Companies use this fancy job title to attract job seekers to different vacancies.

One is a simple job of a Sales Manager, or Sales Representative, responsible for a certain area or region. Territory Sales Manager (TSM) definitely sounds better than Salesman, or Sales Representative, and will attract more clicks on any job board.

However, you will simply sell products or services, and won’t lead a team of people in your work. You’ll be just a regular salesman (nothing wrong with that in my book).

A different situation is when a company looks for someone to lead (or hire and train) a team of sales representatives, responsible for generating business (making sales) in a particular area. They will use the same job title, but offer a better job, and typically also a better compensation for a successful applicant.

In this article, we will firstly look at some interview questions you can face in both scenarios. Then we will analyze some other questions specific for the jobs when your primary task won’t be selling, but leading a team of sales representative. Enjoy!


Why did you apply for a job of a territory sales manager?

Because you enjoy selling, because sky is the limit for a an excellent salesman. Or becasue you prefer to be your own boss, plan your daily schedule, you enjoy spending time with existing customers, as well as approaching new business leads.

Leading a team in your new job (if that’s the case), you can benefit from your excellent communication and leadership skills, and your vast experience in sales.

You may also say that you like their product or service, see the potential it has on the market, and believe that this is an excellent opportunity for someone with your skill set. You plan to sell a lot, and make a lot of money along the way–for both you and your employer.


How do you imagine a typical day in work?

As I already explained in the first section of this article, this job title can symbolize different things and roles. Therefor it is crucial to read their job description carefully, and also check their website, trying to understand what exactly is expected from you in work, and how your day will look like.

In any case, you should show proactive approach to work. You will likely spend quite a lot of time on the phone, or even on the road. Customers will rarely make the first move. You are the one to take initiative, to approach them, build excellent relationships, and get the most of them for your employer–in terms of product sales.

* May also interest you: Account executive interview questions.

A confident salesman drinks coffee

What motivates you the most in this kind of work?

For almost all job openings (in any field of economy), money is a bad answer. But sales are different. Salesmen often have to step out of their comfort zone, travel long distances, endure long series of rejections, or even months when they earn little, waiting for a big paycheck when they’d finally close the big deal.

This is a tough profession. If one couldn’t earn in it more than in almost any other job, nobody would opt for career in sales. And therefor, money is a good answer. Because you will earn well if you sell a lot, and if you sell a lot your employer will be happy.

Sky is the limit and you’d love to fly all the way to the clouds. You want to enjoy abundance, and an expensive lifestyle. If you manage to do a good job as a territory sales manager, you will certainly achieve your goals outside of work.

Another alternative is describing your passion for the entire process of selling. You enjoy finding the right tune to play in every business meeting, you love to play your little games with the customers, while trying to persuade them to hand you their money. Of course, with good intentions, since the product you try to sell them will really help them in their life, or in their business (if it didn’t help them, your career in sales would be very short).


Imagine that you should hire five sales reps, and create a new team you will lead in this job. How will you proceed?

This is an incredibly difficult task, and your interviewers are aware of it. Nevertheless, you can try to come up with some standard, and some out of the box strategies, to find new salesmen for the team.

A typical way is choosing some fancy job title (perhaps account executive), putting together some creative job description, and then advertise the job on the right places (specialized job boards, local newspapers, social media campaigns, etc). Needless to say, you will find it hard to attract good candidates, unless you can offer some excellent employee benefits or other advantages.

To more unorthodox strategies belong:

  • Searching in your existing network of contacts (from your past jobs in sales or whatever), and using the power of your personality to convince the best salesmen from your phone book to join the team.
  • Headhunting, approaching the best sales reps working for your competitors, and talking them into joining your team (perhaps offering a better commission from each sale, or other advantages).


How important is brand building for you and how would you build our brand in your assigned territory?

Another question without an obvious answer. For some businesses, brand building is the single most important marketing/sales strategy, at least in long run.

Other companies, however, rely more on personal connections, and brand has a little importance for their sales or successes.  Think for a minute about your prospective employer, and what role brand building plays in their success story.

If it plays a significant role, you should ensure them that you’d try your best to strengthen their brand in your sales territory. Participating in business fairs, sponsoring small local events, and running a strong  social media campaign with a clear strategy and brand image, are just some of the ideas.

If brand isn’t important in the given field, however, you can say that business is about relationships, and that your personal brand (as someone who honestly wants to help their customers, someone it is a pleasure to meet and talk to), is the most important thing, the brand you want to build.

* May also interest you: Why do you want to work in sales? 7 sample answers.

man leading a sales training

Sales are down for a given quarter, and your team members struggle with motivation. The atmosphere is terrible, and you likely will miss your targets completely. What will you do?

In reality, you will likely resign. Maybe the product isn’t good enough, or you just happen to work in a bad region at a bad time. Things simply won’t click, regardless of what you do. Or the entire industry is struggling, and sales are down all across the board. Time to say good bye and search a new job in sales, where greener grass grows.

Needless to say, you can’t come up with such an answer in your interview. You can’t give up easily. Say that you will have a one on one with each employee. You will try to understand why they are struggling. You will do role play with them, break the sales process down to the smallest parts, and identify areas for improvements.

Or you will design entirely new sales strategies, and apply different approach in your meetings. You may also send everyone home, and start recruiting a new team of better salesmen…

As you can see, there are many options. However, in many situations and market conditions, none of them will work. But that’s not something you should say in an interview. Try to convince the hiring managers that you will try your best, and eventually turn the tide, and reach your sales targets.


Other questions you may get in your territory sales manager interview

  • How would you deal with a long series of rejections?
  • Try to sell me your mobile phone (or any other object in the room).
  • How would you define your leadership style?
  • You probably know something about our products by now. What would you define as our USP?
  • Do you prefer to get a fixed monthly salary, or earn according to the sales volume you achieve in your territory each month?
  • How do you feel about making cold calls? Do you have any experience with selling on the phone?
  • If we hire you for this job, what will be the first thing you do?
  • What is your knowledge of our industry and our product range?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants for this job?

Special Tip: You can also download all questions in one page long .PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

interview questions for territory sales manager, PDF

Conclusion and next steps

Interview for a job of a Territory Sales Manager belongs to interviews with average difficulty. Depending on the salary offer and popularity of the employer, you may compete with thirty other job candidates, and you may be the only one.

You will typically face some tricky situational questions, and a role play (sell me this pen, mobile phone, loan, anything) can be considered the most difficult part of this interview.

Be sure that you bring some positive energy to the room, and show a lot of confidence in both your sales and leadership skills. Unless you believe that you can put a dent to the universe, your interviewers won’t believe it…

Continue your interview preparation with us:

Matthew Chulaw
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