Hiring a Sales Manager?

by | Aug 23, 2018

Here are 4 of the Best Sales Manager Interview Questions

One of the most valuable positions in your company is that of sales manager. It’s worth devoting time to your hiring process to be sure you hire the right one. If your business doesn’t excel in sales, it can’t stay in business.

Consistent sales numbers require a manager who can successfully lead a team of salespeople to achieve their goals month after month. No one wants a sales team of extremely talented people struggling to tap into their potential because of an unqualified manager.

Asking the right sales manager interview questions can help you identify candidates with the best potential to be top-performing manager. Hiring the right sales managers — and coaching them to be even better – is a lot easier and less costly than making a mistake and then having to start over.

Don’t leave your hiring process to chance. Work with all your hiring managers to create a consistent process that will focus efforts on finding the right manager from your pool of candidates.

Make sure your process includes the following four sales manager interview questions, which we have found to be quite effective.

1. “How comfortable must a sales manager be with data analysis?”

Sales managers need to care about several different metrics. They also need the ability to create accurate forecasts and then format them as reports for others to review.

In short, they need to be comfortable with data analysis. Sales managers need to know which questions to be asking and how to use data to get the answers they need. That’s not to say they need to be data experts, but they should know how to crunch key numbers and notice trends. You want a sales manager who can produce significant, actionable insights that promote positive change for the entire sales team and your business.

Any candidate who’s uncomfortable with data-driven thinking and tasks might be an amazing salesperson, but he or she probably won’t succeed as a sales manager.

2. “What does It take to be a great sales manager?”

This is a question for both you and any job candidates. You might have heard that not all good players make good coaches. That rule applies in sales, too. There’s a big difference between being good at sales and succeeding as a sales manager. You want a sales manager who is not only good at sales but also good at working with people and inspiring them to deliver their best efforts.

A good manager must be successful at keeping his or her team fully staffed with employees who hit their numbers. A good manager knows how to motivate team members, even when the economy is down or when a competitor is intruding.

Take a moment to write down what your team’s standards are for sales managers. Look for candidates whose interview answers closely align with those standards. These are the people who deserve further consideration.

3. “What would you say to a sales rep who missed his or her quota three months in a row?”

Tough conversations are a part of any management job, and your sales manager must understand this. This is not a job for people who shy away from confrontation, but at the same time, this is no call for bullies or destructive criticism. You want a sales manager who recognizes each team member’s individual differences and can adapt managing and motivation strategies accordingly.

Sometimes, salespeople hit cold streaks. It happens. Assuming this isn’t an ongoing problem, terminating the person will mean going through a costly, and probably unnecessary, hiring process for your company.

To avoid this, you want a sales manager who will address the problem directly and look for ways to get the salesperson back on track. The ideal answer to this question should strike a balance between honesty and compassion.

For example, if the salesperson has experienced a traumatic personal situation, then he or she needs compassion and understanding, not a lecture and ultimatum. Having a private conversation about the cause of the missed sales quotas is a necessary first step.

4. “What would you do if [insert worst-case scenario]?”

Of all the sales manager interview questions to ask, this one is often the most revealing.

Ask your candidates what they would do during a difficult situation if you weren’t around to help. For example, tell them you’re out sick and unable to answer your phone, so they’re in charge of the entire office. All of a sudden, your CRM crashes. The manufacturer says it will take all day to fix the problem.

“What would you do?”

Choose a situation that could possibly happen at your company. The important thing is that in this scenario, you’re not around to help, and the wrong decision could cost your company an entire day of sales.

It’s easy to prepare for a number of sales manager interview questions, but this one is so specific – and rare – that you should have a genuine opportunity to watch the wheels turn in a candidate’s head. Candidates’ answers will reveal how good they are at reacting to unexpected circumstances – something you want in a sales manager.

Don’t Just Hire the Right People – Develop Them Further

The four sales manager interview questions we just covered will definitely improve the caliber of person you hire for this vital role in your company.

However, that doesn’t mean your job is over. You need to also invest in ongoing development to ensure that you tap into their full potential and yours as well.

One way to do this is by taking RedRock Leadership’s Take the Lead! ™ program. It will give you a proven leadership and management process, which will empower you to coach your employees, motivate your team and build an environment of trust.

If you manage sales teams and are looking for team development for your staff, RedRock Leadership’s Systematic Foundation™ will prove extremely valuable. Use it today to engage your team and commit yourself to achieving strong results.

Now that you know how to bring the right people on board, take the extra step by investing in their ongoing development.

Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.