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Question
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Do you think a sales person can be considered overpaid?

I believe sales people are significantly underpaid/under appreciated when they start their careers. On the flip-side, do you think a sales rep can be overpaid after closing several large accounts that give reoccurring commission regularly with little to no effort after the first initial order? I tend to go back and forth on this and I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts.

Can a sales person be over compensated
Attached poll
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
🤷‍♂ Poll
💰 Compensation
10
snazzy
Praised Answer
+1
AE
This would be a subjective answer in most cases. Blanket statement: Good, hard-working salespeople deserve a lot of $$$. There is no 'go home, the workday is over' in sales. If you think of the hours legitimately clocked every week, I'd argue that we are all getting very underpaid! 
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
@snazzy 🏆
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
I can literally name at least 10 ppl in my company right now making at least 100k base salary who are completely useless, lying trolls. They have brought in exactly zero revenue and faked all their activity. 

meanwhile, we have no money for what actually makes money and keep on hiring more idiots.....
TheColdCaller
Member
+3
Sales Manager
I can see where you are coming from @Incognito . I am more talking sales people that did not inherit big accounts or get warm leads daily. This person created the lead themselves through hard work in the beginning and made it big. Low base, but high commission. I feel like everyone's situation is a little different. Also, I hate to say it but age/experience makes a difference in employers eyes. 
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Um...... not mine apparently 😂

but yes, I get where you’re going. If someone worked their ass off, got a big win and the residual income stays fat, then they earned it. 
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ju
justatopproducer
Politicker
+4
National Consultant
You must work where I do...
SalesPharaoh
Big Shot
+10
AM BDR
Did they get promoted to get there?
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
@SalesPharaoh nope. Hired from wherever. No important experience necessary 🙄

on the flip side, they did hire me and I came from an entirely different industry. But I have a sweet Rolodex so 🤷‍♀️
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MSPSales
Notorious Answer
+5
Account Executive
Hell no we are not overpaid. We are in a role where most of our livelihood comes from commission in a high stress job with little to no job security. 

1) Without sales the company wouldn’t make any money organically 


2) Sales is not a 9-5 job and you would be hard pressed to find someone willingly to do what we do without adequate compensation 

3) We don’t get much support. Marketing opps are hit or miss. Sales managers don’t do much other than telling us to sell the way they do or just asking about pipeline. 

4) Our quotas always go up while compensation usually goes down 

We put up with a lot to get paid really well if we achieve.

You of course get colleagues who are lazy and coast off good territories etc. But you will find that anywhere. Lazy people be lazy ya kno 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Anyone can be overpaid. It all comes down to what value the employee in question is generating and that doesnt always translate to $$$
Haast
Notorious Answer
+9
Account Executive
Yes in salary, No in commission. 
SalesPharaoh
Big Shot
+10
AM BDR
But if they negotiated for that salary and the other party accepted it so? If they don't feel it's unfair why should we?
Haast
Notorious Answer
+9
Account Executive
Fair point, problem is some salespeople are better at negotiating a salary than they are at ultimately selling the product (since that is difficult to know up-front when interviewing). Since sales people tend to be quite communicative about these things across the org, the combined visibility of a higher salary than their peers but lower performance/attainment can cause good salespeople to leave that company or approve less of their employer/management. 
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ChangeTheChannel
Good Citizen
Channel Sales Manager
Of course a sales person can be overpaid.

We all know people who coast on good territories or good accounts and game the system/metrics. Isn't that like half of why we're in sales to begin with? 

Theoretically a good comp plan should disincentivize this type of behavior but there plenty of people comfortable at hitting 90-110% of their number doing the bare minimum, or less. 
TheColdCaller
Member
+3
Sales Manager
I think you're right @ChangeTheChannel 

Do you think it is fair for the employer to restructure the employment contract? I feel like no matter what role you play in a company or how much you make if someone takes money away from you, you'll be upset and start looking. Thoughts???
ChangeTheChannel
Good Citizen
Channel Sales Manager
Whether it's fair or not is irrelevant.

But the more common approach companies take will be to raise quotas to an unattainable level and hope that kicks out their overpaid reps.
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SalesPharaoh
Big Shot
+10
AM BDR
Ok that is very good points there. But then if they got a contract they negotiated for it, are they to blame?
Trinity
WR Officer
+7
BusDev
If they continue to create new POs (add-ons) with existing clients because they regularly check-in/continue to build the relationship, I think they should get the commission. 
But if they're just an order taker or someone else managing/maintaining the account then they should not get commissions.
fuzzy
Notable Contributor
+21
CMO (Chief Meme Officer)
I know salespeople who definitely do not deserve their pay. But, it's nothing to do with their deal size and everything to do with the lying sacks of shit that they are. 
TheColdCaller
Member
+3
Sales Manager
Wait, what do you mean by that @fuzzy ? Are you talking about lying and overpromising to their clients or lying to their employer? 
TheLoneGun
Praised Answer
+1
Extremely Rad Product Offloading Specialist
Salespeople are inherently lazy. So if someone inherited a solid territory, book of business or negotiated a huge salary. Maybe.   

However a sales persons value can easily be quantified, so even those who have a great territory but contribute little to no growth can get shit canned. 
SalesPharaoh
Big Shot
+10
AM BDR
Exactly 💯 they are the easiest to terminate because all this effort goes to simple numbers and % if they meet them you're good if they don't good bye
DaveyDimes
Acclaimed Answer
+2
Account Executive
You gotta pay your salespeople enough where they can survive as they ramp. 

I've always loved the 50/50 base to commission split uncapped. If a rep is crushing it they deserve every penny of the commission.

