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The Lowest Earners Are Often The Highest

Oakstone International executive search: The Lowest Earners Are Often The Highest

As experts in recruiting commercial saas sales people we know the reasons why people move positions and why they don’t.  We talk to some of the best sales people in the industry daily, getting to know their career goals, ambitions and their current positions.

When we approach people about opportunities we often talk to them about what they would look for in their next role – this could be anything from working for a start-up, working for an established company, greater earning potential or a myriad of other motives.

Any of these reasons are understandable however when they say they want a higher base that’s when our alarm bells start to ring.


Psychological attachments to a salary don’t make any sense in a sales environment. If you’re a good sales person, the base salary shouldn’t be a specific focus for you – the opportunity to sell and boost your commission should be your primary concern.  Some sales people in SaaS sales are earning between £600,000 – £1m a year (base + commission combined) and their base salaries are some of the lowest in the business. In fact some hiring managers will purposely make base salaries low to attract the most intelligent sales peoples – knowing that they will understand that the earning potential is more important.

Our experience has shown that people who are looking for new sales position because they want more money are moving jobs for a £10k – £30k increase on their base. If they were as good as they think they are – they should be able to earn that extra £30k without needing to move positions.

Think about why you would relish in a new position…. And think of the earning opportunities.  Anyone who is lazy in sales will be the lowest paid, those who work hard will be amongst the highest, regardless of their base salary.

If you’re only interested in a company that is going to pay you X more on your base salary, are we really interested in working with you? – no.

If there isn’t the opportunity to earn £30k more in your current company then you should consider moving but you shouldn’t negotiate this into your base salary. Working for a company with the opportunity for you to earn more commission is so much more valuable than one that will guarantee a salary and not have the opportunity.

The current candidate driven industry is leading, once again, to people thinking they deserve more money without warranting it.  Really think about the opportunities being presented to you and at which companies. Ask recruiters what the other sales team members are taking home.  Its about the company, the product and whether you can achieve what they set you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the lowest base pay in the company you can still earn the most. Don’t let the base salary dictate the role.