23 Best Inside Sales Interview Questions To Find The Right Candidates

September 29, 2022

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It is pretty common that in interviews, candidates mostly answer questions with prepared replies that he or she memorizes very thoroughly. 

They do this because they are afraid to lose the opportunity. Thus they simply become unnatural. This can create a serious problem not for them but also for the person who is hiring them. Suppose, you are asking,

“What do you not like about your work as an Inside Sales Representative?”

The candidate’s answer could be: 

“There is nothing I do not like about my work. I enjoy my work as I interact with many people and solve real customer problems.”

Here, the candidate does not want to say anything bad about their job as they fear it will create a negative impression. Hence, the candidate will give you a pre-prepared memorized answer. In this case, you are not having a natural conversation with the candidate due to which you are unable to properly judge the candidate making the interview inconclusive. Instead, imagine if you asked this question:

“What would you change about your work? “

The candidate’s answer might look something like this”

“I do like my work but one thing which bothers me is that sometimes I get hundreds of leads. However, these leads are not qualified. Hence, for this problem, I would like to have a procedure in place where the leads I get are based on scoring from 1 – 10. In which 10 being the lead which is most likely to get convert and 1 being the lead which is least likely to get convert.”

From this answer, you will be able to understand that the candidate is aware of what needs changing. Here, the candidate is much more expressive and you can judge him/her in a  much better way. 

Hence, asking the right questions in the right way will help you get much more conclusive answers in the interview.

Best Inside sales interview questions to find the right candidates

Here is a list of 25 Best Inside sales interview questions to find the right candidates.

1. Is the Inside Sales role exciting for you? If yes, then what’s exciting about this role? 

Possible Answers – 

Yes, this role is exciting to me. This role gives me opportunities to learn many new things. Every day we have to coordinate with many new people having various thoughts. This will increase my communication and convincing skills. This might creates a big growth opportunity for me in future.

What it reveals about the person – 

If we receive any kind of similar answer as mentioned above, it shows that person is interested in the role because he knows the importance of the role in the organization. He wants to join that role not only for a job or money but he wants to learn and wants to pursue his career in the same. 

2. When a client is not responding then how will you know that you should stop pursuing him/her?

Possible Answers – 

From my perspective if a person is really interested he or she will show his/her interest by asking relevant questions as well as they will try to negotiate the deal. Whereas, if a person is not asking the relevant questions or does not seems interested in agreeing to a deal, according to me that person is not interested and that means we do not need to chase him or her anymore.

What it reveals about the person – 

Predicting and finding potential leads is a critical role in Sales. If we can receive any kind of similar answer as mentioned above then it reveals that a person knows how to filter out potential clients and how to save time on them.

3. Give a sample for any inside sales conversation with a client, how you describe your product or project which you have to sell?

Possible Answers – 

I want to give an example of one of the sales pitches which I used in my last organization. I use to start my sales pitch as- 

You – Hello Sir/Madam, I am [Name] from [Organization]. Am I talking to Mr/Ms XYZ?

Customer – Yes

You – Are you looking for a Flat?

Customer – Yes

You – Ok Nice, We are having similar property located in ABC area. I would request your time for explaining the details of the Property. 

Customer -Ok, Go ahead

You – [ Specification of the project] 

(Sample Script of Property Introduction is mentioned below) 

About PQR(Project Name)

PQR is a 123 acres community development located near ABC area. It is set in a lush green habitat with up to 456 sq. ft of world-class amenities and surrounded by breath-taking views of ABC area.

Designed on the theme of [Any specific theme of organization], we offer our residents a connection to nature with about 456 % open space with an iconic [If any religious place located in or near project]  and meditation Centre located within the project premises [if any].

Experienced partners like Our partners’ PQR are developing this premium project.

It has a planned retail development of 123+ sq. ft. inside the project, premises to take care of your everyday needs.

It has multiple access points that ensure privacy and less congestion

[All details of our common amenities like mentioned below] – 

We have a plethora of common amenities in the project like a Swimming Pool, Kids pool, Multipurpose Court, Squash Court, Mini Cricket Ground, Café, Convenience Store, Bicycle Path, Doctor’s Room, Banquet, Yoga and Meditation Centre, Crèche, ATM, walking loop and much more. 

Apart from the common amenities, we have a dedicated set of amenities for each cluster (Swimming pool, kids’ pool, multipurpose court, multi-purpose room, indoor games room, library, Gym and Toddler play area) for ultimate privacy.

