Jeb Blount tells you what you need to know before you start looking for a better sales job.
On one hand there are hugger or account management roles that mostly entail managing relationships within an existing book of business. As a hugger your primary role is to retain current business and grow your accounts. Certain types of people thrive as huggers. They enjoy developing and maintaining relationships, resolving customer service issues and building their business base. These jobs tend to have higher salaries and a smaller bonus so there is little upside in variable income.
Hunters, unlike huggers, are tasked with brining in new accounts. They make cold calls, ask questions, present solutions, and close deals. They build short term relationships with buyers, but are not required to maintain those relationships once the deal is closed, and they rarely have to resolve customer service issues. There are some people, like me, who thrive in these roles. From a compensation stand point, a hard working salesperson in a hunter role with the right company can make an impressive six figure income. If you have a great deal of confidence in yourself, there are hunter roles that pay 100% commission where the sky is the limit.
Then there are variations where you may be asked to manage long-term relationships and hunt for new business. Beware of these jobs because few people have the talent to be successful in this dual capacity, and these jobs tend to limit your income opportunity. The exception includes some Manufacture Rep jobs that are usually commission only. People who are talented enough to become successful in these positions make a ton of money.
The one thing to remember is that most huggers are miserable in hunter roles and hunters tend feel that hugger positions are tedious and boring.
Explore: There are thousands of sales jobs out there. Some good; some bad; some ugly. This is a really great time to look around. Most companies have cut expenses to the bone and the only way they can get out of this economic mess is to sell their way out. Because of that, the sales department is the one place where investment in people is still being made.