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$250k+ salaries - How did you get there?

Who are you, what industry are you in, and how did you do it???


I often hear SaaS Salespeople raking in $250k or $350k + salaries a year. How did you get there??? How long did it take? And are there certain industries that have better chances at these salaries? Is it knowing the right people and being born in the right family? (No judgement, I honestly want to know). Is it worth it (time wise, work/life balance)?


How many of you guys exist? There seem to be quite a few in general or is it because they're most vocal?


Either way, I'd love to get there one day too and I'd like to learn how y'all got there?


(Congrats to those who have!)

-----------------------------------------------------------

EDIT: Update - it seems the general trend is to be in sales for at least 5+ years. @JustGonnaSendIt has a great breakdown of tiers and salary.  


Network like crazy with the right ppl. Thank you to @BigMeech for the conference and VP networking tip.


The trending industry seems to be Cybersecurity.  

💰 Compensation
🤘 Personal Growth
75
BigMeech
WR Officer
+11
Coors Light Advocate
I have a $260K OTE and honestly it was 50% luck and 50% really fucking hard work. Hoping to get to the $200k salary mark ($350ish OTE) by the next 3-5 years.

I grind my ass off to always be a top performer on each team I am on. Combine that with aggressive networking and I got where I’m at now, but have a long way to go. 

I’m in cyber security SaaS which is definitely in a bubble, but a good spot to be nonetheless.
SalesRecruiter
Opinionated
+7
Recruiting Director
Cyber sales recruiter here. I give out 300-315k OTE offers every week no matter the location in the US
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Are you serious?  What are the qualifications you're looking for?  I'm dying to know.  Remote Ok?  What kinda software?  Need a special degree or people from any background ok?
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KGCanada
Valued Contributor
+4
Senior Executive
Cyber-gang!!!  Great place to be if you meet and exceed the efforts and focus of @BigMeech 
OTE can be fluffy, however the cybersecurity (SaaS) sales World is rewarding and beneficial.
($150/$150) 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
How did you get into cybersecurity?  Did you already have a background in it?  Or just went for it like BigMeech?  Do most have a min of 5 years experience with SaaS sales?
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looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
That's amazing, is part of it being in the right location (HCOL)?  How long did it take to get there?  A common theme I'm seeing is cybersecurity and networking.  How did you end up in cybersecurity?  Were you in the industry to begin with?  Did you need specialized degrees for this?  How did you network the right people?  
BigMeech
WR Officer
+11
Coors Light Advocate
1) Partially due to cost of living, but I think mainly due to the industry. No employer wants to underpay to be able to attract talent, so they have all driven each other up. 

2) Took me roughly 6 years.

3) I honestly googled "top 5 start ups in Bay Area (CA)" when I graduated college and cold applied. Got into #1 at the time, which is the "dumb luck" part I was referring to above. Still no idea how I got an interview without a referral. 

4) I had a marketing degree lol. I just left that company, but they are actually considering dropping the college degree requirement for new hires.

5) Once I was there, I made a point to:
- Get on a first name basis with ALL leadership at/above the VP level, in ALL departments. This took about 3 years to pull off, but helped me move up internally.
- Networking externally took place at conferences and when working with partners. I try to talk to everyone I would potentially ever want to work for.
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funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
You're a boss Meech ❤️
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
Damn!!
ba
bamilli
Good Citizen
Account Manager
Glad to be in the Room finally.. interesting to hear Meech, I’m fairly certain I work for one of your (old?) competitors and I’ve been wondering about salaries too as someone who works for an SF company but works at a satellite office in the south. Fairly certain I’m making $30-$40K (base) less than some colleagues either based on SF or with more experience. I was promoted internally from SDR 1.5 years ago to AM and am starting to wonder how high the ceiling is where I’m at, but also if I’m overpaid for Atlanta-based tech companies. Tough spot to be in.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Welcome to the War Room, @bamilli ! It sounds like a good problem you're having. I'd ask coworkers what they're being paid.  I have no problems talking about it at work and colleagues share theirs as well.  It depends on the culture too, I guess.
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SlinginSoftware
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
How long did it take? I just accepted a position (Saas) that is in this range and it took me roughly 7 years of being in sales. That being said, I've earned in this range for the last 2 years with an OTE under $180k.

