For an interview related to sales, there are some basic questions that almost every interviewer can ask. This article deals with 35 basic sales interview questions, the answers to which must be known to all potential accounting interviewees.
What is Sales?
Sales refers to making revenue by selling products to the customers in the selected market segment. It always aims in any way to sell the product and make a profit. It focuses on sealing a deal means closing, receiving a lead, and heading toward the finish line. It always aims to sell the product to the end customer, it does not think more about future business, rather it focuses on immediate results
1. Tell me something about yourself.
- Start by mentioning your name and where you belong.
- You can mention your Educational Background, achievements, and relevant job/internship experience you have.
- You can also mention any relevant skill you have, like any foreign language you know, or if you are a part of any society/organisation/NGO.
- Add a little bit about how you developed an interest in Sales.
2. Why did you choose sales as a profession?
- Shed light on your interest in the sales field.
- Mention the things that made you pursue sales.
- Advantages of various careers in sales, such as Sales Development Representative (SDR), Inside Sales Representative, Outside Sales Representative, Account Executive (AE), Sales Manager, Sales Engineer, etc.
- Stable Career
- Demanding Career
- Career Growth Aspects
3. What do you think are some of the necessary skills that a salesperson should have?
- Communication Skills: A sales person must be polite and respectful towards the customers.
- Negotiation Skills: A salesperson must have negotiation skills, and he/she must not lower the prices of products just for the sake of selling them.
- Convincing Skills: A salesperson must have convincing skills in making customers try the products and services.
- Active Listening Skills: A salesperson must be able to actively listen and understand the customers’ perspective too.
- Problem-Solving Skills: A sales person must have problem-solving skills. He/she must be able to solve problems and queries about the products and services that the customers may have.
4. What do you think is your most remarkable achievement in sales, to date?
- Mention your highest numbers/sales target that you achieved.
- Mention the biggest sale you made and/or your biggest client.
- Mention any campaign that you designed and/or ran related to sales.
- Mention any promotion you achieved at any of your previous jobs.
Selling is a part of the marketing process involving all the personal and impersonal activities involved in finding, securing, and developing a demand for a good or service. Whereas, Marketing is defined as an important functional area of management that involves activities undertaken by an organisation for the promotion of buying and selling of a good or service.
6. Are you familiar with any sales software?
Some of the sales software are Zendesk Sell, Lessonly, Ambition, CaptivateIQ, Clari, DocuSign, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, PandaDoc, ClasePlan, SalesRabbit, People.ai, PartnerStack, Linksquares, Seismic, Affinitext, etc.
- You can mention the sales software you know and have worked on.
- You can present any project you have completed on any of the sales software.
- Rebate: Offering products at a price less than the original price to clear off the excess inventory is known as a rebate. For example, offering Pizza at INR 250 instead of INR 500.
- Discount: A reduction of a certain percentage from the price for a limited period is known as a discount. Discounts are given to induce customers to buy more. For example, 50% off at Nike Stores.
- Refunds: Under this, a part of the product price is refunded to the customers on showing proof of purchase. For example, Swiggy and Zomato offer cashback while making payments through certain apps.
- Product Combination: Giving one product as a gift along with the purchase of the main product is known as a product combination. For example, Disney+Hotstar subscription is free with every Airtel recharge.
- Quantity Gift: When we offer some extra quantity of the main product as a gift to the customer, it is known as a quantity gift. For example, 10% extra Lays with every packet.
- Instant Draws and Assigned Gift: In this, companies offer schemes, like scratch cards to win instant gifts on the purchase of the product. For example, Utensils companies offer scratch cards to customers.
8. Do you have any prior experience in Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a practice from the end of businesses, where the salesperson is asked to connect with the public over the phone and convince them to use the respective products and services. Under cold calling, separate sales staff is hired and they are given targets on a daily basis, for instance, a salesperson will have to make calls and/or connect with at least 100 or 200 people.
- You can tell about the job and related roles where you have performed cold calling.
- You can also mention your figures for cold calls.
9. Are you comfortable with Cold Calling?
- You should be honest about this question if you like or do not like the function of cold calling.
