B2C vs. B2B Sales Recruiting: Establishing the Differences

8 November 2021

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What do you consider most important when recruiting sales professionals for your business? A common mistake that most hiring managers make is overlooking the type of market candidates have had knowledge and experience in previously. Anyone would be quick to assume that a successful sales career in big-name brands is all that matters. However, B2C sales and B2B sales differ significantly in terms of the tactics and strategies used to make a sale.

This is to say that the skills needed to succeed as a sales professional in each area differ as well. When hiring, it is paramount to keep in mind whether you are hiring for B2B or B2C markets if your sales professionals are to be successful. Moreover, understanding the differences between B2B and B2C sales and the skills required can give you valuable insights on what to look for in candidates.

Difference between B2C sales and B2B sales

 Here are some of the differences between these two types of sales.

  • Purchase decision: In B2C sales, the purchase decision lies on one buyer, which is mostly emotionally driven. In B2B sales, multiple buyers and stakeholders make the purchase decision. Moreover, the decision made is data-driven and things such as return on investment and the benefits of the product to the company are considered.
  • Product value and complexity: Business selling to businesses involves selling products that are more complex and of higher value. Examples include hospital machinery and software. On the other hand, most products sold to individual customers are less complex and of lower value. They are generally products focused on making everyday life easier.
  • Customer base: B2C sales have a larger customer base. This is mostly because customers don't necessarily need a reason to buy. An individual can make a purchase to keep up with the trends, or because a product is appealing or is affordable. B2B sales involve a smaller customer base as businesses can only sell to businesses that need the product.
  • Sales drivers: In B2C sales, E-commerce and digital marketing play a vital role in driving sales. B2B sales largely depend on referrals and partnerships to drive new business.
  • Sales cycle: The sales cycle for B2C sales is shorter as compared to B2B sales that can take months or years to close a sales deal.

The difference in skills required

The above differences in sales characteristics call for different skills in executing a sale in either B2C or B2B areas. Here are some of the unique skills required in each area.

B2B sales:

  • The complexity of the products sold requires deeper product knowledge.
  • Negotiating with a panel of stakeholders requires top-notch communication skills. Salespeople also need excellent sales skills such as business case analysis.
  • Owing to the fact that the sales cycle is longer, customer relationships are vital. Sales professionals need to have the ability to connect and develop strong relationships with business stakeholders. They also need to be able to manage opportunities over longer periods of time.
  • As products involved are of larger value, the professionals need to have the ability to handle transactions of a larger value.
  • Selling to businesses sometimes calls for more than one salesperson to execute the presentation. Thus, sales professionals need to be team players.

B2C sales:

  • Negotiations aren't necessary. The ability to ask probing questions is enough. Moreover, excellent people skills are necessary.
  • As products are less complex, basic product knowledge can drive a sale
  • B2C sales involve handling a large volume of customers. The sales personnel need to have the ability to handle a large number of customer interactions.
  • Sales happen on customer availability. This means that the sales professional needs to be available even on weekends and evenings.

Common skills in both B2C and B2B sales

While the skills required for both areas differ, there are skills that any sales professional requires regardless of the area they work in. Here are some of the skills you should look for whether recruiting for B2B or B2C.

  • Excellent customer service knowledge
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • Market knowledge
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Honesty
  • Persistence
  • Patience

How to recruit

Sales professionals play a vital role in the profitability of any business. This is why you have to be very keen to hire the right people for every sales area. You can't assume that someone who is used to closing big sales deals in a week or month would be able to handle selling a simple product to individuals. It is paramount that you employ candidate assessment techniques unique to each sales area.

From the points above, it is clear that B2B sales professionals need to have a higher level of training. Consequently, they demand a higher compensation as compared to B2C sales professionals. Such candidates are most likely in secure jobs and aren't actively looking for work. For this reason, you need to be creative in finding these candidates. Distribute job ads widely to expand the chances of these professionals seeing your post. It is also very important to work on your employer brand for candidates to view you as an ideal employer. In addition, you need to be competitive by offering better compensation and benefits.

If you decide on hiring professionals that want to transition from B2C sales to B2B, you need to first establish that they are willing to put in the work. At the very least, they should be able to learn quickly about the product and other skills such as building customer relationships and negotiation skills among others required.

Outsourcing the recruitment process

Sometimes hiring for either B2C or B2B sales can be daunting. Moreover, a single bad hire in either area can be costly for the business's profits. If you are unsure of what to look for, it is best to outsource the hiring to experts. You can use the services of an employer of record to hire individuals for B2B or B2C sales. Such experts have been in the business of hiring for a long time, so they know what to look for in candidates.


When hiring sales professionals, the area of sales where they have had experience and training in is very important. Ensure that you keep in mind whether the successful candidates have the ability to excel in the area that you are hiring for. Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the differences as well as what you need to look out for in candidates.

For Paylab.com, Aurora Heidrick

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