How did I get there? Working my ass off through several shitty jobs before finding my sweet spot.

Industry? I've been in cyber security for the last 3 years

Knowing the right people? My parents are both public school teachers. My first job out of college I was literally earning $25k a year (with a Master's degree). So I would say "no", but it could help. If I could do it all again, I would have networked WAAAAY more and taken advantage of every 'in' I could.

Is it worth it? I would say yes. I feel like I have a very healthy work life balance. I have 3 kids all under 5 years old and have never had to miss something because of work (and my wife works full-time as well). When I started in sales, we sat down and I made a promise that I would always prioritize family first... a promise that I've kept.

This is a ton of info above, but just know that much of hitting this range has to do with blowing out your number and optimizing your comp plan, not the OTE on paper!
ExtremeVibeChecker44
Praised Answer
+2
Inside Sales
Would be very interested in hearing why/how you jumped company to company to find that sweet spot gig.
SlinginSoftware
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Honestly, I haven't done a ton of job hopping. I've averaged around 5 years per previous company, but have had several promotions at each. I've always been VERY selective/calculated when I've moved. I've never "run" from a company... I've only every been drawn to a company. I've passed on new opportunities at least 7-8 times.

Any time you're looking to making a move, you have to ask every single question important question you can think of... This is essentially to finding that sweet spot!

PS- SOOOO important to not burn any bridges... the further your network stretches, the more opportunity in your future!
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Thanks for this!  From looking around, it seems most have been in sales for about 7-10 years so this makes sense.  I also seem to notice the trending industry to be in cybersecurity, so no surprise there.  And yes - in the end, it's all about blowing out your number more than OTE.

Congrats on making it!!!
SlinginSoftware
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
And another thing to add...not to sound crazy, but when OTE was $120k, we felt just as comfortable financially as we do now. Throughout my career, We've essentially lived the same lifestyle. We do live in a slightly nicer house now, but the extra money goes towards my retirement. Even at the lower OTE, with the way we save, we would have still had a comfortable retirement...but the extra money we make now goes towards retiring EARLY...not retiring with a larger income.
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
You're doing it right. Most people (myself included) let the lifestyle creep happen.
LordOfWar
Politicker
+6
Director
I'm living that lifestyle creep now, just started reigning it back in.
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looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
I'm at the $120k OTE right now and working on FIRE (financial independence/retire early).  If I want to start a family and keep up my FIRE saving habits, I NEED to earn more.  I don't want to work into my late 50s/60s.
Thesamiam
Arsonist
+5
Sales
Man im trying to get to at least $120k OTE, my OTE sucks @ss (wait can I swear?) at $67k
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JustGonnaSendIt
Opinionated
+4
Your Mom's Man on the Side
First, are you asking about a 250K+ BASE, or OTE? I think getting there in total earnings is much easier than getting your base that high. You'd essentially need to be a Sr. Sales exec or a seriously tenured AE to get a base that high in most places. But then you lose out on all the upside from that sweet, sweet commish.

You can accomplish a 250K+ OTE in many tech companies and consulting houses, but you need to look for the right positions. And you need to be honest with yourself about your experience level in Sales and the industry you're working in.

I have earned at this level with an OTE between 120K and 150K just hitting accelerators and crushing quota in tech and tech consulting. Having that big blue whale deal helps too.

It seems that in my geography, in tech companies and tech consulting, OTE's roughly follow these experience bands:
- Entry Level = 75K - 120K OTE. Think your SDR / BDR / Territory Rep jobs. 0-3 years experience.
- Mid-level = 150K - 200K OTE. Think Sr. Territory Rep or Enterprise Rep. 3 - 8 years of experience.
- Senior Level = 240K + OTE. Think Strategic Rep or other sorts of highly-focused and established sales roles. 

Once you have 5-6 years of experience selling, and at least 18 months in any given industry, you should be able to start bringing down a total comp somewhere in the 250K - 350K range, depending on the products and types of deals you're working.

Manager / exec pay looks different (more base, less or no commish) in my experience but can also get you there.

Knowing the right people to find opportunities helps, but hard work is what makes you the big $$$. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or very atypical.

Think about the value of the business problems you're solving with what you're selling as a guidepost to what earnings look like on the upside. 

