America’s sales sector is bursting with talent. Nearly 12.3 percent of all jobs in the United States are now full-time sales positions, and sales reps and account managers generate millions of dollars — billions, perhaps — for their respective organizations. But which sales-related jobs come with the bulkiest salaries? And where in the U.S. do sales staff make the most money? Here are the top four:
4. Account Managers
Mean annual wage: $51,154
Account managers balance the responsibility of managing sales and customer relationships and are a vital part of any business-to-business (B2B) organization. These professionals number crunch and use statistical models to track customers as they move through the sales pipeline. The result? Greater customer retention and revenue growth. Usually, account managers know their organization inside-out and are sellers, communicators and problem solvers. These professionals liaise with customers, clients, and corporate bosses. They bridge the gap between senior management and prospects. They spearhead lucrative new opportunities for business growth.
Account managers make a mean annual wage of $51,154, according to PayScale. Average wages, according to national salary data, range from $35,014 to $80,825, which equates to around $2,918 to $6,735 per month. Some account managers boost their basic salary with commission — which, on average, ranges from $513 – $19,766 per year — and bonuses. Salaries increase with age and experience, too, with late-career account managers earning up to 25 percent more than the national average.
Professionals who possess certain core skills often see their pay packets bulge. Strategic sales, contract negotiation, account sales and sales management are all skills that influence account manager salaries. The average account manager salary also increases with age and industry-related experience.
3. Inside Sales Representatives
Mean annual wage: $89,170
Inside sales representatives are expert sellers. In fact, they can sell almost anything to anybody. These professionals harness the power of persuasion to create solutions to consumers’ problems and use specific marketing techniques to boost revenue. Usually, sales reps are brand ambassadors, working exclusively for one company. Some reps, however, might work freelance.
Unlike regular sales reps, inside sales reps sell products and services with the latest technology — email, social media, phone, etc. — rather than face-to-face. Currently, there are 334,010 sales reps working in the U.S. and these professionals make up around 55 percent of the overall sales staff at startups and small businesses. Expect this percentage to skyrocket in the next few years as more brands invest in inside sales.
Inside sales reps earn a mean annual wage of $89,170, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is significantly more than account managers. This works out as around $7,430 per month or $42.87 per hour. The state with the highest mean annual wage is Wyoming, where inside sales reps average $145,450 per year. This is followed by Minnesota, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia respectively. The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights metropolitan division in Illinois has the highest number of inside sales reps, with 11,220 (this figure does not include self-employed workers). Chicago, in particular, is a major hub for sales professionals, with an abundance of startups, scaleups and large enterprises.
Professional inside sales reps can expect to make the most money in the chemical product and preparation manufacturing sector, where mean annual wages exceed $107,000. Oil and gas extraction; boiler, tank, and shipping container manufacturing; and resin, synthetic rubber, and artificial synthetic fibers and filaments manufacturing are the next three most lucrative industries for inside sales reps. Salary of inside sales representative jobs is also influenced by the age and experience of the job candidate.
2. Sales Managers
Mean annual wage: $130,400
Sales managers are a critical component of any sales team and keep the cogs of a commercial organization turning. Responsible for guiding salespeople, they set quotas and build bullet-proof sales plans. They hire, fire and inspire sales staff, juggling the roles of manager and mentor. Then they analyze reams of complicated data: trade, transactions, turnover, etc. Currently, there are over 364,000 sales managers working in the U.S. California has the most — a whopping 66,200 — followed by Illinois, Texas, New York and Georgia.
Sales managers make a mean annual wage of $130,400, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — much more than account managers. This equates to around $10,867 per month or $62.69 per hour. Like all sales-related roles, salaries fluctuate depending on the state, with sales managers making the most cash in New York (mean annual wage: $183,610), followed by Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey and Connecticut. Sales managers in the New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan area make even more than the New York state average and earn a mean annual wage of $187,320 — higher than anywhere else in the country. This is due, in part, to the massive concentration of sales-related jobs in New York City.
Sales manager salaries shift depending on the industry, too. The securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage sectors pay a mean annual wage of $205,800 — the most lucrative industry for sales managers in the U.S. — while the financial investment activities industry offers a mean annual wage of $194,920. Securities and commodity exchange, specialized design services and oil and gas extraction are the next three most profitable sectors, with mean annual salaries totaling $180,860, $172,070 and $171,300 respectively.
1. National Sales Managers
Mean annual wage: $164,300
National sales managers carry many of the same duties as sales managers but are responsible for more than one sales region. Typically, these professionals travel across the country and visit different sales divisions, either on their own or with other sales reps. Like regular sales managers, national sales managers determine sales quotas and grapple with metrics that influence revenue growth within an organization.
Government data doesn’t differentiate between sales manager and national sales manager income. However, a national sales manager can expect to earn considerably more than regular sales managers. In fact, average salaries could be in the higher percentiles of estimated annual income from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ($164,300 and above). Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of national sales manager USA jobs are Danbury, Connecticut, and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut — both of which have a booming sales and marketing sector.
National sales managers who work in certain industries can increase their salaries, too. The computer system design sector, for example, offers these professionals a mean annual wage of $154,830. Moreover, sales managers working in the professional and commercial equipment industry, wholesale electronics, and management of companies and enterprises could earn $148,510, $146,940 and $143,830 per year respectively. The average salary national sales manager could increase in the coming years, as more brands search for qualified employees to manage their sales divisions.
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