Top 18 Highest Paying Sales Jobs

highest paying sales jobs

By Jeff Gillis

Companies create products or services, hoping that others will spend their hard-earned money on them. Really, that’s the foundation of business. But companies can’t assume that their offerings will fly off the shelves all on their own. Instead, they need a skilled team of quick-thinkers and smooth-talkers to showcase the virtues of what the business is selling. That’s where sales professionals come in.

For many, securing one of the highest paying sales jobs is a dream come true. The work can be engaging, challenging, and incredibly rewarding.

While marketing managers and their department may create advertisements and campaigns to drive interest, it’s the sales team that seals the deal. They answer critical questions, reassure prospective buyers, and work their magic as the shopper works their way through the sales funnel.

If you are wondering which options are really the best sales jobs, here’s what you need to know about the highest paying sales jobs around.

What Are Sales Jobs?

While the world of sales is shockingly nuanced, most sales jobs have the same goal. In sales positions, professionals present and discuss products or services in hopes of convincing others to buy.

Exactly what that entails can vary a bit from one sales position to the next. Negotiating prices or contracts might be one of your sales duties, or you could end up focusing solely on pre-approved arrangements with set prices. Lead generation might be one of your responsibilities, or you may receive a list of qualified leads from a team member.

JEFF'S TIP: While cold-calling is traditionally associated with sales, it isn’t required for every position. If the idea of dialing up potential customers out of the blue is too intimidating or unnerving, consider looking for an inbound sales job. With inbound sales, the prospective customer expresses an interest in the product or service first. The would-be buyers forge the connection and take the first few steps; you’re just helping them move along after that.

Some of the highest paying sales jobs require leadership skills, ensuring you can guide a team of sales representatives. Reporting is a common part of a sales role, as well as pushing to meet quotas.

So, yes, the positions can be incredibly varied. But, at the end of the day, what’s important is securing sales. That’s the foundation of the profession, ensuring you can drive the company forward and support greater profitability.

Top 18 Highest Paying Sales Jobs

Now it’s time for what you came here for. Here’s an overview of 18 of the highest paying sales jobs around, including a look at their primary duties and the typical salary that comes with each of the sales positions.

1. Real Estate Agent

When people think of sales, a real estate agent isn’t usually what comes to mind. Many picture real estate agents as service providers. But, in reality, they are in sales. After all, their job is to sell houses to aspiring homeowners. They have to convince would-be buyers about the virtues of a property, answering their questions and guiding them until they close the deal. If that isn’t sales, what is?

Generally, real estate agent positions are commissions jobs. That means, the sky can technically be the limit when it comes to earnings. However, the median salary is a solid $50,730, while the top 10 percent bring in $111,800 or more.

2. Insurance Sales Agent

One of the positions that doesn’t require a college education – making it one of the solid entry-level sales jobs – insurance sales agents help customers choose and purchase various kinds of insurance. You might specialize in a single niche, like life insurance, or dabble in a few, such as auto, renters, and homeowners.

Often, insurance sales agent jobs are commission. Earning about $50,940 a year is pretty normal. In time, you might be able to make much more, possibly in excess of $125,500.

3. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents

The world of finance is typically booming, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that working as a securities, commodities, or financial services sales agent can be very lucrative. In these sales representative jobs, you’re part of the financial marketplace, connecting securities and commodities buyers and sellers, or helping customers choose the right financial products for them.

It’s pretty common to earn about $62,270 a year, usually through a combination of base salary and commissions. The best in the field, however, can bring in a ton more, potentially crossing $204,130.

4. Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

One of the sales representative jobs that usually involves commissions, professionals in these roles sell goods created by manufacturers, typically to other businesses or agencies. These sales positions can be fast-paced, as success and job security generally revolve around securing enough sales.

Additionally, this is one of several commissions jobs that can involve travel. You might have to head out to a potential buyer and show a product off.

In exchange for your efforts, a salary of around $63,000 is plausible. But if you really have a knack for it, making more than $125,300 is certainly possible.

5. Advertising Sales Representatives

Here’s where the worlds of marketing and sales collide. As an advertising sales representative, you’re responsible for selling ad space. You might need to convince a business to launch a commercial on a radio station, buy a spot on a website, or scoop up a billboard.

At times, advertising sales reps help companies develop their ads. That means you need an understanding of marketing techniques, ensuring you can guide companies through the creation process and steer them toward success.

Usually commissions jobs, advertising sales representative positions often pay around $53,310. However, you might be able to make more than $118,300.

6. Medical Device Sales Representative

When it comes to medical sales jobs, medical device sales representative is one of the highest paying ones around. They help healthcare companies choose the right products, educating them on the capabilities of each option, provide samples, and take orders.

Usually, medical device sales reps earn about $74,643 a year. Once you gain experience, crossing the six-figure mark could be on the table.

