7 Marketing and Sales Interview Questions and Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviews are one of the most common aspects of job applications. Still, they can be challenging, especially for professionals who aren't as experienced with them. Understanding marketing and sales interview questions and answers can help you prepare and increase your chances of success when you apply for jobs. In this article, we discuss various interview questions for marketing and sales candidates, including examples of good answers.

7 marketing and sales interview questions and answers

Here are some marketing and sales interview questions and answers you can use to prepare for your next job application:

1. Are you comfortable making cold calls?

A cold call is calling a stranger unexpectedly to sell a good or service. Cold calls are an essential part of the sales process for many companies, though they require excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Interviewers ask this question to determine how familiar you're with cold calling. While it may seem like a "yes" or "no" question, it's an opportunity to showcase your personality as a salesperson. You can briefly discuss why you like cold calls and any tactics you use to make them easier for you. Also, you can give examples to support your answer.

Example: "When I started my career as a salesperson, I dreaded cold calls. I was always stiff and nervous, which significantly affected my conversion rates. Then, I met a colleague who explained that each cold call was like meeting someone new. Rather than focusing on my sales target, they advised me to relax and find out more about my clients' needs. This approach significantly changed my experience with cold calls, and I began to anticipate and enjoy them. Due to this, I had the highest sales conversion rate at my previous workplace for two consecutive quarters."

Related: What Does a Sales Representative Do? (And How to Become One)

2. How did you close your most successful sale?

Every salesperson has a sales process that they go through to secure clients for the company. These sales processes often differ according to the individual and demonstrate the salesperson's skill and creativity. This question allows the interviewer to gain some insight into your work process. When answering, ensure you give a specific and detailed example of securing a sale. You can use the STAR approach—which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result—to discuss the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Also, ensure you highlight the sales and marketing skills you used and any valuable lessons the experience taught you.

Example: "My most successful sale was pitching a B2B contract with an automobile company. My previous employer was a plastics manufacturer, and my role was to secure a seven-year contract with the automobile company. I researched the client and discovered they were new and one of their major challenges was setting affordable prices. I leveraged that information and pitched our contract based on cheaper plastics. Through my pitch, I showed them how our cheaper plastics help them reduce the cost of their cars and expand their market share. The CEO enjoyed the interaction and requested a five-year contract."

3. Have you ever failed to meet a sales target? How did you handle it?

Salespeople usually have sales targets to meet within a specific period. With this question, the interviewer intends to see how you manage deadlines and cope with stress. It's important you're honest when answering this question. Give a practical example of failing to meet a sales target and describe how you handled it. Also, describe the lessons you learned from the experience and any new strategies you've developed to help you meet your targets in the future.

Example: "I once failed to meet my sales target as an entry-level salesperson. It was my first job, and a lot of the processes were new to me. Due to my eagerness to perform well, I took on more responsibilities than my capacity. I didn't organise my leads properly, so I found it hard to monitor each of them properly. As a result, I lost many of them and failed to meet my sales target. I'm grateful for the experience, as it taught me the importance of organisation. Now, I've learned to perform my duties more strategically."

Related: How to Interview a Sales Manager (With Example Questions)

4. How do you deal with an angry customer?

Sales personnel often encounter customers who are in an unpleasant mood. Whether such interaction ends in a positive outcome for the company usually depends on the salesperson's skill. The interviewer's goal is to evaluate your conflict management and interpersonal skills. All companies require sales personnel that can interact with customers without letting matters escalate. When answering this question, give a practical example of dealing with an angry customer. You can describe the tactics or skills you use in such situations and any positive results you recorded in the past.

Example: "I typically deal with angry customers by understanding that their attitude is not about me. Next, I remind myself that I have a goal, and the test of my skill as a salesperson is my ability to achieve that goal, not to protect my ego. After that, I try to understand why the customer is upset and help as best as possible. For example, at my last workplace, I encountered a customer who was extremely angry. After calming them down, I discovered they had received the wrong order and immediately secured a replacement for them."

Related: 35 Sales Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

5. What are your greatest strengths as a salesperson?

Sales personnel require various skills, knowledge and attributes to perform their duties effectively. Interviewers ask this question to evaluate your major qualifications as a salesperson. Try to focus your response on your most impressive attributes. You can pick two or three of your unique skills and discuss them. If possible, cite practical examples where you used these strengths and the results you recorded. You can also demonstrate how the strength relates to your role to show you understand the duties of a marketing and sales professional.

Example: "I believe one of my greatest strengths as a salesperson is my excellent interpersonal skills. I can maintain long-term relationships with all my clients, making it easier to pitch new products and meet my sales targets. Due to this, I'm still in contact with clients from my previous jobs. Also, I believe I have great communication skills. This makes it easier for me to understand the needs or complaints of my clients so I can resolve them. Owing to this skill, I had the highest customer satisfaction ratings in my last workplace."

6. How do you handle rejection?

As a salesperson, you may experience rejection from clients who aren't interested in your products. The interviewer wants to confirm that you have a healthy attitude towards accepting rejection. They also want to ensure you can learn from your mistakes and improve your performance. When answering this question, be honest about how rejection feels to make your answer sound genuine. Then, describe how you manage those feelings and prepare for your next pitch. You can also discuss any processes you use to review what went wrong and what you can do better next time.

Example: "Not being able to close a sale is always a challenging experience, but I try not to take it too personally. If a client rejects my pitch, I immediately review the interaction and make notes of all the factors that led to the rejection. Then, I analyse which ones I have control over and how I can do my job better. I also note rejections due to the quality of product or service I'm selling, so I can report them to my employer. Then, I incorporate all the lessons I learned in future pitches."

Related: Interview Question: "What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

7. Sell this pen to me.

This is a common situational question in marketing and sales interviews. The interviewer asks this question to see your sales skills in action. They want to assess your level of creativity and skill in convincing someone to make a purchase. While this question may seem causal, ensure you take it seriously. There are no right or wrong answers as long as you deliver your response with confidence. You can use this opportunity to demonstrate various sales skills. The interviewer may engage you to test your limits, so prepare for some back-and-forth interaction.

Example: "Yes, the world is becoming digital, but nothing can beat the trustworthiness of a pen in your pocket. With this elegant pen, you need not worry about a low battery or poor signal. Once you have a piece of paper, you can record your most inspiring ideas with a few strokes of your hand. This pen's superior design means you can put it in your pocket without any fear of ink stains. You can get all these attributes for a budget-friendly price."

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