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A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF THE

TOP SALES INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

PEAK SALES RECRUITING INC.


Before selecting your sales interview
questions, create a set of mandatory hiring criteria all
candidates are required to meet to be considered for the position. This
will allow you to select interview questions that correlate with what success looks like in
the role.

Once hiring criteria is established, choose the interview questions that will gather the
information needed to determine if a candidate has all the skills, experience, and
competencies needed for success.

Prosp e c t ing
Question 1: When in your career have you been required to do cold calls?

Follow-up question: Did you have a cold call target and on average how many were you
making per day/week/month?

Follow-up question: What was your strategy when making these cold calls?

Question 2: How do you maintain a positive outlook in the face of rejection?

Follow-up question: Provide an example of a time when you were rejected by the client.

Follow-up question: How did you handle it and what did you learn?

Question 3: How do you approach prospecting for new leads and opportunities?

Follow-up question: How did you determine what companies you were going to target?

Follow-up question: How do you organize your prospects to ensure consistent


communication?

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Question 4: Do you generate your own leads and opportunities?

Follow-up question: How do you do this?

Follow-up question: If not all leads are self-generated, what percentage come
exclusively from you and how is the remaining percentage generated?

Question 5: What percentage of your leads have you turned into successful sales?

Follow-up question: What steps did you take to achieve this ratio?

Follow-up question: Provide a specific example of a successfully closed deal. Please


include the following information: company name, stakeholder titles, deal size, ales cycle,
what you sold, the date of the deal, and how you won the account.

Question 6: What tactics do you use to build your pipeline?

Follow-up question: Do you have a target for pipeline size? If so, what is it?

Follow-up question: How do you organize and maintain your pipeline once prospects
have been added?

Deals
Question 7: How long is your average sales cycle?

Follow-up question: What kind of factors impact the sales cycle length (ie, client buying
cycle, RFPs, custom products, etc)?

Follow-up question: How do you maintain a relationship with the client - to remain top of
mind and avoid any detrimental issues - while youre waiting to close the deal?

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Question 8: What is your average deal size? Please be as specific as possible.

Follow-up question: Do you work off a recurring revenue model or a one-time fee?

Follow-up question: If it is a recurring revenue model, is it monthly, quarterly, or


annually? And what are the contract lengths, if any?

Follow-up question: If it is a one-time fee, how do you continue to grow the account and
win repeat business?

Question 9: Who are your typical decision makers?

Follow-up question: How do you identify your key decision makers within an
organization (ie, research, talking to the gatekeeper, leveraging a champion, etc)?

Follow-up question: What does their buying cycle look like?

Question 10: Describe to me your biggest career win. Please include the company name,
stakeholder titles, deal size, sales cycle, what you sold, and the date.

Follow-up question: Describe your strategy behind winning this deal.

Follow-up question: Why is this considered your biggest career win (Is it due to the deal
size? Was it an account who threatened to cancel but you turned it around? Is it because
you competed against larger more established companies to win it?)

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C ommunicat ion and N e got iat ion
Question 11: To what extent have you been involved in contract negotiation?

Follow-up question: Please provide a specific example.

Follow-up question: What was the end result (ie, did you win the deal, did you have to
compromise on price, etc)?

Question 12: Give me an example of a time when you worked with a difficult prospect?

Follow-up question: What was the outcome (ie, did you win the deal or lose the deal)?

Follow-up question: How did you win the account despite the prospect being difficult?

Question 13: Describe a time when a client was looking to end business with your
organization and you were able to retain them?

Follow-up question: How did you accomplish this?

Follow-up question: How did you ensure this would not reoccur in the future?

Question 14: When in your career have you given presentations to senior decision
makers, such as C-Suite?

Follow-up question: What are you looking to accomplish in these presentations?

Follow-up question: How do you present next steps?

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Question 15: Tell me how you handle unresponsive prospects during a pitch or
presentation.

Follow-up questions: What steps do you take to ensure prospects remain engaged
during your presentation?

Question 16: On average, how many presentations do you give every week, month, or
quarter?

Follow-up question: What is your target for number of presentations per week, month,
or quarter?

Follow-up question: What is your presentation to close ratio?

C ommunicat ion and N e got iat ion


Question 17: What are some industry related selling obstacles youve had to face?

Follow-up question: How did you overcome them and still hit your targets (ie,
collaborating with internal stakeholders, selling into other markets, focusing on growing
existing accounts, etc)?

Follow-up question: If you didnt overcome them, what steps did you take in your efforts
to overcome the obstacles (ie, did you do absolutely everything you could)?

Question 18: Describe a time when you lost a deal?

Follow-up question: Why did you lose the deal?

