Written by Armand Farrokh, Founder of 30 Minutes to President’s Club
When I was running the sales team at Pave, I typically used three sources of data to triangulate how much any given role should be paid: the Pave dataset, comps from recruiters and my network, and the Betts Annual Sales Compensation report.
Betts gave us early access to their guide which dropped last week, so we’re breaking down how much you can get paid at each role in the sales career ladder, and what it takes to get there.
Disclaimer: Many reps are not making their OTE right now. Just because you see an OTE, doesn’t mean you will actually earn it. Try to find a team where at least 50% of reps are hitting quota and average team attainment is at least 70%, then go be the #1 rep that does 150%.
Sales Development Representative (No Experience)
The chart above shows entry-level SDRs at a $70k OTE target, while an experienced SDR is listed at $80k (in the report, not pictured above).
This is markedly lower from what I saw when I was hiring as Pave’s VP of Sales. It became pretty standard in the hot era of 2021-22 to see entry-level SDR OTEs at $80k because everyone was hiring SDRs like bananas.
The market for SDRs has cooled off for a number of different reasons:
- They feed AEs, and there are frankly just fewer AEs now.
- The AEs left are less flush with inbound pipeline and are expected to source their own.
- Companies are exploring tons of ways to automate outbound.
Someone who was the #1 MM AE is still going to get a great job. But a strong college grad or even an experienced SDR is going to be fighting for a limited pool of roles.
Account Executive (0-3 Years)
Next up, you’ve got AEs with 0-3 years of experience. This is admittedly a blended bucket that contains both Small-Medium Business (SMB) and Commercial (COMM) AEs.
This is when the double OTE split begins as you carry a big boy quota: more risk, more reward. From companies that I’m advising + friends in the market, I’m usually seeing SMB AEs float in the $130-150k range while COMM AEs crack the $150k+ threshold as pictured above.
While a few years ago, the #1 SDR could hop into an SMB AE role because of the talent shortage. But now, if you’re caught in that tough place where you have 12-24 months of SDR experience and can’t get promoted internally, it’s imperative that you network your way into a closing role if you want to make the job jump to AE.
Expect to compete in a pool of folks who have their mock discos down pat, so you should too. Or if you’re vying for that COMM AE role where deals move from the sub-$10k range to around $25k – expect to have a solid grip on the process acumen it takes to run a more complex sale (multithreading, vendor review, etc).
Mid-Market Account Executive (3-5 Years)
The magic formula for MM AE often sounds like 1 year of SDR experience and 2 years of closing experience. You can get there faster, but you gotta be really good.
And the reason for that is Mid-Market is where sales really gets hard. In SDR world, you can work really hard, figure out the right triggers to spot, and probably hit quota. In SMB world, if you can set an agenda, find a few problems, and drive next steps, you’ll probably close some deals.
But in MM world, you could sell the champion’s heart out all day. And if you didn’t get the right people in the room, your deal is nothing but a “you did all the right things” closed lost. When I was running the sales organization, I found myself getting involved in more MM deals than ever before when the market turned so that I could personally make sure that power was in the room.
As you can see, this is where the numbers get pretty big. Not just deal wise, but compensation wise, Bett’s cites $250k at the 75th percentile. Admittedly, I’ve seen this float closer to $200k for most MM AEs, but I’ve seen it stretch up to that range for those MM reps who have closer to 5 years of experience and are right on the cusp of ENT due to their top notch performance.
Enterprise Executive (5-10 Years)
The holy grail of sales, welcome to enterprise land my friends! $300k OTE is usually where the “real” enterprise OTEs begin – that means you’re almost exclusively closing 6-figure deals with 3+ month long sales cycles.
The biggest game changer in ENT sales is the scale of the sale in three dimensions:
- Problem Scale: You gotta sell 7-figure impact. You’re a million miles outside of feature-functionality territory. You need to find the million-dollar business priorities that the organization are already top priority and position yourself as the key to unlock them.
- People Scale: You’re not just selling to power. You’re selling to power across multiple departments. Think one VP was enough before? Go get 3 and make them all support you in front of the President of a $1B business unit.
- Process Scale: You can sell for 6 months and have no idea where you stand. If you’re running a 3-division sales cycle, you’re essentially running 3 massively complex MM deals with each, then finding a way to get them to all collide under one company umbrella and move in unison. Even a CEO has a hard time getting their team to do that.
But the swings are huge. Close a $10M deal on a $3M quota and you’re deep in accelerator territory. Some of my top ENT sales friends gross over $500k, and the top of the top will crack 7-figures in their W-2.
These were just a few things that stood out to me. But you can find the whole list of compensation benchmarks for reps, leaders, marketers, and customer success by checking out the full report here:
If you liked what you saw here, join 50,000+ sellers and leaders who on the 30 Minutes to President’s Club newsletter right here: