20 Sales & Business Development Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published August 11, 2022

It's important to prepare for an interview in order to improve your chances of getting the job. Researching questions beforehand can help you give better answers during the interview. Most interviews will include questions about your personality, qualifications, experience and how well you would fit the job. In this article, we review examples of various sales & business development interview questions and sample answers to some of the most common questions.

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Common Sales & Business Development Interview Questions

What are your top strategies for generating new leads?

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question:

1. To gauge whether the candidate has a good understanding of the sales process and what it takes to generate new leads.

2. To see if the candidate has any innovative or creative ideas for generating new leads.

3. To find out if the candidate is familiar with the company's target market and knows how to reach them.

4. To determine if the candidate is proactive and resourceful, and can think on their feet to come up with new leads when needed.

5. To see if the candidate is familiar with the latest lead generation tools and technologies.

It's important for sales and business development professionals to have a good understanding of how to generate new leads, as this is a key part of their job. It's also important for them to be proactive and resourceful, so that they can keep the sales pipeline full even when there are lulls in business.

Example: There are a number of strategies that can be effective for generating new leads, depending on the business and the target market. Some common strategies include:

1. Advertising: This can be done through various forms of advertising, such as online ads, print ads, television or radio commercials, or even billboards.

2. Public relations: Getting your business featured in the news or in other popular publications can help generate interest and leads.

3. Networking: Attending industry events or connecting with other businesses in your field can help you meet potential customers or clients.

4. Referrals: Asking existing customers or clients for referrals can be a great way to generate new leads.

5. Cold calling: This involves reaching out to potential customers or clients who have not yet heard of your business.

How do you prioritize and manage your sales pipeline?

The interviewer is trying to gauge how well the sales and business development candidate is able to prioritize and manage their sales pipeline. This is important because it shows whether or not the candidate is able to effectively manage their time and prioritize tasks in order to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

Example: The first step is to establish what the criteria are for each stage of the pipeline. This will vary depending on the company, product, and industry, but some common criteria may include things like budget, timeline, need, and fit. Once the criteria are established, the next step is to prioritize the leads in the pipeline. This can be done using a variety of methods, but some common ones include scoring leads based on criteria or using a lead management software that automatically prioritizes based on preset rules.

Once the leads are prioritized, it's important to manage the pipeline regularly. This means keeping track of which leads are moving through the stages of the pipeline and which ones are getting stuck. It's also important to track any changes in the criteria that may cause a lead to move up or down in the priority list. Regular management of the sales pipeline will help ensure that sales goals are met and that no opportunities are missed.

What's your experience with developing and executing sales plans?

The interviewer is trying to gauge the candidate's experience in developing and executing sales plans. It is important to have experience in this area because it shows that the candidate has the ability to create a plan and see it through to completion. This skill is important in sales and business development because it shows that the candidate can create a strategy and then execute it in order to achieve success.

Example: I have experience in developing and executing sales plans for various products and services. I have a strong understanding of what it takes to create a successful sales plan, and I am familiar with the various tools and techniques that are used to implement them. I am also experienced in managing a sales team, and I have a proven track record of achieving success in this area.

Describe a time when you successfully overcame an obstacle in sales.

Sales & Business Development professionals are often tasked with overcoming obstacles in order to meet quotas or targets. As such, this question gauges a candidate's ability to identify and overcome obstacles in a sales context. Additionally, this question assesses a candidate's tenacity and perseverance, as well as their ability to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions.

Example: I was once tasked with selling a new product that no one had ever heard of before. It was a tough sell, but I did my research and found a way to connect the product to the needs of my customers. I overcame the obstacle by finding a way to show them how this new product could benefit them, and eventually closed the sale.

Tell me about a complex sale that you closed successfully.

An interviewer might ask a salesperson about a complex sale they closed successfully to gauge their experience in handling difficult sales situations. This question can reveal how the salesperson uses their skills and knowledge to close difficult deals, as well as how they deal with challenges that may arise during the sales process. Additionally, this question can give the interviewer insight into the salesperson's ability to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems.

Example: I successfully closed a complex sale recently that required a lot of coordination between different teams. The sale was for a new product that our company was launching, and it involved coordinating with the product development team, the marketing team, and the sales team. I was able to successfully close the sale by working closely with all of the teams and ensuring that everyone was on the same page.

Describe a time when you utilized creative thinking to close a deal.

There are several reasons why an interviewer might ask this question. They may be trying to gauge the salesperson's ability to think outside the box to come up with creative solutions to problems. They may also be interested in hearing about a time when the salesperson was able to successfully close a deal using creative thinking. This question can be used to assess a variety of skills, including creativity, sales ability, and problem-solving.

Example: I was working with a client who was interested in a new product, but wasn't sure if it was the right fit for their business. After doing some research, I came up with a creative way to show them how the product could benefit their company. I created a mockup of their website with the new product integrated, and showed them how it would work. They were impressed with my creativity and saw how the product could benefit their business. We were able to close the deal and they became one of our best clients.

What's your experience with account management?

