7 June, 2021
By Mike Simpson
As an account manager, you understand the power of standing out from the crowd. If you don’t impress current and prospective clients, you aren’t boosting revenue, so you usually have a plan to make sure you shine. But, when it comes time for a new position, do you also have a strategy for tackling account manager interview questions?
Yes, most account managers are good at thinking on their feet. But that doesn’t mean preparation isn’t important. If you want to put the same level of dedication into your job search, here’s what you need to know about tackling account manager interview questions head-on.
How to Answer Account Manager Interview Questions
Alright, we know that you’re chomping at the bit for the account manager interview questions and example answers, and we promise those are just moments away. The trick is, if you’re going to nail your next meeting with a hiring manager, you need more than that.
What exactly do you need? A great strategy, of course!
By having a reliable approach to interview questions, you can make sure you’re ready for both the expected and the unexpected. After all, hiring managers can ask you anything under the sun, so there is always a chance they are going to toss out a question you didn’t practice.
In most cases, you know you need to be ready for classic job interview questions like, “how do you handle stress?“ and “Why are you a good fit for this job?” But you also need to prep for job-specific ones. In the end, that could include hundreds of potential questions, and you probably don’t have time to rehearse them all.
With the right strategy, you can practice with greater ease as well as get ready for the questions you didn’t anticipate. So, how do you develop that strategy? By starting with a bit of research.
First, you want to take a deep dive into the account manager job description. Learn the ins and out of what the hiring manager is after, including the hard skills and soft skills they are looking for.
Account managers need specific capabilities, including knowledge of certain technical systems, a range of industry best practices, the ability to negotiate effectively, and traits like diligence, attention to detail, leadership, organization, and more. Usually, the hiring manager spells out what they want in the job description, giving you insights into the ones you really want to focus on.
After that, it’s time to get to know the company and its products or services. Head online and check out the company’s website and social media pages. Dig into the mission and values statements to get clues about the company’s culture. Read product and service reviews for more insights about the customer experience.
Once the research is handled, take some time to get to know the Tailoring Method. Why? Because the Tailoring Method teaches you how to take what you’ve learned and work it into your answers, ensuring every response to the account manager interview questions you encounter is incredibly relevant to that hiring manager.
Now, you also want to learn about the STAR Method. If you combine it with the Tailoring Method when you’re answering behavioral interview questions, you can pack a one-two punch. Your answers will be targeted and engaging, which is really what you want.
Top 3 Account Manager Interview Questions
Okay, now that you know how to answer account manager interview questions, it’s time for some examples. Here are the top three account manager interview questions, along with some sample responses.
1. What steps do you take to build great relationships with clients?
As an account manager, it’s all about client relationships. You need to build a rapport, establish trust, and position yourself as a go-to solution to their problems.
With this question, the hiring manager is learning how you go about forging those crucial connections. They want to know you have a strategy – as well as the right mindset – that helps you pull it off.
“In my experience, the foundation of a great client relationship begins with research. By learning more about both my contact and the company, I can discover various pain points that I may be able to help them solve.
Plus, it gives me some viable talking points during my initial conversations with them. I often share a detail about the organization or person that impressed me, allowing me to lead with admiration.
After that, my goal is to focus on them. I want to understand their struggles and the impact those issues have on productivity or profitability. Then, I present our solution in a straightforward fashion, mentioning precisely how it can help them overcome a specific problem they face. This helps me become their ally, leading to a stronger relationship.”
2. If, during a cold call, a prospective customer says they are too busy to talk, what do you do?
In the world of sales, persistence is usually the name of the game. The hiring manager wants to know that you aren’t going to give up. After all, 60 percent of prospects will say “no” four times before they change to a “yes,” and they need to know you’re up for that challenge.
However, the hiring manager also wants to make sure you aren’t too aggressive. Yes, that can be a fine line, but they need to know you’ll walk it.
“When a prospect says they are too busy during a cold call, I start from a place of empathy. I find that acknowledging their position sets a better tone than trying to push through.