For those reps who are building books of business, those jobs can be super volatile. In many, you don't have a base or have a limited drawer. Those who can survive and close career deals usually deserve it. It's also worth keeping the rep around long term to maintain the relationship with the client which they have to do in many cases.
Kanyebut4sales
WR Lieutenant
+6
Account Executive
@TheColdCaller To say that you can be overpaid for your effort also says that you can be underpaid for it....which definitely is possible....but sales isn't about being paid for effort it's being paid in correlation to the results you bring in.

We get a piece of the revenue we generate. Sometimes we get a base pay to sustain us financially and emotionally so that we can focus on creating those results. If we don't generate those results we can get fired because we become unprofitable. 
PeterSwan
Opinionated
+2
Business Development Manager
No - most definitely not overpaid. I'm with Corp on this when he says "either you build a product or sell it".
HarryCaray
Notable Contributor
+14
Regional VP
No, as long as it's legit pay for performance.  Eat what you kill.
Captain_Q
Arsonist
+8
Sr. Account Executive
To the individual that believes salespeople are overpaid.   You’ve either; 1.  Tried it and failed or 2. Have never tried it.    When did people start looking at sales like some secret society?  Are waiting for Joshua Jackson, a.k.a. Luke McNamara, to abduct you in the quad and offer you a spot on the squad?!  Pretty sure there’s an open invitation to apply, for anyone that has the drive and mental fortitude to deliver at a high-level DAY IN AND DAY OUT.  Join the club, sucka!
TheColdCaller
Member
+3
Sales Manager
@Captain_Q Just picture an account has grown to 50k commission yearly with maybe 20 hours of total work a year. You wouldn't feel guilty at all for that? Is there a number/scenario in your mind where a sales person can be overpaid? I am not saying they are, but I hope you can see where I am coming from.
Captain_Q
Arsonist
+8
Sr. Account Executive
So, I think that there are a lot more moving parts in your scenario.  Do you competitors sell a similar product?  How long has that account been buying from your company and/or from the rep directly?  When you refer to revenue growth and hours contributed, you are forgetting to mention all of the intrinsic value and relationship building your rep has put in.  What was the accounts YoY growth the previous 3-5 years?   Has there been a change there?  If an account is truly growing with no touch required, then yes, maybe it should be moved to a house account.  However, if you do that, who will handle all of the support calls?  Who works with the customer when they want to leave for the competitor?   If a company builds a reasonable revenue model with enough margin, then why shouldn't a rep continue to reap the benefits of a longstanding customer?
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De
DentalSales
Managing Director
Can a rep be overcompensated? Sure. But I would doubt that happens all too often. Every company I've worked for raises quota year after year in what eventually becomes a game to limit a sales rep's income potential. HBR has an interesting take on this:

"For instance, the research suggests that caps on commissions, which most large companies use, decrease high-performing reps’ motivation and effort. Likewise, the practice of “ratcheting” quotas (raising a salesperson’s annual quota if he or she exceeded it the previous year) may hurt long-term results."

https://hbr.org/2015/04/how-to-really-motivate-salespeople

Reps should be well compensated, in my opinion, but not to the point where it hurts the business. On the flip side, too many execs look at sales as an expense that should be cut instead of the key to revenue gen that it is. 
DustyGreenField
Good Citizen
EVP, Sales
I've been canned 2 times due to being "too expensive" - usually around the 18-month mark. Quota on new opps and compensation on sold business should be decoupled.  
Adslanger1
Opinionated
+3
Senior Account Executive
6 out 9 of my teammates are overpaid 
but honestly in a few months I will pass em all up and make more so fuck it 
On
Onemoredial
Valued Contributor
+4
Account Exectutive
Of course people can be overpaid, you can be put on an inflated base, or the commission structure could be overly generous and actually reducing productivity
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Value delivery matters : always need not be $ ; it could be mentoring, experience sharing, best practices implementation and lot more!

employee being discussed needs to be seen as a whole!
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
If they're deserving, then why not
The_Sales_Badger
Notorious Answer
+9
Account Executive
Sales is a grind.  That's why everyone can't do it.  The only people that think salespeople are overpaid are salespeople.  That's right, I didn't have a stroke.  The bottom-feeder salespeople are jealous of the President club winners, attributing their wins to luck.  

It's crazy though - top-tier reps seem to get lucky every year... meanwhile, those haters are begging recruiters to help them get an easier job.

LordBusiness
Politicker
+8
Chief Revenue Officer
Unfortunately, there a lot of sellers who have, and will continue to be over paid.   This (I find) is most common in the enterprise game where they have support team of sales engineers, SDRs, product, etc.  Nothing drives me more insane than my sellers who forward simple shit questions over to support teams because they are two lazy to execute on them.  These are the types who complain about spending their time "not selling" (what does this even mean?) - everything is selling, every little piece of the process is selling. 
Trinity
WR Officer
+7
BusDev
It depends. If they're an order taker then yes
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
Really depends. Someone once said to me "It's the hands you shake not the grades you make that determine your success in life" and I feel like that quote is pretty applicable to this 
AlexT
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
Personally, I am keeping an eye on my price/value ratio from a company standpoint. If I bring 10x what I cost them per year they would be dumb as f to sack me. 

I have seen people hired as senior with a bloated base that should have been fired faster for doing nothing. 

But to go back to your question if you have earned the skills to be trusted with big deals that bring big rewards and you bring them home for the company, then why would you be overpaid? It is not a free handout. 
5
What did you want to be before becoming a sales person?
Question
10
12
In your experience what's more important for a sales person?
Discussion
63
What's more important
Co
+147
ColdCallHotCoffee ,   kiwiaussiecanuck ,   FatVeinyTip   and 147 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
0
Are you really even a sales person if….
Discussion
7
Well? Are you?
+57
cw95 ,   SADNES5 ,   BallerOfTheYear   and 57 people voted
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