular tools like cold calling and email campaigns. My experience with various tools makes me a fast learner, so I'm confident I can adapt to the systems and tools your company uses quickly.”

Related: A Comprehensive List of Effective Marketing Tools to Use

12. Where do you see yourself in five years?

The question helps the interviewer assess your ambition and see if your long-term goals align with the company's goal. In your answer, summarize any achievements and career development goals you hope to have met in five years.

Example: "In the next five years, I want to be someone with a great depth of sales and management expertise. I'm hoping the experience will help me make more accurate predictions and decisions. I also hope to get more managerial responsibilities and become the department head so I can lead a larger team."

Related: Responding to "What Are Your Career Goals?" (With Examples)

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