You're going to make more selling technology or consulting solutions that solve $multi-million or larger problems than you are selling solutions for $100K problems. But the effort required and the risk in winning the deal will be higher.

Depending on the company culture the job can be worth it or not. Does the company have a hero culture where everyone is killing themselves working 18 hour days and weekends just to get stuff done? May be more taxing on your emotional state and life outside work - But you may see much more upside from such a driven culture.

Conversely, if your company runs like a good-old-boys club and everyone is taking their time - You may have more work-life balance, but you'll be stressed about navigating beaurocracy that doesn't seem to understand urgency when it gets down to the wire.

I've been in both kinds of company and there's a ton to learn either way.

Focus on treating your sales career like an apprenticeship; understand the skills you need to make it to the next level and make a plan to acquire them. Seek mentorship from people that have made it where you want to go. Then work freaking hard at it.
Incognito
WR Officer
+10
Master of Disaster
"Conversely, if your company runs like a good-old-boys club and everyone is taking their time - You may have more work-life balance, but you'll be stressed about navigating beaurocracy that doesn't seem to understand urgency when it gets down to the wire."

That hit me right in the feels. Welcome to my hell. 
JustGonnaSendIt
Opinionated
+4
Your Mom's Man on the Side
LOL - Hey, at least you can expect Jeff to clock out at 4:59 regardless of what's in his approval queue.

IMO better than your VP calling at 11:29 AM on Sunday to ask about your pipeline.
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looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Thank you for all of this.  I'm referring to OTE+.  I figured a $250k+ base would be like finding a rare shiny pokemon.  They exist but not as common.

The breakdown of entry, mid, and senior makes perfect sense.  I'd like to know what to expect on the sales career path.  I'm currently in the entry bucket and would like to move into the mid-level bucket next year.  

Cybersecurity seems to be the trend and your definition of million dollar problems vs $100k problems is where the money's at.  

And did you find a mentor along your way in sales?  If so, how did it happen?
JustGonnaSendIt
Opinionated
+4
Your Mom's Man on the Side
You're most welcome. Sales needs more discussions like this!

Cybersecurity is where I am now, but I made some great money in AI / Big Data Analytics and Operational Planning also. 


Look for the big, complex, difficult to understand problems that you find interesting. As you master those you are worth more and more, and you'll find changing industries is easier the more complexity you can handle.

The major difference between your entry-level roles and that mid-level band is going to be your ability to think strategically about accounts you're working (not just this quarter's deal, but how they actually run their business and how you can get in sync with that). It also requires you to have internalized enough information about your industry or your customers industries to lead them thru a story about their business with your product, rather than just presenting some features, functions, stats, and quotes. 

It's also helpful to understand the overall sales process from the perspective of your company, so you can be proactive in how the information you're generating (forecasts, notes, feedback to product management, etc...) is helping you move the ball forward. This means making the jump from having a "ah, shit I need to tell my manager about this" attitude to a "I would like my manager's opinion on how to play this" attitude.

I did have the benefit of some great mentorship and great bosses at the beginning of my sales career - Years 0 - 3. But then changes happened and I was stuck in a soul-crushing rat race for about 4 years following that. 

Both experiences were huge learning opportunities. The value of good mentorship is hard to express. It's critical for giving you the tools to make it thru the bad days and to know when enough is enough. 

For me, mentorship happened initially by luck, but now I know what to look for. Someone with the attitude of a teacher that's still willing to hold you accountable for your own actions and attitudes. Someone you can trust to help you think and call you on your own bullshit. Someone that has been where you're trying to go and can help you understand what you need to learn to be eligible to take on that responsibility.

Hopefully that someone is your boss, or your boss' boss. But you can find this in local networking or Alumni groups as well.

VERY IMPORTANT: Once you start getting your footing and realizing "wow, I know more than some of these guys I'm working with / talking to" it becomes your responsibility to start paying it forward and mentoring as well.

Sales desperately needs more people thinking of it as a trade, growing from apprentice to journeyman to master to guru, rather than a transactional way to make some money.
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CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I'm gonna go ahead and argue that your entry level range is waaaay high on the low end. It's been about a decade but my OTE was $50k when I started and I know that shit is still out there.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Do you mean my current OTE as an AE?  Could you clarify what you mean high on the low end?

