IN THIS ARTICLE
- Basic SDR Interview Questions & Answers
- Entry-level SDR Interview Questions
- Senior-Level SDR Interview Questions
- How To Prepare for an SDR Interview
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Want to ace your sales development representative interview? In this guide, we’ll review common SDR interview questions, and give you the answers that will get you hired.
Basic SDR Interview Questions & Answers
Sales development representative (SDR) interview questions are designed to evaluate your technical skills, problem-solving skills, soft skills, and behavioral intelligence.
This classic question assesses your ability to communicate the critical components of a story in a short amount of time. Successful sales development reps are masters of brevity. Deliver a concise, positive response that explains your relevant experience and conveys why you’re interested in the role.
Example: “I’ve been passionate about technology ever since I got my first computer. I’ve also worked in customer service for several years, which taught me a lot about the sales process and building relationships with customers. This year, I realized I could combine my passion for tech and customer service experience in a tech sales role—and graduated from a tech sales bootcamp to solidify my skills.”
Why Do You Want To Work as an SDR?
Explain why you are interested in sales development, and highlight how your strengths align with the requirements of the role. Illustrate your value-add whenever possible.
Example: “I’m a people person who loves problem-solving. I enjoy meeting new people and helping them find solutions to challenging issues, which is the primary responsibility of an SDR.”
What Do You Know About Sales?
A tech sales professional has to connect with prospective clients while also demonstrating the value of a complex technical product (more on technical sales representatives here). Emphasize the importance of relationship-building in sales to show a deeper understanding of the sales process.
Example: “Sales is about more than closing deals. To generate new business opportunities, sales professionals must use empathy and active listening to build relationships with leads and create value.”
Why Did You Opt for a Career in Tech Sales?
This question evaluates your industry knowledge. Interviewers also want to know if you’re genuinely interested in the product you’re selling. Enumerate the specific demands of tech sales and explain the appeal of this particular industry.
Example: “I have a competitive streak, so I’m attracted to the fast pace of tech sales—as well as the numerous opportunities for growth. I also want to offer customers real value, which I believe I can do with your solutions.”
What Is the Most Challenging Assignment You Encountered on Your Learning Journey?
Showcase your flexibility and problem-solving skills. Contextualize and explain the challenge, describe the steps you took to address the challenge, and explain how these actions created a positive outcome.
Example: “At first, I struggled to handle objections while prospecting—until my mentor told me that I just needed to sell the next step in the sales process, not the product itself. When I faced objections, I started asking open-ended questions to keep the conversation going. This helped me understand and address the root of my prospects’ objections, and I was able to schedule more discovery meetings as a result.”
Situational Questions Based on Your Resume
Situational questions assess your skills, personality, and attitude. Interviewers often formulate situational questions based on the content of your resume. Examples might include:
When Do You Stop Pursuing a Client?
Your answer will depend on the organization’s unique protocol, but interviewers are looking for a response that demonstrates persistence and tenacity too.
Example: “Trish Bertuzzi, founder of The Bridge Group, recommends reaching out to a client six to eight times before giving up. I also weigh the effort required to pursue a lead against the size of the opportunity the lead represents to ensure I’m economizing my time.”
How Do You Stay Positive When Faced With Rejection?
Sales development reps need to be resilient. When discussing your recovery strategies, show the interviewer that you can bounce back from rejection quickly.
Example: “To stay positive, I don’t take rejection personally and focus on the next opportunity in my pipeline. I consider every ‘no’ a learning opportunity.”
Entry-level SDR Interview Questions
These questions evaluate your understanding of sales strategy and assess your foundational skills.
What Is a Sales Development Representative (SDR)?
SDRs focus on top-of-funnel activities. Emphasize that you understand your deliverables—namely, to drive high-quality leads into the sales pipeline.
Example: “Sales development representatives (SDRs) generate new business opportunities through prospecting, outreach, and lead qualification. They identify prospects, cultivate relationships with high-value leads, and schedule discovery meetings for sales reps.”
What Does a Sales Development Representative Do?
Outline the day-to-day responsibilities of an SDR. Show interviewers that you understand how you’ll generate value for their organization in your daily activities.
Example: “Sales development representatives identify prospects and formulate personalized outreach strategies. When reaching out to a prospect via cold calling, email, or video prospecting, SDRs communicate how their solution will advance the prospect’s business goals. SDRs build trust with high-value leads to draw them into the sales funnel.”
How Did You Apply for This Role, and Why?
This question evaluates your mindset and attitude. Emphasize the opportunities the position presents, and explain how your previous experience has prepared you for this new role.
