5 Sales Manager Interview Questions and Answers

The process of hiring quality sales managers is challenging because, by nature, salespeople are incredibly persuasive and can make you believe they are the right person for the job. Additionally, many leaders responsible for hiring – recruiters, sales managers, executives, etc. – lack the preparation, process, and skill necessary to interview candidates effectively. 

For this reason, our team at Sciolytix put our heads together and came up with five interview questions and answers for sales manager roles.

Q1: What teams have you worked with, including work-related and outside teams and groups?

A1: Knowing more about a candidate’s interests and experience in working with teams is critical. If you are hiring for a tech company, closing sales deals involves working closely with different departments, including coders, programmers, and customer service staff. Effective sales managers work closely with support teams, developers, and sales staff. Participation in outside activities shows empathy, and support for other people’s interests builds team loyalty. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Clear evidence of working with teams
  • Participation in outside activities within the community
  • Willingness to embrace the company’s culture

An example of a quality answer might be: “I worked with both inside and outside sales teams and community groups. I adapted to each group and quickly became an important voice.”

Q2: Do you have experience or certifications in working with CRM software to prioritize leads and develop marketing campaigns?

A2: This is an important question, as certification in any CRM software ensures that a new sales manager can hit the ground running. Sales processes can involve AI-generated leads, and a candidate with a certificate from a school or university or an industry-based certification enjoys a clear advantage in the workplace. Experience or accreditation in customer relationship management ensures that the sales manager candidate is familiar with CRM technology methods and strategies to satisfy customer needs. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • CRM certification or experience working with CRM software
  • Understanding the different uses of CRM
  • Clear strategy for assigning leads

An example of a quality answer might be: “I used Salesforce for customer-centric campaigns. I assigned leads from the website, chats, trade shows, and social media and triggered alerts in special cases.”

Q3: Describe your previous company’s culture. How did you encourage your team to get involved as a sales manager?

A3: A company’s culture should be simple to express, especially for an experienced sales manager. The candidate must be a good cultural fit. The applicant’s ability to explain the philosophy and encourage team members to support it is essential. The candidate should focus on the positive aspects of a previous employer’s culture. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of former employer’s culture
  • Ability to explain the values simply
  • Willingness to educate team members in cultural expectations

An example answer might be: “The culture was a fun-loving group that marketed eco-friendly products and solutions. I hosted team events supporting sustainability to generate leads and support.”

Q4: How would you manage critical recognition for top salespeople, support staff, and most improved sales performance? 

A4: Success is multifaceted, and an effective sales manager is the greatest asset for encouraging salespeople to remain at their jobs. Acknowledgment is critical to the process. Sales managers should have clear ideas about encouraging sales with personal and company recognition. It’s just as important to recognize small accomplishments and improvements as to identify top sales performances. Effective managers nurture each team member with attention. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Strategy for recognizing personal accomplishments
  • Recognition of support staff’s contributions
  • Evidence of daily manager support

An example of a quality response might be: “I tried to recognize improved performances, top sellers, and support staff for their contributions. I set team and personal goals and checked on progress daily.”

Q5: Can you give specific examples of how you know your team members well enough to assign prioritized sales leads effectively?

A5: Sales managers must use their team members efficiently, and they can’t do that unless they get to know their teams individually. Effective managers might research their staff members’ interests and arrange get-to-know-you activities and meetings. Assigning leads is a game of percentages based on a salesperson’s previous sales results and common interests with the client. Good managers also encourage cold calling. 

What to look for in an answer:

  • Demonstrates a plan for engaging team members
  • Develops a profile of each staff member
  • Assigns leads based on solid criteria

An example answer might be: “I hold individual daily meetings and regular team events to know my team’s capabilities. I assign leads based on closing rates and common interests.”

We hope you find these questions and answers helpful. What interview questions work for you when hiring sales managers? Please drop us a comment to share.  

When hiring sales managers, knowledge is power. And a consistent, repeatable process gives you the best chance of success. For this reason, we developed the Sciolytix Sales Performance Predictor (aka: S2P2). 

To learn more, please visit: https://s2p2.sciolytix.com/. 


Author: Dario Priolo

Dario brings over 20 years of experience in the sales enablement and talent development industry. He has led marketing and strategy as CMO for leading companies like the Hay Group, Miller Heiman and Profiles International and has been part of 4 successful exits, including his own start-up.

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