- If you are interested in sales, you should at least show that you can try to like cold calling and will learn about it.
10. Do you think there are any words that a salesperson can use to attract customers?
11. Have you heard about Salesforce.com?
Salesforce.com is a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, designed to help businesses manage their sales, customer service, marketing, and other aspects of customer engagement and interaction. Salesforce.com provides tools for managing and analysing customer data, automating various business processes, and facilitating collaboration among teams.
- You can mention if you know or do not about Salesforce.com
- In case you know about Salesforce.com, mention it and show your project, if any.
- In case you do not know about Salesforce.com, mention that you are willing to learn about it.
12. What is Market Analysis?
Market Analysis is the process of evaluating various factors and data to understand and make informed decisions about a specific market, industry, or segment. It involves gathering and analysing information related to market size, trends, customer preferences, competition, and other relevant aspects. Key components of market analysis include:
- Market Size: Determining the total addressable (TAM) and identifying the potential customer base for a product or service.
- Market Trends: Examining current and future trends in the market, including changes in consumer behaviour, technology, and industry developments.
- Customer Preferences: Understanding the needs, wants, and preferences of the target customer base.
- Competition: Assessing the competitive landscape, including strengths and weaknesses of existing competitors.
13. What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing, also known as Internet Marketing, is a form of marketing that can be done through any electronic device. Marketers and advertisers use this type of marketing to promote products and services through social media channels like social networking sites, display ads, email, search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), etc.
14. What do you think are various marketing methods available to increase sales?
- Inbound Marketing: Inbound Marketing is a technique to attract customers to buy products and services with the help of Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, branding, etc. Some examples of inbound marketing tactics include Content marketing (blogs, articles, e-books, webinars, etc.), Social media marketing, Email marketing, Video marketing, Referral marketing, etc.
- Outbound Marketing: Outbound Marketing is a technique to attract a large number of customers to buy products and services with the help of TV ads, e-mails, p print ads, etc. Some examples of outbound marketing tactics include TV and radio advertising, Print advertising (newspapers, magazines, etc.), Direct mail, Cold calling, Trade shows, and events.
- Social Media Marketing: With Over 3.96 billion social media users across all social media platforms, social media has become the go-to channel for businesses to reach out to targeted audiences. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and others are great ways to have two-way communication.
- Search engine Optimisation: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an act of optimising your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages, increasing the quantity of organic traffic to your website.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is a direct marketing technique that uses email to reach out to a target audience to promote a product, build brand awareness, or drive website traffic.
15. Explain Email Marketing.
Email marketing is a direct marketing technique that uses email to reach out to a target audience to promote a product, build brand awareness, or drive website traffic. It includes sending newsletters, promotional emails, transactional emails, and automated sequences. It allows businesses to reach a large audience quickly and at a low cost and also allows personalization and targeting of specific groups of people.
Pros of Email Marketing:
- You can target specific demographics through email list segmentation
- You can also track and measure the success of campaigns through analytics
- Potential for high engagement, as email is a personal and direct form of communication
- Able to automate email campaigns, saving time and increasing efficiency
Cons of Email Marketing:
- The email might be marked as spam
- Not everyone may open or engage with the email
- People might unsubscribe if they don’t find it valuable
- A lot of competition for inbox space
- Takes time to create a successful campaign and email list.
16. Which social media platforms do you think are effective?
Social Media platforms are some social sites where people interact with each other, online. Brands can also use social media to promote their name and to increase sales. Some of the social media platforms that have proved to be effective for marketing include:
- Facebook: Facebook is one the largest and oldest social media platforms with around 3 Billion people.
- YouTube: YouTube is a platform for video streaming with 2.5 Billion people.
- Instagram: Instagram is constantly growing and has proven to be one of the most important social media platforms with at least 2 Billion people.
- X (formerly Twitter): X is a kind of platform where people can share information about various aspects with the help of short notes. X has almost 556 million users.
- TikTok: TikTok is a short video platform with around 1.05 Billion users.