Example: “My previous role in retail taught me so much about the sales process. Now I’m ready for a more fast-paced professional environment that aligns with my growth mindset. I’m looking for a role where I can make an impact by connecting clients with solutions that generate real value.”
What Do You Look for When Evaluating a Prospect?
This question evaluates your prospecting skills. List the criteria that indicate a prospect could genuinely derive value from your solution and become a long-term business relationship.
Example: “I ask open-ended sales qualification questions to determine whether a prospect could become a high-quality lead. I’m looking for accessible prospects who are aware of their pain points, have the authority to make or influence purchases, and have a need our product can meet. They should also have a budget that could accommodate a purchase, motivation to buy quickly, and trust in the brand.”
What Common Objections Have You Encountered?
This question assesses your objection-handling skills. Your response should explain how you address objections in a way that moves the sales conversation forward.
Example: “I’ve encountered typical objections around budget, product fit, trust, need, or urgency. I use active listening and situational awareness to understand the circumstances that created the objection. I affirm the concern, explore the root of the problem with the prospect, and work together to identify potential solutions.”
What Is Your Sales Process?
This question evaluates your domain knowledge, as well as your ability to quickly and clearly communicate a complicated process. Focus on the three main stages of the sales development cycle.
Example: “My sales process involves identifying prospects, engaging them, and qualifying leads into real sales opportunities.”
Pitch Our Product to Me in Two Minutes.
This question tests your ability to sell. Frame your pitch as a value proposition that addresses relevant pain points. Use metrics and social proof to communicate how the product solves business problems in a way that competing products do not.
Example: “Your website, APIs, and applications are key business channels, and a security breach could inflict significant financial damage and erode customer trust. The current configuration of your infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to DDoS attacks—but our cloud-based cyber security solution blocks DDoS attacks of any size and kind with the help of 250+ data centers across the globe. That’s five times more data centers than our key competitors.”
What Do You Love Most About Our Product?
Interviewers want to gauge your familiarity with the product and the company as a whole. Your response should convey why you want to work with this specific organization.
“I am passionate about consumer rights, and I believe that technologies designed to support privacy are very important. Unlike many popular video conferencing tools, your product offers end-to-end encryption—which I feel addresses a vital need in the market.”
Is There Anything You Would Improve About Our Product?
This question tests your ability to articulate customer pain points that could translate into opportunities for improvement.
Example: “Your work management platform helps sales teams organize and track customer interactions. However, I’ve noticed in customer reviews that users wish they could easily convert received emails into tasks on the platform. By synchronizing your platform with Gmail or Outlook, users could convert emails into tasks with just one click.”
What Motivates Your Sales?
Interviewers know that money is a common motivator in sales. Instead of focusing solely on compensation, use your response to highlight your intrinsic qualities that translate to success in sales.
Example: “I’m a highly goal-oriented individual. I’m motivated to work in sales because I thrive in professional environments that push me to achieve quantifiable objectives.”
Share Your Best and Worst Sales Experiences. What Did You Take Away From These Experiences?
This question evaluates your self-awareness, resilience, and adaptability. Identify how your actions affected the outcome of each experience, and point out how your results shaped your approach to sales moving forward.
Example: “My best sales experience was when I was able to set up a discovery meeting with a high-value prospect on my first reach out. The prospect was highly receptive to my pitch because I had meticulously researched their company’s database management strategies and was able to show them how our solution could streamline their operations. As a result, I prioritize detailed research when reaching out to prospects that represent large opportunities.”
How Do You Keep Up With Sales Trends?
Market research helps SDRs understand prospects’ needs. Mention trade publications, podcasts, newsletters, and other resources you use to keep up with industry trends. You can also offer a relevant piece of information that you learned recently.
Example: “As a sales development rep specializing in AI-powered financial solutions, I keep up with the shifting landscape of AI and machine learning through publications like VentureBeat. Recently, I learned that researchers from the University of Tsukuba are developing reinforcement-learning based portfolio management systems with modular designs, which will allow users to apply these systems to multiple portfolios at once.”
How Do You Qualify Leads?
This question evaluates your ability to identify high-value leads. Discuss criteria for qualified leads and lead qualification strategies.
Example: “I assess leads according to demographic qualifiers like company size, industry, and authority or ability to influence purchasing. I also consider behavioral qualifiers like urgency, pain points, and willingness to talk. I evaluate leads with open-ended questions about their role, pain points, and business goals. Additionally, I use lead scoring systems that attach point values to sales funnel-related actions.”
What Do You Love the Most About Sales?
Use your response to demonstrate how your unique qualities align with the characteristics of a successful sales development representative. Emphasize your optimism, coachability, or problem-solving abilities.