After that, I pivot. I’ll say, ‘Before I schedule a callback, let’s take 60 seconds to see if this is something you’d like to learn more about.’ This approach shows them that I’m literally only asking for a moment of their time.”
Then, I ask a related question that highlights the time savings and potential financial benefits the solution provides, as well as inquire if they are the right person to speak with about it. If they answer in a positive way, I focus on scheduling a follow-up call that works with their schedule. In some cases, they make an appointment. In others, they are intrigued enough to continue the conversation.
If they decline to answer the question, I thank them for their time and simply say that I’ll follow up the next morning, marking the callback in my calendar to ensure I reach out again.”
3. If you notice that you’re falling behind your sales targets, what steps do you take to catch up?
With this question, you want to tap on a few points. First, you want to discuss how you track your targets, showcasing your vigilance and dedication to meeting expectations. Second, you want to get actionable, focusing on your strategy for getting back on target if you notice you’re not quite there.
“When it comes to staying on target, I use a proactive approach. First, I regularly monitor my progress. At the start of the month, I sent weekly targets to make sure I hit that number. On Mondays, I also run a check-in report, allowing me to see if I’m meeting or exceeding that target.
If I find that I’m behind, I revamp my weekly targets. After that, I assess the state of current clients and prospects, identifying those with the highest potential. If those don’t pan out, I keep working the list, mixing cold calls in with new prospects regularly to refresh the funnel.
Generally, I find that having a structure to my approach and remaining diligent is enough to ensure I hit my overall targets. By remaining focused and knowing where I stand, I find out about potential issues earlier, ensuring I can take quick action that lets me meet – and, ultimately, exceed – expectations.”
20 More Account Manager Interview Questions
Here are 20 more account manager interview questions you might face off against along the way.
- What traits do you feel are most critical to excelling as an account manager?
- Tell me about a time where you lost a customer. What happened, and what steps did you take to try and fix it?
- Describe your experience with CRM software.
- What’s the most common objection you heard from prospective customers in your last position? How did you address it?
- At what point do you decide that a prospect is no longer worth pursuing?
- If you had a personality conflict with a client, what would you do? What if you had a personality conflict with a prospect?
- What strategies do you use to bring a new client on board?
- Tell me about a time when one of your clients was dissatisfied with the product or service. How did you respond?
- How do you turn a “no” into a “yes?”
- What techniques do you use to upsell new customers? What about existing clients?
- If we contact your past clients, how would they describe you?
- Describe your track record for hitting sales targets.
- How would you describe your customer satisfaction rates?
- Tell me about your most meaningful client interaction. What about it was so special to you?
- If a prospect said they needed to discuss things with their partner before making a decision, what would you do next?
- What steps do you take to remain organized during the workday?
- If you needed to increase revenue by 10 percent in a month, where would you look for new opportunities?
- Before reaching out to a new prospect, what information do you try to gather?
- How would you describe your last client portfolio?
- How do you prepare yourself to handle rejection?
5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of an Account Manager Interview
Near the end of your meeting with the hiring manager, you typically get a big opportunity. The hiring manager will usually ask if you have any questions for them, and having a few ready is a must.
If you don’t ask any questions, you may seem disinterested in the position. On the other side, thoughtful questions show that you’re curious about the role and interested in learning more, making you appear like a more engaged candidate.
While coming up with questions on the fly is an option, it’s also smart to have a few at the ready. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are five good questions to ask at the end of an account manager interview.
- Does the company use a cooperative approach to account management or an independent one?
- What is the biggest challenge that the account management team faces? How could this position help solve it?
- How are leads sources and qualified?
- Does the company put greater emphasis on existing client relationships or on securing new customers?
- Are revenue targets assigned at the individual level or the team level?
Putting It All Together
In many ways, account managers have an advantage when interviewing. They are used to speaking with other people in high-pressure situations. But now that you’ve reviewed all of the information above, you’re even more ready for the account manager interview questions. Use every tip to your advantage. That way, you’re chances of standing out are as high as possible.