Follow-up question: What did you learn from the loss?

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Question 19: When in your career have you had complete autonomy and were required
to manage/grow your territory as if it was your own business?

Follow-up question: Describe a typical day.

Follow-up question: Please describe any success during your time working
autonomously (ie, exceeding your quota, growing your territory by a certain amount,
increasing your book of business by a certain number, etc).

S elling A p p roach
Question 20: How would you describe your selling approach?

Follow-up question: Do you follow a specific selling methodology?

Follow-up question: Have you had any formal sales training (ie, provided by a current or
past employer, or on your own time)?

Question 21: How do you establish relationships with clients?

Follow-up question: How do you nurture them long-term?

Follow-up question: How do you ensure no clients are forgotten about (ie, managing
regular touch points through a CRM)?

Question 22: Give me your typical sales pitch for your current product or service.

Follow-up question: How have you perfected this pitch throughout your career?

Follow-up question: How do you alter your approach for different clients?

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Question 23: Describe a time when you had to change your selling approach to suit a
clients needs?

Follow-up question: How did you recognize that you needed to change your approach?

Follow-up question: What was the outcome (ie, did you win the deal)?

Sales Per formance


Question 24: When in your career have you built a territory from little or nothing?

Follow-up question: What were the results of your efforts (ie, what the territory looked
like when you took it over, the revenue increase, the time period of the increase, etc)?

Follow-up question: How did you accomplish this (ie, cold calling, attending trade
shows, leveraging your network, etc)?

Question 25: Describe to me your quota and quota attainment numbers over the past
five-years.

Follow-up question: If you attained your quota every year, how did you accomplish this?

Follow-up question: If you havent consistently hit your quota, what are some of the
reasons why?

Follow-up question: Where did you rank on your team (ie, if you didnt meet quota, then
how was everyone else doing)?

Question 26: How did you go about achieving your sales goals?

Follow-up question: What was your strategy?

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Question 27: What was the size of the sales team you were/are on?

Follow-up question: Where do you rank in terms of performance?

Follow-up question: What are you doing that other reps are not doing to accomplish
their goals?

Question 28: Describe a time when you did not hit your targets or achieve a set goal.

Follow-up question: How did you handle the situation?

Follow-up question: What were the steps you took to ensure you were successful going
forward?

St reng t hs and Weaknesses


Question 29: Why do clients choose to buy from you?

Follow-up question: How do you build their trust?

Follow up question: Give me an example of a time when you earned the trust of a client
and became their trusted advisor - versus simply a salesperson.

Questions 30: What are 2-3 of your strengths as they relate to sales.

Follow-up question: How do you leverage your strengths to close deals?

Follow-up question: Provide a specific example of a time when you leveraged one of
your strengths to close a deal.

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Question 31: What are 2-3 of your weaknesses as they relate to sales.

Follow-up question: How do you avoid letting these weaknesses get in the way of your
selling?

Follow-up question: What are you doing to improve on your weaknesses?

Cul ture and E nv ironment


Question 32: How would you describe the corporate culture of your current or past
company?

Follow-up question: What was your favorite aspect of the corporate culture?

Follow-up question: If you could change one thing about the corporate culture, what
would it be and why?

Question 33: What kind of environment do you thrive in?

Follow-up question: Why do you think you thrive in this kind of environment?

Follow-up question: What kind of environments hinder your ability to perform?

Question 34: How would you describe your ideal Sales Manager?

Follow-up question: When have you worked with a Sales Manager whose management
style was not ideal for you?

Follow-up question: How did you handle this situation?

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Question 35: What are some of the positive traits you look for in a sales leader?

Follow-up question: What are some of the sales leader traits you consider to be
negative?

Question 36: What core values should all strong sales organizations possess?

Follow-up question: Why do you think these values are important for sales success?

Follow-up question: What are of the values you possess?

Question 37: How would the rest of your companys sales team describe you?

Follow-up question: Do you agree with these descriptions, why or why not?

Follow-up question: What are some of the areas they think you could improve upon?

D ri ver s
Question 38: What motivates you as a salesperson?

Follow-up question: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Question 39: How do you define sales success?

Follow-up question: Where do you feel you have achieved sales success?

Follow-up question: What success would you like to achieve in the next 2-5 years?

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Question 40: What kind of sacrifices have you made to be successful?

Follow-up question: How do you maintain a work-life balance for yourself?

Follow-up question: What does a perfect work-life balance look like to you?

Question 41: Why are you looking to leave your current role?

Follow-up question: Would you be willing to provide references from your most recent
company, why or why not?

Follow-up question: When calling your references, what do you think they will say about
you?

