Independent Sales Reps: What They Are and How to Leverage Them in B2B Ecommerce

Independent Sales Reps for B2B Ecommerce

In today’s B2B Ecommerce landscape, many manufacturers and distributors have elevated the role of the independent sales rep, and for good reason. More than just contractors-for-hire, independent reps can serve as genuine strategic partners. The flexible hiring structure and responsibility allotment of an indie rep work in tandem with core Ecommerce technology, like mobile ordering and writing, to offer B2B companies more elasticity in how they present and promote their brands to potential buyers. Here’s how it works.

The Basics of Independent Sales Reps

Independent sales representatives go by a few titles, but whether they’re called an indie sales rep, a manufacturers’ rep or a manufacturers’ agent, the gist remains the same. These independent contractors, work on commission on a for-hire basis to sell a company’s products or services to customers. An indie sales rep is often responsible for working with specific groups or regions of existing customers or contracted to attract or target new buyers. In the B2B and Ecommerce arena, independent sales reps often work with wholesalers and distributors. These reps are typically granted access to the company’s Ecommerce platform, such as Zoey, where they can draft orders, provide quotes, among other functions to drive sales.

Like all independent contractors, independent sales reps sign an agreement detailing their responsibilities, the responsibilities of the company contracting them, terms and conditions of recitals, and the ins-and-outs of their payment and commission structure. Indie sales reps typically receive a base guaranteed income as well as a commission for successful sales, but specific pay structures, as we’ll see, can vary. 

Benefits for B2B Ecommerce

Independent sales reps are often brought onboard to save time and costs since businesses don’t need to hire full-time staff and thoroughly train them. Plus, companies don’t need to worry about paying employee benefits, as Inc. points out. Since these reps work in remote locations, B2B Ecommerce companies can save on the space and equipment needed to bring someone in-house as well.

The flexibility of independent sales reps really comes into play when the product benefits from demonstration or calls for a more hands-on explanation, making these contractors especially useful among tech companies, manufacturers and wholesalers. The lower risk proposition of independent sales reps relative to traditional employees also makes them a potentially ideal solution for seeking out new leads, a perk experienced independent reps can also leverage by bringing along their own sales contacts. 

In practice, independent sales representatives can also have a big impact on affirming new markets or new products, and they can do so before your company decides to staff up internally. While internal salespeople are laser-focused on your brand, indie reps are used to selling multiple products and bringing new products to market. Whether they work solo or alongside your in-house team, this often gives independent sales reps plenty of potential for reducing ramp-up time and testing the waters before a new product or service hits the market.

Leveraging Independent Sales Reps

Speaking to Inc., David Hoffmeister of DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership says, “The attention that [the company] gets from representatives is directly proportional to how much they’re earning from your product.” He suggests that Ecommerce companies incentivize independent sales reps with opportunities for growth (perhaps even the possibility of a full-time position) or bonuses in addition to commission. 

There are three basic commission models for independent sales reps:

  • Base salary plus commission, the most common model in Ecommerce, offers the representative a solid flow of income while motivating them with a smaller commission compared to other models. 
  • Variable commission is a performance-based model that caters particularly well to entering new markets, as the rate of commission varies based on how the rep meets pre-determined goals.
  • Straight commission models are entirely commission-based. While this less common model generally caters to experienced reps, it offers B2B companies a low-pressure option for generating new leads, breaking into new markets and demonstrating new products.

Independent Sales Reps and Zoey

With Zoey, you and your independent sales reps have options. Indie sales reps may use Zoey themselves to manage the various companies they contract for, though typically — and often more advantageously — the Ecommerce company contracting the rep grants them access to the platform where they can experience all of the same benefits. In either case, Zoey lends independent reps access to a mobile app that empowers them to create orders and quotes on to go, access to customer groups that help craft personalized buying experiences, among other features. Businesses who use Zoey can control exactly what parts of the platform are accessible to independent reps, too. 

Zoey’s empowering tools allow independent sales reps to focus their attention on key accounts, offer product demos, engage in strategic planning with customers and ultimately expand your company’s sales horizons. See how Zoey works for yourself with a free demo:

Request a Demo

Dan is a small business owner and freelance writer based in Dallas, TX. In over a decade of experience, he’s been fortunate to write and collaborate with business-facing brands including The Motley Fool, Chron, Office Depot, Fortune and more.

Share the Post:

Related Posts


Simplify & Automate Your Business Today!

Book a demo with our customer success team to help you find the best Ecommerce solution for your unique business. See how Zoey can help grow and expand your sales.