Software Sales Tips by Matt Wolach

Sales Tips

The Interview Question You MUST Ask Sales Rep Candidates

Are you a software founder who is currently looking to hire a new sales rep? If you are, you need to know the right questions to ask. This week, I discuss an essential question you need to ask to determine whether the candidate is the right fit for your sales team. 

The question I’m talking about is a simple one: “What motivates you?” It might sound like a straightforward inquiry, but its implications go much deeper. This question can reveal a lot about a person and their suitability for a sales role.

I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to ask this question in your sales interview process. Many software sales leaders overlook it, but it can make a world of difference in your hiring decisions. You see, while many individuals are drawn to sales because of the potential for high earnings, not everyone is cut out for the job.

The traditional belief is that there is only one acceptable answer to this question: “money.” Money is often considered the primary motivator for software salespeople, and it’s not entirely incorrect. SaaS sales is indeed a field where monetary rewards can be substantial, and financial motivation is entirely acceptable.

However, in my experience, there’s another answer that works equally well, if not better. For me, money was a motivating factor, but it wasn’t the sole driver. I derived immense satisfaction from closing deals and outperforming the competition. When I won a deal against a rival company, it filled me with an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Competition is a powerful motivator in software sales. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of going head-to-head with another company, neck and neck, and emerging victorious. It’s a rush of excitement and passion that I’ve rarely found elsewhere. Perhaps it’s my background in sports that fuels this competitive drive, but in sales, beating the competition is just as thrilling as winning a game.

So, when I ask the question “What motivates you?” during a sales interview, I’m not only satisfied with the response of “money.” I’m equally thrilled when a candidate mentions “competition” as a motivator. This answer demonstrates their drive to excel, not just for personal gain but to outperform others in the field. It’s a mindset that’s conducive to success in the world of sales.

In conclusion, if you’re in the process of interviewing potential sales reps, remember to ask them, “What motivates you?” The best answers, in my opinion, are “money” and “winning.” If you find candidates who express these motivations and align with your company’s culture, you’re on the right track to building a high-achieving sales team that’s motivated to make things happen. So, keep this question in your interview toolkit and use it to select software salespeople who are not only after the money but are also driven by the thrill of winning.