How To Hire B2B Commission-Only Sales Reps To Scale Your Business In 2023

CommissionCrowd commission-only sales platform

In this article, you’ll learn how to hire B2B commission-only sales reps and Manufacturer’s representatives to scale your business and sales in 2023 and beyond.

After a challenging few years, 2023 is the year that companies are pushing harder than ever to grow and expand. Scaling your sales team is one of the most efficient ways of achieving rapid growth; however, hiring in-house sales employees is costly and can be limiting and potentially risky.

That being said, it’s no surprise that there’s a major shift in the way companies all over the world are increasing sales by hiring B2B commission-only sales reps. This sales strategy is a far more cost effective, efficient and faster way to reach new customers and maximise profits.

Working with independent, remote sales representatives who have their own existing network of connections can be hugely beneficial for businesses, offering them the chance to quickly expand their customer base and grab market share over the competition, even in territories where they have no physical presence currently.

There are a number of advantages to engaging with commission-based sales agents and Manufactures reps, including being able to access a larger sales talent pool and greater cash-flow management.

The Benefits Of Hiring Commission-Based B2B Sales Representatives In 2023

Hiring B2B commission-only, remote working sales representatives is quickly becoming the new standard for companies looking to expand their presence in existing territories, penetrate new regions, and increase market share.

This type of mutually beneficial working arrangement offers a number of advantages:

Flexibility – Working with independent sales reps gives you the flexibility to scale up your sales team quickly and easily. You can rapidly increase your presence in multiple regions or even overseas without needing to commit to additional staff costs or the expense of opening new offices to gain a presence in a new territory.

Cash Flow – Since sales commission is only paid out when a sale is made, this model allows for more efficient cash flow management compared to traditional methods of hiring in-house employees. You also don’t have the burden of paying salaries during training, holiday, sick or maternity leave periods.

Access To Global Sales Talent – By engaging with independent sales contractors who are experts in their field and already possess an existing network of contacts, you can access top-level talent globally without having to rely on locals or those willing to uproot and relocate.

Experience – B2B commission-based sales reps and Manufacturer’s reps have a wealth of experience in their respective industries, which means they bring with them well established networks and the ability to open doors to new or their existing clients quickly and efficiently. They have generally come from a long and successful background as employees before branching out and setting up in business for themselves.

Commission-Only Vs Salaried Sales Jobs - Why Top Sales Reps Give Up Their Sales Jobs To Work On A Commission-Only Basis

In addition, more and more sales professionals are leaving salaried jobs in favour of becoming self-employed, commission-based sales contractors. But why?

Year-on-year the number of freelancers has risen exponentially. With access to better remote working sales tools and technologies, as well as remote working becoming the norm during the pandemic, the number of freelancers in the USA alone is expected to reach over 90 million people by 2028.

number of freelancers rising until 2028

In a nutshell, companies offer a salary to their employees in exchange for their full-time commitment and loyalty. During that period of employment, the salesperson agrees not to represent any other company or sell anything outside of what they are contracted to promote.

Although a steady salary can offer some financial security, it pales in comparison to the earning capabilities of self-employed sales representatives. By creating an expansive portfolio that features various complementary products and services, independent sales reps have the power to maximize their income and earn significantly more than an employed sales job would be able to pay.

In the current landscape, veteran sales reps and Manufacturer’s reps are making the move to become independent or create commission-based sales agencies instead of being contracted with one single organization. They rely on their accumulated industry know-how and long-standing relationships to earn far more than their salary currently pays.

Here are just a few reasons why sales agents and Manufacturer’s reps are transitioning from employment to self-employed and a commission-only sales role:

  • Advancements in online technology has made remote selling even more attainable than before.
  • Buyers have become increasingly more confident conducting business remotely without the need for physical meetings.
  • Sales agents and Manufacturer’s reps earn significantly more by selling the products and services of multiple companies rather than being tied into representing one product or service.
  • Remote working offers the ability to manage a larger area or territory, or completely eliminate being limited to their local territory.
  • Sales reps now have the ability to use a service like CommissionCrowd to easily find the perfect products and services to sell and create their ideal portfolio of companies to represent

How To Find And Hire B2B Commission-Only Sales Reps and Manufacturer’s Representatives in 2023 and beyond

For companies who want to take their business growth to the next level in 2023 and beyond, hiring B2B commission-only sales representatives is a great choice. But how do you go about recruiting and onboarding them? Here’s your step-by-step guide!

1). Decide If You Want To Hire In-House sales staff or partner with outsourced sales reps and Manufacturer’s reps (or both) - Pro’s and Con’s

Your first step is going to be determining whether you want to hire in-house sales staff for your business or utilise an outsourced sales force of B2B commission-based sales reps or Manufacturer’s reps. Each has its pros and cons.

