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9 Questions You Should Ask in Your Software Sales Interview



When you’re being interviewed for a software sales position it’s normal to think that the recruiter will ask most of the questions. And while it’s true that the interviewer will need to get a better sense of your strengths and experience in the software sales cycle, you should also be asking some questions. Here are a few of them:


  • What are the day to day responsibilities of this particular role?

  • What values that drive this company, and how does the team reflect those values?

  • What do you like about this company?

  • How is success measured in this position?

  • How can I grow at this company?

  • What are the biggest challenges of this role?

  • Who would I work with in this role?

  • Where is this company headed?

  • Do you have any questions about my background or my resume?


Why you should ask questions during a software sales interview:


Asking questions during an interview for a software sales position lets you know more about the role, the company, and what would be expected of you. Of course, it’s possible to research these details in a job description or get an inside scoop from a software sales headhunter, but nothing beats the opportunity to find out the details in person (keep in mind, however, that if you are working with a software sales recruiter you will still want to get their take on the company and its work culture).


Asking questions during an interview for a software sales role also helps you stand out from the other applicants. It shows that you are personable and interested in the role. It can turn a series of one-sided questions into an engaging conversation that really wins you some points with the HR representative or recruiter you’re speaking with.


Here are just a few of the questions that you—the interviewee—should ask during a software sales interview.


What are the day to day responsibilities of this particular role?


Switching jobs is a big decision,one that requires a thorough understanding of the pros and cons to making a move. You’ll never be able to compare your current software sales job with your prospective software sales role if you don’t have detailed information about what it will involve on a daily basis. You can review the list of duties and responsibilities in the job description and use them as a starting point for the conversation. Whether you’re interviewing for an inside sales position or to be a software sales manager, you will want to gather as much information as possible about what would be expected of you.


What values that drive this company, and how does the team reflect those values?


Every company has values that drive its business practices and forms the basis of its company culture. Many companies even state these values explicitly in writing. Ask about the heart and soul of the company, but don’t just leave it there—find out about how those values are reflected in company culture, or how employees are expected to embody those values as they represent the company. You may find that those values and the culture they create sits really well with you. Alternatively, you may find that despite excellent compensation, the core values of the business or its practices in terms of the sales cycle gives you something to consider. Find out.


What do you like about this company?


This is a great rapport building question. It may throw your interviewee off guard at first, but most recruiters or hiring managers will actually like this question. It shows them that you’re a diligent individual who does their research—a trait that pays off with a better close rate in the sales cycle. It provides a conversational connection and takes some pressure off of them to dig deeper into your resume (if for a moment). It’s also your opportunity to get a candid (as much as possible) view on what really does stand out in terms of working there.


How is success measured in this position?


Even if you’re a salaried sales professional, success in sales always comes down to metrics and the commissions they generate—and software sales is not different. The expectations of your potential position will be a mix of several factors including what the position entails, the developmental stage of the company, it’s back-end sales support resources, and other less tangible components such as the values, culture, and leadership. Find out how success is tracked, how often, and what this company holds as it’s key performance indicators (KPIs).


How can I grow at this company?


Questions about professional development show a recruiter or HR rep that you’re interested in the long game with your next software sales role. Asking what opportunities there are for professional development also show that you are ambitious—yet another positive trait for a software sales professional. In terms of your own benefit, asking this question will help you develop a game plan for your software sales career, so you’re not just making another move without a game plan.


What are the biggest challenges of this role?


You will definitely want to know what challenges you’ll face in your next role, before you land in it. There’s a good chance that you're interviewee will be fairly transparent about these challenges, as they will want to gauge your reaction and your reply. Talk with your software sales headhunter or do a little research on your own about what these challenges might be, so you are prepared to say something in response—because a recruiter might ask how you would handle these challenges.


Who would I work with in this role?


The software sales cycle is often a team effort between lead generators, sales professionals, sales engineers, and other back-end support players. Whether or not you ask this question, the interviewer might mention who you’d be working with. If you are interviewing in person, they might bring you around to meet some of these people, so be prepared for that. Even in the era of Covd-19, they might suggest a Skype meeting with your potential teammates, so don’t write that meeting out of the picture. You can also use an answer to this question to assess how cross-functional your own role would be and what’s expected of you.


Where is this company headed?


This question shows a hiring manager that you’re interested in a long term position, and that you’re absolutely invested in seeking a company that meets your expectations for a professional investment. It shows that you also care about the bigger picture in terms of the market, which is a positive trait of the most successful software sales professionals. This will also give you a chance to learn more information about that company that might not yet be widely known. Is the company expanding into new markets or developing new products? Answers to these questions will help you gauge what kind of long term professional growth potential this company has.


Do you have any questions about my background or my resume?


This question seems like one you’d want to avoid, but the best software sales professionals understand the importance of overcoming objections. Find out if there is anything giving your interviewer pause about your resume, before you leave the interview and they start thinking about it more (or over-thinking it). Asking this question and addressing any concerns that are spoken shows confidence and sales prowess. You don’t need to deflect the question or belittle the concern, but you will want to have an appropriate response, so consider hashing out a few potential avenues of discussion with a software sales recruiter.


Don’t be afraid to ask questions in your software sales interview.


As you can see, asking questions at your own software sales interview is not for learning more about the company. It’s also about making yourself stand out as an engaged and competent candidate. There are definitely other questions you could ask, which depend on who is conducting your interview (for instance, if it’s the owner of the company) and what you’re interviewing for, but these 9 questions are a great start. If you’d like to discuss your next software sales interview or you’re looking to make a move—or hire new talent—please reach out to me at mike@michaelblair.com.


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