Skip to Content

Learn new skills, connect in real time, and grow your career in the Salesblazer Community.

27 Sales Compensation Statistics and Benchmarks Every Sales Leader Should Know

Sales compensation statics on a laptop screen, 2 Sales pros shaking hands with coins and charts around them.
To attract and retain top talent, sales professionals need to feel valued and fairly compensated. [Skyword]

Understanding key compensation statistics allows you to position new offers competitively, while retaining your top sellers.

The average sales organization loses 25% of its team every year, according to our research. That’s a lot of talent walking out the door. But here’s the kicker — with the right compensation strategy, you can flip the script.

Market research can help you plot a data-driven plan to shape and grow your sales force. By understanding sales compensation trends and benchmarks, you’ll know what you need to pay to retain top talent. 

Let’s review the latest sales compensation statistics and benchmarks that could transform your sales team from a revolving door to a powerhouse of long-term talent.

What you’ll learn:

Motivate your team with transparent incentive pay

Discover the power of automating commissions with Salesforce Spiff, and easily create incentive programs that scale.

What are sales compensation statistics?

Sales compensation statistics are the sales data and metrics related to sales professionals’ pay. These include sales salary benchmarks relative to a given level of expertise and average pay rates per sales industry. Together, they paint a picture of how sales reps are compensated and how pay has changed over time. Some common metrics include average base salary, on-target earnings, quota attainment, and pay rates by industry. We’ll go in-depth about the different types of compensation statistics below.

Why are sales compensation statistics important?

To attract and retain top sales talent, it’s crucial to understand how your compensation plan stacks up in the market. This knowledge allows you to position your offers competitively, ensuring you don’t lose out on high-performing candidates or risk your current top sellers being lured away by more lucrative opportunities. Where talent can make or break your revenue goals, staying informed about market rates isn’t just a best practice‌ — ‌it’s a strategic necessity for maintaining a high-performing team.

(Back to top)

Current sales compensation benchmarks to focus on

According to the 2022 Salesforce State of Sales report, the top reasons sales professionals want to leave their jobs include unrealistic sales targets and uncompetitive pay and benefits. To ensure your compensation doesn’t fall behind the curve (and you lost talent), let’s take a look at salary benchmarks from the U.S. News and World Report from 2022:

  • The median sales representative salary in the U.S. is $63,230.
  • The best-paid sales reps (top 25%) made $93,280
  • The lowest-paid reps (bottom 25%) made $47,220.
  • Sales managers made an average annual salary of $150,530.
  • Insurance sales agents made an average of $76,950.
  • Real estate agents made an average of $65,850.
  • Retail salespersons made an average of $34,730.

These averages can vary based on years of experience and industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics provides a comprehensive breakdown for sales and related occupations. Below is a sample of their data.

Average annual sales compensation by industry:

  • General merchandise: $34,560
  • Food and beverage: $34,330
  • Gas stations: $31,190
  • Building material and supply dealers: $40,750
  • Clothing and accessories: $33,120
  • Shoe retailers: $32,260
  • Beer, wine, and liquor: $35,070
  • Books and news dealers: 32,460
  • Securities, commodity contracts, and financial investments: $146,080
  • Crude oil transportation: $144,370
  • Computer, software, and equipment manufacturing: $141,330
  • Scientific research and development services: $139,880
  • Audio and video equipment manufacturing: $134,280

Keep in mind that compensation planning isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. Continuing to update your comp package is critical. In fact, Harvard Business School found that 80% of U.S. businesses revise their sales compensation plan every two years or less to ensure they offer the most competitive pay while addressing the challenges sellers face.

By aligning your compensation with or exceeding industry standards, you’re more likely to attract and retain high-performing sales professionals. However, competitive pay is just one piece of the puzzle.