There are a few reasons why an interviewer would ask this question to a sales and business development professional. Firstly, they may be gauging whether the candidate has experience working with clients or customers in an account management capacity. This is important because it shows whether the candidate has the ability to build and maintain relationships with clients, which is a key skill in sales and business development. Secondly, the interviewer may be interested in understanding how the candidate approaches account management, and whether they have a methodical or strategic approach. This is important because it can give insight into how the candidate would manage accounts and clients if they were in a sales or business development role. Finally, the interviewer may be trying to understand what kind of challenges the candidate has faced in previous roles when it comes to managing accounts, and how they coped with or overcame those challenges. This is important because it can give insight into the candidate's problem-solving abilities and their resilience under pressure.

Example: I have been working in account management for the past 5 years and have gained a lot of experience in handling customer accounts. I have developed strong relationships with my clients and have been able to successfully increase sales and grow the business. I am very familiar with the sales process and have a good understanding of how to manage an account.

Describe a time when you successfully overcame a objection during a sales pitch.

In order to sell a product or service, salespeople often have to overcome objections from potential customers. This question is designed to assess a candidate's ability to do just that. The interviewer wants to know if the candidate is able to think on their feet and come up with a persuasive argument on the spot. This question is also a good way to gauge a candidate's level of experience in sales.

Example: I was recently pitching a new product to a potential client and they raised objections about the price, saying it was too high. I successfully overcame this objection by explaining the value of the product and how it would save them money in the long run. I was able to convince them that the price was worth it and they ended up purchasing the product.

What strategies do you use for prospecting?

Sales & Business Development interviewers want to know what strategies candidates use for prospecting because it allows them to gauge how effective the candidate is at generating leads and growing their business. The interviewer is also looking to see if the candidate has a process in place for prospecting, which shows that they are organized and have a plan for how to succeed in the role.

Example: There are a number of strategies that can be used for prospecting, and the best approach will vary depending on the products or services being sold and the target market. Some common strategies include:

1. Direct marketing – This involves contacting potential customers directly, either through mail, email, or phone.

2. Advertising – This can be done through various mediums such as print, television, radio, or online.

3. Public relations – This involves generating positive media coverage for your company or product.

4. Networking – This involves meeting people and building relationships in order to get referrals or introductions to potential customers.

5. Trade shows – This involves exhibiting at industry-specific trade shows in order to meet potential customers who are interested in your products or services.

Tell me about a time when you successfully closed a large deal.

An interviewer would ask this question to gauge a sales and business development professional's ability to successfully seal a large deal. This is important because it indicates whether the candidate is capable of generating significant revenue for their company. Furthermore, it demonstrates the candidate's ability to navigate complex negotiations and close deals that are in the best interest of their organization.

Example: I successfully closed a large deal by using a consultative selling approach. I began by understanding the customer's needs and pain points. I then created a custom solution that addressed their specific needs. I presented the solution in a way that demonstrated how it would create value for the customer. Finally, I negotiated a fair price that was acceptable to both parties.

Describe your experience with territory management.

Territory management is a key skill for sales and business development professionals, as it allows them to effectively plan and execute sales strategies in specific geographical areas. When done well, it can help businesses increase market share, drive revenue growth, and improve customer satisfaction. Therefore, it is important for interviewers to gauge a candidate's experience and understanding of territory management in order to determine whether they would be a good fit for the role.

Example: I have experience with territory management in both the B2B and B2C space. In my previous role, I was responsible for managing a team of sales reps who were each assigned a specific territory. I oversaw the development and implementation of strategies to increase market share and grow revenue within each territory. This included working with the sales reps to identify key target accounts, developing account plans, and coordinating resources to support the sales reps in achieving their targets. I also monitored sales activity and results to ensure that targets were being met and made adjustments to territories and strategies as needed. In my current role, I am responsible for managing a large territory myself and have implemented similar strategies with success.

How do you develop relationships with customers?

The interviewer is trying to gauge the Sales & Business Development's ability to build relationships with customers. This is important because the success of a salesperson often depends on their ability to establish and maintain good relationships with customers. A strong relationship with customers can lead to repeat business, referrals, and positive word-of-mouth.

Example: There are many ways to develop relationships with customers. Some common methods include building rapport, providing excellent customer service, and following up with customers after they make a purchase. By developing relationships with customers, businesses can create repeat customers and increase customer loyalty.

What's your experience with cold calling?

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask a candidate for their experience with cold calling. First, the interviewer wants to know if the candidate has any relevant experience. If the candidate has never done any cold calling before, they might not be the best fit for the position. Second, the interviewer wants to know how the candidate would handle making calls to potential customers. This is important because it can give insight into the candidate's sales skills and ability to build relationships with customers. Finally, the interviewer wants to know if the candidate is comfortable with making cold calls. This is important because it can be a very challenging task for some people. If the candidate is not comfortable with making cold calls, they might not be successful in the position.

Example: I have been cold calling for about two years now. I would say that it is a necessary skill for sales and business development, but it is not the only skill required. It takes a certain amount of tenacity and perseverance to be successful at cold calling, as well as the ability to build rapport quickly with strangers. I have found that the best way to succeed with cold calling is to be prepared and organized, and to always have a clear goal in mind for each call.