When I started out as an SDR, it was $70k OTE ($55k base).  Job hopped after a year to $100k OTE as an AE.  Then recently got promoted to $120k OTE.  It was about a 2.5 year journey in SaaS.  I also started pre-pandemic and live in a HCOL area.  So numbers might be skewed.

Before SaaS, I had 5 years of luxury retail sales.  
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eR
eRecruiter
Executive Manager
Tech and sales recruiter here. 

I currently have an uncapped commission plan. Personally I'm trending towards $300k - $400k this year, if not a bit more. I just started with a new company and my colleagues who've been here a year+ are $500k+. My best year at my previous company was $300k OTE and the reason I switched companies was for a better comp plan. 

Originally got into recruiting through a friend who started at a big named firm and referred me. 

That company gave me years of training and support. On top of that, I work my ass off. 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Congratulations on the incredible role!  It's great to hear something different from cybersecurity SaaS sales.  A few of my friends have moved from Sales to Recruiting, so I can see the logic of this!
EQSales
Good Citizen
+1
VP of Sales
lot of really good and credible comments here for sure so I won't repeat.  but in most cases, the $250K+ OTE in sales in typically found in the enterprise segment at complex/complex'ish technologies, esp SW.  Typically higher ASP.  $350K OTE (not what you can make if you blow out your number but base plus variable at 100% of goal) is typically only available to major account reps (think the guy/gal who has sold to wellsfargo for 3 decades and will basically only work that account and do MASSIVE deal) or leadership.

set your expectations fairly.  but $250K-$300K is pretty standard enterprise SW sales exec OTE in any metro, esp complex SW sales.

hardwork grinding through BDR, to inside sales, to field is the only way i know of but I also didn't go to a fancy school or have a group that would just put me there.  i know have that click but i earned my way in and we look out for each other as we look for the next big start up and exit opportunity.  find those groups, work hard, get in and tag along for the ride
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Excuse my ignorance but what does SW stand for?  I tried googling it but to no avail.  I don't have any hookups either or know anyone personally in that salary range so I'm trying to learn as much as possible by asking around.  If I were a major account rep, I don't think I'd ever want to step down.  

Thank you for all the advice!
EQSales
Good Citizen
+1
VP of Sales
SW= "Software"
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Boutdamtime
Opinionated
+3
Client Executive
I don’t want to over identify myself on this platform but I will say it’s been 6+ years of hell to get to where I am and I kept showing up every day eating that shit sandwich until it paid off. I was selling med device and switched to software in the HC space. My advice is don’t give up even when it feels like you should. Ignore all the doubt and keep doing the best job you can as cliche as it sounds. It’s true tho. 

Secondly $250k is not what it used to be 10-20 years ago. The difference between 80k-250k sounds drastic but think about the difference between 250k- and Jeff Bezos. Change your mindset around wealth and earnings so you can continue to achieve what you want from it. Can I go to space? No. Can I pay my mortgage and car and have a little left over for investing and fun? Yes. Am I working my balls off? Also yes. 
Kiona
Opinionated
+2
Head of Business Development
TRUE! The difference between $40k and $80k is greater in lifestyle than $80k to $120k. and on and on. 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Agreed, inflation and rising childcare/housing costs can suck it!
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Boutdamtime you got the salary increase!  What does HC stand for?  There are so many acronyms, it's hard to keep up.  Most enterprise AE's make $200k OTE, so I was wondering what that next level looked like, hence $250k.  I'm of the FIRE mindset and want to retire early.  If I want to start a family, that means I'll have to make more money if I want to keep the same goals. 


I'm of the mindset, you don't ask, you don't get.  But if you don't what you're asking about, you come off like a dumbass.  Your advice and this thread have been incredibly helpful to know what to expect in the future! 
Boutdamtime
Opinionated
+3
Client Executive
Healthcare is the vertical I mean when I abbreviate HC. 
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Salesymcsalesface
Good Citizen
Sales Executive
Going to stand out here, but I just had my best month ever and am trending towards $200k+ total this year. If I can maintain this growth (which I have for the last 4 years) I'll be on track for $250k+ next year and beyond. 

This is Freight Forwarding/Logistics. Seems to be a rare industry here, but especially right now it is big $$$. I've been in my role over 4 years and it took some serious commitment and eating shit for the first 3 to get in with the right accounts. Landed a whale that's booming right now. 

