17 Different Types of Sales Every Salesperson Must Know About

Learn the 17 different kinds of sales and their basics, and get a sneak peek into the field of sales and marketing.

Closing a deal is not a simple one-step process as it may seem for some of you. Selling goods or services to customers in exchange for money takes considerable time, effort, and proper strategy. Not everyone can be a good seller and add value to the service. Particular skills are required to be a good seller, do sales engagement and close deals, and excel in your career as a salesperson. Different types of sales jobs are available in the market as the nature of transactions differs. Almost 13% of all the jobs in the U.S. (1 in 8) are full-time sales positions.

The two critical placeholders involved in a sales transaction are a seller and a buyer. There is a deal that the seller and the buyer discuss to close and secure the most suitable solution for either party. The sales types and the necessary needs to close it will vary depending on what kind of deal it is.

As an aspiring salesperson, you must know a few common sales types to prepare for your stint. Do you know how many types of sales there are? Read on as we discuss the 19 different types of sales.

B2B Sales

B2B is the short form for business-to-business sales. It is the sales between companies offering their products or services to other companies. Individual customers are not involved in such sales. There could be an individual buyer or an individual seller, but they are working to close the deal for their company respectively. Considering the deals are more prominent in these cases, the values and the terms are more complex. There are three different subtypes of B2B sales, they are as follows:

  1. Supply sales: Businesses can generate revenue by providing goods and services. Such goods and services form part of the need for other companies.
  2. Distribution sales: The selling to wholesalers, who sell to end users, is called "distribution sales."
  3. Service sales: The sale of intangible or digital services. They are integral to the operation of another enterprise (consultants, software, etc.)

B2B sales include a more significant size, economic significance, and complicated sales process. The process is more inclusive and draws in more participants. The time involved in closing a deal is higher. In the case of B2B sales, one-time purchases are unusual, and the emphasis is on building lasting partnerships.

B2B Sales - Sales Simplify

B2C Sales

B2C sales is a sales transaction between a company and an individual. It is the acronym for business-to-customer sales types. These deals generally have lower economic value, take less time to close, have lesser complexity, and are more in number than B2B sales. There is no reason to believe that B2C sales always refer to direct sales between a manufacturer and a buyer. It could also refer to a sales transaction between a buyer and a distributor. For example, the OTT platforms are a B2C type of business. In the case of B2C sales, the transaction is more about the brand and price. It also depends on how well the salesperson can emotionally pitch the product to the customers.

B2C Sales - Amazon

SaaS Sales

SaaS is the short form used for Software as a Service. SaaS sales refer to the sale of Software hosted by one company to another, mainly in the form of a subscription plan. With a technological shift from a manual working environment to a more digital setup, SasS sales are becoming increasingly popular. SaaS sales is not a simple job, as the salesperson should clearly understand the Software before selling it to the customer.

Saas Sales - Saino

Online selling

Online selling, also known as eCommerce selling, is one of the most familiar forms of selling in the present day. For this, the customers use the internet to approach the landing page of the desired company. The landing page should have a good design, so the customer feels welcome and should also have a lead generation chatbot. The online selling platform should have a design such that it should address all queries of the customers. It is a cost-effective way of selling as no mediator is involved. It would help if you focused on positioning your brand to the right group, have a proper sector segmentation, and target the right audience. Sales CRM is also helpful to boost sales in online mode.

Online Sales - Adidas

Social selling

Social selling is a selling type using brand channels and social media to influence and connect with potential customers. Customer interactions are essential in social selling. Social selling is all about creating relationships, social prospecting, increasing the sales engagement and interacting regularly.

High-Pressure selling

High-pressure selling refers to putting psychological pressure on the customer to close a deal. This is a forced decision-making process which is an unethical practice. Companies use this process to fill their portfolio and achieve better inventory control. It helps in increasing production capacity and rewards salespersons with incentives. This is a method of fast sales.

Insight selling

Insight selling refers to the buyer-centric approach to selling. Extremely efficient salespersons are involved in this type of sales. Here they consider buyer behavior to make insightful pitching and audience targeting. There are two kinds of insight selling, which include the following:

a. Opportunity insight: Here, the salesperson pitches a specific idea to the buyer. It helps them think that they need the solution.

b. Interaction insight: this is a selling type where the seller asks the right questions. It is to understand the customer's needs and provide the best solution accordingly.

Direct sales

Direct sales refer to the primary type of selling where individuals can directly sell to customers. This type of sales is involved in real estate deals and by network marketing representatives. Some of the kinds of direct sales include direct to the customer. Here the individuals, artisans, and manufacturers can directly sell to customers. B2C sales is another subsegment of direct sales. Sales Pipeline can either involve single-level or multilevel transactions.

