Navigating the Outside Sales Manager Interview: Expert Tips and Sample Questions

Landing a job as an outside sales manager is no easy feat. There is a lot of competition, so you need to be ready to show off your leadership, strategic thinking, and sales skills. If you don’t know what kinds of questions you might be asked in an interview, you won’t have a good chance of doing well.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with expert tips and sample questions to help you master the outside sales manager interview,

Why Hiring Managers Ask Tough Sales Interview Questions

Sales roles come with high expectations for driving revenue and growing client relationships. Hiring managers need to assess if you have the required capabilities before trusting you with such critical responsibilities.

Tough questions allow interviewers to evaluate your

  • Sales abilities – Can you sell effectively and hit targets?
  • Problem-solving skills – How do you overcome objections and challenges?
  • Leadership qualities – Can you manage and motivate a team?
  • Strategic thinking – What innovative approaches will you implement?
  • Industry knowledge – Are you updated on trends, products, and competitors?

The right answers show that you’re qualified for the job, while weak answers show that you haven’t thought about them.

Thorough preparation using sample questions is key to developing winning answers that highlight your most relevant skills and experiences,

10 Sample Outside Sales Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Here are some common outside sales manager interview questions along with suggested responses:

1. How would you go about developing an effective sales team?

As an outside sales manager, one of your main jobs is to put together a sales team that does great work. Demonstrate you can set your team up for success by:

  • Establishing clear expectations and sales targets
  • Leveraging talent assessment tools to identify ideal hires
  • Conducting focused training aligned to territory needs
  • Fostering collaboration, accountability, and healthy competition
  • Providing continual coaching and development opportunities

2. How would you identify potential prospects for your territory?

Showcase your prospecting abilities by mentioning approaches such as:

  • Obtaining lead lists from internal sources like marketing and customer referrals
  • Researching your territory for potential targets using tools like LinkedIn or Hoover’s
  • Joining local business or industry associations to build connections
  • Monitoring social media for engagement opportunities with prospects
  • Attending trade shows, conferences, and networking events to connect with decision-makers

3. Tell me about a time you lost a major client. How did you handle it?

Acknowledge the loss but reaffirm your resilience by focusing on the actions you took, including:

  • Analyzing why the client left and learning from the experience
  • Formulating a strategy to win back their business or replace the lost revenue
  • Working closely with remaining clients to strengthen relationships
  • Adjusting sales pitches to be more targeted to customer needs
  • Implementing additional quality control and customer satisfaction practices

4. How would you coach an underperforming sales rep to get them back on track?

Highlight your mentoring abilities by mentioning tactics like:

  • Having candid, constructive conversations to understand challenges
  • Setting clearer expectations and more frequent milestones
  • Assigning mentors or teaming them up with top performers
  • Roleplaying to improve sales conversations and presentations
  • Providing additional product or selling skills training
  • Motivating them through improved commission structures or incentives

5. How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends, products, and competitors?

Demonstrate continuous learning focus by referencing activities such as:

  • Reading industry publications, blogs, and analyst reports
  • Participating in webinars and in-person industry events
  • Leveraging social media to monitor news and competitor activity
  • Talking regularly with product teams and colleagues in other departments
  • Using CRM insights to identify market shifts based on win/loss data
  • Networking with marketing, sales, and product leaders at industry conferences

6. Tell me about a time you adapted your sales strategy based on market or competitive changes.

Prove agility by outlining examples such as:

  • Adjusting pricing or product bundles in response to new competitor offerings
  • Refocusing marketing or sales outreach after noticing changing customer preferences
  • Retraining sales reps on new product features after a major release
  • Expanding account management focus for at-risk or growing accounts
  • Targeting messaging to highlight performance benefits vs. cost during downturns

7. How would you go about establishing your credibility within a new sales territory?

Earn trust by mentioning relationship-building approaches like:

  • Researching key accounts and decision makers before initial contact
  • Leveraging internal resources such as customer testimonials and case studies
  • Highlighting quick wins and results you’ve achieved for similar accounts
  • Following up consistently to build rapport and demonstrate reliability
  • Partnering closely with marketing to customize pitches to territory needs
  • Prioritizing listening and problem solving during initial customer meetings

8. Tell me about a time you influenced a resistant client to make a purchase. How did you persuade them?

Prove sales abilities by elaborating persuasion tactics such as:

