What are the highest-paying sales jobs for recent graduates?

What are the highest-paying sales jobs for recent graduates?

Anna Flanders /
What are the highest-paying sales jobs for recent graduates?


If you’re a strong communicator and want to enter a professional field where there’s high earning potential, consider pursuing sales. There’s a lot of variety when you work in sales, and you’ll have the opportunity to utilize your creativity on the job. If you’re curious about how to get into sales and want to know some of the highest-paying sales jobs, keep reading!

What is sales management?

Sales management is the process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling activities related to the sales of a company's products or services. It involves overseeing a team of sales professionals, setting goals, implementing strategies and monitoring performance to achieve the best outcomes. Sales management professionals play a crucial role in driving revenue growth and maximizing sales performance. It’s an exciting, fast-paced field.

How to get into sales

Having a strong understanding of business concepts is important if you want to succeed in sales. You should have a good grasp of sales principles and techniques. Because of this, having a sales management degree is a helpful way to get ready to work in sales. By the time you have earned your degree, you’ll be poised to tackle the unique challenges of being a salesperson. Although certifications often aren’t required, becoming a certified professional sales person or certified inside sales professional may increase your career prospects. In addition, having persistence and being not easily deterred by rejections, which are inevitable in the sales world, will set you up for success. 

What do salespeople do?

As a salesperson, your ultimate goal isn’t just to make a sale. It’s to solve a problem. Sometimes that solution is a service and other times it’s a product. Salespeople solve problems with real estate, medical devices, insurance and more. In order to solve a customer or client problem, you have to build and maintain trust. So cultivating relationships is a key part of working in sales. 

Highest-paying sales jobs

While there are many reasons why you might be interested in working in sales, the compensation is certainly a major benefit. Here are a few of the highest-paying sales jobs to consider if you’re interested in the impressive salaries that come with working as a salesperson.

Sales and marketing manager

If you’re a natural leader, you can put those skills to good use as a sales and marketing manager. In this role, you oversee an organization’s sales and marketing teams. You dictate the departments’ strategy, make sure projects are moving forward, determine policies and procedures, and help with hiring and onboarding. Based on data from Payscale, the average base salary for a sales and marketing manager is nearly $68,000!

Based on data from Payscale, the average base salary for a sales and marketing manager is nearly $68,000!

Sales representative

A sales representative manages relationships with both potential clients and existing ones. As a sales rep, you get to know your customers, especially their needs and goals. It’s your job to show those customers how your company’s products or services can meet those needs. You’ll ensure that customers have a seamless experience with the sales process. If you’re an inside sales representative, you will build customer relationships remotely. On the other hand, if you are an outside sales rep, you’ll connect with customers in person. Typically, this job comes with quotas you will need to meet. Sales representatives make more than $50,000 on average.

Sales representatives make more than $50,000 on average.

Account manager

Being an account manager is all about managing a long-term business relationship. While a salesperson is the one to initiate this relationship and close a sale, you maintain that relationship, becoming a customer’s go-to source of knowledge at your company. One of the things you might do is negotiate the terms of contracts, keeping your customer’s budget in mind. To succeed in this role, you should be a great listener with a knack for problem-solving. You’ll be the one to answer the customers’ questions and find a solution if there’s an issue with your company fulfilling its obligations to the customer, such as delivery delays. On average, this job earns more than $62,000.

On average, account managers job earns more than $62,000.

Business development manager

If you’re a strategic thinker who is always working toward a set of goals, you’ll love being a business development manager. This role is all about moving a company forward and helping it grow. You might help a business find new revenue opportunities and facilitate new relationships with potential clients. You’ll need a good grasp not only on your own company’s products or services but also the wider market and its various trends and developments. One of the best things about this role is that you can directly see your impact on your organization. Business development managers are well compensated for their hard work, earning an average base salary of nearly $81,000!

Business development managers are well compensated for their hard work, earning an average base salary of nearly $81,000!

Product manager

If you work as a product manager, you are in charge of overseeing every aspect of a product’s lifecycle. You’ll work closely with a team of designers, engineers, marketers and researchers to ensure that a product is a success with the target market. Sometimes you might focus on launching new products while other times you may relaunch an old one. You’ll collect research and feedback on the product. It’s crucial that you’re thinking years ahead about how the vision for a product will pan out. With an average base salary of more than $95,000, project managers have the highest-paying sales jobs on our list.

With an average base salary of more than $95,000, project managers have one of the highest-paying sales jobs.

Pursue your sales management degree at the University of Northern Iowa

With the impressive salaries and the other great perks of working in sales, it’s easy to see why you’d want to pursue this profession. If you’re still wondering how to get into sales, start by looking into the University of Northern Iowa’s sales management degree from the renowned David W. Wilson College of Business. This degree program focuses on building fundamental marketing knowledge while also developing soft skills like listening, storytelling, problem-solving, customer service and collaboration. You’ll be set up to succeed in any of the listed highest-paying sales jobs and beyond. Apply to the University of Northern Iowa to start your journey today!