We pay way different and I've never worked in another sales role so I can't say if it's normal, but our top earners get $750K - $1MM+. Few and far between, but I'm one of many looking at that $250-$500 range.

Started at $50k, 72 next year, $109, $135, now $200+. No family connections but did have college networking due to high-level execs coming from my university. Started in operations, made friends with the Sales Manager and been grinding ever since to meet as many people as I can and build a reputation of being able to solve problems. 

When shit hits the fan (like right now in supply chain) people pay whatever they have to, to whomever can solve their problems. Feel like that's pretty universal everywhere
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Wow, congrats on all the deals closed and the whale!  I've noticed a lot of logistics SaaS companies trending, especially due to the pandemic so this makes a lot of sense.  I'm happy to hear the progressive pay bumps and potentially a hug one at the end!  
WCK
Politicker
+8
Padre de Tequila
I mean honestly, I wonder the same. 

I KNOW my company undervalues by anywhere from 30-40%(OTE @100% quota is 67.5, base of 52) so I'm eyeing every opportunity to move up and elsewhere. Just don't yet know how.
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
YO, WHAT? OTE as a seller is $67.5k? You could get that as base easily right now.
WCK
Politicker
+8
Padre de Tequila
Upsell* lmao. Trust me, I'm aware 😭 
bropostle
Fire Starter
+2
Territory Sales Manager
I feel that.
SlinginSoftware
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Yeah...that seems very undervalued. Seeing that you sell CPC, does your company have their own DSP? Are you at an agency or a vendor?

Many times, being at the vendor level can be much more lucrative. I'd recommend watching Glassdoor like a hawk for openings and only look at companies with a 4.5 star rating or higher. Use the filters and be selective...find your sweet spot!
WCK
Politicker
+8
Padre de Tequila
Oh trust me, I'm doing all I can to eye opportunities to grow both my skillset and base pay lol. Our CPC is internal, but if I give more info it'll easily reveal myself/my company lol
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Yikes, it's completely valid to feel that way.  Some SDRs make more than that in HCOL areas.  Move and move up!
WCK
Politicker
+8
Padre de Tequila
First company in sales I've worked for and I'm on track to make 80-100k with commission if my numbers stay steady, but I know there's better opportunities out there. Waiting for the right one is all.
Thesamiam
Arsonist
+5
Sales
Im on the same boat except my base is slightly crappier lol
LordOfWar
Politicker
+6
Director
350K Salary? Damn, I'd love that.

I'll pass that this year if the bottom doesn't fall out of my deals, but it'll be like 3/4 commission.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
That's still a lot more than other people!  I hope you close those deals!
LordOfWar
Politicker
+6
Director
Thanks! Deals are closed, just waiting on production and delivery. I don't get paid until the product leaves the door and we know payment is otw.
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GDO
Politicker
+7
BDM
I’m wondering how common this is in the EU. 

would this as attainable here as well?
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Good question.  My impression is that the US makes more but correct me if I'm wrong.
PhlipOut
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
I'm in the UK (so not EU anymore) and my OTE right now is close to 210USD. there are def a lot of IC roles paying more, but most are pure Enterprise sales in SaaS.

i've been selling for 10 years in tech, but only 1.5yrs in SaaS. my other roles never had double OTE, so even if my base has not really changed much in the last 4.5 years, my earning potential has.
SaaS is where the money is. Enteprise roles especially. (of course also managment). I'd say if you MidMarket/Commercial/Corporate 200k is the top end of the OTEs I've seen, but you can maybe overachieve more easily then being stuck on the wrong Enterprise territory.

I have a friend here in cybersecurity and his new OTE is close to $300k USD
sa
salesboomer
Senior Sales Executive
Consistent performance is key.  You can get to that OTE in 5 years if you are good.  Who you know matters but stay at the same company for at least 2-3 years with high performance.  get a great reputation and the good $$ will find you.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Thanks, this is all great advice!  I have about 3 years of SaaS sales experience.  At least I know what to expect now and not get lowballed!
Kiona
Opinionated
+2
Head of Business Development
My first sales role (2018) had me at $65k base $130OTE. Having a low base with a low quota allowed me to hit accelerators quick in the year and I grossed over $200k. The following year I was increased to $95k base and $190 OTE. Made about the same, cause the quota was raised, and I didn't get the accelerators as early. It also stressed me the F out cause I thought I might actually miss quota. 

