Tech Sales Salary and Progression
So you’ve read my post about tech sales and want to learn more?
I mean, what’s not to like about it?
You get paid well on a tech sales income, have the opportunity to progress your career and get the flexibility to operate how you see fit. However, tech sales aren’t always rainbows, unicorns and fairy tales. A job in tech sales can be demanding, stressful and challenging at times. For these reasons, people in tech sales are generally paid well.
In this post, I’m going to give you an overview of tech sales salaries. I’ll explain how tech sales salaries are structured, what factors influence them and how you can maximise your earnings potential.
I hope this post gives you a better understanding of tech sales salaries and helps you decide whether a career in tech sales is right for you.
Nine Job Titles to Consider when Talking about Tech Sales Jobs and Salaries
As I mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of tech sales is that you can generally work your way up through the ranks relatively quickly – especially if you are good.
Tech sales careers are one of the only careers where you don’t need to prove yourself with degrees or accolades. Results and actions prove success in sales.
These titles outline the general progression from an entry level role all the way through to more senior management positions.
Sales Development Representative
The job of an SDR is to find and qualify potential customers for a company’s products or services.
SDRs are usually the first point of contact with a potential customer and are responsible for generating interest in a company’s products or services.
SDRs typically work in fast-paced environments and are often required to make a high volume of calls.
Due to the nature of the job, SDRs are usually paid a base salary plus commission. Commission structure for an SDR can vary significantly from company to company.
However, it is not uncommon for an SDR to earn 20-30% of their total salary in commissions.
A sales development role is an excellent option for a budding sales representative looking to get into a sales role.
Whilst this role is often repetitive and challenging, it provides a great proving ground for gauging your success in other sales roles.
The base salary for a sales development representative role in the San Francisco and Los Angeles regions can range anywhere from $50-65k USD, with on-target earnings up to $95k USD.
Enterprise Sales Development Representative
Once a sales representative proves themselves as an entry level SDR they’ll often progress to a more senior SDR role. This may mean targeting larger accounts and more flagship organisations and earning a higher enterprise software sales salary.
Whilst this market is often harder, you’ll be compensated with a higher base salary and commission incentive.
It is not uncommon for an enterprise SDR in tech sales to earn a base salary of $50-75k USD, with on-target earnings in excess of $100k USD.
SMB Account Executive
An account executive manages and grows relationships with a company’s existing customer base.
This involves upselling, cross-selling, renewing contracts and managing sales cycles. An account executive is also responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction and meeting sales targets.
The role of an account executive is usually one of the most sought-after roles in tech sales. This is because it is often seen as a stepping stone to more senior positions after some experience as a sales development rep.
More often than not, Account Executives do business in the SMB space. These types of deals are usually done with companies with a 5-100 employee count and, therefore, are not as complex as some of the larger enterprise deals.
The average pay split for an Account Executive can be anywhere from 50/50 to 70/30 split in favour of the base salary. Because profit margins are usually less within the SaaS space and there is more emphasis on recurring revenue, you probably won’t expect fat commission cheques, but the money is still good.
Across Los Angles, New York and San Francisco, the national average salary for a sales representative will range from $55-85k USD, with on-target earnings up to $170k.
Mid-Market Account Executive
A mid-market account executive is responsible for managing and growing relationships with a company’s existing customer base in the mid-market space.
The mid-market is usually considered to be businesses with 100-1,000 employees.
Mid-market tech sales representatives often sell more complex solutions; therefore, the sales cycles are usually longer.
The pay split for a mid-market tech sales representative is usually 50/50 in favour of the base salary. However, because the deals are usually larger and more complex, the total on-target earnings (OTE) are often much higher.
In San Francisco, the national average salary for a mid-market tech sales representative is $85-115k USD, with on target earnings over $200k USD.
Enterprise Account Executive
Enterprise software Account Management could be considered the holy grail of Account Executive roles before hitting a management position.
The enterprise tech sales market is the most complex and, therefore, the hardest to crack.
However, the rewards are usually much higher.
The OTE for an enterprise tech sales representative can range from $250-320k USD, with the base salary often being a lower percentage of the total package.
For example, a tech sales representative working in enterprise sales in San Francisco could have a base salary of $100-160k USD but an OTE of $250-320k USD.
The pay split will usually be 60/40 or 70/30 in favour of the base salary.
Sales Development Manager
The Sales Development Manager is responsible for leading and managing a team of sales representatives.
This includes setting targets, providing coaching and feedback and ensuring that the team meets their sales targets.
The Sales Development Manager is also responsible for developing and implementing sales strategies.
In larger tech companies, the Sales Development Manager may also be responsible for managing a team of enterprise sales representatives.
In 2022, more often than not, a Sales Development Manager won’t only manage the team and targets but will also be responsible for other areas such as sales operations and the tech stack behind a successful sales team.
The average base salary for a Sales Development Manager is $120-160k USD, with on target earnings of $140-240k
Inside Sales Manager
The Inside Sales Manager is like a Sales Manager, except the team isn’t field base, but office based.
They are responsible for a sales representative and their success across the complete sales cycle. This can sometimes include business development targets and month;y quota targets.
The average base salary for an Inside Sales Manager is $95-170k USD, with on target earnings of $190-340k.
Director of Sales
The Director of Sales is considered a more executive role within a sales organisation.
As a Director of Sales you are responsible for managing all sales operations for the company. These responsibilities may include sales reporting, estimating sales profits and revenues, managing sales pipelines and ensuring the sales team is managed effectively.
For the job title, the pay is good as a lot of responsibility needs to be managed.
The average base salary is $120-180k USD, with on target earnings of $220-360k.
VP of Sales
Finally, we have the VP of Sales.
The VP of Sales is a tech company’s most senior sales role.
Compensation is very high as this role comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility.
The average base salary for a VP of Sales is $180-250k USD, with an on target earnings up to $500k
There are, of course, other roles within tech sales, such as Business Development Representatives (BDRs) and Sales Operations Managers.
However, this is generally the path you would take as a SaaS sales representative in a high-performing company.
As you can see, tech sales salaries can be very high, especially in San Francisco.
If you’re looking to get into tech sales, you can expect to earn a very good salary.
However, it’s important to remember that tech sales is a very competitive market, and the path to success is not always easy.
If you’re up for the challenge, then tech sales could be a very rewarding career.
By choosing a career as a sales representative, you will have your fair share of challenges and ups and downs, but you will certainly be compensated fairly for your efforts.