Example: “Solving problems is my favorite part of sales. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how our product can alleviate a prospect’s pain points and generate value for their business.”
Senior-Level SDR Interview Questions
Senior-level SDR interview questions evaluate whether you have more advanced sales development skills.
How Do You Handle a Difficult Prospect?
This question assesses your ability to use empathy and active listening to move a sale forward, even in the face of complex objections. Break down your process step by step.
Example: “I listen attentively to the prospect’s objection and request to discuss their concerns further. I then isolate their core objection and provide a concise value proposition to address the issue. I ask how they feel about the solution and facilitate dialogue with open-ended questions until they are satisfied with the solution.”
What Do You Do if a Prospect Says No?
When a prospect rejects your pitch, try to figure out why, and focus on how you can help.
Example: “If a prospect says ‘no thanks,’ I follow up with open-ended questions about their response to uncover the root of the issue. A question like ‘If money was no object, would you be willing to start with our product today?’ can reveal a prospect’s fundamental concerns about a product.”
Pretend I’m a Prospect. How Would You Leave Me a Voicemail?
Interviewers want to see how you convert an obstacle into an opportunity. Your voicemail script should lead with information that’s relevant to the prospect, offer value, and set expectations for the next touchpoint.
Example: “Hello [interviewer’s name]. Federal regulations require your financial services company to secure highly sensitive information. But are you sure that your third-party services are in compliance too? Our vendor risk management platform will reveal any third-party services at a heightened risk of cyberattack due to unpatched vulnerabilities. My name is [your name]. You can reach me at [your number] to discuss how our platform can help you prevent costly data breaches.”
I Would Like To Change A, B, and C About Your Voicemail. Could You Try Again?
Coachability is an important quality for SDRs. Showcase your ability to take direction and incorporate feedback.
Tip: Take a few moments to consider how your script will shift based on the interviewer’s feedback. Don’t feel pressured to start over immediately. Thoughtfulness is always a plus.
What Is the Most Difficult Decision You Have Ever Made?
This question judges how you manage adversity, particularly when something you care about is at stake. Pick a story that demonstrates resilience.
Example: “The most difficult decision I’ve ever made was to move away from my home state for a new job. I am close with my local community and did not want to leave my support system, but I pushed myself to move because the job was an incredible career growth opportunity. Now, I’m getting involved with my community in my new home.”
What Do You Think Is the Hardest Part of Sales?
Focus your response on an element of the job that requires tenacity or extra effort. Stay positive and use your response to emphasize your work ethic.
Example: “Consistent and efficient follow-ups require extra effort. No matter how much I have on my plate, I carve out an hour every day to deliver personalized follow-ups that move prospects into the sales funnel.”
What Do You Do if You or Your Team Member Is Not Meeting the Sales Target?
This question measures your ability to make strategic adjustments. Walk the interviewer through your pivot process.
Example: “First, I would analyze KPIs to assess when and where the issue began, and to identify why the sales target was missed. Next, I would re-evaluate a successful sale and use those insights to adjust the tactics in my current sales plan. I would then break down my sales goals into actionable steps while re-engaging with former prospects to quickly generate new business opportunities.”
How Do You Work on Tight Deadlines?
Successful SDRs have strong organizational skills. Your response should illustrate your ability to prioritize tasks and utilize key sales tools.
Example: “When I’m on a tight deadline, I use the Effort=Opportunity formula to economize my time. For each task, I quickly evaluate the ROI to prioritize the biggest opportunities.”
How Do You Prepare Before Reaching Out to a Prospect?
Interviewers want to see how you formulate a personal outreach strategy. Discuss the preparatory research you conduct as well as the tools you use in the process.
Example: “I use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to learn about a prospect’s work history, position, business goals, industry, and competition. I identify pain points my solution could address more effectively than competitor products. I also use social networks to identify personal commonalities between us that could serve as conversation-starters.”
What Do You Do To Engage a Prospect?
This question is designed to test your sales skills. Emphasize the importance of active listening and open-ended questions.
Example: “Active listening helps me understand a prospect’s needs and makes the prospect feel heard. When it’s my turn to speak, I ask open-ended questions that encourage prospects to share information about their business objectives and concerns.”
What Have You Learned Recently?
Curiosity is valuable in sales development. SDRs need to keep up with emerging industry trends to facilitate insightful conversions with prospects. Use your response to demonstrate a knack for keeping your finger on the pulse.
Example: “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates $100 million to construction technology over the next five years. Data collected from construction job sites can be used to boost performance and plan future projects. As a result, I predict demand for our data analytics solution will rise in the construction sector.”