7. Travel Agents

Another job that many people are surprised to know are technically sales positions, travel agents help individuals and groups plan for upcoming journeys. They might arrange travel, book accommodations, schedule tours, and much more.

Travel agents usually make about $40,660 annually. However, the best and brightest earn more than $69,420, which is pretty nice.

8. Outside Sales Rep

If you aren’t afraid of cold-calling, you might do well as an outside sales rep. These pros seek out new sales leads, setting up meetings, and talking up the company’s products or services.

In exchange for being bold, outside sales reps often earn about $58,827. If you’re starting out in one of the entry-level sales jobs in this niche, you’re in luck. Outside sales trainees make about $43,810, which is pretty good for someone just getting their feet wet.

9. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

A medical sales job that isn’t for the faint of heart, pharmaceutical sales representatives use an outside sales approach to promote their employer’s products or treatments. Usually, this means meeting with doctors and other healthcare pros face-to-face to discuss the treatment, provide samples, and offer up marketing materials.

Pharmaceuticals sales reps can earn a bundle, usually near $68,281 annually. In time, earning more than $83,778 is a strong possibility.

10. Sales Engineer

This is one of the more unique technical or software sales jobs around. In this position, you aren’t just trying to convince a potential customer to buy; you also work with them to ensure what they ultimately purchase meets their exact needs.

Sales engineers walk clients through the customization process, tweaking the offering until it’s just right. In some cases, sales engineers go even further, gathering requirements for completely custom solutions, instead.

Since you need a ton of sales know-how and a heavy dose of tech-savvy, sales engineers usually make a pretty penny. A salary near $103,900 a year is a real possibility. In time, you might be able to earn $174,000+, which is really amazing.

11. Auto Salesperson

Most auto sales professionals earn a base salary plus commission. Essentially, they get a pay boost for every vehicle they sell. Some car lots can be incredibly competitive, making it ideal for anyone who thrives under pressure. Usually, a salary near $46,650 annually is pretty typical, though some of the best make more than $61,989.

12. Account Manager

Account managers are part sales, part customer support. They assist specific clients with their product or service needs, including suggesting new options to drive additional sales. Even entry-level account managers can make $57,636 a year. If you reach the upper echelons, then you may be able to snag closer to $126,387.

13. Enterprise Software Sales Rep

If you want to concentrate on software sales jobs specifically, you’re in luck. You can become an enterprise software sales rep, focusing entirely on that niche.

You’ll need strong sales chops and technical expertise, ensuring you can explain why your employer’s solution is a good fit for large organizations. In exchange, a salary around $93,732 is the norm, but more than $108,657 isn’t off the table once you get some experience.

14. Major Gifts Officer

When it comes to unconventional sales positions, major gifts officer is a big one. These professionals specialize in securing donations for a non-profit organization. Essentially, they use the organization’s mission as a selling point, enticing others to get involved financially.

Major gifts officers commonly earn about $95,940. With time and experience, making more than $141,160 could be an option.

15. Recruiter

Another job that many people don’t realize is a sales position, recruiters have to convince job seekers that working for a particular company is the right move. In many ways, recruiters “sell” employers, as well as their services as a connection to great candidates or opportunities.

Recruiters have a significant amount of earning potential. Making $83,187 is pretty common, though, if you pick the right niche, salaries above $100,000 are possible.

16. Business Development Representative

One of the best sales jobs around, business development representatives focus on securing new business opportunities. It’s an outside sales-style role that is highly strategic. However, unlike a traditional outside sales job, business development representatives may focus solely on lead generation.

As a business development rep, you could make about $71,100. If you reach the top 10 percent of earners, then $97,846 or more could be yours.

17. Regional Sales Manager

One of the higher-level sales positions, a regional sales manager oversees sales activity in a specific physical area. They not only communicate with customers in their zone, but they may also lead a small team of sales representatives.

Usually, regional sales managers make about $117,917 a year. But, with some experience, earning more than $162,562 could happen.

18. Sales Manager

Even the best sales team needs guidance. Sales managers coordinate the activities of sales departments, ensuring quotas are met, and goals are achieved. They also train and coach sales staff, allowing the group to accomplish even more.

In exchange for their leadership, sales managers usually earn $126,640 annually. However, making more than $208,000 is certainly possible.

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, any of the highest paying sales jobs above can be a great option for anyone with strong communication skills that enjoys a fast-paced, competitive environment. If you want to give one a try, spend time practicing your sales interview questions before your interview. That way, you can be ready for your meeting with the hiring manager, ensuring you can sell yourself as the exceptional candidate you know you are effectively.

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About The Author

Jeff Gillis

Co-founder and CTO of Jeff is a featured contributor delivering advice on job search, job interviews and career advancement, having published more than 50 pieces of unique content on the site, with his work being featured in top publications such as INC, ZDnet, MSN and more. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.