Questions to Answer Before You Take a Sales Job

Last Updated Jul 15, 2010 2:03 PM EDT

Yesterday's post "Can This Sales Career be Saved?" elicited a useful comment from Sales Machine reader "Ray892244" listing some questions you should know the answers to... before you accept a new sales job.

I've taken that basic list and expanded it a bit, and am hoping that the rest of you readers will add to it, so that we can come up with a truly comprehensive list. Here they are:

COMPENSATION:

  • What is the base pay, commissions and perks?
  • How soon are commissions paid after deals close?
  • Is there a ramp period?
  • How are commissions handled during that ramp-up period?
SALES PROCESS:
  • What is the sales process for this company?
  • How is the sales process documented?
  • What sales process training will be provided, when and from whom?
  • What product knowledge training will I receive, when and from whom?
  • What is the typical sales cycle and how long does it take?
SALES TOOLS:
  • What sales tools will be provided?
  • What marketing materials will be provided?
  • What sales technology is available?
  • Does the company provide computers and/or cell phones?
OPPORTUNITY DEVELOPMENT:
  • How are prospects identified?
  • What percentage of your sales comes from customer referrals?
  • What role does marketing play in lead generation?
  • When a customer is dissatisfied, how is that handled?
MANAGEMENT STYLE:
  • What are your expectations of your sales people?
  • How and when do you communicate with your sales people regarding their performance?
  • What kind of coaching can sales people expect from management?
  • How frequent are sales meetings and what happens at them?
NOTE: you don't ask all these questions like peppershot at your first interview. You space them out among multiple interviews, and learn what you can from the Internet, just like you would when you research a potential customer.

READERS: What other questions should be asked (or answered)? As good ones come in, I'll update this list.