The Pros Of Hiring In-house Sales Employees

  • You’ll have complete control and oversight of their day-to-day activity.
  • You have the ability to hear / see their interactions with prospects if selling from your physical premises i.e. the client comes to your workplace. This gives the ability to provide instant feedback and coaching.
  • You can enforce strict sales targets and other criteria such as the number of hours they are expected to work per week.

The Cons Of Hiring In-house Sales Employees

  • Finding truly great in-house sales employees can be a time consuming, expensive and long process. This is especially true for smaller or newer companies. The best sales reps are usually either retained by their current employers or become self-employed and set up in business for themselves.
  • You may also have to pay a recruitment agency to assist in your search.
  • You will have to pay your new hire from day one, even during the onboarding and training phase. This is without a guarantee of ROI.
  • It’s expensive to hire and maintain an employed sales team. When you factor in salaries plus commissions, benefits, contributions, vacation pay, paid sick leave, maternity leave, company cars, computers, telephones and of course additional office space, the costs are significant from day one.
  • Your new salaried sales staff may not have prior knowledge of your industry and will have to be put through a lengthy sales training process.
  • Your new hire more than likely won’t have a network or existing industry contacts and will be starting cold.
  • Your new hire may not be successful and your time and money investment in that individual may garner no return on investment.
  • If you want to enter new territories where your company has no presence currently, and maintain complete control over your sales team, you’ll need to open additional offices with all of the expense that comes with doing so.

The Pros Of Hiring B2B Commission-only Sales Reps and Manufacturer’s Reps

  • With no salary to pay, hiring remote working B2B sales reps or Manufacturer’s reps eliminates the upfront cost and risks associated with paying a salary. These sales professionals are compensated only after they close the sale.
  • Freelance sales reps are hungry. If they don’t sell, they don’t eat.
  • They are experienced, having come from a long background in sales prior to becoming self-employed. They don’t need to be trained to sell.
  • Tech has now advanced making onboarding, training and oversight of sales activity straightforward and easy.
  • Self-employed sales reps have existing networks that have been built over many years and can provide a fast route to Market for companies.
  • Companies gain access to a wider talent pool of sales professionals as your new partners don’t need to relocate meaning you aren’t restricted to hiring locally
  • Extending your reach in the market - by partnering with agents in territories you want to expand into, those people will have good knowledge of those territories and have existing networks of companies and people they’ve already done business with in those areas

The Cons Of Hiring B2B Commission-only Sales Reps and Manufacturer’s Reps

  • Sales reps who are extremely successful can end up earning more than some senior management within a company. In some cases they could end up earning more than the company owner if the company is a startup. Whilst obviously a great deal of business is being generated by the salesperson, this can sometimes ruffle feathers with certain people within an organisation.
  • Independent sales agents are always looking for the most attractive sales opportunities. This means competition can be high and you must have an attractive and compelling offer to attract top sales talent.
  • You must accept that the hiring process is completely the opposite of the traditional hiring process. Commission-only reps aren’t unemployed or desperate for work. They have the choice to work with any company they choose. This means that companies have to sell themselves and their sales opportunity to attract the best sales agents instead of posting a job position and being inundated with job applications from unemployed people.
  • You’ll be expected to offer higher commissions than you would generally pay an employee. Remember, independent sales reps and Manufacturer’s reps take all the risk and incur their own expenses while prospecting for new business.
  • While expectations and mutually agreed terms should certainly be in-place, a company can not place the same demands on agents such as strict sales targets, having to work from your offices etc. They retain their autonomy always.

Tip: Companies not best suited to working with commission-only sales reps

Sales agents won’t build your business from the ground up. If you are a startup, you should have a unique product or service and some demonstration of demand and product/Market fit.

Put yourself in the sales agent’s shoes. If you’re starting a company in a crowded market with a ton of competition and you offer the same products or services as many well established competitors, who would you choose to work with? An already established company with happy clients, testimonials and case studies or the new company that has none of those things yet?

Agents will also need to know that you can service the clients they bring you. If you’re a small company without the ability to demonstrate a clear ability to quickly scale, they will most likely choose a more established company that has the capacity to deliver on the new business they bring to the table.

Companies who are looking for cheap or free labour rarely succeed with independent sales reps and they most certainly are not the answer to saving a dying business.

2). Determine Your Sales Commission Structure

Sales commission is a payment offered to sales representatives based on either a percentage of the sale’s value or a percentage of the gross margin. There is no specific formula for determining commission rates for freelance sales agents, and the amount is often negotiable.

