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Sales interview questions and answers

This sample of Sales interview questions will help you evaluate candidates’ skills and hire the best salespeople for your company. We gathered the most common sales interview questions and categorized them by seniority level and position, including account managers and in-store representatives, to help you pick the most suitable ones for your open role.

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

sales interview questions

10 good sales interview questions

  1. Have you worked with Salesforce? What other CRM software do you know?
  2. Are you familiar with market analysis? What is it?
  3. Walk me through a successful sales process. What is your role?
  4. What information do you need before communicating with a client?
  5. Describe a situation where you failed to reach a sales goal. What happened and what did you learn from that experience?
  6. Describe a time when you collaborated with your team to close a deal. What was your role in the process?
  7. What is more important: achieving quotas or keeping clients satisfied?
  8. When do you stop pursuing a customer, and why?
  9. What are some common hurdles you face in this position? How do you handle them?
  10. What do you find most rewarding about working in sales?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. Have you worked with Salesforce.com? What other CRM software do you know?

This question assesses the candidate’s familiarity with CRM software, which is essential for sales roles.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I’ve worked extensively with Salesforce.com. I’m also familiar with HubSpot and Zoho CRM.”

2. Are you familiar with market analysis? What is it?

This question gauges the candidate’s understanding of market analysis, a crucial aspect of sales.

Sample answer:

“Market analysis involves studying market trends, customer behavior, and competitors to make informed sales decisions.”

3. Walk me through a successful sales process. What is your role?

This question evaluates the candidate’s understanding of the sales process and their role in it.

Sample answer:

“I start by identifying potential leads, then qualify them and set up meetings. My role is to guide the client through each stage until the deal is closed.”

4. What information do you need before communicating with a client?

This question tests the candidate’s preparation and approach to client communication.

Sample answer:

“I need to know the client’s needs, history with our company, and any previous interactions to tailor my pitch effectively.”

5. Describe a situation where you failed to reach a sales goal. What happened and what did you learn from that experience?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to learn from failures and setbacks.

Sample answer:

“I once missed a quarterly target because I focused too much on a few big accounts. I learned the importance of having a balanced portfolio.”

6. Describe a time when you collaborated with your team to close a deal. What was your role in the process?

This question evaluates the candidate’s teamwork skills and their contribution to team success.

Sample answer:

“I worked with our technical team to address the client’s concerns, which helped us close a significant deal.”

7. What is more important: achieving quotas or keeping clients satisfied?

This question gauges the candidate’s priorities in sales.

Sample answer:

“Both are important, but long-term client satisfaction leads to repeat business, which is more valuable.”

8. When do you stop pursuing a customer, and why?

This question assesses the candidate’s judgment and understanding of when to focus efforts elsewhere.

Sample answer:

“I stop when it’s clear that the customer’s needs and our offerings don’t align, to focus on more promising opportunities.”

9. What are some common hurdles you face in this position? How do you handle them?

This question tests the candidate’s problem-solving skills.

Sample answer:

“Common hurdles include price objections and long decision cycles. I handle them by offering flexible payment terms and keeping the client engaged.”

10. What do you find most rewarding about working in sales?

This question gauges the candidate’s motivation and passion for sales.

Sample answer:

“I find it most rewarding to solve a client’s problem and see how our product or service improves their business.”

What does a good Sales candidate look like?

A strong Sales candidate will have a deep understanding of the sales process, excellent communication skills, and the ability to adapt to different scenarios. They should also be goal-oriented and have a proven track record of achieving sales targets.

Which are the best interview questions for salespeople?

Sales teams are pillars for companies that want to grow their profitability. From sales consultants, regional sales managers and sales executives to field sales representatives, call center agents and account managers, sales goals are common: promote the company’s products and services, meet sales quotas and identify new market opportunities. So, when you’re thinking about what sales interview questions to ask candidates, make sure you test how well they understand your industry and whether they have a go-getter mentality.

Regardless of the role’s seniority level, typical sales interview questions should help you identify candidates with a customer-oriented attitude, excellent communication skills and a drive to meet goals. You should also keep an eye out for candidates who are able to perform well in a team environment and collaborate with different people.

When you have a shortlist of candidates with these core qualities, tailor your questions to identify who would make a good fit for your specific job. For example:

  • Entry-level sales interview questions should be around your company vision and the products or services you sell. This way, you can select candidates who show the most interest in selling your products.
  • For account management positions, you should ask questions that allow candidates to showcase their negotiation and relationship-building skills.
  • Senior sales interview questions should test candidates’ leadership and decision-making abilities.
  • For inside sales roles, interview questions should focus on technical know-how and communication skills.

In any case, make sure that you ask a mix of industry-specific and behavioral sales interview questions, so that you identify and hire salespeople who have adequate knowledge to tackle their tasks, but are also interested in a career in sales.

Top sales interview questions to ask

1. For every sales role

  • Have you worked with Salesforce.com? What other CRM software do you know?
  • Are you familiar with market analysis? What is it?
  • Walk me through a successful sales process. What is your role?
  • What information do you need before communicating with a client?
  • Describe a situation where you failed to reach a sales goal. What happened and what did you learn from that experience?
  • Describe a time when you collaborated with your team to close a deal. What was your role in the process?
  • What is more important: achieving quotas or keeping clients satisfied?
  • When do you stop pursuing a customer, and why?
  • What are some common hurdles you face in this position? How do you handle them?
  • What do you find most rewarding about working in sales?

2. For entry-level sales positions

In-store

  • Describe your experience in retail.
  • How do you ensure all customers leave satisfied?
  • Are you familiar with our products? Which one would you most enjoy selling and why?
  • How would you handle a customer who complained that they couldn’t find a product in your store?

For more examples, check our Inside Sales Representative interview questions, Sales Assistant interview questions and Sales Associate interview questions. If you’re hiring outside sales reps, have a look at our Field Sales interview questions.

Call center

  • What’s your flexibility in working different shifts?
  • Describe a time when you managed to calm down an angry client.
  • What do you do if you didn’t know the answer to a customer’s question?
  • This job can be repetitive. How do you stay motivated? What do you hope to get out of this role?

For more examples, check our Call Center Representative interview questions and Telesales Agent interview questions.

3. For account management positions

  • If a client told you that they liked our product but it’s too expensive, how would you turn them around?
  • What’s a deal you closed that you’re mostly proud of, and why?
  • What’s your track record in delivering on revenue targets and customer satisfaction rates?
  • How would you find new clients?

If you’re looking for more examples, check our Account Manager interview questions and Account Executive interview questions.

4. For senior level sales positions, including inside sales

  • How do you handle conflicts on your team?
  • How do you approach a sales representative who is underperforming?
  • What’s your experience in forecasting sales? Name any tools and software that you use.
  • Describe a time when your team didn’t manage to achieve sales quotas. What was your role in that experience? What did you learn, and what did you do differently for the next round of sales quotas?

Find more examples in our Sales Manager interview questions, National Account Manager interview questions and Regional Sales Manager interview questions.

You can also take a look at our entire library of questions to find sales-related interview questions for every position and seniority level.

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