If you’re a highly-driven, empathetic, and outgoing person, you may have found a career in sales to be a natural fit. Sales teams are critical to the success of nearly every business and, as such, the salary and commission structure of sales jobs can be very enticing. With so many types of sales jobs that have different pay structures and varying prerequisites, navigating the world of sales careers alone can be difficult. If you’re just starting out in sales or looking to uncover new career opportunities, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore eight high-paying sales jobs and how you can get into them for yourself!
Nearly all businesses leverage some form of sales as it’s effectively just a way for an organization to get their product or service to the right buyer as efficiently as possible. Depending on the type of offering that the business has, some sales positions can be particularly lucrative.
All salary ranges and commission data in this article are from PayScale. Some salary ranges may be very wide as they can depend heavily on experience level and industry.
An account manager, or an account executive, is a person who manages the day-to-day communications and operations with business clients. In addition to helping clients with their support and other operational needs, account managers can also be valuable in their sales efforts as they encourage clients to utilize additional products or services.
Education Required: Bachelor’s in Sales, Communications, or Business
Average Base Salary: $57k
Base Salary Range: $39k–$85k
Average Commission: $20k
How To Get Started: Focus on writing, communication, and general problem-solving skills
Enterprise software sales representatives are focused on selling business-to-business (B2B) software to larger corporate clients. As this often involves selling larger deals, enterprise software has longer sales cycles yet can have much more lucrative commissions when successful. Representatives will potentially also need to be able to learn technical software products in depth so that they can handle a wide range of questions from potential clients.
Education Required: Bachelor’s in Sales, Business, or Computer Science
Average Base Salary: $92k
Base Salary Range: $41k–$133k
Average Commission: $70k
How To Get Started: If you don’t have experience in software, you can start as a sales development representative (SDR) to get some hands-on experience generating leads until you get more comfortable with the product.
An insurance agent is a sales representative that works with clients to choose the best insurance policy to meet their needs. Depending on the company, this could be for anything from health insurance to car insurance to corporate insurance. In addition to working with clients, insurance agents will also work with actuaries and software systems to generate quotes for plan premiums.
Education Required: Bachelor’s in Sales, Business, or Economics
Licenses Required: Licensing is required, but it varies based on state and industry. For example, to practice property insurance in New York, you’ll need a Property & Casualty License.
Average Base Salary: $41k
Base Salary Range: $27k–$68k
Average Commission: $1k–$34k
How To Get Started: Since there are a number of different types of insurance, the first step is to decide which one you want to get into. For example, if you decide you want to sell homeowners insurance, you’d want to begin reading about the real estate industry.
A medical device sales representative is someone who sells physical medical products to healthcare providers. This often involves working with doctors or hospital administrators in person to understand their needs, explain how the device you’re selling solves their problems, and demo the product. As these devices are often fairly technical, you’ll need to be able to understand both the operations of the device and the science around its use case.
Education Required: Bachelor’s in Sales or Biology; or MD
Average Base Salary: $58k
Base Salary Range: $39k–92k
Average Commission: $49k
How To Get Started: If you don’t already have a medical background, you may want to get an entry-level sales or SDR job at a healthcare company
A pharmaceutical sales representative is someone who works with doctors to encourage them to prescribe specific pharmaceutical drugs to their patients. They spend most of their time in-person with doctors, pharmacists, and hospital personnel to spread awareness of the medicines and how they can help patients. Similar to a medical device sales representative, a pharmaceutical sales representative will need to be able to learn a lot about medicine and biology to effectively explain the benefits and side effects of the drugs they’re selling.
Education Required: Bachelor’s in Sales or Biology; or MD
Average Base Salary: $89k
Base Salary Range: $52k–$125k
Average Commission: $21k
How To Get Started: If you don’t already have a medical background, you may want to get an entry-level sales or SDR job at a healthcare or pharmaceutical company
A realtor is a licensed real estate agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Their job is to represent buyers or sellers of homes or other real estate properties. While some realtors may work for a real estate company with a base salary, the vast majority of their income is typically in the form of commission on the sale of a property. This can be very lucrative for successful realtors, but does make the results a bit more variable for new realtors.
Education Required: While a college degree is not required, you will need to get real estate specific education from an accredited real estate school. You will also need to pass a state exam to receive a license to practice in your state. Continuing education may also be needed on a yearly basis.
Licenses Required: You must pass licensing exams in the states you intend to practice and stay current with the state and national dues to practice.
Average Base Salary: $53k
Base Salary Range: $21k–$142k
Average Commission: $80k
How To Get Started: If you’re new to the industry, plan to pursue education at a real estate school, take a licensing exam, and then apply to join the National Association of Realtors. If you’re already licensed, research agencies or brokerages in your area that can help you in building a stronger network and brand. You might also consider going back to real estate school to earn additional certifications and licensing to become a broker and/or start your own business.
A sales engineer is a more technical sales position that requires bridging sales and engineering to enable the representative to communicate more complex details about a product or service. Oftentimes this is either a salesperson with a technical background or an engineer with sales experience. Given the mixed experience required for the role, sales engineers can often demand higher base salaries than standard sales positions.
Education Required: Bachelor’s or Masters in Sales or Engineering
Average Base Salary: $74k
Base Salary Range: $51k–$113k
Average Commission: $24k
How To Get Started: If you have sales experience but not engineering experience, you can get technical certifications or take online courses in the technical field you’re interested in
A sales manager is in charge of a team of other sales people within an organization. They will hire, train, and oversee their team, and they will occasionally be pulled into sales meetings with important clients. Sales managers will often have a commission on the overall sales their teams generate, so there is still the big upside that other sales positions have even if they aren’t on the phone cold calling all day like other positions.
Education Required: Bachelor’s in Sales, Communications, Or Business
Average Base Salary: $63k
Base Salary Range: $40k–$117k
Average Commission: $30k
How To Get Started: Start as a normal sales representative or account executive and let your manager know that you have an interest in managing others
While getting your first high paying sales job is an exciting first step, you’ll need an efficient process to start closing deals and generating commission. However, doing so requires sufficient automation to orchestrate the sales process in a scalable manner.
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