Before hiring a sales manager for your team, consider this: Does the candidate have the right sales skills?
It’s a question that is fundamentally important to the success of your recruitment efforts.
To answer it, we recommend using a combination of two approaches: Skills testing and interviewing your best candidates, using the right sales manager interview questions.
This way, you’ll get an accurate, in-depth understanding of your candidates’ knowledge and skills, enabling you to hire the right candidate for the job.
If you haven’t prepared your list of interview questions, this article is for you.
Below, you’ll find 34 sales manager interview questions to ask your candidates, along with sample answers to some of them, to help you evaluate their responses.
Table of contents
- 14 general sales manager interview questions to ask applicants
- 5 general sales manager interview questions and answers
- 11 sales manager interview questions related to leadership skills
- 5 sales manager interview questions and answers related to leadership skills
- 9 situational sales manager interview questions to ask applicants
- 5 situational sales manager interview questions and answers
- Why skills testing is vital for hiring sales managers
- Which skills are important for sales managers?
- ✅ Find your next sales manager with skills testing
14 general sales manager interview questions to ask applicants
Ask professionals some of these 14 general sales manager interview questions to learn more about their sales experience, knowledge, and whether they have researched your business.
- Which skills do successful sales managers have?
- Which soft skills does a person need to be a successful sales manager?
- Describe your sales career so far.
- Why did you choose to pursue a career in sales?
- Have you ever worked with data analysis tools? Why are they important in sales?
- What do you hope to have achieved in three years?
- What is your best sales skill? How has this skill helped you in your sales management career?
- Which skills do you want to improve?
- Describe your best achievement in sales.
- Why have you applied to this position?
- Have you had any sales management training or undertaken any courses?
- What made you choose to leave your current role?
- What do you know about our products?
- How would you explain what our organization does to a new sales representative?
5 general sales manager interview questions and answers
Here are five of the general sales manager interview questions above, along with sample answers to guide you when reviewing candidates’ responses.
1. Which skills do successful sales managers have?
Applicants should know that several critical skills are required to be a successful sales manager, including negotiation, leadership, and coaching. They may also mention that relationship building is vital for working with a sales team and prospects.
2. Which soft skills does a person need to be a successful sales manager?
Various soft skills are required to be successful in a sales manager role. Candidates should know that communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management are all vital soft skills for sales managers.
3. What is your best sales skill? How has it helped you in your sales management career?
Can your applicants provide specific examples of how a specific skill has helped them achieve a goal in their career?
For instance, applicants may mention that negotiation is their best sales skill and explain how they met a challenging sales quota thanks to their negotiation skills.
4. Have you ever worked with data analysis tools? Why are they important in sales?
Although expertise in data analysis isn’t required to be a sales manager, your candidates should understand how to spot trends and use customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Can your applicants explain how they make sales forecasts and assess sales metrics for team members?
5. What do you know about our products?
Your next sales manager should know which products or services your organization offers. Consider applicants who have researched your products in detail and show enthusiasm to learn more.
11 sales manager interview questions related to leadership skills
Ask your applicants these 11 sales manager interview questions to learn more about their leadership style and determine whether it aligns with your role’s requirements.
- How would your sales team describe your leadership style?
- Which factors motivate you when leading a sales team?
- What are your favorite aspects of sales management?
- What are your least favorite aspects of sales management?
- Which approaches do you use to motivate your team?
- Describe your experience managing sales representatives with different values.
- Have you ever coached a sales representative? Which methods did you use?
- Which leadership skills are essential for sales managers?
- How do you delegate responsibilities to your sales team?
- Have you ever taken a risk as a sales team manager?
- Have you ever had to fire a sales representative?
5 sales manager interview questions and answers related to leadership skills
Here are five sales manager interview questions and answers related to leadership skills. Use them to assess your candidates’ responses and their suitability for your role.
1. Describe your experience managing sales representatives with different values.
Are your applicants able to work with a diverse team of sales representatives who have different values?
Can they provide examples of building a strong team and fostering a safe environment in which all team members felt comfortable speaking up and sharing different ideas?
2. Have you ever coached a sales representative? Which methods did you use?
Applicants may mention a few different coaching methods when answering this question.
For example, they may have experience assisting team members with career development and skills acquisition. They may also have experience reviewing team performance data to work towards performance enhancement. Pay special attention to the examples your candidates provide.
3. How would your sales team describe your leadership style?
Applicants don’t necessarily need to have a dominant leadership style. Instead, consider whether your candidates’ leadership styles align with your organization’s values. Always ask for examples from past roles to understand how their leadership skills translate into results.
4. Which leadership skills are essential for sales managers?
Some of the critical leadership sub-skills that sales managers should have include task and authority delegation, planning and team member support, and providing guidance and feedback.
Can your applicants provide examples of how these leadership sub-skills have helped them lead previous sales teams to success?
5. Which factors motivate you when leading a sales team?
Candidates who mention compensation and few other motivational factors for leading a sales team are ones to be wary of.
Applicants should have other factors that drive them to success when leading teams, such as rising to a challenge or the excitement of working with a team that is motivated and capable. Also, consider whether the work environment at your organization aligns with their expectations and motivating factors.
