As a sales person, your job starts even before you’ve landed the position. That’s because in all your interviews, your goal is to sell yourself to the hiring manager. If you’ve never been in a sales job interview, it’s hands down one of the most challenging tasks there is. Unlike other jobs, the manager here will have extremely high expectations for your powers of persuasion. That’s why you have to do more than simply respond to questions during an interview.
On the flip side, sales managers also have quite the challenging task. When recruiting talent, hiring the wrong person could cost you a lot of money in lost sales down the line. The problem is that too many recruiters have trouble identifying which key questions to ask. This results in an interview process that is way longer than it needs to be.
After a while, the company starts losing out on closed won revenue; at least until an offer is finally accepted. That’s why knowing the right question to ask in your sales interviews is essential to narrowing down the best talent for your team. We’ve compiled a list of sales interview questions to ask your potential hires and help hit your revenue goals faster.
Read this later: Close more deals as a modern sales manager Ebook
Top 5 Questions to Ask During a Sales Interview
1: How do you remain knowledgeable on trends affecting your target industry?
Almost everyone is vying for a spot among though leaders since the rice of social selling. As the days go by, more and more sales people are finding that solid pitches, objection handling skills and rigorous follow ups just aren’t enough anymore.
Instead, top reps are leveraging thought leadership topics to build genuine connections with prospects and spark up highly engaging convos. This question poses an excellent way to find out if your candidate has been keeping up with the social selling evolution and that they have what it takes to thrive in such an environment. After all, shouldn’t all top tier salesmen be able to outtalk their prospects even outside the social selling environment?
2: Tell us about a time you collaborated with other sales teams?
More often than not, sales jobs tend to attract lone wolf personalities. However, reps need to work well with each other to get certain tasks accomplished. Territory divisions might not work too well, and competition over commissions, best sellers and whale accounts doesn’t really get the company where it needs to be.
This question will help you find candidates that understand when all is said and done, a sales team still has team at the end of it. And yes, there’s still no ‘I’ in sales team. Sure, sales and marketing will always have a bit of tension here and there. But if you can get these two teams dialed in and singing to the same tune, there’s no limit to what your organization can achieve.
3: Hitting quotas or customer experience: What's more important?
This past year, we saw a peculiar trend that especially affected the SaaS industry. It was goodbye transactional sales, and hello consultative models. Subscription based models that have customers committing for months or years might not be as attractive as one would think. Think about it; if a customer is dissatisfied, there’s very little they can do until their subscription ends.
What this translates to is months of pain and a big blow to customer success. For this reason, the strongest interviewees are those who will be fully onboard with the consultative sales model. Although they understand it’s landing deals that puts food on the table, they still know it could turn into a loss for the company if the service or product isn’t a right fit for the customer. That’s the balance you need in your team.
4: At what point do you know a prospect is not the right fit for us?
One of the most important skills a sales rep can develop is knowing when to cut his or her losses. Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest to teach or develop – both personally and in your team as well. Even under the intense pressure of everyday work, nothing feels as counterintuitive as letting a hooked fish go.
No sales rep likes admitting defeat. It’s this winning mindset that makes top tier salesmen. However, the same mindset has been the downfall of many a great rep. What would you do if an account is proving tricky and you’ve got just a few weeks to deadline? The smart move will always be to let it go and focus on more promising prospects.
5: Of all the other candidates at the interview, why should we hire you?
It may sound like a cliché, but this question holds a lot more importance than all the others combined. The most obvious purpose is to allow your interviewees to tell you a bit more about themselves. Perhaps a better question would be, what should we know about you that’s not on your resume?
Rarely will any interviewee come out of an interview feeling like they dotted all their I’s and crossed all their T’s. Perhaps the questions focused on a particular aspect and totally ignored their strengths and other key attributes. It will give the candidates another chance to calm down and tell you why they’re the best fit for the job. Just remember to make this part a casual conversation so you can really talk to your potential hires.
Sales Interview Questions: Final Word
It goes without saying; these are just some of the questions to ask during a sales interview. You’ll need a longer list that includes more in depth and comprehensive questions. Some of the other questions you can add include: What are your weaknesses? Why did you leave your last company? How do you handle objections and outright rejections? And of course, the classic where do you see yourself in five years?
To get a better understanding of all the different personalities that make up your sales team, checkout our blog post on the top 5 sales personas and how they fit in your company. While you’re at it, make sure your sales and marketing departments are kitted with the right tools.
With Veloxy, organizations can keep track of all their customers’ needs, expectations and behavior patterns as they proceed. Sales leaders can then use this data to generate forecasts and predictions that will not only improve the overall experience of multiple services and business operations, but also help in creating highly accurate buyer personas. With these personas, it’ll be easy to know what type of sales personalities you need to hire on your team and what questions to as during the interviews.
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