Question 42: Why have you chosen sales as your profession?

Follow-up question: What is your favorite thing about working in sales?

Question 43: What do you dislike about sales as a profession?

Follow-up question: Why do you dislike this aspect of sales?

Follow-up question: How do you ensure it doesnt affect your ability to close business?

Question 44: What are some of your short-term goals?

Follow-up question: What are some of you long-term goals?

Follow-up question: How does our company and this role fit into these goals?

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Question 45: How do you plan on achieving your goals?

Follow-up question: Do you have an achievement plan in place for the next 2-5 years
and beyond?

Follow-up question: What does that plan look like and how does this role fit into it?

Indus t r y K now le dge


Question 46: How do you stay current on your customers, your industry, and products?

Follow-up questions: Have you attended any seminars or listened to any webinars
recently, if so, which ones?

Follow-up question: What did you learn from them?

Question 47: What are some books you have recently read to further your knowledge of
sales and your industry?

Follow-up question: What did you take away from them?

Follow-up question: How have they helped you in your sales role?

S p e cif ic to Your O rganizat ion


Question 48: What do you know about our organization?

Follow-up question: What is it about our organization that you find the most interesting?

Follow-up question: Why do you want to work here?

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Question 49: Why should we hire you?

Follow-up question: What kind of value will you bring to our sales team?

Follow-up question: What would you be looking to accomplish in the first year, should
you be hired for the role?

Question 50: What questions do you have for us?

Q ues t ions for a S ales M anagement Role

Question 1: When in your career have you managed a sales team?

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with hiring and firing (ie, how many
people have you hired and how many people have you fired).

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with coaching (ie, your approach, how
often, etc).

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with planning and strategizing (ie,
territory assignment, lead generation, etc).

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with forecasting.

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with motivation and incentives.

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with building any kind of sales support
for your team.

Follow-up question: Describe your experience with tracking customer data.

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Question 2: How would you describe your sales management style?

Follow-up question: Have you had any formal sales management training?

Follow-up question: If so, when and what did it entail?

Question 3: If we asked your current or past team members to describe their experience
reporting to you, what would they say?

Follow-up question: What would they describe as opportunities for improvement?

Follow-up: How have you worked to improve in these areas?

Question 4: What is the largest sales team you have successfully managed?

Follow-up question: What kind of sales team was it (ie, inside or outside sales)?

Follow-up question: What success did you see while managing this team (ie, hitting
team targets, improving sales rep performance, etc)?

Question 5: When have you managed remote sales reps?

Follow-up question: What were some of the challenges?

Follow-up question: How did you ensure their success?

Question 6: When have you managed a sales rep who had consistently missed quota for
three-months or longer?

Follow-up question: Please describe the plan you put in place to help this sales rep be
successful.

Follow-up question: If the sales reps underperformance persisted, how did you handle
the situation?

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Question 7: When have you managed a top performing sales rep looking for more
responsibilities and room to grow in the company?

Follow-up question: What kind of actionable goals did you help this sales rep set?

Follow-up question: If there goals were not attainable at that time (ie, someone was
already doing the role they wanted), how did you keep them engaged and interested in
staying at your company?

Question 8: How do you monitor the performance of your individual team members?

Follow-up question: How do you make your team aware of their performance?

Follow-up question: What do you do with this data?

Question 9: How do you motivate your sales team on a day-to-day basis?

Follow-up question: How do you motivate them long-term?

Follow-up question: When have you managed a sales rep who lacked motivation and
how did you handle them?

Question 10: Describe a sales strategy you implemented upon taking over a new sales
team.

Follow-up question: What were the results you achieved (ie, sales rep improvement,
targets achieved, territory growth, etc)?

Follow-up question: Looking back on the strategy you implemented, what changes
would you make today to achieve even greater results?

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Question 11: Were you responsible for achieving a team quota?

Follow-up question: If so, what was it?

Follow-up question: Describe the team quota attainment numbers during the time you
were responsible them.

Question 12: Did you have an individual quota?

Follow-up question: If so, what was it and have you consistently achieved it over the
past five years?

Follow-up question: How did you go about balancing your own quota and your
managerial duties?

Question 13: Where do you go to source top sales talent?

Follow-up question: How do you decide which applicants you are going to interview?

Question 14: How did you evaluate sales skills in an interview setting?

Follow-up question: What skills do you look for in a candidate?

Follow-up question: What kind of objective measurement techniques do you use when
vetting candidates?

Question 15: When have you been involved in decisions about compensation for new
sales reps?

Follow-up question: When have you been involved in the decisions to provide raises
and bonuses to your sales reps?

Follow-up question: How do you determine raise and bonus qualification?

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