What it reveals about the person –

In inside sales, a salesperson is having a limited time for talking about this product or service. So it becomes important for a salesperson to concentrate on key points to grab the attention of the client. If you receive any kind of similar answer as mentioned above then it reveals that a candidate knows which point to emphasize on. He can easily crack the technique to grab the customer’s attention for any product or service during Inside sales and can bring good value to the organization.     

4. Would you able to regularly meet your quotas and sales targets?

Possible Answers –

I always try to achieve my targets but sometimes we were unable to achieve our targets for various reasons like because of public holidays/festivals,  and the opening or closing of the financial year when every company takes various decisions for their plan in that year. During these months we were unable to achieve our targets but we have always tried to achieve the remaining target of those months in subsequent months so that our overall yearly target should be achieved. 

What it reveals about the person –

An answer on these lines reveals that a candidate is telling the truth. He is not lying just to get the job. He is accepting that in some parts of the year they were unable to achieve targets for proper reasons. Although he is willing to achieve the annual target. This shows that the candidate is genuine and he is a hard-working candidate. 

5. What are the sources for lead generation in Inside sales?

Possible Answers –

Leads in the Inside sales are generated by various sources depending on the nature of that sector. Some of the sources are – 

  • Reference- It plays an important role in B2B Inside sales. Referral leads are having a major possibility of conversion.
  • Social Media – Leads can also be generated by various social media campaigns run on LinkedIn, Facebook, Etc. 
  • Company website – Leads are also generated from the company website as well. 
  • Database/lead software – This software is used to get the leads. These leads will then go through different process and later get converted.  

What it reveals about the person –

Lead generation is the first and most important task in Inside sales. Similar answer like this reveals that a candidate is having proper knowledge of where the leads are generated. that means candidates will be a good fit for the Inside sales role. 

6. How can you turn a negative scenario in to a positive one?

Possible Answers – 

In sales, it is very important to listen to the customer or prospect. Because they are the ones who will be paying in the end. In simple words, understanding them and their issues should be the utmost priority. suppose a client after understanding each and every bit about the product or service still doesn’t want to purchase it you need to understand why is he not going for it.

One thing can be done in this negative situation, we can ask him directly what is the issue that he is facing or we can give him such an offer that he can not resist it. Although we can not go beyond our brand pricing level or something like that. But to convert him after doing such hard work should be the main objective. Thus we can change a negative scenario into a positive one.  

What it reveals about the person –

Never giving up is the key! A type of thinking that every sales individual should understand. If we receive any kind of similar answer as mentioned above then it reveals that a candidate is hard working and has the mindset of never giving up.

7. Have you ever rejected a prospect because they were not a right fit for your organization?

Possible Answers – 

Yes, I have rejected one client who was very much interested in buying our products and that too of a good amount. The client kept some terms and conditions which were unfavourable and against Company policy. I conveyed the same to the client but they were not ready to accept those. So at that moment, I let the client go as my first priority is to follow my company policy. 

What it reveals about the person –

The above answer shows that the Candidate is loyal to his company. He will never betray the company for achieving his targets. Such candidates will be good for any organization. 

8. How would you describe your ideal prospect?

Who is an ideal prospect. how would you define it

Possible Answers – 

A prospect who first specifies their requirement in detail and understands our product. After that, the prospects give us the chance to demonstrate our product and co-ordinates with us for the complete sales and after-sales process while providing us with proper feedback. 

What it reveals about the person –

Such answers reveal that a candidate is knowing the process and can identify the perfect prospect who can be a potential client. 

9. Which CRM tools you have experienced working with?

Possible Answers – 

I know Salesforce, Zoho and SAP CRM. But in my last organization, I was using Salesforce so I am more familiar with it. We were using salesforce for the End-to-end customer journey, starting from lead generation till final closing. CRM tools make the process easy and provide us with a clear idea to target and follow the smooth process with clients.  

What it reveals about the person –

If any candidate is specific about any CRM software then he is having good knowledge of that software. CRM is an important tool in sales. Candidates who know about it are having an additional advantage over other candidates. Such candidates can easily adopt the sales process of the company. 

10. Have you used social media in your sales process? If yes, how?

Possible Answers – 

Yes, I have used social media for various processes of sales. Starting from lead generation through some of the popular social media sites like Linkedin, Instagram etc. Sometimes social media is also used to communicate with the Decision maker of the target organization. It helps me to run various campaigns for more visibility of our product and services and is also used to get feedback from people. 