Account-based sales

Businesses go for account-based sales for large accounts with many touchpoints. Individual salespersons are not involved in handling or closing these deals. Teams are in place to look at these large enterprise accounts. Such types of sales are also known as enterprise sales.  

Account-based Sales - Pepsico

Solution selling

As the name suggests, solution selling does not provide products or services. Instead, they provide the solutions to your problems. The convincing ability of the salespersons in this type of sales should be high. This is necessary as they would pitch different use-case scenarios to the customers, mentioning how it could help them. Building personal connections with customers was an essential sales strategy for solution selling.

Partnership selling

In this case, partnership selling involves close collaboration with the partner, the customers. They provide the best solutions to the customer and help them achieve their sales goals quickly. Partnership selling can help companies to scale and quicken the sales cycle. It also helps them to understand the prospects of business growth clearly. Cost-cutting is another benefit of partnership selling. Customer retention rates improve with partnership selling.

Collaborative selling

Under Collaborative selling, the buyer takes on more of a leadership role in the sales process. These include coordinating the efforts of many salespersons as they work together. The idea is to find and put in place solutions that will help the company meet its long-term strategic goals.   

Collaborative sales aim to replace one-off deals with long-term partnerships. They function more like strategic alliances. Teams interacting with customers must share the same information, objectives, and analysis. They should work as one unit so that the company can consistently provide value to the customers.

Collaborative Sales - UBER & Spotify

Transactional selling

This type of selling consists of short-term sales strategies to close quick deals. There is no long-term relationship involved in this type of sale. Transactional selling is joint in B2C trades; it can be used in B2B sales at times as well. This is a sales type where the buyer knows what they want, and they ask for it quickly. The seller company has necessary generic solutions at low costs and effectively provides them to customers. Research said that transactional selling does better than solution selling in some instances.

Transactional Sales - Black Friday

Provocative selling

With the help of market research on customers' needs and pain points, companies pitch for the best solutions. This is similar to consultative selling, which focuses on providing the right solutions. This is something the customer is not adequately aware of. There is quite a bit of persuasion involved in this type of sale. This sale can provoke the buyer to take the desired steps and go for the product or service to solve an underlying issue.

Provocative Sales - Domino's

Consultative sales

Consultants are mostly experts in certain fields. They are subject matter experts having a good amount of knowledge in a specific sector. These may include education, accountancy, human resources, Sales management, marketing, engineering, and so on. These consultants can help in consultative selling through presentations and reporting. Consultative selling is popular among top management of companies.   

Consultants fit into two categories—a consultant who works within the company and one who works externally. A consultant within the company lends console to other divisions on matters about his expertise. The term "external consultant" refers to the temporary individual brought in. Generally, customers bring them in because of their specialized knowledge. Representatives take a consultative approach to selling by drawing on various sources. These include buyer interviews, market research, and user feedback. The information gained is then used to create a story. Such simplification helps the customer better understand the offer.

Consultative Sales - HDFC

Inside sales

Inside sales occur when a sales staff interacts with a prospective client or existing customer from a central location. The location could be from an office rather than face-to-face interaction. The implication is that they are conducting business within the corporation. The organizations that follow 'Inside sales' are more streamlined. They have more automated sales processes and structured working hours.

Inside Sales

Outside sales

Outside sales refer to a type of sales that is not restricted to office space. Outside sales personnel travel to meet with prospects in their environments. Such a sale type is often called a "field sale." Outside salespeople often deal with fewer clients than inside sales workflow. The deals they manage are more complex and need a strategy. This places a premium on their relationships with those clients. Besides, certain portions of outside sales can get handled from afar because of technological advances. Still, salespeople in this role must prepare to reach the client on short notice.

Outside sales impact total revenue less, but we cannot determine their importance. There is a higher demand for personal interaction for more significant transactions. Don't panic if your business relies more on inside sales than the other. The ideal ratio of inside to outside sales will vary from company to company. Such variations are based on factors like product, structure, and approach. A successful outside salesperson has to be self-driven and goal-oriented. They should be able to read expressions and body language. They should be very well-organized.


As a salesperson, if you do not understand the different types of sales and the selling processes, you will not be able to advance in your career. This is one of the critical factors and basics of sales. The knowledge about the different types of sales will help you understand how to pitch yourself in the case of different sales scenarios. Upskilling for a specific sales role becomes more manageable if you understand what types of sales you are signing up for. As the market trends are changing in sales, there is an urgent need for salespersons to stay ahead of their game and understand the processes thoroughly.

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