Commission rates for physical products tend to be lower than those for service providers due to the higher costs associated with manufacturing physical products. Commission rates for manufactured products can typically range from 5 - 15% of the sale value.

Services tend to offer higher commission percentages, ranging from15 - 50% especially when selling online software as a service (SaaS) products, as the expenses per sale are minimal.

It is important to note that independent sales reps incur their own expenses while selling and may also provide access to networks of contacts they have cultivated over time, which can justify higher commission rates.

The key takeaway is to be as competitive and generous as possible. There will always be a negotiation prior to starting a working partnership.

Step 3) Determine How Large Your Sales Team Needs To Be

Start with a small team and get your processes right. While platforms like CommissionCrowd makes finding and hiring B2B commission-only sales reps easy, you will still need to plan your training and provide all of the sales and marketing collateral they will require to sell to their prospects effectively.

Think about the territories you’re focused on targeting and try to concentrate your efforts on hiring the best sales agents for your company’s immediate needs before pulling the trigger and scaling your sales team.

Where Is The Best Place To Hire B2B Commission-Only Sales Reps & Manufacturer’s Reps?

If you want to hire B2B commission-only sales or Manufacturer’s reps for your business, but you’re not sure where to start, it can be daunting.

CommissionCrowd is the World’s fastest growing, award winning online platform that connects companies and B2B commission-only sales reps and Manufacturer’s reps globally.

We give you everything you need to get started easily. As a first step, we recommend registering for a free CommissionCrowd account, which will allow you to:

  • Search our market-leading database of commission-only sales agents
  • Start building your sales opportunity listing
  • Tour our built-in team management tools

You may also be eligible for a limited-time membership offer so you can publish your opportunity listing and start connecting with agents!

Click here to register for free (no credit card required)

CommissionCrowd empowers you to attract, train, manage and inspire a profitable commission-only sales team all in one place. You’ll be able to network with a global community of professional commission-only agents, view detailed profiles to effortlessly identify ideal candidates and leverage powerful all-in-one functionality to manage your team efficiently.


Watch a video covering many of our FAQs

  • This is my first time working with commission-only sales agents. What should I expect? As you may have noticed in our case studies and testimonials, launching a commission-only sales team can be incredibly lucrative, rewarding and even transformational for your business—no matter its size, industry or location. The revenue potential is immense! The key to maximizing your chances of enjoying these results is a win-win partnership mentality. Done right, this process is similar to finding an investor or business partner. Our clients who focus on networking and relationship-building tend to achieve the best and quickest results. Be ready to cast a wide net, invest in relationships and focus on finding win-win scenarios!
  • How long will it take to find sales agents? Good question! We’ve seen clients find an agent in a few days, and for others, it takes a few weeks or longer. The amount of time it takes to find an agent hinges primarily on your targeting (how you use the search function to narrow down the agent community by location, specialty, etc.) and inviting (how many direct invitations you send per week). Beyond that, you’ll find that this is a process with many moving parts—though many of these variables are under your control. CommissionCrowd’s fast-growing agent community and powerful assistive technology put you in the driver’s seat!
  • What is a “sales opportunity listing”? A sales opportunity listing is our version of a job post. Once you see how engaging, sophisticated and specialised our opportunity listings are, you’ll see why we had to create our own term to describe them! Your opportunity listing will capture everything that makes your sales opportunity uniquely attractive and present key details that will motivate agents to apply. 
  • Will you promote my opportunity listing—or will I have to invite agents? Yes! If you decide to purchase a membership, it will include both an inbound and an outbound component. Your opportunity listing will be featured, promoted and visible when agents search our platform for opportunities, which means some applications will come to you (inbound). You’ll also invite agents individually (outbound). Generally, we’ve found that focusing on the outbound component (sending agent invitations) gives you maximum control over the magnitude and timing of your results.
  • How do I qualify for your Application Guarantee? Qualifying is easy if you decide to purchase a membership: 1) Have a legally registered and operational business with client testimonials 2) Have at least one active sales opportunity listing (with changes implemented based on our guidance and feedback) 3) Send between 100 - 250 agent invitations (dependent on the membership length you purchase) 4) Ask for help when you need it and communicate any challenges you face. That’s it! When you meet these accessible qualifications, we guarantee between 2-5 sales agent applications, or you’ll get the same amount of time that you paid for free. 
  • Do we need to have a meeting before I sign up? - Great news! No meeting is required. Our chat operators are highly experienced and can quickly answer any questions you may have. Many of our clients find answers to their more advanced questions in our Help Center or the Resources area of our website. As a CommissionCrowd client, you’ll never be alone! What questions can we answer for you?

CommissionCrowd commission-only sales platform

Ryan Mattock

Co-Founder of CommissionCrowd... Let's get disruptive!