The sales job market consists of many different industries. If you are a beginner or even if you have some experience but are looking for a job change, this article is for you. We will shed some light on the most lucrative sales industries, and some of the…well let’s just say not so lucrative ones. There are pros and cons about each industry in general, and ways you can decide on the best fit for your career. Keep in mind when we are referencing average total salaries in this article, we are referring to the average total take home pay including salary, commission, bonuses etc.
Highest Paying Sales Industries
Enterprise Software/Consulting Sales
This industry has a higher learning curve and is harder for beginners to break into. It is extremely lucrative if you come in with experience. Enterprise software has a significantly longer sales cycle as products/services have a much higher price tag. The best companies to work for in this industry are Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft and HP. See these companies featured in Forbes as some of the 10 best companies for commission based jobs.
For Average salaries this one is tricky. At large international firms the pay scales range between $150k and $200k with top ends over $400k. At smaller local firms providing similar services, average annual pay can be as low as $50-60k. Keep your eye out for opportunities at large, reputable firms if software sales is your target.
Medical Device/Pharmaceutical Sales
The medical device and pharmaceutical industries both share a high learning curve. These industries are extremely competitive and very quick to fire under-performers. Usually reps are given a set list of accounts with a regional coverage. These jobs involve more travel compared to other industries. Pharmaceutical and Medical device sales reps are commonly asked to be a part of actual surgeries and drug applications to help guide physicians when using their products. The top companies in pharmaceuticals are Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Stryker. Some great medical device companies to work for NuVasive, Medtronic, Stryker, and Zimmer.
Pharmaceutical Sales Average Total Salary: $120k
Medical Device Sales Average Total Salary: $154k
Financial Services Sales
This is a broad industry. Jobs can range from selling consumer investment plans at ING, to working at Goldman Sachs creating wealth management plans for billion dollar companies. This explains the lower average salary based on the widespread classification of a financial services rep. Do not be confused as the top earners selling financial services, are millionaires. Some of the best companies in the industry are The World Bank, ING, Goldman Sachs and GE Capital.
Average Total Salary: $95k
Real Estate/Commercial Real Estate Sales
The commercial real estate sector is by far the higher paying option in real estate. That is not to say residential real estate agents don’t make a good living. However, because of the exclusivity in commercial firms and the extremely long sales cycles they face, experienced commercial real estate agents commonly take home in excess of $300k. Some of the best commercial real estate firms to work for are CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle, Cushman & Wakefield, and Colliers International.
Average Total Salary Residential Real Estate Agent: $76k
Average Total Salary Commercial Real Estate agent: $105k
Copier/Office Technology Sales
The copier sales industry is a great starting point for any beginner salesperson. Almost 100% of businesses need some form of the product. It allows reps to build relationships with local business owners and get a ton of experience managing basic sales cycles. This industry translates extremely well when advancing your career later because the skill sets can apply anywhere. The best companies in the industry are Xerox, Canon, Ricoh and Konica Minolta.
Average Total Salary: $88k
Telecommunications/Security sales (B2B)
This is a very common industry for sales beginners. You can gather your bearings working for great companies like Comcast and ADT, selling a product that most companies can benefit from. This industry has a short learning curve and allows beginner reps to get their feet wet.
Average Total Salary: $69k
Manufacturing/Consumer Goods Sales
Sales jobs in this industry are usually with companies like PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Mars, Nestle, and Unilever. This sector also features a shorter learning curve and as a result, a smaller pay grade.
Average Total Salary: $63k
Lowest Paying Industries
Retail Sales – Average Total Salary: $30k
Telemarketers – Average Total Salary: $26k
B2C Door to Door Sales (telecom, security, etc.) – Average Total Salary: $21k
Now that you have a better understanding of the different industries offering sales jobs, you should decide which is going to be the best fit for your skillset. Are you technical, consultative, and enjoy complex problem solving? A career in enterprise software sales may be a great fit. Do you enjoy relationship building and don’t mind waiting to build up your business? Commercial real estate is a great industry for you. Take a look around Glassdoor for in depth reviews of different jobs and average salaries by position.