What it reveals about the person –

Social media is also an important part of sales. If we receive an answer related to the above answer that means a person has used social media and has performed better on that. Candidates knowing social media to generate business for the organization is also an advantage in Inside sales. 

Boost sales with social media

11. How do you keep yourself up-to-date about the industry?

Possible Answers –

To keep myself updated I do research on various new technologies that have arrived on the market. I do research on various companies and their future plans. Also, I take part in various business conferences where I am able to meet various people and companies knowing about new techniques. All these things keep me updated about my sector and my potential clients.  

What it reveals about the person –

If a candidate is able to give the sources from where he keeps himself updated that means he seriously keeps himself up-to-date. In this dynamic world keeping updated is very important and the candidate doing the same will become a resourceful employee for the organization because this knowledge can be used by other team members which will eventually help to get better performance from the entire team.   

12. What type of questions you can ask your customers to understand their needs?

Possible Answer – 

In order to understand the customers’ needs, I can ask questions like “What is the problem you are facing?”, “Is it a short-term or long-term problem?”, “What are the short-term and long-term repercussions of the problem?”, “Did you take any steps to solve the problem earlier and what were the results?”, “Who can take the final decision about buying the product?”, and “What is your budget?” These questions help me to understand most things I need to know before starting my sales pitch.

What it reveals about the person – 

This sort of answer shows that the candidate knows exactly what he/she requires to understand about the customer before making the sales pitch. It also shows that they customize their pitch after knowing the problem and do not randomly start selling for the sake of selling.

13. Explain your research process while preparing for a sales meeting.

Possible Answers – 

Before any sales meeting, I will check our CRM to identify what was the last interaction, if any. I do a detailed study of this last interaction. Along with this, I also check the company’s website to get some insights about the company and its leadership team. At the same time, I also check the LinkedIn of the person I am going to meet to understand whether that person is a decision-maker or not. If that person is not a decision-maker, I try to identify who the decision-maker might be. This approach helps me get clarity about what my focus area should be while working with the customer.

What it reveals about the person – 

Any answer on these lines will indicate that the candidates understand what information is necessary for them to sell your product. It shows that they are organized and have a structured approach to their work which is a huge positive.

14. What qualities do you feel are important to make a successful career in inside sales?

Possible Answers – 

I feel that the most important qualities for any inside sales representative are; product knowledge grasping skills to understand the product, service and the new features introduced, communication skills, presentation skills, time management skills and negotiation skills. Other essential skills include problem-solving, conflict management, organizational skills, collaboration and information-gathering skills. In addition to this, having a grasp on technology, especially social media and CRM is important.

What it reveals about the person –

Answers similar to this indicate that the candidate is aware of what skills are required to succeed in the job. Plus, candidates will always first talk about skills they possess as they are most confident about them. Hence, you will also get a fair idea of what they are most likely good at.

Also Read: 10 Best Inside Sales Tips from Top Sales Trainers in India

15. What was the biggest failure in your career and how did you bounce back from it?

Possible Answers – 

Here the candidates will give an example along the following lines: 

I once failed to close a huge deal of high value to the organization because I focused too much on selling the product and not building any connection or relationship with the customer. I felt that our company’s product was a perfect fit to solve their problem. So I thought that the customer will surely convert. Thus I maintained more of a transactional relationship with their decision-maker. Due to this approach, I lost a huge client. However, I bounced back by accepting my mistake and focusing more on my learning from this mistake and now I focus on making relationships instead of selling the product.

What it reveals about the person – 

An answer of this kind reveals the character of the candidate. It shows that the candidate did not give up because of one incident and actually learned a lot from it. This is a very positive sign as everyone fails but how you come back from the failure is very important.

16. Have you had any experience with cold calling? If yes, what do you focus on while cold calling?

Expected Answer – 

Yes, I have done cold calling in the past. In cold calling, you have very little time to make a good first impression. Hence, I do proper research about the customer to personalize the call and work on a good opening line. I ensure I get to the point as fast as possible. I do not overload the customer with a lot of information at once and try to close strongly by asking the customer for a meeting.

What it reveals about the person – 

An answer similar to this shows that the candidate understands the technical skills and soft skills required for cold calling and is aware of what it takes to make a strong first impression. 

17. Why do you think cold calling is important in inside sales?

Expected Answer – 

Cold calling is extremely important in inside sales as it helps to make a great first impression. A strong cold-calling script will help you build a strong connection with the customer. It is also a great way to understand the customer’s problems and needs. You can also customize your sales pitch for your customer in a much better way after understanding their exact needs.

