What to look for when hiring B2B Salespeople

by Shannon F.

hiring for B2B sales

Often, sales is treated as the type of job that anyone with average intelligence can jump into. But the truth is that B2B sales is a highly skilled profession, and hiring for the job can be a challenge. In our experience, excellent B2B salespeople with a lot of experience are hard to find, making it tough to build the team you need to drive revenue and develop your business. But even a newcomer to sales can display some of these promising characteristics:

Quick thinking

B2B Salespeople have to be flexible thinkers. They’re not just doing the same thing over and over again. They have to be able to think on their feet and respond to new situations every hour. They also have to be able to deviate from the script when necessary and make hundreds of small decisions each day about how to engage the prospect and respond to various challenges/needs. A salesperson who only feels comfortable sticking to a certain pitch may fall short in situations that require adaptability and a quick response.

Sample interview question: Present the interviewee with a tough situation that puts them on the spot a little—for example, say, “Pretend I am your prospect. I just informed you that I’ve met with your direct competitor and I’m thinking about signing with them. What are you going to do?”


At InsightPRM, we encourage our clients to sell with insight. Unlike Solution Selling, where the prospect presents a problem and the salesperson sells a solution, Insight Selling often requires the salesperson to consult prospects before they even know they need the product or service. That requires the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and make insightful observations and inferences about the prospect’s business needs. Insightfulness can’t be taught. But if you hire sales reps who are intelligent and thoughtful, they will quickly be able to learn industry trends, best business development practices, and other practical knowledge to draw from when consulting prospects and clients.

Sample interview question: “Tell me about a time when you served in the role of a consultant. How did you help your client?” Answers don’t necessarily have to be sales-related.


Inside sales can be disheartening for the wrong person. After all, rejection is an everyday part of working B2B sales leads, following up on hundreds of contacts, and trying to get an appointment with prospects who aren’t always eager to talk to you. The most successful B2B sales reps let rejection roll off their backs. They are also willing to put in the 12 cold calls that it takes on average to set an appointment. Sales reps that give up too easily or take rejection personally may struggle to succeed in your company.

Sample interview question: “Describe a situation where you experienced repeated frustrations or setbacks. How did you deal with it?”


Two people can use the same basic sales cold call script and get completely different results. The best salespeople are naturally charismatic. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are smooth-talking charmers; rather, they know how to show interest in others, get prospects talking about their needs, and understand the best way to approach someone who is in a prickly mood.

Sample interview question: “The person you are calling is in a bad mood and doesn’t feel like talking. What do you do?”

Technology Skills

Depending on what you’re selling, the B2B salesperson you hire may need to quickly learn the ropes of a new software program, phone system, etc. But even if you are selling something low-tech, like office furniture, your salesperson should still have adaptable technology skills. After all, most B2B companies manage their sales leads in a CRM or leads management program, which can be complicated to use. In addition, social media is an essential source of leads, besides being literally unavoidable today. A technology-phobic salesperson will be missing out on a lot of the tools and resources available to drive sales.

Sample interview question: “What was the last technology you learned how to use? In what ways was it challenging?”

InsightPRM is a lead management system that makes it easy even for inexperienced B2B salespeople (with the right attitude) to sell your product or service. Contact us to learn how sales can be simple and intuitive for your team.

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