When interviewing for a sales manager position, there are many questions the employer will ask to determine if you have the right skills to manage a sales team and how you handle yourself in this high-pressure job. There will be questions regarding your leadership style in addition to questions that focus specifically on sales and team management.
In this article, we explain what employers are looking for in your answers. We also provide examples of sales manager interview questions with suggestions on how to answer them.
General sales manager interview questions
The following are general questions asked by most employers for any given position. Try to think about ways to convey your sales or management experience in your answers.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself.
- How did you hear about this position?
- What is your educational background?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What would a friend say is your biggest weakness and how would you improve it?
- What has been your greatest achievement?
- What about this company interests you?
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- When were you most satisfied with your job?
- Why should we hire you?
Related: [Interview Question: “Why Should We Hire You?”](https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/interview-question-why-should-we-hire-you?from=careeradvice-US)
Interview questions about sales experience
These questions are related to your current experience and sales background, so try to describe your experience with sales and how it directly relates to the position.
- What do you like most about sales?
- What do you dislike most about sales?
- Describe your selling style.
- How would you manage a team and manage your schedule?
- What is the greatest success you’ve had with sales?
- What qualities make a great sales manager?
- Describe your worst working day. What did you learn from the experience?
- How do you motivate your team?
- What is your philosophy in making the sale?
- What is your leadership style?
In-depth sales manager interview questions
These questions will relate directly to the role of sales manager. You will want to focus on your leadership style and how you might handle difficult situations.
- Describe your professional development experience.
- Explain your experience with sales management.
- How will you approach different personalities on your team?
- Are you comfortable with data analysis and how have you used it?
- What do you think would be a successful rep coaching session?
- Tell me about a time you failed to meet your sales goals and how did you handle it?
- How would you describe to an outsider what we do at this company?
- What motivates you?
- Why do you want the sales manager position?
- Why should we choose you?
Sample sales manager interview questions and answers
Here are some interview questions you might encounter for a sales manager position, along with example answers.
What do you like most about sales?
Employers like to ask this question to see how motivated you are in sales and in leading a team. A sales job takes a lot of motivation and a sales manager is usually the one who provides that motivation to the team. You will want to answer the question with enthusiasm and give an example of a time when you were motivated.
Example: “My favorite part about sales is helping a customer find the right product or service to help them with their biggest needs. To me, this is the most rewarding and best part of the job. I also really enjoy the team camaraderie aspect of it. We all work together toward a common goal, and it feels great when we work hard to achieve those goals. In my last job, we needed to sell five more units of the product to break the sales record of the previous month. We all gathered together, decided that if we were successful, we would get a nice lunch at the end of the week to celebrate. We not only broke the record, but we exceeded it by ten. Our celebratory lunch was so much fun, and I really enjoyed figuring out what would motivate my team to reach that level.”
How would you manage a team and manage your schedule?
This question gets asked a lot by employers who are trying to figure out your management skills. Keep in mind your organizational skills when answering this question.
Example: “I’m all about priorities and lists. I would look at the priorities in a day, week, month and year segments and then figure out the best way to tackle them. I’d use some teaming application where I can see our whole team's schedule and upcoming tasks as a whole. Then I would have a daily or at least weekly discussion with my team to look at our deadlines. This way, I would be able to discuss with my team what needs to happen, and we would work together to shift priorities around, and each of us tackle things one by one.”
Tell me about a time you failed to meet your sales goals. How did you handle it?
This is a behavioral interview question, which assesses your behavior in the workplace by placing you in specific situations with others. When answering this question, think of a few examples and pick the one that shows your growth as a leader. You can craft your response using the STAR technique, which stands for situation, task, action and result.
Example: “During the last business quarter in my previous position, I just needed to make two more sales to meet my quota. I made a lot of phone calls that day, but no one was buying. I was pretty upset at the end of the day, but I went to my supervisor so that we could talk through it. She understood that you won’t be able to make any sales on some days, which helped me more easily accept my position.
We discussed what may have gone wrong during my sales calls and if any potential customers didn’t want to buy today. Then we came up with a plan on how to tackle my goals the next day and updated those goals to try to account for those two sales I needed. Talking with her calmed me down and my hope as a sales manager is that my team will be comfortable enough with me to talk through things that don’t always go their way.”
Why do you want the sales manager position?
This is a simple question that all employers will ask. They want an honest answer that shows why you’re the right candidate as well as what you bring to the table. This is a great time to show you have done your homework and understand the company. Also, it’s appropriate to bring up some examples where you stepped up as a leader.
Example: “I enjoyed what I read about this company and your products. I am ecstatic at the possibility of working for you. I love working with teams and helping to guide them to give it their all every day because that’s what I will do as the sales manager. I appreciate all the rave reviews about your products and want to help get your sales to the next level.
In my previous job, I was promoted to start a new sales team and got to choose team members. I looked at everyone’s personalities, experiences, strengths and weaknesses to create a team that would balance each other. I know I can succeed as the sales manager for this company and want the opportunity to show you how I can help this company reach new heights.”
- Remember to breathe. Make sure you get to the interview with plenty of time to sit and breathe. This will give you a moment to relax and be able to provide thoughtful answers.
- Practice with a friend. Find a friend who might be in a similar field or is willing to help you. Practicing some of your answers with a friend will help you avoid stumbles during the interview and refine your answers.
- Bring extra copies of your resume. The employer will usually have your resume on hand, but always plan to bring additional copies. You’ll never know if they decide to have your interview with two or more people.
- Dress for success. Even if the company dresses casually every day, you should still come to the interview in business casual at the very least. You want to make a good first impression, even before you speak.
- Thank you notes. Make sure to thank everyone you interviewed with, including the receptionist who helped guide you to the interview room.