10 Interview Questions To Ask Your Next Sales Executive

10 Interview Questions To Ask Your Next Sales Executive

When it comes to hiring a sales executive, you need to ask the right questions to determine the best candidate for the job. You want an experienced professional who can help your business grow and make sure your customers receive excellent service. To help you select the best candidate, here are 10 interview questions to ask when interviewing a sales executive.

“What experience do you have in sales?”

Ask the candidate to tell you about their background in sales and what successes they have achieved. Make sure the candidate has a strong understanding of your industry, customer base, and products or services. You want someone who understands how to build relationships with customers and close deals.

“How would you go about creating a successful sales strategy for our company?”

This question provides a great opportunity to assess the candidate’s preparation. Quality candidates should show up to an interview with a number of well-researched suggestions that demonstrate how much time they put into informing themselves about your specific business and industry. They should know about your recent financial performance and offer several strategies on how the sales operation can build your customer base and boost revenues. They should be able to describe the types of strategies they believe would be most effective for your business.

“Can you describe a time when you successfully overcame an obstacle in the course of a sale?”

This question will help you gauge the candidate’s problem-solving skills and resilience. Their answer to this question will highlight whether they’re able to effectively manage difficult conversations with customers. Any candidate who claims they’ve never met obstacles during a sale isn’t being honest.

“What methods do you use to stay informed of changes in market trends?”

The candidate should understand the competitive landscape and be able to adjust their strategy based on customer trends. This question helps determine the candidate’s commitment to sales as a career. Their answer should show that they have an enthusiasm and understanding of what it takes to be successful in sales and that they’re willing to put in extra time to stay ahead of the game in your industry.

“How do you respond to customer feedback and complaints?”

This question will help you assess the candidate’s ability to handle difficult conversations with customers and how well they respond to feedback. A great answer would include examples of how they have used customer feedback as an opportunity for growth or improvement. Quality candidates will remember several such situations and candidly describe their persistence in dealing with an angry or resistant customer.

“What strategies do you use to build relationships with customers?”

The candidate should enthusiastically describe their approach to building customer relationships and their plans to create successful, long-term partnerships. They should give examples that provide insight into their communication and relationship-building skills, as well as their willingness to doggedly pursue customers and accounts without alienating prospective customers and clients.

“Can you give an example of how you handled an unexpected challenge in a sales situation?”

Problem-solving skills are critical to sales success. Every experienced sales leader has encountered obstacles, but how they deal with such surprises is another matter entirely. Perhaps they thought they had a sale in the bag, a deal closed, or an account onboarded, only to find the customer backing out at the last minute.

Learn how a candidate responds to such unexpected setbacks. A prospective sales leader should candidly explain a situation that arose and how they were able to overcome it. A candidate who claims they’ve never encountered a surprise obstacle in a sales situation isn’t credible.

Watch out for reluctance to describe sales challenges. A candidate who sets themselves up as succeeding easily in sales with every call is exaggerating, at best.

“Describe your approach to achieving sales targets.”

This question should give you a sense of the candidate’s strategy for achieving sales goals. Ask specifically about how they motivate a team to work together toward company sales targets. Candidates should explain how they prioritize tasks and approach sales targets efficiently and effectively.

They should also be able to provide examples of successful sales leadership strategies they have used in past roles. Ask specifically about how they mentored a sales team member who was struggling with achieving individual benchmarks.

“What strategies would you use to improve our company’s sales performance?”

Any candidate for an executive position should demonstrate that they’ve done their homework on your business, and specifically, its sales performance. Candidates should provide examples of strategies they have used in other positions as well as new ideas that they believe would be beneficial to your company.

“What would you do to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty?”

Sales leaders know what it takes to build customer loyalty and satisfaction. They should mention strategies such as providing outstanding service, following up after a sale, or offering incentives for repeat business. They may also acknowledge outstanding individual performance by sales team members and present ideas to build upon those successes.

These 10 questions to ask your next sales executive will help you identify the best candidate for a sales executive position at your company. Experience in sales is a given, as is an understanding of current market trends and an ability to build relationships with customers.

Remember that you don’t have to conduct this type of search on your own; a sales executive search firm can streamline the process and develop a roster of highly qualified candidates. Executive recruiters should also help prepare you for the interview process and vet candidates in advance to ensure you’re only talking to the top contenders.

Finding the right candidate will help your business grow and keep customers coming back for more. Choose from the best and broadest candidate pool to pinpoint the executive who is the right fit for your business. This means casting a wide net, considering leaders in other industries, and ensuring you have a diverse pool of executives who can offer different experiences and points of view. Your business will benefit from fresh sales leadership and an executive who knows how to build, motivate, and reward a hard-working sales team.



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Battalia Winston is led by recruiting experts with more than 30 years of experience. We work directly with company leadership as well as outside advisors (compensation consultants, private equity sponsors, etc.). Our experts understand governance as it applies to family-owned businesses and have placed more than 125 candidates in family businesses in the last decade.
We have consistently been recognized as one of the top retained executive search firms in the United States. Battalia Winston headquartered in New York, NY has offices in Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and Woodbridge, NJ.

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