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You can make a lot of money in sales. That’s what draws many people to sales as a profession, and rightly so. To help you understand what you can expect to earn as a sales rep, we’ve put together a sales salary guide that includes information on average salaries, OTE, and other compensation.

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What Are the Different Sales Roles?

Sales roles typically fall under a handful of common titles. Each role has its own set of responsibilities and requirements. Here are a few sales roles that you should be familiar with:

Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) — sometimes called Business Development Representatives (BDRs) — focus on generating new sales opportunities. They are tasked with the initial part of the sales process: identifying and qualifying leads before handing them over to an Account Executive to explore the opportunity with the qualified prospect and hopefully close the deal.

Account Executive (AE)

Account Executives (AEs) are responsible for turning leads into customers. AEs take over once a lead is qualified, guiding potential clients through the sales cycle with the goal of closing a deal. Their responsibilities include understanding client needs via a discovery process, presenting tailored solutions, negotiating terms and contracts, and closing sales. Different levels of AE are based on their business size of their target customer segment: SMB (small-and-medium business), Mid-Market, Enterprise, and Strategic.

Sales Engineer (SE)

Sales Engineers (SEs) are specialized professionals who combine technical knowledge with sales skills to provide advice and support on a range of products and services. This role is critical in industries where understanding the complexities of the technology is essential to selling the solution effectively. 

SEs work closely with sales teams to explain the features of technical products to potential customers, demonstrate how these products can solve specific problems, and answer any technical questions that might arise during the sales process.

Customer Success Manager (CSM)

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) enhance customer experiences and work to ensure long-term satisfaction and loyalty towards a company’s products or services. CSMs go beyond traditional customer service by proactively working with customers to understand their needs, goals, and challenges. They are tasked with guiding customers through the onboarding process, providing training and support, and ensuring that the product or service delivers ongoing value.

Account Manager

Account Managers are responsible for managing existing accounts and maintaining relationships with clients. They may also be responsible for upselling or cross-selling products or services to their clients. 

Sales Manager

Sales Managers are responsible for managing a team of sales representatives. They may be responsible for setting sales goals, training new sales representatives, and monitoring the performance of their team.

Average Sales Salary Benchmarks

Here are the average salary benchmarks for a range of sales roles. Data is reported by sales professionals in each role, and is current as of time of publication. For the most up-to-date numbers, check out our salaries page or click the specific roles.

Sales Development Representative

  • Median Base Pay: $55,000
  • Median OTE: $80,000
  • Top Performers: $131,082
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 52.6%

SMB Account Executive

  • Median Base Pay: $65,000
  • Median OTE: $130,000
  • Top Performers: $266,048
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 43.3%

Mid-Market Account Executive

  • Median Base Pay: $85,000
  • Median OTE: $160,000
  • Top Performers: $383,595
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 38.8%

Enterprise Account Executive

  • Median Base Pay: $130,000
  • Median OTE: $250,000
  • Top Performers: $616,924
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 36.8%

Strategic Account Executive

  • Median Base Pay: $140,000
  • Median On-Target Earnings (OTE): $280,000
  • Top Performers: $685,718
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 40.3%

Sales Engineer

  • Median Base Pay: $135,000
  • Median OTE: $192,000
  • Top Performers: $319,423
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 54.0%

Customer Success Manager

  • Median Base Pay: $95,000
  • Median OTE: $125,000
  • Top Performers: $213,474
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 61.7%

Account Manager

  • Median Base Pay: $95,000
  • Median OTE: $165,000
  • Top Performers: $394,831
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 46.8%

Sales Manager

  • Median Base Pay: $135,000
  • Median OTE: $2500,000
  • Top Performers: $478,011
  • % of Reps Hitting Quota: 48.7%

Factors Affecting Sales Salaries

When it comes to sales salaries, several factors come into play. Here are three factors that can affect your sales salary:

Experience

Your level of experience can significantly impact your sales salary. Generally, the more experience you have, the higher your salary will be. If you have several years of experience in sales, you’ll likely earn more than a new sales representative. This is only true up to a point though. A person with 20 years of experience won’t necessarily make more than a person with 10. At that point, the quality of your experience will be a bigger factor than having 10+ years.

Industry

The industry you work in can also affect your sales salary. Different industries have different sales compensation structures. For example, the tech and medical equipment industries will offer higher salaries compared to the retail industry. This is because the medical equipment industry requires specialized knowledge and skills, which are in high demand. It’s also because industries such as software have higher margins, and very low marginal cost per sale – so companies in these industries can afford to pay more to get the best possible sales talent.

Location

Your location can also impact your sales salary. Salaries for sales representatives can vary significantly depending on the cost of living in a particular area. For instance, sales professionals in New York City or San Francisco are likely to earn more than reps in smaller cities with lower costs of living. While this is still true – the rise of remote work is making this less of a factor than it used to be.

Economy

The economy is cyclical. There are good times and bad times – and many times in between. And this can be a major factor in sales compensation. During boom times (like 2021), the competition for sales talent can drive salaries up significantly.

Companies are competing and they will pay more in order to be able to hire top talent — and to grow their team by pulling salespeople away from other companies who aren’t willing to pay as much.

When the market is hot, it may be a good opportunity to switch roles and get a significant raise. But this strategy also has risks. Make sure to do your homework so that you can see whether the sales org that you’re considering joining has the market capacity to support the increase in sales hires.

Negotiating Sales Salaries

Here are some tips to help you negotiate a salary that reflects your value and experience.

Preparation Tips

Before you start negotiating, it is important to do your research and prepare yourself. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  1. Get your affairs in order: You want to negotiate from a position of strength. That means the best time to negotiate is when you are a top performer on your team. Ideally, you’re hitting or exceeding quota — or at least in the top quartile of the leaderboard for the most recent quarter, and hopefully several prior quarters as well. Put yourself in the shoes of the sales management at your company. If they won’t agree to raise your compensation and you decide to leave, will they miss your contribution?
  2. Know your worth: Research the average salary for your position and experience level in your industry and geographic location. RepVue has the best information about what you should expect. Ideally, look at companies and roles as similar to yours as possible. You can look at direct competitors — or better yet, look at your own company. Especially if you’ve been there for more than two years, sometimes new hires will get paid more and will pull the typical compensation up. You deserve to be paid market-rate.
  3. Consider your experience: If you have a lot of experience and a proven track record of success, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary.
  4. Know your goals: Before you start negotiating, think about what you want to achieve. Do you want a higher salary, better benefits, or more vacation time? Knowing your goals will help you stay focused during the negotiation process. Try to decide in advance how you’ll react if you don’t get what you’re hoping for.

Common Negotiation Strategies

Once you have prepared yourself, it’s time to start negotiating. Here are some common negotiation strategies to keep in mind:

  1. Start high: It’s always a good idea to ask for more than you expect to get. This gives you room to negotiate and shows that you value yourself and your skills.
  2. Use data: Use the research you have done to back up your salary request. Show your employer that you have done your homework and that your request is reasonable.
  3. Be flexible: If your employer is not able to meet your salary request, be open to other forms of compensation. You may be able to negotiate for better benefits, more vacation time, or a flexible work schedule. Don’t bend too far, though.
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