A sales operator works to enable your salespeople to focus on selling. Therefore, hiring the right person for the role is crucial, as such a hire will handle ‘backend’ stuff like lead management, data analysis, process optimization, and even sales strategy.
Several organizations realize the importance of this role. However, they have difficulty finding the right people to hire.
If you’re in charge of hiring in one of such organizations, we’ve provided these 30 sales operations interview questions and answers to help you during the hiring process.
At the end of this post, you should better understand what to consider and ask when filling this role.
30 Interview Questions and Answers for Sales Ops
1. Is there anything you think can improve our sales operations?
This is admittedly an open-ended question that can prove tricky for some to answer — especially as the candidate likely lacks insight into the existing sales operations.However, the goal of the question is to ascertain whether the candidate can apply some of their expertise and experience to the business. Hiring managers can better understand the candidate’s ability, goals, and values by asking this question.
2. How can you improve our CLV?
This specific question requires a straightforward answer. Here, candidates should prove that they have a clear view of the strategy they’ll use to improve the CLV of already existing customers.
3. How can you optimize the sales process?
The answer to this question indicates what the candidate prioritizes in the sales funnel. While quick wins at the top of the sales funnel are cool, optimizing the sales process must include removing friction in the buyer’s journey.
4. Can you describe the most complex analysis you’ve performed?
Direct the candidate to answer this using the STAR method(explain the situation, describe the task, describe the steps taken, and reveal the outcome). The candidate’s answer will demonstrate their experience and the complexity level they can work with.
5. How do you measure success?
This question allows the candidate to display how much they know about sales operations.
While sales reps' success is relatively straightforward (how many sales are made), a sales ops metric for success is trickier. So, if you’re hiring, look for answers that talk about conversions, benchmarks like forecast accuracy, behaviors like time spent selling, and average sales cycle length.
6. What new challenges did you face in your former role, and how did you adapt?
Flexibility is a must-have soft skill for sales ops people. Organizational growth can be scary and challenging, and a company will need all the flexibility its workers can give.
7. What made you successful in this role?
This question is best directed toward candidates that already have experience as sales operation managers. Past performance is one of the best predictors of sales success, and this question invites candidates to talk about processes they’ve implemented with good success in the past.
8. How will you push cross-functional support for the sales team?
The sales ops person will have a supervisory position while dealing with other departments. Therefore, candidates need to show that they understand how these relationships will be built and maintained. Additionally, it shows the hiring manager if the candidate fully understands the importance of collaborating with other departments.
9. How do you prefer to communicate?
This question simply aims to determine the communication style of the candidate. Since communication is crucial to the role's success, candidates will be weighed against the company’s communication culture.
10. How can you explain complex data to a novice?
Part of the responsibilities of sales ops is to interpret and present complex data in a simple, easy-to-understand format to people who aren’t in the sales team. Therefore, the response here will reveal their ability to convey insights usefully.
11. Describe a time you worked with a difficult stakeholder(s) and your reaction to the situation.
Sales operations people work with different departments and stakeholders aside from their sales teams. The answer the candidate gives here will show how they resolve conflicts.
12. Describe a moment you fell short of your goal?
This is an interesting question because it works on several levels. First, it helps to determine whether a candidate is willing to admit faults. Secondly, it reveals if they’ve learned from their mistake. And it also helps to check what metrics or goals a candidate views as important as a sales ops person.
13. How do you stay on top of trends and the market?
Sales ops will be responsible for keeping the company abreast of consumer and market trends, so how they respond to this question will tell hiring managers how suited candidates are for the role.
14. Have you ever had to deal with scope creep? How did you handle it?
Scope creep is common in the fast-paced sales environment and can take up valuable time and resources. Thus, the candidate's answer will reveal their experience with it and how they set priorities.
Data & Technology
15. What CRM tools or forecasting software do you use?
Optimizing processes is easier with CRMs, and familiarity with these tools will impact the sales ops manager's quality of work. Interviewers should look for specific examples of how the candidate has used CRM systems to streamline the sales process.
16. What experience do you have working with data and data analytics?
A sales operations role certainly involves working with big data and interpreting the data to improve the sales process. If the candidate doesn’t have experience with data, it’ll be significantly more difficult to carry out some of their responsibilities.
17. Can you describe a time you had to change to a new technology or technique that varied from your previous one?
Sales operations managers should be able to adapt to changing circumstances. The unexpected can happen. For example, the company might have a brand-new offering that needs a new way of selling. This question, therefore, reveals if the candidate can improvise and pivot satisfactorily.
18. What tech stacks did you use in your last role?
Here, the interviewer isn’t really looking for the candidate to start reeling out all the systems they used previously. Instead, the candidate's desire is to show their capacity to use technology to solve problems.
19. What will you do when you lose a deal?
This question gives candidates the chance to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to resolve a crisis.
20. Tell me about when a tip from your research helped your company.
A sales operations person is responsible for dealing with sales and revenue strategies, so this question lets them show their research abilities and share their past successes.
21. What’s your experience with sales data analysis?
This question helps you uncover the gathering and analysis ability of the candidate. A good candidate will offer specific examples of how they’ve used data to drive positive results.
Alignment & Culture
22. How will you describe a great manager?
The answer to this question will reveal what the candidate expects from their manager and can also indicate their managerial style. No matter the level of expertise, management mismatches can affect employees' effectiveness.
23. Why do you want to work in this role?
There’s a good reason why this question is so popular among recruiters, regardless of the industry. By asking this question, interviewers gain insight into the candidate's background, history, and motivation and determine whether they’ll fit into the company’s culture.
24. What is the best criticism you’ve received?
While this seems to be a negative question, it actually aims to see the candidates’ level of self-awareness, ability to take feedback, and how they interact with others — qualities that are crucial in a sales ops role.
25. Describe a time when you motivated an employee
Peer-to-peer recognition and motivation are powerful forces in the workplace, and encouragement from people in supervisory roles like sales ops to sales team members can significantly improve productivity.
26. Can you describe a successful sale?
A candidate’s description of a successful sale reveals whether the candidate knows what’s needed to make a sale. In addition, their answer should include the techniques used to close the sale—which offers valuable insight into whether their techniques align with the company’s sales policies and strategies.
27. Was there a time you had to act without having all the facts? What did you do in this situation?
Sometimes, sales operators don’t have all the information they need. So by asking this question, candidates reveal their thought processes in such situations. In addition, it helps interviewers get a better idea of who they are interviewing.
28. What is your vision for sales operations?
This question tells the interviewer if the candidate knows where sales support is needed and where to focus, depending on factors like the organization’s revenue cycle.
29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This question aims to gauge the candidate's ambition and see whether they’ve reflected on their future. The answer will indicate whether the candidate views the sales ops position as temporary or a stop-gap.
30. What soft skills do you possess, and how have you used them in the past?
Soft skills are critical hiring metrics. While hard skills help create a strategy, soft skills will help the candidate implement the strategy. Hiring managers look for tactful candidates, can give feedback appropriately, and can navigate in-house power struggles relatively well.
Nail Your Next Sales Operations Interview
There you have it: 30 sales operations interview questions and answers. Use these questions to draw out what lies in the mind of candidates and increase your chances of choosing the right person for this vital role.