If we are looking to hire a new sales manager, we have to ask the below-highlighted questions at the time of the interview to make sure that this applicant is prepared to meet the demands of the new job market.
The questions for a sales manager can be framed in what Harvard University has called: 21st-century professional skills.
If you’ve never heard of 21st-century professional skills, we’d show you what they are and what questions and answers you should be asking the applicants for the position of sales manager to see if they fit into the profile of today’s ever-changing markets sales manager.
Frequently asked questions for a sales manager who wants to join the company
Following Harvard considerations, we separated 4 soft skills and 4 hard skills to differentiate which would be the best questions for a sales manager in each of them.
Innovation and creative thinking
Within the questionnaire for a sales manager, it is key to include questions that allow those in charge of the Human Resources department to analyze the creativity and innovation skills of the candidate.
About 84% of executives think that innovation is important for growth strategies, but only 6% are satisfied with the performance in this regard. For this reason, if we want the sales managers to be the ones who drive the innovative engine of the company, we can ask the following questions:
- We have X problem. How would you solve it?
- How can our company attract more customers?
- How could we improve the sales of X product if we are far below our competitors?
A Google study associated top-performing teams with high levels of collaboration. That is why within the questions for a sales manager in the selection process, it should be inquired about successful experiences that he carried out in an articulated way with his team and what were the results achieved.
The concept of collaboration also refers to Networking, which in the sales area is essential to establish relationships with potential allies and get to know the market closely. Within the questionnaire for a sales manager we can include the following questions:
- Name an experience in which you and your team worked together to achieve the proposed goals?
- How can your professional or contact network help our company increase prospects?
- Do you think collaboration is important within a sales team?
In a world that changes at the speed that ours does, professionals must not only know how to adapt but do it quickly. When interviewing a sales manager, it is necessary to analyze how resilient he has been throughout his professional career and what his reaction has been to changes in the work environment that have impacted him.
The professionals of the 21st century must have a high capacity to recover from adversity and reinvent themselves to continue with the established objectives. The questionnaire for a sales manager could include:
- What do you do before the refusal of a client or prospect?
- Have you been responsible (directly or indirectly) for the loss of an important
- Business or client for your company? How did you handle it?
- What were your main challenges during the Covid19 pandemic?
What do you think about sudden changes in leaders, teams, areas of action …?
The hecticness of everyday life always makes us complain about the same thing: I don’t have time! However, for a sales manager, this answer would be inconceivable.
Within the questionnaire for a sales manager, questions should be included that lead us to inquire about how the candidate manages her time and what are her tools or good practices.
- Have you ever missed a deadline or schedule?
- How do you organize your day to attend meetings, call or visit clients, attend to administrative questions, etc …?
- How can the productivity of a sales team be improved?
- With the questions and answers (expected) structured for leaders of the sales area in the field of soft skills, we will now enter the field of hard skills.
Data management and analysis
The fastest-growing companies use data strategically in order to generate value for both the company and the customer. According to a study, managing and analyzing data allows companies to add services to existing offers, develop new business models and sell products and services based on the analyzed information.
The questions for a sales manager that we can ask at this point are:
- How familiar are CRM software to you?
- How do you usually handle your customers’ data and how do you turn it into valuable information for the company?
- How would you work together with the Marketing team to qualify the leads?
According to LinkedIn, analytical reasoning is one of the most sought-after hard skills in the job market. Directly related to the above skill, companies are increasingly needing professionals capable of making intelligent decisions based on data.
Both the questions and the answers for interviews in the sales area must include situations in which it is demonstrated that the future manager knows how to solve complex problems through the application of her knowledge.
With this goal in mind, some questions to ask of a sales manager are:
- Tell me about a problem you had at your previous job and how you solved it.
Presentation of a real situation of the company for the candidate to hypothesize and analyze it.
- How would you make a decision in the face of a crisis that affects the sector?
Artificial intelligence in your favor
The presence of artificial intelligence in business is a reality that is advancing by leaps and bounds. A sales manager does not need to be a programmer or developer, but should know that this type of technology permeates the sales and customer service teams, among others directly related to her work; therefore, he must use it to his advantage.
In this regard, a questionnaire for a sales manager could include questions such as:
- How can the use of chatbots and artificial intelligence help a sales team?
- How do new technologies contribute to the accomplishment of tasks of the commercial team?
- How do you use social media to attract and keep customers?
A VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) is a challenge for leaders and for teams since the results of decisions, products and innovations are difficult to sustain over time and that implies professionals up to the challenge.
This is why questions for a sales manager need to reveal the candidate’s ability to handle people in changing environments:
- How do you keep your sales team motivated?
- What are the keys to giving (and receiving) good feedback?
- What qualities of a good leader do you possess?
The questionnaire for a sales manager must always be aligned with the current needs of the area and with the strategic objectives of the company. You should also assess the candidate’s technical skills well through key questions.