  • Asking probing questions to understand all reservations
  • Communicating benefits specific to the client’s unique needs
  • Quantifying the financial and operational impact for making a change
  • Offering resources to ease implementation such as demos, trials, and training
  • Being patient, empathetic, and following up consistently
  • Bringing in subject matter experts to validate claims and address concerns

9. Describe your approach to territory management and optimizing routes for in-person sales calls.

Demonstrate planning abilities by mentioning key tactics like:

  • Planning weekly/monthly schedules optimized for proximity between accounts
  • Grouping calls by geography to reduce transit time
  • Reserving Mondays/Fridays for admin work to maximize field time mid-week
  • Blocking time for sales team meetings, training, vacation, and admin
  • Maintaining an account database with key contacts, needs, and next steps
  • Tracking sales activity metrics to analyze effectiveness and improve routing

10. How would you go about forecasting and tracking sales performance? What tools and metrics would you use?

Show strategic abilities by referencing approaches such as:

  • Maintaining accurate sales pipeline tracking using CRM tools
  • Monitoring lead metrics: volume, close rates, cycle times
  • Tracking account retention/growth rates and customer profitability
  • Establishing clear activity metrics for sales calls, demos, proposals
  • Using win/loss analysis to identify patterns impacting forecasts
  • Leveraging CRM reporting and dashboard features to analyze trends
  • Setting up quarterly business reviews to reassess targets

Tips to Master the Outside Sales Interview Process

With preparation and practice using sample questions, you can master the outside sales manager interview process. Keep these additional tips in mind:

Have a structured approach to answering questions – Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to construct compelling responses.

Quantify achievements – Back up claims about your capabilities with facts about quota attainment, profit growth, account expansions etc. that you’ve achieved.

Ask thoughtful questions – Queries about leadership development, company culture, onboarding, and team structure demonstrate engagement.

Watch body language and tone – Project confidence through good eye contact, a steady voice, and upright posture. Avoid nervous habits like fidgeting.

Follow up promptly – Send thank you notes to stand out after the interview and reinforce your interest.

With rigorous preparation, you can demonstrate the strategic thinking, sales abilities, and leadership potential needed to land the outside sales manager job. Use these tips and sample questions to craft winning responses that will make you a top choice for the role.

outside sales manager interview questions

Role-Based Interview Questions for Sales Managers

With role-based questions, you can find out how the candidate’s personality will fit with the needs of the job and what tools they will need to do their job well.

Like the leadership-style questions, these sales manager interview questions are about specific parts of the job and everyday things that a sales manager candidate would have to deal with. Sometimes, role-based questions are used to find out how a candidate feels about the duties of a sales manager and how he or she handles them.

Some examples of role-based sales manager interview questions and answers include:

Like the other questions in this category, how a candidate prepares performance reports and the data they use shows a hiring manager how the candidate intends to manage the salespeople on their team. The methods they use and the data they require also communicates a level of the candidates’ technical skill and proficiency. The best answers here are detailed but brief and perhaps best illustrated with a real-life example. Candidates that walk the hiring manager through an analysis done in the past will demonstrate the candidate’s experience and expertise in this area. Hiring managers should look for a repeatable process and a solid understanding of data analysis from the candidate’s answer and example, if presented.

Accurate sales forecasting is crucial for any organization. The leadership team depends on these numbers for many long-term strategy and expansion plans. Interviewers need to know whether the candidate is equipped to provide this crucial information to the team.HubSpot recognizes that sales managers make data-based decisions for their teams frequently. When sales managers don’t use data, they use emotion, which can be detrimental to the team. The ability to analyze data and make accurate predictions based on it is a crucial skill for a sales manager. Hiring managers want to hear in an interviewee’s answer a level of comfort analyzing data and applying it to management decisions.

The ability to answer this question shows an interviewer a few different things. First, it shows that the candidate understands the company’s mission (or that they researched the company before the interview). Second, it shows how they communicate ideas to others. Finally, it demonstrates their command of the company’s offer and value proposition.HubSpot recommends that candidates work on how they convert complicated instructions into easy-to-understand messages. Sales managers often communicate complicated directives from senior management to their team. The sales manager candidates’ ability to translate this information will help hiring managers assess whether the candidate is a proper fit.

The strengths and weaknesses question is another query with two levels. Interviewers want to know what the candidate thinks are areas where he or she excels and what areas need improvement. However, since this question is tricky to answer, the interviewer is likely also analyzing how a candidate reacts under pressure. Per The Balance Careers, a website source for personal finance and career advice, the best answers to this question involve relating how your strength can have great pros but comes with a list of cons as well. When you can show how a great strength like determination can lead to both your success while causing challenges along the way, it shows the hiring manager that you have a healthy dose of self-awareness.