What it reveals about the person – 

This type of answer shows that the candidate understands the importance of what they do and that they do not do any activity just for the sake of doing it.

18. How do you go about handling customer objections?

Handling sales objections
Handling sales objections

Expected Answer – 

In my experience, customers majorly object for 4 reasons: lack of budget, need, trust and urgency. Depending on the type of objection, I have a different approach for the customer. For example, if the customer says they do not have a budget, I tell them “I do not expect you to buy now. Just wanted to share some other valuable stuff we are doing in the industry.” If they say they do not trust us, I forward them some testimonials and also give them the contact information of some customers with whom I have a very strong relationship and ask them to feel free to do a background check of our services. 

What it reveals about the person – 

Such an answer shows that the candidate is very well aware of what type of objections are normally raised and how to tackle them. It depicts that the candidate is confident about handling various objections which is a very important skill.

19. How do you deal when a customer talks about a known downside of your product?

Expected Answer – 

When a customer talks about a known downside of the product, I first listen carefully to the customer and repeat what they said. After this, I explain how other features of our product outweigh this one flaw as no product can be 100% perfect. I give examples of how a customer from a similar industry also had the same concern but is now very happy with the solution we have given. I will also assure that feedback about this problem is given to the respective team and that it is being currently worked upon.

What it reveals about the person – 

It shows that the candidate has what it takes to turn an unfavorable situation into a favorable one. It also shows that they are capable of listening to the customers and empathizing with their issues and concerns.

20. Describe your Customer Services skills as an Inside Sales Representative

Expected Answers – 

I am a very good listener and empathetic to the problems of customers. Another key skill is that I am very adaptable and can go out of my comfort zone to solve customer problems. I do not lose patience quickly and have incredible self-control. Along with this, I can be very persuasive when required which has proven to be a huge plus point. I can also communicate clearly and show positive body language. All these skills help me to win the trust of a customer.

What it reveals about the person –

This question will reveal the candidate’s understanding of how to deal with people which is a key skill in inside sales. If required, ask the candidate to give an example of the last time they used any one of those skills to understand more about their command over these qualities.

21. How can we improve our processes?

Expected Answers – 

I see that you have mentioned XYZ on your website. However, this is an outdated feature provided by most companies. Instead, focus on this ABC feature of your product as it is a unique offering. This will help inside sales representatives to guide potential customers when they are looking for some specific information about that feature. 

What it reveals about the person –

This question is not about making your process better but actually understanding what amount of research the candidate has done about your company before applying for the job. If they give a convincing answer like the one above, you will come to know that they have taken this role and interview very seriously.

22. If you are working on a high-priority task and suddenly a customer comes with some problem, what would you do?

Expected Answers – 

If I am ever stuck in such a situation, I would first listen to the customer patiently and understand their problem as helping customers will be my first priority. In case it is a quick fix that they can do on their own, I will tell them the solution. If it is a bigger issue, I will loop in someone else who is relatively less burdened at the moment and ask them to look into the matter on priority. 

What it reveals about the person –

An answer similar to this shows that the candidate always prioritizes the customer. It also shows that the candidate is capable of prioritizing tasks based on complexity and urgency. This is an essential skill for every inside salesperson to master as they will always be burdened by multiple requirements of multiple customers and stakeholders.

23. How would a past client you have worked with describe you?

Expected Answers –

I would like to give an example of a testimonial that one of my past clients shared with my reporting manager after he was very satisfied with my service. The client mentioned that he liked the way I approached their problem, how I explained our solution, how I ensured all deliverables were given on time, and how I communicated with them during the entire process.

What it reveals about the person –

Such an answer shows a strong work ethic. When people praise you openly, it shows that you have really done a fantastic job. Also, it will help you understand the strengths of the candidate.

With this, we come to an end of the 23 Best Inside sales interview questions to find the right candidates. however there is not an ideal answer for any of these but the mentioned response will give you the insight about how you need to analyze the candidate. These questions will ensure you hire the right talent which will drive business results for your organization.

Also Read: 25 Call Scripts for Recruiters for Every Situation to Reduce Workload

Article Author

Zaid is a content writer and a marketing executive at Telecrm with a specialization in writing technical blogs, website landing pages, and on-page SEO. He's an MBA student and a national-level debater having represented Aligarh Muslim University at various competitions.