- Any other relevant platform
17. What is Content Marketing?
When it is about content marketing, it aims to educate and inspire people seeking knowledge rather than being commercial. When you provide valuable content to your audience, you may position yourself as a thought leader and a reliable source of information. When you create blog articles, educational guides, whitepapers, or any other sort of content, you’re opting to generate a massive amount of traffic through them.
- Product: Product is one of the most important functions of marketing. Product comprises tangible and intangible goods and services that organisations/businesses offer to satisfy the needs of customers.
- Price: Price is the value of a product or service passed on by the buyer to the seller. A customer is very sensitive about the price of a product.
- Place: It is essential to make the product or service available to the customer at the right place and at the right time, then only the customer would be able to purchase the product or service. Place is an element of marketing and is a process of transferring goods from the place of production to the place of consumption.
- Promotion: The last element of the marketing mix is promotion, which includes activities undertaken by the marketer to communicate with the customers and distribution channels so they can enhance the sales of the firm. Through promotional communication, an organisation aims to inform and persuade the customer to purchase the goods and inform him/her regarding the benefits of the product. The four major elements of the promotion mix are Advertising, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling, and Public Relations.
Some of the digital marketing tools are Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager, MallChimp, HubSpot, Hootsuite, SEMrush, Moz, Buffer, Canva, Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, etc.
- You can mention digital marketing tools that you know and/or have worked with.
- You can present your projects related to digital marketing tools.
20. What is Digital Marketing Analytics?
Digital marketing analytics is the defined process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data from various digital marketing channels and campaigns. It covers the evaluation of data related to web traffic, user behaviour, ad performance, social media engagement, etc. At its core, digital marketing analytics answer critical questions such as:
- How many visitors are coming to our website?
- Where are they coming from?
- Are they converting into customers or leads?
- Which marketing channels are driving the most traffic and conversions?
- How can we optimize our campaigns for better results?
21. What are some of the drawbacks of Sales Promotion?
- Reflects Crisis: Frequent use of sales promotion techniques may give a bad impression on the image of the product and the company. It gives the impression that there is no demand for that product. It reflects a crisis and declines the company’s reputation.
- Spoils Product Image: The image of the product is adversely affected by the frequent use of promotional activities. Buyers may feel that the quality of the product is not good or is not appropriately priced, which is why the company is offering incentives.
- Short-term Focus: Sales promotion tools have short and temporary life.
22. What do you understand by the Marketing Research Process?
The Marketing Research Process is a terminology that is used to describe the development and the actual concept of a product or service, awareness of the brand, and its overall progress. The important factors that are considered in the research process are product, price, place, and promotion. To launch a product or service in the market and gain profit, all these four factors need to work accordingly. The research process helps to find the change in customer behaviour patterns if any one of the four factors is changed or updated. Marketers need to know about the expectations of customers, current market trends, and interests of customers to launch their products in the market and gain the attention of customers among all the available competitors.
23. What is Marketing Environment?
Marketing Environment is an entire set of events, circumstances, and objects that have an impact on the marketing practices of an organisation. Several environmental factors have a direct impact on the organisation’s marketing operations and decision-making ability.
According to Philip Kotler, “A company’s Marketing environment consists of the actors and forces outside marketing that affect marketing management’s ability to build and maintain successful relationships with target customers.”
Social media marketing can be termed as a marketing strategy that is used to promote a product and develop an influential relationship with customers via different Social Media platforms. Whereas, Digital Marketing can be termed as a marketing strategy that is used to promote a product and develop an influential relationship with the customers via all digital and offline sources. Digital marketing is creating awareness about the product using digital channels.
25. What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an act of optimising your website, so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages, increasing the quantity of organic traffic to your website. Websites, blogs, and infographics are among the mediums that profit from SEO. Several approaches to SEO may be used to drive quality visitors to your website. These are some examples:
- On-page SEO: On-page SEO focuses on all the content that resides “on the page” while viewing a website.
- Off-page SEO: Off-page SEO focuses on all the action that occurs “off the page” while optimising your website.
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO is concerned with the backend of your website and how your pages are coded.