Describe a time when you had to think outside the box to solve a problem in sales.

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question to a Sales & Business Development professional. Firstly, they may be trying to assess the candidate's creativity and problem-solving abilities. Secondly, they may be interested in understanding how the candidate has dealt with difficult situations in sales in the past. Finally, they may be hoping to gain insights into the candidate's sales strategies and methods.

Asking this question allows the interviewer to get a better sense of the candidate's abilities, thought processes, and sales methods. It also gives them an opportunity to see how the candidate responds to difficult situations. Ultimately, this question can help the interviewer determine whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for the Sales & Business Development role.

Example: I was once tasked with increasing sales in a specific region that had been struggling for some time. After doing some research, I realized that the problem was that our sales team was not properly targeting the right businesses in the area.

To solve this problem, I implemented a new lead generation and qualification process that helped us to better target potential customers in the region. This process involved identifying key decision makers at potential target companies, and then reaching out to them directly with personalized messages.

As a result of this new process, we were able to increase sales in the region by 20% within just a few months.

What do you consider to be your personal strengths and weaknesses in sales?

There are a few reasons why an interviewer would ask this question. First, they want to get to know the candidate on a personal level. This will help them determine if the candidate is a good fit for the company. Second, they want to see if the candidate has a clear understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. This will help them determine if the candidate is able to self-reflect and improve upon their weaknesses. Finally, they want to see if the candidate is able to sell themselves. This will help them determine if the candidate is able to be persuasive and articulate their own value.

Example: Personal strengths in sales:
-The ability to build rapport and relationships with customers
-The ability to listen to customer needs and understand their pain points
-The ability to articulate solutions to customers' problems
-The ability to close deals

Personal weaknesses in sales:
-The tendency to get too attached to customers and become too invested in their success/failure
-The tendency to be too pushy when trying to sell a product/service
-The tendency to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture

How do you manage your time and prioritize your tasks?

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question to a Sales & Business Development professional. First, it is important for Sales & Business Development professionals to be able to manage their time and prioritize their tasks effectively in order to be successful in their role. Second, this question allows the interviewer to gauge the interviewee's level of organization and time management skills. Finally, this question gives the interviewer insight into how the interviewee plans and executes tasks, which is important for Sales & Business Development professionals who need to be able to plan and execute sales strategies effectively.

Example: Assuming you have a busy work schedule, I would first start by evaluating what tasks are the most important and need to be completed first. This can be done by looking at deadlines, importance of the task, and how long the task will take to complete. Once I have a list of prioritized tasks, I then create a schedule for myself and try to stick to it as much as possible. This helps me stay on track and not get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. I also make sure to leave some flexibility in my schedule in case something comes up that needs to be addressed right away.

What do you believe the three most important factors are for success in sales?

The interviewer is trying to gauge the candidate's understanding of what it takes to be successful in sales. This question allows the candidate to demonstrate their knowledge of the sales process and what factors are most important to success. By understanding the three most important factors for success in sales, the candidate can show that they are prepared to take on a sales role and are aware of the challenges and obstacles they may face.

Example: The three most important factors for success in sales are product knowledge, customer service, and closing the sale.

How do you stay motivated and focused throughout the day?

Sales and business development can be stressful and challenging occupations. It is important for interviewers to know how candidates stay motivated and focused throughout the day in order to gauge whether they would be a good fit for the position. Additionally, this question can reveal some insight into the candidate's work ethic and drive.

Example: There are a few things that I do to stay motivated and focused throughout the day. First, I set daily goals for myself and make sure that I complete them before the end of the day. This gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps me moving forward. Secondly, I keep a positive attitude and try to find the silver lining in every situation. This helps me to stay upbeat and motivated even when things are tough. Finally, I make sure to take breaks throughout the day and give myself time to relax and recharge. This helps me to avoid burnout and stay fresh and focused.

The interviewer is trying to gauge the candidate's level of commitment to staying informed about their industry. This is important because it shows that the candidate is interested in keeping up with the latest trends and developments in their field, which can make them a more valuable asset to the company.

Example: There are a few different strategies I use to stay up-to-date on industry trends and news. First, I make sure to read relevant trade publications on a regular basis. This helps me to keep abreast of new developments and changes in the industry. Additionally, I attend industry conferences and events whenever possible. This is a great way to network with other professionals and learn about new trends firsthand. Finally, I also follow relevant industry leaders and influencers on social media. This allows me to quickly and easily stay up-to-date on the latest industry news.

How do you manage stress while working in sales?

Sales & Business Development is a high-stress occupation. The interviewer is asking how the candidate manages stress in order to gauge their ability to handle the demands of the job. It is important for the candidate to be able to demonstrate that they can manage their stress levels and still perform well in their role.

Example: There are a few things that I do in order to manage stress while working in sales. First, I make sure to set realistic goals for myself and my team. I know that if we are constantly reaching for the stars, we are bound to miss a few targets along the way. Second, I take time for myself every day. I might go for a run, read a book, or just take a few minutes to relax and clear my head. Finally, I stay positive and upbeat, even when things are tough. I know that if I keep my head up and push through, we will eventually reach our goals.