(Back to top)

Sales productivity and performance statistics that impact compensation

The 2022 State of Sales report offers valuable insights into sales productivity issues, which have an impact on compensation (more on that below). Understanding these factors is key to designing incentives that drive performance and address common obstacles. Consider these key statistics:

  • Quota attainment challenges: Only 28% of sales professionals believe their teams will hit 100% of their quota for the year. That means variable pay like commission is in question for most sellers — a reason to look at potentially increasing base pay or adjusting quota attainment levels.
  • Time management issues: Sales reps spend 28% of their week selling. The rest of the time is spent on administrative work. This highlights the need to compensate reps for non-selling activities or reward them for being efficient at administrative tasks.
  • Increasing complexity of sales: Sixty-nine percent (69%) of sales professionals say selling is getting harder due to the pressure to hit their targets, tighter budgets, emerging technologies, regulatory uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, and more. As the job gets harder, sales leaders may need to increase compensation to address new complexities, challenges, and responsibilities. 
  • Collaboration challenges: Eighty-one percent (81%) of sellers say team selling helps them close, while 82% say alignment with other sellers can be challenging to achieve. This suggests that compensation plans should consider team-based incentives or bonuses to encourage collaboration.
  • Budget constraints: Eighty-five percent (85%) of sales leaders say they are struggling to get a budget for needed headcount. By implementing performance-based incentives, non-monetary benefits, and tiered commission structures, you can maximize the productivity of your existing team and improve retention without significantly increasing fixed costs. This approach allows you to optimize resources and potentially meet growth targets despite budgetary constraints. 

Many businesses are recognizing the power of strategic incentives to drive performance and retention. The Incentive Marketplace Estimate Research Study found that 84% of U.S. businesses spend $176 billion annually on award points, gift cards, trips and travel, merchandise, and experiential rewards to reward sales staff, employees, channel partners, and customers. This significant investment underscores the value companies place on well-designed incentive programs as part of their overall compensation strategy.

(Back to top)

Join the Salesblazer movement

We’re building the largest and most successful community of sales professionals, so you can learn, connect, and grow. 

How to apply sales compensation statistics to increase retention and engagement

A list of sales compensation statistics can be overwhelming. To help you digest the data and build the best sales compensation plan for your business, take into account:

  1. Market value: How competitive do you want to be? Finding and keeping top sales talent requires compensation that aligns with or exceeds competitive pay rates. Once you decide on your pay, you can use incentive compensation management software that provides pay transparency for every rep.
  2. Sales rep skillset: Will you rely on junior sales reps you can train and promote as your company grows? Or do you want a team of well-seasoned sellers? Understanding what your business needs to move products, timelines, and sales KPIs will help you decide on your sales team’s composition. If you need a team of experienced sales reps, then be prepared to pay for it.
  3. The complexity of the sale: What challenges stand in the way of your sales rep’s ability to close a deal? If you’re in B2B, it could be lengthy sales cycles and multiple stakeholders that add an extra challenge. Give your sales team some fuel to stay in the B2B marathon with commission incentives they’ll hustle for, such as extra cash or a lavish trip.
  4. Business goals: Align compensation with company objectives. For example, if you’re focusing on net-new customers, structure your plan to incentivize this goal.
  5. Obstacles and motivators: Recognize the challenges facing your sales team and identify the most effective motivators for your reps. Use this insight to tailor your compensation strategy.

Remember, sales professionals thrive on challenges, but they also need to feel valued and fairly compensated. By analyzing these statistics and tailoring your plan to your company’s unique needs, you’ll cultivate a sales force that grows alongside your business.

(Back to top)

Use these sales compensation statistics to drive your own comp plan

To ensure your compensation strategy effectively drives retention and engagement, take a proactive approach. Regularly compare your current compensation against industry standards and collaborate with your sales team to understand their motivations and pain points. Then, design a compensation plan that balances competitive pay with motivating incentives, and continuously review and adjust your plan based on performance data and market changes. 

Launch sophisticated compensation plans fast

Is outdated commissions management hurting your growth? See how to quickly create automated incentive plans that motivate your reps.

Get the latest articles in your inbox.