More than 1.3 million technology startups are launched every year! This means that tech sales is one of the fastest growing careers for reps who are eager to land a promising new role with the hottest new company. But many hiring managers of these startups have little to no experience hiring tech sales professionals at such a rapid rate. Asking the right sales interview questions can make all the difference.
It’s important for sales hiring managers to conduct smart and effective interviews that can help them whittle down candidates to the best options. Here’s a few questions managers can ask tech sales candidates to get you started down the right path:
“Why did you leave your previous position (Or: Why are you exploring new opportunities?)”
It’s important for a hiring manager to understand the catalyst or event that triggered someone to leave their last role. Were they let go? Did they experience a leadership change? Were they passed over for a promotion? Did the culture of the company change? Was there a territory or comp realignment? Or are they just looking for an industry or product that is more aligned with their interests?
The point is, you need to know why they are talking to you. The answer will help guide you toward more specific questions.
“Tell me about the sales process at your previous (or current) position?”
The answer to this question will let you know if the candidate’s most recent go-to-market process aligns with yours. Example: If the candidate is most familiar with a 6-9 month sales process that is consultative and requires the coordination of multiple stakeholders, but your process is one month and transactional, this candidate may have a hard time adjusting.
Make sure the candidate you’re interviewing has sales experiences that align with your go-to-market. Too much adjustment time often equates to lost sales.
“Why is this opportunity the best choice for you?”
This type of sales interview question can help you understand if the candidate took time to research your company and your offerings. Did they apply because they really thought it was the right fit, or was your company just next in line in a series of interviews?
You should look for candidates who approach their job search process the same way they approach their sales process. Whoever you hire should really want to be there and should be eager to be successful. This means they come to the interview showing that they took the time to understand the company beforehand.
“Where do you see yourself in ten years”?
Sales interview questions that ask about the candidate’s future outlook are important because they provide insight into the potential tenure of the candidate and what you may need to do to keep them motivated – and employed. Some employees prefer working independently and don’t aspire to be managers or team leaders; others want increasing responsibility to feel valued. Other sales reps don’t aspire to be in sales for the long term at all, which might raise some red flags if you’re concerned about retention (and passion for the job).
Aligning your sales interview questions with your organization’s career path is a great way to build a rockstar sales team. Hiring is tough and it takes a long time to get it right. You really don’t want to go through the same process for the exact same role again and again.
“What drives you?”
Motivation is incredibly important in identifying a great sales professional – and it comes in many forms. Some sales professionals are motivated by money (compensation); others are motivated by promotions and titles, and others by increasing responsibility and leadership. There is no right or wrong motivation. However, understanding this from the start of an employee’s tenure is important. Firstly, it will help you retain them as an employee. Secondly, you should determine if the candidate’s motivation aligns with your business, the culture you’re building and the role you’re hiring for. Otherwise, you may be recruiting for the same position again in short order.
These sales interview questions aren’t exhaustive, but asking these five will help you make smart hires faster and give you better insight into your candidates.