Don't be quick to try to get that cash on salary, In the above scenarios you can make more with less work with a lower base and therefore a lower quota (just make sure the accelerators are in there)

I sell saas to finance professionals, and make between 8-10% until 100% quota, 15% up to 150% quota, and 20% for anything greater than 150% quota. 


This also is something to think about if you co-work deals and think about splitting things up. If someone wants to share quota with me and I haven't hit 100% yet, I say "keep the cash, I'll take the quota" and work hard to make it rain later in the year. 
SabertoothSales
Opinionated
+4
Southeast Regional Manager
Thanks for posting, I'm wondering the same myself!
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Same!  They say sales is a great way to make money.  I hear about all these high paying salaries and commissions.  I wanna get there one day too!
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I took a step back down from $250k OTE to get more guaranteed money (I'm basically guaranteed to make at least $200k every year).

A lot of it involves getting promoted a few times and making the jumps you need. I basically doubled my base in three years by making two moves and getting promoted once. Then I got to $250k with another move.
Corpslovechild
Opinionated
+4
Inbound Sales Manager
Congrats man!!!
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Congrats on making it!  Are you in an AE role or something else like Manager, VP level?  Did it take more than 5 years?  And did you stay in the same industry when you job hopped?
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I'm an individual contributor.

Just under 6.5 years from starting as a BDR to getting to that point. I probably could have done it faster had I been a bit more aggressive.

And I mostly stayed in related areas within tech.
Willygggg
Good Citizen
+1
Founder
Very. I mean very few sales people have this as a base. If I’m wrong. Please tell me. 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
If you're referring to $250k, I mean OTE.  Most people don't have this as a base, even non-sales.
dmtaggs
Account Executive
To get to around that compensation is a mix of hard work, luck, personal/prof connections and experience (over 6 years). As for the work/life balance...it is a constant struggle. Industries vary but any SaaS company, MarTech, AI all hot right now.
SalesSage
Valued Contributor
+5
National Account Manager
This post hits my pain point and frustration with my existing situation.  I want to get into SaaS and have applied, been through interviews, sometimes up to 3 with a company and then don't get the job.  The last was due to a referral getting it over me because I just was a cold application.  I can't get the experience that the companies seem to want.  I am feeling very stuck and not sure what to do.  I have great experience and maybe I just fail at translating that during interview or application process.  I am at the top of my game in the company I am in and earnings are maxed at a low level.  The struggle is real and it is getting to me.  Thanks for posting.  
JustGonnaSendIt
Opinionated
+4
Your Mom's Man on the Side
Join a SaaS startup. Work like a rented mule for 18 months. Absorb every piece of knowledge you can about how sales works in SaaS. Then take what you learned and move to a bigger shop. 

It helps if the industries are similar, but SaaS is SaaS at the end of the day. If you can tell the right story about what you've learned and what you can bring to the new employer / hope to learn from them you'll smash the interview.

A lot of very early-stage startups won't have a high bar to join, will be disorganized as hell, might not last 18 months, but you'll get exposed to so much, so fast, you can use that as a platform to pick your next move. Just make sure you make enough money to pay rent.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
This is exactly how I got in.  I joined an early stage SaaS startup and hated every bit of it.  Grinded it out for over a year before jumping ship and landing in an established SaaS.  Much happier now and glad I stuck it out.  
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CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I know I've said this around a bigillion times in this place but NetSuite and Salesforce are hiring like fucking crazy and paying out the ass for talent.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Getting in is easier said than done.  I hear they have great sales training.  I heard the best way is to get your foot in the door with a referral.  Are you familiar with the hiring process at Salesforce or Netsuite?
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Post
Good Citizen
+2
Outside Sales Executive
How is your follow up after these interviews? Being on the inside now, a lot of the hiring managers are looking for someone who will treat them like you would treat a prospect in relentless pursuit. Show them what you have and how bad you want it. Follow up emails, send a video and speak with conviction on why you need to sell for them. Show your knowledge of the companies current success and how you expect to contribute to that. Let them know you aren’t going to give up, and that will be to both of your benefits. Make them AFRAID that you will go work for one of their competitors. You could be right, it may not be coming across in the interview and sometimes they just need to see you have “it”.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Definitely this.  When I interview SDRs, people who follow up have an edge.  As in, they took the effort to find my contact info and sent personalized msgs about the interview in their thank you notes. 
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looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
If not in SaaS, which industry are you in right now?  I had a tough time getting into SaaS until I got my foot in the door.  Once I was in, almost every door was welcomed. 
SalesSage
Valued Contributor
+5
National Account Manager
I sell professional education and development, individual to enterprise wide options. 
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AssistantToTheRegional
Opinionated
+3
Enterprise Account Executive
A few years in Cyber security
Lambda
Politicker
+6
Sales Consultant
grind grind and grind, then dont forget to ask. i have 220 OTE this year but i spent a long time at the 100 range
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
How long were you in the 100k range? Are you in Enterprise?  Cybersecurity as well?
Lambda
Politicker
+6
Sales Consultant
medical devices for about 10 years my dumb ass didnt switch fast enough, now im in healthcare data