Sales managers have multiple priorities and tasks associated with them, making time management an essential skill. Companies want to know that job applicants can manage their time well, set priorities, and stay focused during the week, even when there are distractions. Like all interview answers, the Balance Careers website advises, thinking this one through beforehand is a good idea. Candidates that present a detailed explanation with a logical foundation will impress a potential employer. A candidate is even stronger when they can support their explanation with specific examples. Someone can use a sample from their sales job instead if they don’t have experience as a sales manager.

The types of questions you need to ask before hiring a Sales Manager:

The purpose of personal interview questions is to learn more about a candidate and see if they will fit in with the culture of the company. These interview questions ask for details about the interviewee’s personality and how that translates into a work personality. Work process and work ethic are two other areas addressed by personal interview questions. Some examples of personal interview questions and answers include:

The answer to this question reveals a lot about an interviewee. First, they want to know the information a person shares, i.e., work experience, goals, and past job history. Second, they look for indications from the content that can be signs of a match for the position—or not.Tell Me About Yourself

The best answer to this question, according to HubSpot, is broad enough to cover all the important parts of your resume without being too general. The resume should show that the applicant has thought about what information is needed for the job and have a positive view of past experiences. Anything that is disorganized and rambling, off-topic, or full of complaints could be a sign that the candidate is not ready to be a leader.

Responses to this question can help an interviewer uncover the motivation behind the move to management. In many cases, the applicant has been in the field for the company, and successful at it. It’s important to know why the candidate wants to move up to management because the job of sales manager doesn’t usually pay as well or require the same set of skills as being a good salesperson.

Per HubSpot, there are several appropriate responses. One could be a passion for the company’s mission and a desire to effect more impact upon its success. Another is wanting to serve as a leader in the organization to help shape the future of the company. Wanting more money or looking for a change of pace are not satisfactory answers to this question.

This question comes in many forms, such as “What drives you?” But when you add “experience,” the person being interviewed has to not only explain what drives them to work hard, but also give a real-life example from their work history to back it up. Motivation is a vital factor in successful sales management. A good answer to this question will point to a program where the candidate felt fulfilled by helping others deal with their own problems. Another could be an example that proved they derive pleasure from improving systems. Other good answers for motivation show that the candidate liked learning a new skill or getting better at being a leader.

A two-part question like this one helps determine if the candidate knows the difference between the two jobs. The interviewer wants to make sure that someone who is great at sales can also be great at sales management, since the two jobs require different skills. The best candidate for sales management will have answers that show the difference between important skills for sales and important skills for management. Candidates stand out even more if they talk about how their skills as a sales rep will change when they become a sales manager. The most important thing this shows is that the candidate knows that what made them good at sales won’t help them do well as a sales manager.

This question requires the interviewee to demonstrate his or her work process for a potential employer. The challenge is significant, but how they overcame it is the most pertinent part of the answer. The hiring manager wants to understand how the potential manager problem-solves and ascertain whether that skill can translate to problem-solving for his or her team. Answering this question can be unnerving for an interviewee that wants to highlight their successes rather than discuss their difficulties. However, a willingness to share a past problem and its outcome is key to communicating the insight gained. Moreover, the best managerial candidates can explain how their work process translates to overcoming other challenges, as well as how to systemize it as a team.

SALES Interview Questions & Answers! (How to PASS a Sales Interview!)

What questions should you ask a sales manager?

These questions will relate directly to the role of a sales manager. You will want to focus on your leadership style and how you might handle difficult situations. Describe your professional development experience. Explain your experience with sales management. How will you approach different personalities on your team?

What is a sales interview question?

This question is designed to assess your understanding of the sales process, from prospecting to closing. The interviewer wants to know how you approach finding new customers and how you plan to build relationships with them so you can effectively pitch your product or service.

What do Interviewers look for in a sales manager?

The interviewer wants to know that you have experience with process improvement and can come up with creative solutions to improve sales. They want to make sure you have the problem-solving skills needed to be successful in the role.

What skills do outside sales reps need?

Outside sales reps need to be able to build relationships with potential customers, identify their needs and wants, and close the sale. This question will give the interviewer a better understanding of your ability to do all of those things and handle difficult customers in the process.

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