How to Answer Sales Manager Interview Questions With Examples

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There is a vast difference between a salesperson and a sales manager in that a sales manager is responsible for coaching, leading, training and inspiring a team. To be employed as a sales manager, you must possess particular skills that will be discussed during the interview process. In this article, learn some of the common sales manager interview questions and how to properly respond.

Why do employers ask tough sales manager interview questions?

Employers of sales managers often ask tough questions to evaluate your decision-making, problem-solving and communication skills. These types of questions prompt honest, unrehearsed answers that can tell the employer a great deal about your background and leadership strategies. By asking tough questions, the employer can evaluate how you respond under pressure and determine whether you have the qualifications and the soft skills required to effectively perform the role.

Common sales manager interview questions

Here are some of the questions you can expect during an interview for a sales manager position:

How would you describe your leadership style?

Here, the interviewer seeks to determine whether your leadership style matches the company’s culture and demands. In some companies, they may not care about your leadership style as long as the goals that they have set for you are being met.

Example: ‘Whenever it comes to business, I always make my best effort to ensure that every goal is met. I always keep in mind that I am working with human beings who have emotions. Therefore, as much as I enforce the rules to ensure that the work is done, I also make sure that I have positive relationships with my fellow employees. This usually maximizes efficiency in the sales department.’

Why would you like to work in sales?

Here, the interviewer seeks to know your main interests as to why you would like to work as a sales manager. Instead of simply saying that you enjoy sales, state when and how your interest in sales began, and list some past sales experiences. 

Example: ‘Ever since I was a child, I have been selling things to people. I remember clearly that I would come to school with a packet of sweets and sell to my fellow classmates at a profit. I continued with the same trend in my later years and this is where it has brought me. I believe that sales is more of a passion and is something I am determined to pursue.’

With your work history in sales, are there any team members that you have enjoyed working with?

Since working as a sales manager involves numerous interactions with people, you must be accurate with your answer when replying to this question. This question aims at determining whether you are self-aware, empathetic and can work together with other people. You should describe concisely at least one of your previous working relationships with an employee.

Example: ‘I enjoyed working with a salesperson named James from my previous company. James would probably say that I am very supportive as I usually helped him figure out reasons for why some of his products were not selling as projected. I can clearly remember spending long hours together during our sales functions. Whenever I felt low, he would cheer me up, and I did the same for him.’

Why should a sales manager possess leadership and communication skills?

Sales managers are supposed to understand every direct report to know how to communicate with them effectively. People’s communication styles vary, so a sales manager should be able to realize these variations and adopt different communication styles when interacting with different people.

The sales manager position is a challenging role as they are not only required to lead the sales team but also create and maintain a sales process, track sales, deliver reviews, implement performance plans, train sales representatives and be a role model of the company’s culture.

Example: ‘As with any management position, sales managers have to be able to set a positive example for their staff to emulate. I think that possessing strong communication skills is a key aspect of leadership. It provides employees with clear expectations, allowing everyone to do their jobs more effectively. In turn, this inspires respect from team members.’

Tips for working as a sales manager

Here are some tips that can  help you prepare for a sales manager interview:

  • When answering open-ended questions, try to respond with brief but comprehensive answers
  • If you plan to give a presentation, always make sure that your work is organized and well-rehearsed before the interview 
  • Research the company that you are seeking employment with so that you can answer confidently with responses that align with the company’s culture and philosophy

During the hiring process, the first interview is usually the most important step. If you are a candidate who is seeking to be hired as a sales manager, it is essential to prepare before the interview.