Sales Representative Salary Guide: Who Makes What?
In this article
- What Is the Average Salary of a Sales Representative?
- Sales Representative Salary by Levels
- Sales Representative Salaries by Industry
- Sales Representative Salaries by Education
- Factors Affecting Sales Representative Salaries
- How Can You Earn More as a Sales Representative?
- Sales Representative Salary FAQs
Sales is one of the most common occupations in the US. There are over 13.25 million salespeople in the country, ranging from retail store workers to advertisement agents, real estate brokers, and pharma reps. It is also a growing line of work, with LinkedIn alone listing over 120,000 open positions.
One of the main attractions of a sales career is its high earning potential, with uncapped performance-based bonuses and commissions. However, sales representative salaries can vary widely based on industry, location, experience, compensation structure, and more.
That’s why we’ve created this guide. Below, we’ll discuss who makes what, so you know how to position yourself in this lucrative line of work.
What Is the Average Salary of a Sales Representative?
According to Indeed.com, the average sales representative salary is $73,751, with an average base salary of $70,159 and an additional $10,900 in average commissions. In some industries, sales reps can also earn cash bonuses, joining bonuses, and a share of the company’s profits.
Salaries of sales representatives vary significantly based on several factors such as experience, industry, education, location, etc. Let’s look at them one by one.
Sales Representative Salary by Levels
Here’s how sales rep salaries break down by experience level:
Entry-Level Sales Representative Salary
The average yearly salary of an entry-level sales representative is $44,362. The salaries typically range from $25,000 to $70,000. Several sales positions also offer bonuses up to $15,000, commissions up to $25,000, and a profit share of $12,000.
Intermediate-Level Sales Representative Salary
A mid-career or intermediate-level sales representative typically has 3-7 years of experience. They draw an average base salary of $49,346. Based on sales performance, additional cash compensation can take the salary up to $89,000.
An intermediate-level sales representative might also have different designations, such as a sales supervisor (median salary of $54,213), sales consultant ($54,271), account manager ($66,000), or sales manager ($123,727).
Senior-Level Sales Representative Salary
A senior sales representative has eight or more years of experience. They earn an average base salary of $57,703, bonuses of up to 25,000, a commission of $47,000, and a profit share of $3,000.
Some of the designations held by senior sales reps include:
Sales directors draw an average base salary of $102,677, with total cash compensation going up to $190,000.
Vice President, Sales
Vice President of Sales is a very senior leadership position, which offers an average base salary of $148,101, with the total pay going up to $269,000.
Sales Representative Salaries by Industry
Each industry offers different pay scales for sales representatives. High-value sectors like real estate, for example, might have a larger commission component than recurring value sales like technology or Software as a Service (SaaS). Here’s how that all breaks down:
Technology is a rapidly growing industry, with hundreds of digital marketing and sales positions opening up. Some common designations include business development representatives, account managers, and inside sales representatives. The average technology sales representative’s salary is $75,055, with an additional cash compensation of $37,617 in the form of yearly bonuses, commissions, and a share of profit.
Related Read: What Is Tech Sales?
A salesperson in the financial sector can be a wide range of roles, such as a relationship manager, insurance sales representative, investment advisor, and so on. The average salary of a financial sales representative is $72,923, with additional pay of $35,661.
A retail sales representative typically works at a store, be it a supermarket or a designer brand. The higher the product value, the better the salaries tend to be. For example, a retail sales representative at a luxury clothing brand will likely earn more than a similar role at Walmart. The average base salary of a retail sales representative is $38,240. Additional cash compensation is $14,760, with commissions and bonuses going up to $71,008.
The salary of a real estate salesperson varies widely depending on the property they’re selling, the location, the building size, etc. The average salary of a real estate agent is $99,887, with additional compensation averaging $40,725. Depending on the value of the property itself, the commission and bonuses can go up to $430,000, according to Glassdoor.
An advertising sales representative typically works at a newspaper, magazine, or online publication selling space to organizations to display their ads. They make an average base pay of $66,582, with additional commissions and bonuses of $31,509.
