In today’s data-driven landscape, you’ll need savvy sales analysts who can see patterns and strategically optimize your team’s activities. Asking the right sales analyst interview questions can help you find the best candidate for this role.
During the interview, you’ll want to understand each applicant’s approach to working with data. Then, you’ll understand how they’ve turned numbers into insights that helped grow sales.
In this post, we’ll share interview questions that can help you hire the right person for the job. But first, we’ll explore why sales analysts are essential to any sales organization.
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Finding the Right Sales Analyst
Building a data-driven sales organization has become essential for business. According to LinkedIn, at least 69% of sales teams use data during prospecting. Half of those surveyed also leverage data to determine which industries to target with sales efforts.
Opportunities for sales analysts are on the rise as more companies prioritize sourcing and analyzing data. By 2028, job growth for sales analysts is expected to increase by 20%.
Today, sales analysts run competitive analyses, forecast trends, and recommend how teams should move forward. This role ultimately seeks to give advice that increases sales for the company.
To fill this position, look for candidates with extensive data experience on their resumes. Bonus points if they’ve used the same tools you already have in your tech stack. Their experience section should also demonstrate how their findings have impacted revenue.
From there, bring in your top candidates for interviews. Then, you can ask follow-up questions to expand on their prior roles. At the end of the process, you should understand how candidates source information, what they look at when analyzing data, and how they craft recommendations.
Sales Analyst Interview Questions
- From your experience, which has been most beneficial: a long or short sales cycle?
- Can you walk me through the process you take to analyze sales data? What key metrics are you looking for to make an initial analysis?
- What tools do you rely on most to do your job well?
- If you were given a project or task and didn’t have access to all the information needed to successfully complete it, what course of action would you take?
- What has been the most challenging analysis you’ve been tasked with?
- Tell me about a time you set a goal and didn’t reach it. What happened, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Have you worked with challenging stakeholders? How did you handle the situation?
- How do you track consumer and market trends? Can you walk me through your process?
- How would you describe complex sales data to someone who doesn’t have a sales background?
- Can you tell me about a time a recommendation made from your analysis increased sales for your organization?
- Have you ever had to manage scope creep? How did you mitigate the situation?
- Describe your ideal workday. How would you organize your day?
- Solve this problem (case study).
- What is your communication style?
- Tell me about a time you’ve worked cross-functionally to complete an analysis. How did you get all the necessary stakeholders on board? How were you able to access all the data you needed
- How would you explain a challenging data model to an audience who was struggling to understand it?
- How would you handle receiving a set of messy data?
- Tell me about a time you had to conduct in-depth research to complete an analysis.
- Can you tell me about a time you’ve helped form a successful entry or exit strategy? What data did you rely on to support your recommendation?
- If you were tasked with creating a custom dashboard used to drive major sales decisions and could only include three graphs or widgets, what would you include?
1. From your experience, which has been most beneficial: a long or short sales cycle?
This question prompts the candidate to tell you more about their ability to navigate complex sales processes. You’ll also have context for their experience as a sales professional. It’s a specific question that requires sufficient sales knowledge to be answered well.
What to look for: As an interviewer, focus on the why. Your best candidates will be able to explain their preferences and the nuances of their decision. Ideally, their response will align with your typical sales cycle.
2. Can you walk me through the process you take to analyze sales data? What key metrics are you looking for to make an initial analysis?
A successful sales analyst can make sound business recommendations based on the assessment of pertinent data. This question gives you insight into what kind of data they are used to working with. You’ll also learn about the candidate’s typical workflow.
What to look for: Keep an eye out for candidates that take a methodical approach to analyzing data. High performers will be able to clearly explain how they work. Candidates should also point out specific indicators that show a market or persona would be a fit for the business.
3. What tools do you rely on most to do your job well?
This question will tell you what tools and systems the candidate is proficient in. This is a great opportunity to ask follow-up questions about their skill level. You can also share the tools your company uses to see how their experience aligns with your team’s tools.
Pro tip: If the candidate doesn’t have experience with every tool in your tech stack, that’s okay. Top candidates will demonstrate an eagerness to learn and share examples of how they familiarize themselves with new tools.
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4. If you were given a project or task and didn’t have access to all the information needed to successfully complete it, what course of action would you take?
Makingake a complete analysis can sometimes take inquiry or digging to get the information needed. This question gives you valuable insight into how the candidate responds to receiving incomplete or insufficient data.
What to look for: Your best applicants will be able to source information if data sets are incomplete. Additionally, they’ll know when to ask for help from other members of the sales organization.
5. What has been the most challenging analysis you’ve been tasked with?
When asking this question, prompt the candidate to follow the STAR method for their response — ask them to explain the situation, what they were tasked to do, the action they took, and the result.
What to look for: The answer to this question will provide valuable context about the candidate’s background, the level of complexity they are used to working with, and how they deal with challenging tasks.
6. Tell me about a time you set a goal and didn’t reach it. What happened, and what did you learn from the experience?
While interviewing candidates, you’re not looking for an individual who has done everything perfectly. Everyone has reached for a goal and come up short at some point. You’re looking for a resilient individual who can learn from these situations.
Pro tip: This question prompts the candidate to tell you more about their personal experience in this area.