9 situational sales manager interview questions to ask applicants
Ask your applicants these nine situational sales manager interview questions to learn how they respond to challenging situations.
- Which skills would you look for when hiring sales representatives for your team?
- Which approach would you use to train new sales representatives?
- You notice that a sales representative is consistently failing to meet targets. What action do you take?
- Which approach would you take to handle fluctuations in sales goal achievement?
- Which method would you use to manage a complex schedule?
- Which method would you use to resolve conflict in a sales team?
- Have you ever had to handle a high-pressure situation with a tight deadline? How did you achieve that?
- Have you ever had to introduce an unpopular change to your team’s sales process? How did you do that?
- Have you ever failed to accomplish a sales goal as a sales representative because you lacked a vital skill?
5 situational sales manager interview questions and answers
Here are five answers to the situational sales manager interview questions above. Use them to gauge your applicants’ responses.
1. Which skills would you look for when hiring sales representatives for your team?
A successful sales manager should have experience hiring a sales team and know which skills to look for. For instance, applicants should know that negotiation, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management are vital skills to consider when hiring sales representatives.
2. You notice that a sales representative is consistently failing to meet targets. What action do you take?
Tact is a vital skill that candidates may allude to when responding to this sales manager interview question. They must coach sales reps effectively, even if team members fail to meet targets. Can your candidates get the right balance between being too negative and harsh and sweeping quota failures under the rug?
3. Have you ever had to introduce an unpopular change to your team’s sales process? How did you do that?
Candidates should understand how to lead sales teams through changes in sales processes. Do they have the right communication skills to explain the change effectively?
Ask applicants follow-up questions about how they would cope with unfavorable responses to changes to understand more about their leadership and change management skills.
4. Which method would you use to resolve a conflict in a sales team?
Do your candidates understand how to diffuse a conflict within a sales team? Can they use problem-solving skills and tact to listen to all team members involved in the conflict and propose a fair and efficient solution to the situation?
Look for candidates who can back up their conflict-resolution claims with examples from previous roles.
5. Which approach would you use to train new sales representatives?
Training new sales representatives is not just about technology or product training; it also includes mentoring and team building.
Your applicants may mention several approaches to training new sales representatives, such as setting goals, providing sales representatives with the right resources, and reviewing progress.
Applicants may even use a skill testing approach to assess their sales representative’s weaker skills and set the right goals for their team.
Why skills testing is vital for hiring sales managers
When hiring sales managers, it can be difficult to assess a range of soft and hard sales skills, but pre-employment skills testing helps overcome the challenges related to decision making and assessment.
Use skills tests at the very beginning of the recruitment process: Ask candidates to take an assessment as soon as you receive applications. This way, you can get rid of resume screening, which can be very time consuming, and, more importantly, biased.
Skills tests enable you to assess applicants’ skills accurately.
In short, skills testing is important for making objective, bias-free hiring decisions. By using a reliable skill-testing platform like TestGorilla, you can be sure to make the right hiring decision.
Which skills are important for sales managers?
There are a few critical hard and soft skills to consider when hiring sales managers.
Here are the top five skills you should look for when assessing and interviewing candidates.
1. Leadership skills
Your next hire's leadership skills are vital: Your sales manager will lead your sales team to achieve its goals and targets.
Do your applicants have the leadership skills to effectively manage a sales team? Can they delegate authority, provide feedback, support their sales team, and contribute to each sales representative’s professional development?
2. Sales knowledge and experience
Having the right sales knowledge and experience is critical for sales managers. Whether your organization is selling to B2B or B2C customers, your sales manager’s knowledge should align with your organization’s profile.
3. Communication skills
Making a sales team is all about effective communication with prospects, team members, and stakeholders. Clients may want to speak with managers as well as sales representatives. Does your candidate have the right workplace communication skills to navigate different sales scenarios?
4. Negotiation skills
Negotiation skills are critical for sales managers. Since managing a team efficiently involves negotiating with team members to achieve positive outcomes for all, a sales manager should be prepared to communicate efficiently and negotiate.
The same applies for communication with prospects: Sales managers should be able to use their negotiation skills to find the right solution for each client and close deals efficiently. Good negotiation ensures that everyone is satisfied with the outcome.
Assess negotiation skills with a good Negotiation skills test.
5. Problem-solving skills
Sales managers should know how to identify problems, think of potential solutions, assess how effective each solution would be, and select and implement the right approach.
Do your candidates have the required problem-solving skills to handle complex issues for their sales team and stakeholders?
Find your next team lead with the right sales manager interview questions
If you haven’t got the right tools or techniques, evaluating your candidates’ skills isn’t easy.
But thankfully, you’re now well prepared to deal with the challenge: You have skills assessments at your disposal, and a comprehensive list of sales manager interview questions to ask candidates.
Remember to first assess applicants’ skills with the right set of tests, and only then conduct interviews with your best candidates. This way, you’ll get precise, objective results in a fraction of the time you’d otherwise need to make the right hire.
Use this approach to find and hire an exceptional sales manager who’ll lead your sales team to success.
With TestGorilla, you’ll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.