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The higher level the sales job, the harder it is to successfully interview with a company and ensure that you receive a job offer letter.

But, if you want to get paid a high salary, have an intriguing position with room for advancement, learning how to effectively interview for sales management jobs is going to be a crucial part of your career.

For guidance, I’ve provided a platform to get any sales management applicant started.  In conjunction with your own research, this should allow you to leverage your next interview to its fullest extent.

Initial Thoughts

1. When going into a sales management interview, you should expect to win.  Part of the reason that Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart did so well in his career is because he expected victory every time he set out to achieve a business goal.

2. Even if the interview is over the phone.  Put a smile one your face.  In general, people are attracted to those who are happy and the same goes when interviewing.  If you’re doing the meeting via Skype, look into the camera rather than at the computer screen and make sure eye contact is constant and sincere.

3. Have faith that the interviewer is intelligent enough to hire you.  You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control the fact that you answer the questions thoughtfully and confidently.  If nothing else, be optimistic about your abilities.

Some Points To Touch Upon During the Interview

During the course of the interview, there are inevitably going to be some points to touch upon that the interviewer is going to want to hear from you, the prospective sales manager.  To most effectively discuss them, ask yourself the following questions prior to the interview.  It is most effective when you write the answers out:

1. What did you do to improve current performance of the sales teams you’ve previously managed?  What has worked?

2. What hurdles did you have to overcome to obtain your goals?  What were the company goals and how did you reach them?  What were some of the more creative approaches you implemented?

3. What did you do with your top performers?  How did you treat your middle performers?  What did you do with the under-performers?

4. What were your main achievements while working at your past employers?  Firm goals such as numbers, certain accounts brought on, exceeded quotas, etc. are all acceptable answers.  Be very specific.

General Interviewing Tips

Many times, sales managers have stayed at one particular job for an extended period of time and are a bit rusty as to the basics of interviewing.  Overlooking the basics can get you into trouble.  Here are some:

1. Be Approachable and Likable.  People want to work with those whom they like.  Therefore, the last thing you want to do is come across as rigid or too demanding.  Go with the flow.  Know that the best leaders are humble and make sure to listen rather than to think about what you’re going to say next.

2. Be authentic.  Answer the questions in a thorough, honest and positive manner.  Never answer interview questions based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear, rather use your intellect, experience and confidence to formulate answers that will naturally impress.

3. Never get discouraged if an interviewer asks tough questions.  Keep your composure and stay 100% focused on the conversation.  Everyone has his or her own way of interviewing, typically it has nothing to do with the candidate.   Any good interviewer is going to ask questions that are difficult to answer – this is especially true for sales management jobs and above.

4. Focus on the positive aspects of the position.  What do you like about the job?  Think about the ways that you can help the employer achieve their goals.  Write these down prior to the meeting.

5. See things from the interviewer’s POV.  If you were the other person, what would you want in this applicant?  Deliver that.

What Exactly Do Hiring Companies Want in Sales Managers?

  • All companies want leaders.  But what defines a leader?  The majority of companies define leaders as those who are resilient and who can make their subordinates achieve results they haven’t thought possible.  This is a key element of what hiring companies look for.
  • Additionally, these companies want to hire sales managers who are taking a job for the long run in which they are passionate about and display their dedication through daily commitment to the firm.   Integrity is also key.
  • Moreover, great managers don’t accept mediocrity.  They never accept the idea that current performance is good enough.  If an employee is not performing to standards, they understand that it may be time to let that individual go.
  • Great sales managers can make the most amount of money with the least amount of investment needed.  They can leverage every resource to its fullest extent.

Some Questions to Ask

Remember, when you ask questions, don’t be perceived as someone who is prying for information or someone who is skeptical, rather ask the questions to simply get answers.   Make sure the inquiries come across in a friendly, understanding and well-informed way.  Here are just a few questions that sales managers can ask the interviewer:

1. Where would you like to see the company in 1, 3, 5 years?  a.k.a. What is your vision for the company?

2. How is the sales force doing right now?  Where are there needs for improvement?

3. What is the client retention rate?

4. What makes the top sales representatives stand out?

5. What types of hurdles are the employees currently seeing right now and have they begun to brainstorm solutions as of yet?

In the End

Above all else, the best tip that our headhunters can give regarding interviewing is to pick a job where your bosses are intelligent, creative and who have a vested interested in both yourself and the company succeeding.

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