7. Have you worked with challenging stakeholders? How did you handle the situation?
With data being front-and-center for many sales organizations, sales analysts can sometimes work with demanding stakeholders. The candidate’s response to this question will tell you how they have navigated this in the past.
Pro tip: Candidates should share what market indicators they track and relevant news sources they keep up with.
8. How do you track consumer and market trends? Can you walk me through your process?
Sales analysts are responsible for staying on top of consumer and market trends. How the prospect answers this question will tell you what steps they follow to stay in the know.
What to look for: Candidates should share what market indicators they track, as well as relevant news sources that they keep up with.
9. How would you describe complex sales data to someone who doesn’t have a sales background?
Sales analysts are often tasked with presenting complex information to those who may work outside of the sales organization. The best candidates can explain their analysis in a way that’s easy for people of any level to understand.
What to look for: Communication skills are key. You’ll want to see if the candidate can turn pure numbers into a story and set of recommendations. Presentation skills and speaking skills are also advantageous.
10. Can you tell me about a time a recommendation made from your analysis increased sales for your organization?
At the end of the day, this is exactly what you are hiring a sales analyst to do. This question gives you insight into the quality of analysis they have performed in the past. The candidate can also share one (or more) of their wins with you.
What to look for: The candidate should be able to clearly explain what the recommendation was and its organizational impact. That should include any metrics that indicated success.
11. Have you ever had to manage scope creep? How did you mitigate the situation?
In a busy sales organization, scope creep is not out of the ordinary. The candidate’s answer to this question can tell you a lot about how they work and what they prioritize.
What to look for: Successful sales analysts can work collaboratively to manage scope creep. Look for answers that indicate clear communication and a team-oriented approach.
12. Describe your ideal workday. How would you organize your day?
This is a lighter question designed to help you get to know the candidate. Like many of the questions in this post, there is no true right or wrong answer. However, the response to this question can tell you a lot about the individual’s work and communication style.
Pro tip: This is a great opportunity to ask about their workplace preferences. Do they like to work from home, in person, or a mix of both?
13. Solve this problem [case study].
For competitive roles, consider giving a case study to candidates in advance and have them bring their sample analysis to you. When they share or present, ask them clarifying questions to understand how they came to their final recommendation.
Pro tip: If your interview process has multiple rounds, reserve case studies for later in the process. Phone interviews and early screens should be conducted first.
14. What is your communication style?
Are they a direct communicator who has no problem speaking up? Or are they an indirect communicator who needs a little time to warm up?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer here — the point of this question is to get to know the candidate better. Ideally, your organization should be inclusive of all communication styles.
Pro tip: This would be a good time to ask about their preferred methods of communication. Do they prefer to send a message on Slack instead of email? Are they easier to get ahold of via phone?
15. Tell me about a time you’ve worked cross-functionally to complete an analysis. How did you get all the necessary stakeholders on board? How were you able to access all the data you needed?
In many instances, sales analysts must work with colleagues outside the sales organization. This question lets you learn how the candidate approaches cross-functional work.
Remember: Not all candidates may have worked on cross-functional projects. Asking them this question in a hypothetical scenario can be just as powerful.
16. How would you explain a challenging data model to an audience who was struggling to understand it?
Your sales analyst will likely need to present information to an audience that doesn’t understand every aspect of the report. This question allows the candidate to share how they would address concerns and answer questions about their work.
What to look for: Your candidate should explain how they make complex topics accessible. They may bring up specific storytelling methods, visual aids, or slide decks that help bring laypeople along the journey.
17. How would you handle receiving a set of messy data?
In an ideal world, your sales analyst would only have to work with clean, centrally stored data. But in the real world, this doesn’t always happen. The answer to this question can tell you how the candidate approaches working with less-than-ideal data sources.
Pro tip: If your team often works with incomplete data sets, the answer will reveal if the candidate is a fit for your organization.
18. Tell me about a time you had to conduct in-depth research to complete an analysis.
Have the candidate explain the project and why in-depth research was needed. They should also discuss what their role was, what actions they took to conduct the research, and the result of their analysis.
What to look for: This is another question that should be answered with the STAR — situation, task, action, result — framework.
19. Can you tell me about a time you’ve helped form a successful entry or exit strategy? What data did you rely on to support your recommendation?
This situational question allows the candidate to share experience in these areas. This question is essential if your company expects its new analyst to focus on entry and exit strategies.
Why we like this question: This question allows the candidate to demonstrate their ability to marry data with actionable insights. Applicants must explain what metrics they looked at and how they relate to larger strategies.
20. If you were tasked with creating a custom dashboard used to drive major sales decisions and could only include three graphs or widgets, what would you include?
Every analyst dreams of creating their own custom dashboard with the information they need right when they need it. You’ll gain valuable insight into what data they prioritize and what information they need front and center to help them do their best work.
What to look for: The widgets your candidate chose are important. However, how they explain their decision matters more. Look for a logical approach and clear communication in your applicant’s answer.
Making the Right Hiring Decision
You’ll need top-notch sales analysts to move the needle at your organization. Start by looking for experienced candidates that demonstrate organizational impact on their resumes. Then, bring in the best applicants for an interview.
Still trying to decide? Consider building a case study so your most competitive candidates can show their stuff. From there, you can make a confident decision and find a sales analyst to help you grow.