alecabral
Arsonist
+7
Director - Digital Sales Transformation
Took me some 5 years to go from bdr to AE, then a couple more until I reached an interesting OTE (around 230k). That was 10 years ago, in the software industry.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
I'm happy to hear you made it! 5+ years seems to be the norm.  I'll be a little more patient while working hard.  Though I might consider exploring software based industries now.
Post
Good Citizen
+2
Outside Sales Executive
I am in Saas and worked in an entirely different industry prior to breaking in. I had no connections to Saas, just decided one day that I was done with healthcare and started looking. Prior to Saas my OTE was 110k, within 2 years of jumping into the Saas space, my OTE went up to $650k ($120 base the rest commission). Hard work, determination, and a company that recognizes what that is worth. Been in varying sales roles for 10 years now.
NarcoticsAnonymous
Influencer
+3
Executive Sales Rep
That’s what people at my company are making. 120 base and anywhere from 250-1M OTE
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Holy moley! That is the highest I've ever seen! What do you sell? 

Safe to assume you put in quite a few years in medical sales and then it jumped when you made the switch? 

How did you find the role if you didn't have a background in it?  Was it a similar field to your prior job?
PhlipOut
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
wait wait wait. OTE is what you get for 100% of your target, the rest is accelerators/commission, right?
Post
Good Citizen
+2
Outside Sales Executive
I was medical sales for about 5 years. I am afraid if I tell you my exact industry my competitors will immediately identify me on here. LOL! It is Saas though. I found the role through searching Indeed and other job sites. I noticed the job postings touted large earning capacity. They seemed sketch at first but I decided to apply anyway because I had nothing to lose. After interviewing with a couple of companies in the industry, I chose the one I felt had the best culture and spoke to a few of their leading sales reps. I asked one of the top reps to show me their paycheck stub to prove the earning potential. After that, I took the leap of faith, accepted the job offer and put my head down for the first 6 months. Toughest grind ever, but if you continuously learn from the best, focus on building a network with the clients you win, and generally do what you know needs to be done to be successful (while staying ethical) the money will flow. Completely different field to my medical sales role so I had zero knowledge of the products or solutions.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Fortune favors the bold!  I'm glad the leap of faith worked out.  Same - I would've felt a little sus when looking at such large salaries on indeed.  I'm glad it was verified and worked out!!!
GetAHobby
Arsonist
+8
RVP Sales
Start your own consulting business and get hired for your existing contacts.
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
I could see this when you have experience in the industry and an extensive network.  I'm working on it!
Novaredneck
Valued Contributor
+3
IoT Sales Specialist
I have 130k base, have made 250k past 2 years. IoT sales. 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
How did you end up in the role? And how long did it take? Did you need specialized knowledge?
Novaredneck
Valued Contributor
+3
IoT Sales Specialist
networking and numbers. I crushed it at my old job and made friends with the VP. He left before me and when he did he said he would find me a great job. 3 months later he called with this position and it doubled my base. I’ve been in the role 4 years, I had some experience but gained a lot along the way too. Don’t really need a whole lot of specialized knowledge but the cellular industry specifically IoT helped.
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BANTer
Contributor
+2
Executive Director, Head of Tech Vertical
I have 200k base, 300k OTE and uncapped commissions beyond target. I’m a sales lead though starting a new team to lead. I Started in sales at 45k 5 years ago. Got up to 80k base at my first start up, then 160k OTE (was 185k after I hit accelerators before I left) at a more established company. 