How Did You Prepare for This Interview?
Your answer will reveal how you plan ahead of a sales call. Research the company as thoroughly as you would a high-value prospect.
Example: “I reviewed industry news and your promotional materials to learn about your products, values, and industry position. I also gathered market intelligence to assess your competition and identify your target audience.”
How Do You Handle Setbacks?
Offer a concrete example of how you turn setbacks into opportunities. Choose a setback created by an external factor to show yourself in the best possible light.
Example: “I always look for ways to convert setbacks into opportunities. If a prospect stands me up for a scheduled meeting, I don’t panic. Social convention obligates them to agree to another meeting and actually show up. I follow up politely and use their sense of obligation to schedule a new appointment.”
How Do You Motivate Your Team?
Senior-level SDRs may progress into team management roles. Successful team leaders focus on goal setting, creating purpose, building trust, and creating a culture of recognition.
Example: “To motivate my team, I set goals for each individual team member. When someone hits their goal, we go out to dinner. People really enjoy it when we celebrate their successes. Goal setting and recognition motivates my team members to work harder and work together.”
What Kind of Language Do You Think Would Resonate With Our Target Customers?
This question evaluates your understanding of the company’s target audience. Use language that speaks to unique customer goals and concerns.
Example: “Our product targets fintech startups that need comprehensive data security solutions. Effective outreach strategies will use language that emphasizes growth, risk analysis, and user experience. These are key concerns of fintech startups and arenas in which our product will add value.”
How Would You Talk About Our Competitors?
When qualifying leads, you’ll need to respectfully explain what sets your product apart from the competition. Keep your answer measured and objective.
Example: “While competitors offer similar solutions, their products offer fewer customizable features than ours, and do so at a higher price point.”
How Do You Tackle Failure in the Workplace?
This question assesses your ability to correct course and own your mistakes. Emphasize the strategies you use to get back on track.
Example: “Every failure is an opportunity for improvement. To better my performance, I look for the root cause of the issue and identify where I went wrong. Then I consider my past successes to strategize a more effective plan for the future.”
How Do You Handle Professional Conflict?
Conflict resolution utilizes key sales skills. Explain how the qualities that make you an effective SDR also make you a diplomatic teammate.
Example: “I handle professional conflict in the same way that I handle sales objections—with empathy, flexibility, active listening, and a solution-oriented mindset.”
Tell Me About Your Current Team.
Interviewers want to know if you’re a team player. Discuss the structure of your current team and explain how you support your teammates.
Example: “I work on a team with five other sales development reps under a sales development manager. I’ve been on the team the longest, so I helped onboard our most recent new hire. I also facilitate a ritual at our weekly meetings where each person acknowledges a teammate’s success from the previous week.”
Why Do You Want To Work With This Company?
Hiring managers want to know why you’re a good fit for this specific organization. Demonstrate how your goals and values align with company culture.
Example: “I care about using technology to advance social equity. I believe that your company’s mission to mitigate bias in production machine learning systems that analyze credit risk has real social value. I am passionate about the impact of your product on marginalized borrowers and insurance buyers.”
Where Do You See Yourself in the Next 5 Years?
Interviewers want to hire SDRs who will stick around. Illustrate how the role and opportunities for growth within the company dovetail with your long-term plan.
Example: “In five years, I want to be an industry expert who teammates turn to for guidance. I’d like to take on a leadership role and mentor new hires. I’m excited to advance the company’s goals while building experience.”
How Do You Stay Organized?
Highly organized SDRs are more likely to hit their targets. Break down your process and discuss the tools you use to manage your workflow.
Example: “I start each week with specific goals and a clear plan of action. At the end of the week, I review my performance and adjust my goals for next week. To stay organized, I use CRM software, a project management platform, and a calendar tool.”
How To Prepare for an SDR Interview
Wondering how to prepare for your SDR interview? Follow these key steps:
- Research the company. Familiarize yourself with the organization’s products, competitors, target customer base, and market position.
- Reflect on why you’re a good fit. Evaluate how your skills and passions align with the organization’s mission and business goals.
- Practice the STAR response method. STAR stands for situation, task, action, result. Use this framework to respond to competency-focused questions like “tell me about your best/worst sales experience.”
- Brush up on hard skills. Practice leaving voicemails and delivering impromptu pitches. Review lead qualification and objection-handling techniques.
Since you’re here…
Curious about a career in tech sales? Learn more with our tech sales career guide, or dive right in with our Tech Sales Bootcamp. We’ll help you switch careers in a matter of months, or your tuition money back. See our student success stories for inspiration – people are changing careers with us every day!