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Top Sales Manager Compensation Trends in Tech for 2024

The Betts Team
February 23, 2024

Compensation rates for Sales Managers (SMs) as well as SDR Managers in tech are going through a period of stagnation in 2024, driven by major shifts in hiring trends. Over 2023, many SaaS companies from early stage startups to enterprises went through layoffs, and even many of those that avoided heavily cutting down their workforces still froze recruiting for go-to-market (GTM) jobs. 

The latest version of the Betts Compensation Guide gives a comprehensive overview of how salaries in tech are shaping up in 2024, and in this blog we will give you a glimpse into how trends are developing for Sales and SDR Managers in SaaS:

Hiring and Compensation Trends for Sales and SDR Managers in Tech

Sales leaders in the technology sector faced serious challenges in 2023, especially frontline managers who were caught in the middle of an uncertain market, shrinking GTM workforces from layoffs and hiring freezes, and continuous restructuring as organizations sought to pivot against new economic factors. In the midst of all of this, average compensation dropped for frontline Sales Managers in tech by around 5% to 10%, even while many were taking on more work as the traditional go-to-market job design broke down.

Particularly for SDR Managers, who lead teams of SDRs (Sales Development Representatives), the recruiting shifts and other emerging developments have left growing gaps in engagement that sales leadership has often had to step in to fill. This has placed increased burdens on SMs who find themselves having to become more directly involved in the sales pipeline, often working with Account Executives (AEs) to close deals instead of just managing their team. While salaries have dipped or gone stagnant for SMs in tech generally, we predict that the inevitable burnout and turnover from these trends will force SaaS startups to consider increasing rates in the near future in order to keep attracting top management talent.

Salary Ranges for Sales and SDR Managers

Compared to previous years, compensation rates for Sales and SDR Managers varied less by location and more by experience. Those with more than 2 years of experience in a managerial role earned around 17% more for Sales Managers and about 27% more for SDR Managers.

The average salary for a less experienced Sales Manager ranged from $120,000 – $160,000 across all time zones, while a more experienced SM saw a range of $140,000 – $200,000. OTE (on-target earnings) usually ranged from 80% – 100% of base salary, although for those with more than 2 years of experience it was more often the latter.

The average salary rate for an SDR Manager with less than 2 years of experience ranged from $110,000 – $140,000, while those with 3 years of experience or more saw a range of $140,000 – $180,000. OTE for the former typically hovered around 50% of base salary, while for the latter it ranged from 20% – 40%.

NY / SFPacificMountainCentralEasternRemote
Base | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTE
SDR Manager (0-2 yrs)110k-140k|
110k-140k| 170k-210k110k-140k| 170k-210k110k-140k| 170k-210k110k-140k| 170k-210k110k-140k| 170k-210k
SDR Manager (3-5 yrs)140k-180k| 170k-250k140k-180k| 170k-250k140k-180k| 170k-250k140k-180k| 170k-250k140k-180k| 170k-250k140k-180k| 170k-250k
Sales Manager (0-2 yrs)120k-160k|
120k-160k| 220k-320k120k-160k| 220k-320k120k-160k| 220k-320k120k-160k| 220k-320k120k-160k| 220k-320k
Sales Manager (3-5 yrs)140k-220k| 280k-400k140k-220k| 280k-400k140k-220k| 280k-400k140k-220k| 280k-400k140k-220k| 280k-400k140k-220k| 280k-400k

Other Top Compensation Trends for Tech Sales Managers

The compensation trends for sales leadership roles in tech either reflect or intersect directly with many of the biggest shifts impacting the industry as a whole, particularly when it comes to GTM recruiting. Below we will cover the top developments that are affecting earnings for Sales and SDR Managers, as well as those that will likely influence hiring for these jobs in the immediate future:

The Breakdown of Sales Job Design in the Pipeline

As we went over in this past joint webinar with Scale Venture Partners, sales job design is breaking down in the org chart and pipeline, often as a direct consequence of the economic factors plaguing the technology sector in 2023. As many organizations walked back on hiring new SDRs, we saw a cascade effect on the rest of the sales team as AEs took on more lead generation tasks and Sales Managers stepped in on sales calls to help close deals. These crossovers create new chokepoints affecting the scalability of sales motions, as well as adding even more to the plate of overworked GTM teams. 

Stagnant Compensation and Hiring for Sales Managers and SDRs

From one end of the team to the other, we can see the resulting impact of the job design creep and pivoting in many SaaS companies as both SDRs and their Managers have faced compensation dips as their roles have shifted. A combination of factors are contributing to this trend, but in response to the fallout of the economic hurdles of the past year, many tech startups are consolidating their go-to-market teams and placing a greater priority on hiring experienced “unicorn sellers” over recruiting less-experienced candidates in larger volumes. 

New Compensation Incentives for Sales Leaders

Compensation for sales leadership roles in technology startups has historically trended towards a policy of matching base salary with OTE at a generally equal rate. This approach was usually meant to ensure that Sales Managers were incentivized to maximize their team’s performance; however, the uncertainty in the SaaS market cuts both ways and the risk inherent for candidates with this approach will likely dissuade top talent.

Salary Adjustments Based on Demand 

Salary rates for sales and other go-to-market jobs in tech are still volatile, and the averages will be skewed by differentiations for experience levels, in-office versus remote, etc. Each release of the Betts Compensation Guide includes a target rate for each role that reflects the “sweet spot” for attracting top talent. The 2024 version now also includes a list of general Rules of Thumb for salary adjustments based on factors such as unicorn or employment status.

The Future of SDR Management 

Organizations across the technology sector are scaling back on hiring on SDRs, and the future of the role is in question as many companies are trying to use AI to automate the more repetitive lead gen activities. This inevitably also puts a big question mark over the future of SDR Managers as well, since obviously without Sales Development Representatives there is less need. With the general trends of job consolidation in SaaS, it is most likely that this role’s responsibilities will be folded into the functions of a general Sales Manager.

Find Your Unicorn Sales Manager with Betts Recruiting

While compensation for Sales and SDR Managers may have dipped over 2023, as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic fallout we expect new hiring surges later to bump salaries back up and create a lot of (expensive) competition over experienced SMs in tech. Get in touch with the Betts team now to get ahead of the market and find your best fit unicorn candidate for Sales Manager without draining your hiring budget later.
Contact Betts here and get started on your search for your next unicorn Sales Manager.