Traditional Marketing is the old-way of marketing Technique. It refers to a kind of promotion, and advertisement includes flyers, billboards, TV ads, radio ads, print advertisements, newspaper ads, etc. which companies used in the early period to market their product. The four phases of Traditional Marketing are Interest, Awareness, Desire, and Decision. Whereas, Digital Marketing is a modern way of marketing Technique. It also refers to the Marketing of any kind of business through digital media and devices such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The four phases of Digital Marketing are Planning, Conversation, Content, and Sequels.
Business development refers to the activities designed to expand into a new market by creating a competitive position in the market. It does not mean closing as many sales as possible in a short period rather it also focuses on establishing relationships for further business progress. Whereas Sales refers to making revenue by selling products to the customers in the selected market segment it always aims in any way to sell the product and make a profit.
Inbound Marketing is a technique to attract customers to buy products and services with the help of Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, branding, etc. Some examples of inbound marketing tactics include Content marketing (blogs, articles, e-books, webinars, etc.), Social media marketing, Email marketing, Video marketing, Referral marketing, etc. Whereas, Outbound Marketing is a technique to attract a large number of customers to buy products and services with the help of TV ads, e-mails, p print ads, etc. Some examples of outbound marketing tactics include TV and radio advertising, Print advertising (newspapers, magazines, etc.), Direct mail, Cold calling, Trade shows, and events.
29. What is Marketing Channel?
Marketing Channel is defined as a path that consists of tools, strategies, medium platforms, and distribution of products or services from producers to consumers. Marketing channels connect the producers to their consumers and build a healthy relationship between them. Marketing channels can be online, offline, paid, or unpaid. These channels act as a vital part of the business process as it affects the success rate of the product. In short, a marketing channel is a medium that is used by a company for the advertisement of its products and services.
30. What is Branding?
Banding is one of the most important components of product mix as a marketer has to make an important decision on whether the product of the firm will be marketed under its generic name or brand name. Here, the Generic name means the name of the whole class of the firm’s product. For example, laptop is a generic name but Dell, Acer, and Lenovo are brand names.
A Brand is a product’s identification and can be in the form of a symbol, design, name, etc. The purpose of branding is not to just identify the seller or producer, but also to make the product superior to the competitor’s product.
31. What is Niche Marketing?
Niche marketing is defined as a marketing strategy that is proposed to catch moderately numbered buyers in the market. This type of marketing includes the strategy to target a specified market which means that the marketer is aware of the group in which he has to target for its product. The word niche can be defined as a special area of demand for a product or a service. For example, Whole Foods is a food store that specifically targets organic food customers. So it is clear that they want to target the customers who want organic food. A specific part of consumers is targeted in this type.
32. What is Personal Selling?
The process of informing customers and persuading them to purchase products through personal communication is known as Personal Selling. It is a two-way communication and involves direct face-to-face communication. Salespersons are appointed by companies to create product awareness and preferences to make sales.
According to Philip Kotler, “Personal selling is face-to-face interaction with one or more prospective purchasers to make a presentation, answering questions, and procuring orders”.
B2B (Business to Business) transactions are a business activity where both parties involved in e-commerce transactions are business firms. For example, the production of an automobile requires the assembly of a large number of components, which are manufactured elsewhere, either locally or overseas. Whereas, B2C (business-to-customers) transactions involve business firms on one end and their customers on the other. Although online shopping is the first thing that comes to mind, it is important to remember that selling is the outcome of the marketing process.
34. What is Pay Per Click (PPC)?
Paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, usually refers to the paid result that appears at the top or side of a search engine results page. These advertisements charge when you click the ads and these ads will only show when certain targeted keywords or search phrases are entered into the search engine box.
35. What is Marketing Mix?
The tools or ingredients or the variables mixed by the marketers to interact with a specific market are known as the Marketing Mix. It is the essence of any marketing endeavours and is the main building block of the marketing efforts of an organisation. The concept of marketing says that on the side there is the producer or marketer and on the other side there is the customer. Some decisions like Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, comprise of Marketing Mix.
According to Phillip Kotler, “Marketing mix is the set of marketing tools that a firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.”
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