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Sales commission rates motivate salespeople to perform at their best and drive business revenue growth. However, determining the appropriate commission rate can be challenging for employers, especially given the variations across different industries. 

The standard structure for US sales organizations is set at 60:40. However, this commission structure varies dramatically based on the company and its industry, substantiated by Harvard Business Review

However, a source has revealed that on-target earnings or total target compensation for any average sales representative is $115,000. Understanding the commission rates prevalent in your industry can give you an edge in attracting and retaining top sales talent.

Here, we provide an overview of commission structures across retail, manufacturing, and technology sectors. The article will explore factors impacting commission rates, such as company size, sales volume, and geographic location.

With this information, businesses can evaluate their commission plans and make adjustments to ensure they are competitive and incentivize their salespeople effectively. Businesses can enhance their sales performance by identifying industry-specific commission rates and ultimately driving their bottom line.

What are sales commission rates?

Sales commission rates are a form of compensation paid to salespeople based on the sales they generate. These rates are typically calculated as a percentage of the total sale and can vary depending on the industry, the company, and the specific sales role.

Businesses can use several commission structures to determine commission rates, such as straight commission, salary plus commission, and variable commission. The commission rate for each sales role will depend on several factors, including the complexity of the sales process, the average sale value, and the market competition level.

In some industries, such as real estate or financial services, commission rates may be regulated by law.

Why is deciding the sales commission rate important?

Sales commission rates are an important tool for incentivizing salespeople to achieve sales targets and drive revenue growth for the business. More specifically, these rates are important for the following:

1. Motivating sales performance

Sales commission rates can motivate salespeople to achieve their targets and drive revenue growth. Higher commission rates encourage salespeople to work harder and sell more, which can benefit the business by increasing sales and revenue.

2. Attracting and retaining top sales talent

Sales commission rates can help businesses attract and retain top sales talent by offering a competitive compensation package. Commission-based compensation allows salespeople to earn more based on their performance, which can be an attractive incentive for talented sales professionals.

3. Aligning sales goals and business objectives

Commission rates can align sales goals and business objectives. For example, a business focusing on customer retention may offer a higher commission rate for repeat sales or upselling to existing customers.

4. Cost-effective compensation

Commission-based compensation can be a cost-effective way to compensate salespeople, as businesses only pay commissions when a sale is made. This can help businesses control labor costs and manage their budget.

5. Industry standards and competitiveness

Deciding sales commission rates is essential to stay competitive and attracting top sales talent. Salespeople may be motivated to seek employment elsewhere if commission rates are too low. Similarly, if commission rates are too high, businesses may need help to remain profitable.

Average sales commission rates by industry

Multiple factors are at play leading to different commission rates for various industries. So, here are the average commission rates for 11 industries. It's important to note that these are just general ranges, and actual commission rates can vary depending on various factors specific to each business in each industry. Thus, It's recommended that companies conduct their research and analysis to determine the appropriate commission rates for their sales teams.

  • Retail Industry: 3% to 10% of the total sale value.
  • Real Estate Industry: 1% to 3% of the total property value or sales price.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: 2% to 10% of the total sale value.
  • Technology Industry: 5% to 15% of the total sale value.
  • Financial Services Industry: 1% to 10% of the total sale value.
  • Telecommunications Industry: 5% to 20% of the total sale value.
  • Insurance Industry: 5% to 15% of the total premium amount.
  • Advertising Industry: 5% to 20% of the total advertising spend.
  • Manufacturing Industry: 2% to 10% of the total sale value.
  • SaaS: 10% to 30% of the total sale value.
  • Automobile Industry: 1% to 5% of the total sale value.


Commissions are one of how salespeople maintain their income, which motivates them to sell more to earn more. However, it is also essential for businesses to ensure that they follow the industry standards when providing them with their due commission pay to retain them for a long time.

With this guide on the different sales commission rates by industry and the steps to calculate commissions, it is much easier to ensure that you are paying your salespeople competitive industry pricing. This will help your reps perform better, bring in more income for your business, and help retain your talented reps for a long time, so they help increase sales for you.


Q. What is a typical sales commission rate?

A. The typical sales commission rate varies widely by industry but ranges from 2% to 10% of the total sales revenue.

Q. Should sales commission rates be based on revenue or profit?

A. While revenue-based commission rates are more common in most industries, sales commission rates can be based on either revenue or profit, depending on the business goals and strategy

Q. How often should sales commission rates be reviewed and adjusted?

A. Sales commission rates should be reviewed and adjusted regularly, typically annually, to ensure they align with the business goals and market conditions.

Q. How can I ensure my sales commission rates motivate my sales team?

A. To ensure that your sales commission rates motivate your sales team, it's essential to set clear and achievable sales goals, provide regular feedback and coaching, and offer additional incentives such as bonuses or prizes.

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Nagma Nasim

Nagma Nasim

Nagma is a content writer who creates informative articles, blogs, & other engaging content. In her free time, you can find her immersed in academic papers, novels, or movie marathons.