The Complete IBM Summit Digital Sales Interview Guide

a year ago   •   4 min read

By Bravado Staff

Bravado shares the IBM Summit Digital Sales interview questions, interview process, and interview tips to help you ace the interview.

Interview Basics

What is the IBM Summit - Digital Sales program?

The Summit Program is IBM’s entry level sales program. IBM hires interns, new college grads, and other professionals with 0-2 years experience for this program. There are about 300 new IBM Summiters per year.

You’ll get 6 months of dedicated sales training and networking opportunities at IBM, all while being paid a fully prorated salary. The next 6 months you will be on a ‘protected’ quota while you ramp up on your new team (you will be paid your full salary regardless of whether you hit your quota). After that, you will be in a true sales role as a digital solution sales representative.

How many years of experience do you need for this role?

If you are applying for the intern position, ideally you want to have at least one prior internship.

If you are applying for the new grad position, ideally you want to have at least one prior sales internship.

If you’ve already graduated and are currently working full-time, ideally you want your prior work experience (0-2 years) to be in B2B sales.

Which locations does IBM hire for this role?

Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Markham, Canada.

How do I get an Interview for this role?

The best way to get an interview for this role is on campus recruitment. IBM recruits at several campuses in the US and Canada. Attend a career fair or IBM sponsored on-campus event. Make sure to connect with the IBM Summit Program Manager both before and after the on-campus event to get on their radar and into the interview process.

Can you choose what account size, product, and vertical you will sell into?

No. You are assigned a sales team after you start based on your background. For example, if you’ve worked in finance, they’ll put you in the financial services vertical.

Interview Process

What is the Interview Process like?

The typical interview process will involve 2 phone interviews, an aptitude test, 2 on-site interviews, and a stand and deliver. The typical interview process looks like this:

  1. Recruiter Phone Interview
  2. Online Aptitude Test
  3. Summit Program Manager Phone Interview
  4. First On-site Interview with VP
  5. Second On-site Interview with another VP
  6. Stand and Deliver with both VP’s and Summit Program Manager

How long was the interview process?

From initial recruiter call to receiving an offer generally takes four to six weeks.

Interview Questions

What are the most common interview questions?

The interview questions will be behavioral.

  • Why Sales
  • Why IBM
  • Why are you interested in the Summit Program
  • Walk me through your resume
  • How does your involvement in X activity translate to sales
  • What areas of the IBM product suite are you most interested in
  • What are the 3 most important traits in a salesperson
  • What are the 3 most important traits in a leader

Several STAR Questions

  • Tell me about a time you overcame failure
  • Tell me about a time you were a leader
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a manager
  • Tell me about a time you had to compromise with a teammate


About a week before the on-site interview, you will be given a 2 page case study and a prompt for the 60 second ‘stand-and-deliver’. The prompt might ask to make a pitch on how IBM Watson can help a business or how can IBM Cloud help a business. On the day of the on-site interview, you’ll give your pitch to two VPs and the summit program manager.

Interview Preparation

What are your recommendations to prepare and succeed?

  • Prepare 6-8 well-developed STAR stories
  • The Why Sales and Why IBM questions are the most important questions in your interviews. Your answers to these questions should be emotional, not logical.
    For example, for the Why Sales question, your answer should be about how you discovered sales was your passion and how its impacted your life positively.
    For the Why IBM question, they are looking for answers that, for example, might be “I saw on the news that IBM is doing Cancer Research with Watson for oncology. I want to align myself with a company that has gotten it right ethically whereas in today’s environment you see Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the other tech giants on the news for violations of antitrust laws. IBM is a technology company that strives to utilize their technology for the greater good”, etc (not perfect, but this is the theme you should tailor your answers to).
  • Every interaction you have with an IBM employee, whether formal or informal, is an evaluation, so make sure to remain sharp and be professional at all times. They are consistently evaluating whether they can put you in front of a client.

What happens after you get the offer?

After you get the offer, you will receive a call from the recruiter to discuss team fit, promotion opportunities, and compensation. You will be able to give your preference for account size and type (account spend). You can negotiate your base salary, variable comp (commission), signing bonus, and stock grant.


What is the IBM Summit Program salary?

Summit interns earn $20-25 per hour.

Your first year salary in the full time Summit Program will be $74,000. In the New York and California offices, your first year salary will be $85,000. You can negotiate a $5,000 to $10,000 signing bonus if you are relocating cities. You will enter at the Band 6 compensation level.

Note that these salary numbers are based on 2020 data and somewhat negotiable if you have relevant prior experience or competing offers.

Because you aren’t on commission your first year, this pay is fully guaranteed.

For detailed information on IBM compensation, visit our IBM company page.

Spread the word

Keep reading