Sales Representative Salaries by Education
As is the case with most jobs, one’s education level tends to inform how much money one can expect to make. But just how much does this impact sales representatives? Let’s break it down:
The average high-school graduate earns $38,100 as a sales representative.
A sales rep with a diploma or a certificate sees a significant jump in their salary. They earn on average $59,800, which is a 58% increase over a high-school graduate.
A sales rep with a bachelor’s degree makes an average of $100,000 a year, and can make much, much more based on commissions.
It is important to note that sales is one of the few high-paying professions that does not demand a college education to get started. For example, you can be a real estate agent, technology, or retail salesperson without a degree. Most organizations hiring for these roles will offer job-specific training that is enough to get you started. You might need a license to practice some professions, like being a real estate agent, which you can gain without a college education as well.
Factors Affecting Sales Representative Salaries
Several factors affect sales representative salaries, and some factors contribute more than others. Let’s break that down:
As a performance-oriented job, sales is among the few careers that don’t demand a college degree. However, an educational background in a related field certainly helps. For instance, if you have a finance, economics, or accounting degree, entry into a finance sales position might be easier.
Experience plays a crucial role in determining the salary of a sales representative. Years of relevant experience can be beneficial if you don’t have a college degree. Senior sales representatives with over ten years of experience can earn almost double the salary that entry-level professionals can. Experience specializing in a particular location, industry, or product can also give you an edge.
Skill-Level (Including Interpersonal Skills)
- Sales skills include identifying the target audience, building a pipeline, writing proposals, negotiating deals, and closing contracts.
- Domain knowledge about the industry, type of product, audience archetype, competitive landscape, and available alternatives
- Interpersonal skills to build rapport, identify customer needs, persuade them to make the purchase, etc.
Most sales jobs are field sales jobs. Several positions in real estate, medical devices, finance sales, etc., expect you to live in the location you’re responsible for. Tech sales careers, which are some of the most lucrative, are concentrated in hubs like San Francisco and New York.
The organization you’re working for plays a key role in the salary you can command. For example, a blue chip company or a premium commercial real estate organization will pay higher than a regular retail store. Large organizations might pay more than small and medium enterprises.
How Can You Earn More as a Sales Representative?
To maximize your earning potential as a sales or business development rep, here are a few steps you should take:
Specialize: Choose the kind of sales you want to do in your career—tech sales, medical sales, and real estate are some of the most lucrative and popular. Invest time and energy in learning that area thoroughly to have meaningful conversations with potential customers.
Gain experience: As we’ve seen above, experience significantly contributes to compensation. Spend the early years of your career gaining experience within your domain, which will help you ace your sales job interview.
Network: Sales happen when you have good relationships with customers. Identify your target group, shortlist prospective customers, network with them, and understand their needs and problems. Use this instinct to design offers for them and deliver excellent customer service.
Choose your location carefully: Income potential varies significantly based on location. Tech or SaaS sales jobs might pay better in San Francisco while advertising sales in New York. Choose the right location for the job to maximize your salary.
Sales Representative Salary FAQs
We’ve got answers to your most frequently asked questions.
What Is the Average Starting Salary of a Sales Representative?
The average sales representative’s yearly salary is $81,059, including $70,159 as base salary and additional cash compensation of $10,900.
What Kind of Commission Can a Sales Representative Make?
The average annual commission of sales representatives is around 20-30%. However, this depends on the industry, product, organization, etc. For instance, real estate agents make 5-6% of the sale price, while tech organizations offer 8-10% of the annual contract value.
Can You Make Six Figures as a Sales Representative?
Certainly, according to Payscale, the best-paid 10 percent of sales representatives make $99,000 or more in base salary alone. This means that the salaries would be well into six figures with commissions and bonuses. For sales engineers, the median pay is $103,000, making it one of the better-paying jobs.
Can You Save Money as a Sales Representative?
Yes. The average salary of a sales representative is $81,059, which is more than double the national average across all professions. With a monthly payout of $6750, you can save between $1500-3000 per month depending on your needs, location, and circumstances.
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