Business-to-business sales representatives (B2B sales representative) form a valuable part of your company’s sales team. Business success depends on pursuing sales in every form.

Consider the job responsibilities of a B2B sales representative and what qualities you should look for in a new sales rep.

Then look at the best way to train B2B sales reps.

What is a B2B Sales Representative?

When we mention sales development representatives, you can picture the standard business-to-consumer sales rep.

This salesperson is focused on prospecting for new potential customers through cold calls and then pitching products to potential buyers.

A B2B sales representative still exhibits sales skills but is directed to different target customers. Their goal is to connect with corporate decision-makers.

A B2B sales representative may nurture business development through email, video conferencing, and pursuing warm leads.

b2b sales job

Why are Business-to-Business Sales Important?

Without sales representatives focused on business-to-business sales, an entire subsection of the potential market might be underserved.

There are some differences between a B2B sales representative and a more standard B2C sales rep. B2B sales are more complex in that the sales process often involves:

  • a longer sales cycle with business clients
  • cultivating interest with multiple decision-makers
  • selling higher-value products, services, and solutions

Why are B2B sales so much more complex? Selling to companies may require navigating teams – finance, technology, administration – with different concerns and requirements.

Finding the perfect fit requires excellent customer service from sales representatives.

The best B2B sales reps will use excellent communication skills to identify all the separate criteria and develop solutions that match each employee’s ideal standard.

Of course, creating such a package will require relationship building and a full understanding of every stakeholder’s position.

Keys to Hiring a Good B2B Sales Representative

Hiring the right B2B sales representatives is key to a healthy sales team. Bad hires can drain morale and lower team effectiveness.

Sales managers should take the time to pinpoint the soft skills and additional requirements they will pay attention to during the hiring process.

Some positions may require a college degree or technical skills. No matter the industry, interpersonal skills will be a must.

The average B2B sales representative will contact multiple touchpoints in target companies.

Of course, that means that B2B sales representatives are in a prime location to nudge your selling efforts toward success or failure. So, spend time hiring the right sales reps.

Some sales organizations look to third-party hiring services to get help finding the best sales professionals in the industry.

Valuable Traits of Successful B2B Sales Representatives

The job of a B2B sales representative can be a difficult one. Look at some of the qualities you should be looking for when hiring sales reps for corporate territory management.

Empathy and Relatability

Emotional intelligence is one of the best soft skills that a B2B sales representative can possess. It is the job of every B2B sales rep to address the needs, concerns, and goals of prospects.

Developing relationships and understanding where customers come from will give them a natural advantage.

For example, a good B2B sales representative is willing to admit when their products or services aren’t a right fit for the customer.

But they will work to identify all of their prospects’ requirements so they can help them find other resources or solutions.

Active Listening

We’ve all spoken to someone too busy formulating their next thought to listen to what we say. Sales reps must make active listening to a career priority skill.

The best B2B sales representative will actively listen to prospects. Afterward, they can create a sales pitch that meets the client’s needs.

This leads to more meaningful relationships because the prospective customer feels heard and understood.

Motivated Persistence

B2B sales reps, just like every other salesperson, will hear “no” a lot. A key goal in the sales industry should be to maintain motivation even in the face of rejection.

The path toward high motivation in a sales career involves not taking the rejection personally and finding ways to get feedback, so the next sales call has a better chance at success.

Time Management

Sales jobs require a balance of all necessary duties. No one thing can be out of sync or the entire sales pipeline could crumble.

A B2B sales representative should make it their job to create defined times for research, cold calling, discovery, and product demonstrations.

Regularly changing the focus helps combat fatigue in a sales career and avoid stagnation.

Sales managers will also want to monitor individual team members and have systems and resources in place to relieve the stress associated with demanding sales jobs.

Research Ability

B2B sales representatives must have good research skills. Their analytical skills will serve them well as they gather data on a business and the stakeholders they will contact.

Other factors that a B2B sales representative can investigate are the issues facing industry businesses and budgetary timelines.

This will allow them to contact potential buyers at the right time and with the best solutions.

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is a job in itself; it isn’t simply the ability to haggle over a price or make the other party accept their view.

Often, negotiation involves finding an acceptable middle ground that works for everyone. Having a rapport with the customer is vital to the negotiation process and the goal of a higher win rate.

Of course, it’s to the personal benefit of sales reps to improve this skill so they can use it to negotiate their competitive compensation.

Technical Skills

While sales reps don’t need to be technical experts, they should be able to answer basic technical questions about their product or service.

A buyer will likely have little interest in buying from someone they view as untrustworthy about the specs or abilities of their products.

In some sales jobs, this might mean more technical training in a specific field is desirable. Count on a higher salary expectation from B2B sales representatives if this is true.

However, skills like social media expertise may be viewed as just part of sales jobs and won’t garner an increased average salary.


Relationship-building should come naturally for sales representatives, including the ability to network.

Networking may extend to customer organizations and other sales businesses that provide helpful prospect acquisition.


Sales representatives should always be honest. If they provide false or incomplete information, there is a greater risk of reputation damage and failed sales.

It is always best practice to be upfront with potential buyers, which may mean acknowledging that they don’t have the answers and will need further research on product capabilities.

And it might mean that a service or product isn’t right for that particular corporate buyer.

b2b sales process 2

The B2B Sales Process

What can a B2B sales representative expect from their daily job besides the standard sales meetings and working toward annual sales goals?

A B2B sales representative maintains a specific and focused process akin to that of account executives. This cycle runs from end to end and positions them in full-service sales roles for a client company.

Consider the steps in the sale funnel that the average B2B sales rep can expect to follow.


B2B sales representatives must begin their marketing efforts with knowledge acquisition.

Sales reps must determine who in a company makes the decisions and what will be the most effective way to reach them.

This may require using resources like social media, company websites, news and review sites, etc.

Finding Prospects

The primary goal of the second phase of the sales cycle is to find new leads, often through cold calls or email outreach.

B2B sales representatives use their skills to understand prospective clients’ readiness to purchase products and services.


The discovery stage is a needs assessment. B2B sales representatives hope to gain knowledge of the issues and goals that the prospects are facing.

This helps the sales reps develop successful selling strategies tailored to the needs of the new business lead.

Sales Pitch and Demo

A B2B sales representative that has reached this stage of the sales process is in a position to advance clients’ progress to customers.

It is common for prospect companies to raise objections that could derail the selling process.

Sales representatives can often overcome these objections with good preparation.

One tool is a live demonstration. Some products and services provide more of an impact when they can be seen and experienced.


The sales funnel can be a long process. B2B sales representatives might need to negotiate with company representatives before closing the deal.

Every aspect of the project – pricing, features, terms, and the implementation process – need to be discussed and recorded in the final agreement.


Conversion is the crucial last step in the B2B sales process. A sales organization needs to provide a pleasant onboarding experience for leads that eventually become customers.

This can mean the difference between repeat business, good reviews, or unsatisfied customers.


B2B sales representatives have big shoes to fill. They will often be the main contact for your team’s business-to-business sales.

Make sure to take time to:

  • understand the value that B2B sales representatives bring to a sales team
  • hire the right salespeople for B2B sales roles in your organization
  • encourage the valuable traits and skills that sales reps need

You can expect greater success in your B2B sales when you meet these challenges effectively.