I changed jobs every 2 years and got myself double each time. I’m a strong believer in checking out the job market on that cadence. People who do tend to earn 30% more.

Within each org though I worked my butt off and was smart about negotiating and making sure I understood what drove each of my managers so that when I did ask for more money it felt like a risk to my boss’ personal goals if they couldn’t meet me at a raise to keep me.

If you’re negotiating internally my strongest cases were done when I could Present my numbers, find out what my peers bringing in that amount of revenue are making and then leverage that, paired with an internal brand I spent time building.

Good luck to you — the market is hot with sales openings right now so go get em’!
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
I love the encouragement and the job hopping story.  It decreases the intimidation of asking for more!
APalmoze
Good Citizen
Business Development
I was just talking about this with an SE. That $260K+ base tho!
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Damn!  I'm thinking small potatoes as OTE, lol
Ri
Riskitforthebiscuit
Member
+2
Head of Revenue
To get to 170K base salary it took 6 years of grinding. 

- first year cold calling into Europe at 4-5 AM 
- 3 years living abroad in Europe crushing numbers and building a team 
- Going through miserable start up experiences where the company is well funded & looks great but is a shit-show for sales. 80% of reps hitting 20-30% of quota. PE/VC's don't give a shit. 

To get to 150/150 range it's difficult, not impossible. I've found you need to be in a lucrative industry and typically larger sales deals w/ higher ARR. 

FWIW (open for other exp's here) it doesn't honestly seem completely worth it to me to continue to be a director/VP to pursue the FIRE lifestyle in smaller startups (series A or earlier). 

Some of my reps (series A) make 250K OTE and have 1/5 the responsibility & work on a w2w basis. On top of that, unless your whole team is killing it - the chance you can blow your number out of the water is much higher as an AE. 

Not saying if you have the drive, don't pursue going the VP / CRO route - IMO it seems like a forever grind unless you go big company & pace slows down. 

Just my two cents. 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Thank you for the insight.  This is exactly the experience I was curious about.  Like how you mentioned, if it's actually more worth it with about a $250k salary on exchange for a better lifestyle.  
whissspy
Opinionated
+1
Majors AE
Also keep in mind…. In tech those OTE’s come with a pretty high quota. You have to close $3-10M a year for the company to get $250-350k OTE. That means you make $125-175k salary but have to close $3-$10 to make the other half. It’s fucking hard but definitely obtainable if you work for a company that can close big deals. I will say tech isn’t the only way to make money in this world it’s just flashy with all the IPOs ( and if you’re lucky to be part of one and not get your shares super diluted). Invest your earnings in real estate and rental properties and build passive income so you can retire comfortably…
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
Thanks for the reminder.  I can't imagine what the stress level is like for those high quotas and (limited) territory?!
40oz
Enterprise Sales Engineer
Wasn’t too difficult once I discovered that most Enterprise SE roles start at $200k OTE before RSUs. 
looper1010
Celebrated Contributor
+13
Account Executive
I can't imagine what transitioning to am SE role would be like.  Don't you normally need a background and education in IT?
40oz
Enterprise Sales Engineer
You don't need a background in IT/CS, but the drive to want to learn about it. SEs basically are professional Googlers (of internal and external documentation) ;)

It you're already selling a SAAS product you should have some technical knowhow, and some companies' SEs aren't the most technical, though knowledge of APIs and how they are used for integrations probably is the minimum requirement. 
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1
Base commision split/Percentage
Discussion
12
Salary Split: base/commision
Bi
+30
Bigsaleschasewhales ,   Novaredneck ,   bropostle   and 30 people voted
1
Higher base salary or decent commission structure with accelerators?
Question
8
Which do you prefer?
ro
+36
S.Sobel ,   rohit ,   breezyboiii   and 36 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
11
Base pay💵 vs Commission💰
Question
36
Do you prefer a higher base or commission
du Bi
+101
S.Sobel ,   duke15 ,   Bigsaleschasewhales   and 101 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.