One way to classify sales roles is based on the risk of failure. Many roles that read as “sales” are in reality are no more risky than the average office job. Sales yes. But not the type that could cost you your career or reputation.

The other type of sales roles are genuinely high risk, typically involving  – international – new business development and opportunity and market creation. In addition, the companies that have the high-risk sales roles are new or growing, are often not well-known and frequently are swimming against the tide that is the established industry order and have limited or no marketing resources. In this context, the “sales” role is very risky and very difficult, so you would think the sales role should attract top compensation.

Yet, we often try to reward these high performance, risk-laden roles with pay and packages that reflect the more normal, easier sales roles. We hope to attract champagne talent with beer money. We try to win the hiring negotiation and report that the candidate backed down on salary, while asking the same candidate to leave a safe job and sell our offering, and reward takes the form of getting to disrupt the industry.

We hope to attract champagne talent with beer money.

We put a 50k base pay against a role and then judge every candidate with “100k eyes”. We try to save 5k, when we should be investing 20k more to attract people whom we need to be 5x-10x better than the rest of the sales population. Unless you’re in a recession when times are tougher and riskier for everyone, Champagne Sales Talent is not Attracted with Beer Money. Yes, occasionally you can get lucky, but most companies don’t get lucky enough on time.

We put a 50k base pay against a role and then judge every candidate with “100k eyes”.