49 Sales Manager Interview Questions (with Example Answers)
If you're pursuing a career as a sales manager, the interview stage is often part of the recruitment process. Learning about the interview questions encountered during a sales manager interview, and why a hiring manager may ask them, can help you develop effective answers. In this article, we provide a comprehensive list of general, experience and in-depth sales manager interview questions and give sample answers to four specific questions.
Related: How to Become a Sales Manager
15 general sales manager interview questions
General sales manager interview questions can help a recruiting manager understand your interpersonal attributes. Understanding your personality can help the recruiting manager determine if you're a suitable candidate. These questions typically focus on your values, aspirations and motivations. The following are general interview questions you might encounter during a sales manager interview:
Tell me about yourself.
How did you hear about this position?
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
What's been your greatest achievement outside your professional life?
What about this company interests you?
Why are you leaving your current position?
Have you always wanted to be a sales manager?
Is a sales manager role your dream position?
What interests you outside of work?
What are your career ambitions, and how could we support them?
Do you take active steps to improve your skills?
What do you do to maintain motivation in the workplace?
What qualities do you possess that are essential for a sales manager role?
15 interview questions about sales experience
The recruiting manager may ask questions relating to your experience and background to help them determine your employability as a sales manager. Your answers to these questions can demonstrate your ability to perform the role well. The following are sales manager interview questions relating to your experience and background:
What do you like most about sales?
How much experience do you have a sales manager?
What's your least favourite aspect of sales?
How would your previous sales team describe you?
Describe your selling style.
How would you manage a team and organise your schedule?
How do you respond when you make mistakes?
How do you handle pressure in the workplace?
What's the greatest success you've had with sales?
Why did you leave your previous job?
What traits make a great sales manager?
Describe a time when you managed a challenging scenario as a sales manager.
How do you motivate your sales team?
What's your process for making a sale?
How would you describe your leadership style?
15 in-depth sales manager interview questions
The recruiting manager may ask in-depth questions to understand your specific skills as a sales manager. These questions might focus on sales manager responsibilities. The following are some in-depth questions you might encounter:
How do you approach unique personalities on your team?
How do you assess the strengths and weaknesses of each team member?
Are you comfortable with data analysis? How have you used it?
What's your process for monitoring domestic sales channels?
Can you describe a successful rep coaching session?
Describe your process for penetrating new markets.
Tell me about a time you failed to meet your sales goals and how you handled it.
How would you describe what we do at this company to an outsider?
What makes you a successful sales manager?
Tell me about a time when you managed conflict with your team.
How do you maintain your motivation when working under pressure?
Describe a challenging sales call you handled. How did you manage it?
How do you keep reports and forecasts timely and organised?
How do you maintain your customer relationships?
Describe how you maintain effective communication with your team.
Interview questions with example answers
When answering interview questions during your sales manager interview, you might benefit from explaining previous experiences and scenarios to emphasise your experience and abilities. You can do this by using the STAR method. Answer by describing a situation, explaining your task, defining the actions you took and outlining the results you yielded through your actions. Following are four sales manager interview questions with example answers to help guide you as you prepare your responses:
1. What do you believe are the most important skills to possess as a sales manager?
With this question, the recruiting manager can assess your understanding of the hard and soft skill requirements for the role. When answering, mention the most relevant skills in the job advertisement. You can also describe scenarios in which you used them effectively.
Example answer: 'I believe a sales manager requires exceptional leadership, time management, resilience and logical thinking skills. In my previous role, my leadership skills allowed me to communicate, motivate, coach and manage my sales team effectively. My time management skills allowed me to consistently meet deadlines and support my team. Having resilience helped me accept setbacks as learning opportunities, which was beneficial for my overall development. Finally, I believe my logical thinking skills helped me maintain my objectivity, which allowed me to communicate effectively with various personalities.'
2. Describe a time when a team member lost a sale. How did you manage this?
As a sales manager, you're likely to see team members losing a sale occasionally. When asking this question, the recruiting manager might want to understand your ability to manage difficult scenarios and support your team's development. If you haven't experienced a team member losing a sale, clarify this and explain how you plan to handle this situation.
Example answer: 'In my previous role, I had a team member lose his first sale. He was visibly upset about the loss, so I immediately scheduled a feedback session with him. We discussed the events leading up to the loss of the sale, and I reassured him that it was a learning experience. I explained that although we try to avoid them, sale losses are likely to occur occasionally. We discussed areas for improvement, and he created key performance targets to help avoid future losses. He expressed that he felt more confident and motivated after the session.'
3. How do you manage stress?
A recruiting manager might want to understand how you handle stress as a sales manager. This allows them to determine if you're aware of the pressures of the role and how you'd manage them. This helps a recruiting manager determine if you're able to manage the workload of the role and avoid overworking, which might cause a decrease in performance.
Example answer: 'Managing stress is important to me because I recognise that my performance might diminish if I allow myself to become exhausted. I manage stress in my role by maintaining strict organisation and managing my time effectively. In my previous role, I quickly realised that managing my time adequately minimises pressure. I also take time to maintain my physical and mental health, allowing me to better focus on my work. I achieve this by running each morning and practising mindfulness techniques.'
4. What's your process for delegating tasks?
During a sales manager interview, a recruiting manager may want to determine if you have the leadership skills to manage a sales team effectively. Describing how you delegate tasks within a team can highlight your confidence in your leadership abilities. If your process for delegating tasks varies depending on the project, consider which aspects help you establish your approach and explain these.
Example answer: 'As a sales manager, I ensure that my team members pursue tasks that interest them. I believe this encourages motivation and enthusiasm. It might also provide them with the experience and skills they require for career development in the area they're interested in. To do this, I offer each team member the opportunity to volunteer for certain tasks. I also attempt to understand each team member's long-term goals. This allows me to delegate remaining tasks to team members who are likely to benefit from completing them.'
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