Naturally you’ve done your homework before your interview and you have a bunch of questions ready about the products or service you’ll be required to sell. But don’t forget to ask the following four questions too – it shows you are serious about your sales career. Remember – when you are a seriously talented sales professional (that includes sales managers too), you’re interviewing your next employer at the same time they’re interviewing you. No need for any arrogance of course, but do look after your interests.
Question #1 How many of your reps regularly make their target?
Ask this one because you want to get an idea of how successful others are in the team – the answer could lead to further questions regarding sales targets and team benchmarks in general.
Question #2 What support structure is in place for me?
The answer will tell you whether you will have someone assisting you with sales admin, lead-generation and other general sales tasks that take you away from being out there in front of customers, as well as if there is a company driver available to collect cheques and make deliveries – these are all activities that will prevent you from doing your “real” job.
Question #3 Will the sales manager be conducting in-field sales coaching?
Of course you’ll want to meet your manager and if possible get an idea of his or her management style too from others on the team – you need to suss out the overall sales culture. Sales coaching is essential, even for top achievers – the level of coaching will be far higher than that for a junior rep but is coaching nonetheless.
Question #4 What sales onboarding process is in place?
Given that lack of a quality sales onboarding process is one of the main reasons salespeople leave within the first 6 months, it’s worth asking just how much help you’ll be getting to ramp up in the shortest possible time. If you’re expected to hit your target within the third month it’s a bit of a big ask if your manager only confirms your customer base the month before, or if you still haven’t been able to tie down the technical chaps for that in-depth product training you need.
Then once you get to when it’s looking like there will be an offer on the table, it’s also a good idea to confirm your understanding of the commission structure as well as to ask for a full copy of the standard contract of employment to review BEFORE accepting the offer. I can’t tell you the number of folks I’ve spoken to that only find out about these vital issues after they’ve resigned from their current position or have already started their new job. Realising at the end of your first month that the commission structure is not what you “thought” it was, is a bit too late.
It’s your sales career move – make sure it’s the right one.