Do Salespeople Only Care About Money?

Salespeople get a negative reputation for “only caring about money.”  I am sure that most of you have heard this and many probably believe it.  In fact, this doesn’t seem like a controversial statement at all.

Let’s look at the data and see if this is true

As a reminder, Rainmakers is the leading software and community for hiring SaaS sales professionals like Account Executives and Sales Development Reps.  We have collected data from thousands of candidates working across thousands of companies in tech.

Entry-level Account Executives and Sales Development Reps

When we look at salespeople earlier in their sales career, like SDR’s and Junior AE’s, we do see a demand for higher salaries.  On average salespeople with a base salary from $40k-$70k are looking for a pay increase of ~$15K in their next role.  While this may seem like a lot, these are generally people that are earlier in their career and hungrier. They likely don’t have a lot of savings and are looking to level up in their careers.  Many of these folks are looking to be promoted from an SDR to an AE, which also naturally comes with a pay increase.  On the hiring side, this is why it can be challenging to hire “experienced SDR’s” with only a small increase in comp.  These salespeople are looking to take their career to the next level. (Side note- if you do need to hire experienced SDR’s, message me as Rainmakers has helped a lot of companies here).

Mid-level reps

Looking at salespeople in the $70k-$80k base range, they are looking for an ~$8k pay bump.  These are still reps earlier in their career and they are looking to continue to move up.

However, once we get beyond that comp level, things start to change.  When we look at reps with a $80k-$140k base, these reps are only looking for on average a ~$3k bump.  This is pretty insignificant at these levels – only a 3% or less increase in base. 

Enterprise salespeople

And let’s take a look at reps at the next level.  Reps making +$140k are actually open to DECREASES in base and this decrease increases as their base increases.  So these are the top, highest paid reps and they “don’t care about money?”

When we actually look into the data, we will see that salespeople don’t only care about money.  When salespeople are younger and earlier in their career, building their life, learning, of course they want to get promoted and earn more.  And the ones that continue to progress deserve that too, as they are generating significant value for their companies.  *Remember that salespeople are what is driving the majority of revenue at most SaaS companies.* Most people in all industries, earlier in their career would be looking to make more money. This is not something unique to salespeople.

But once salespeople get to a mid-level and higher, money becomes significantly less important.  These people may be looking for a small bump, of course people like to feel wanted and appreciated.  But really other factors are more important than just the cash.  Experienced salespeople are not looking to change jobs just to make $3k more. 

Once salespeople are at the higher levels of comp, salespeople are legitimately open to make less money.   Why would they want to switch jobs and make the same or less money?  

Changing the narrative

Let’s change the narrative and start spreading the truth about salespeople. Salespeople aren’t just hired guns that only care about money. Salespeople care about product, culture, team, growth, and much more.  They want to find where they and their skills fit best and where they can contribute strongly to their teams and companies.