There are a few variables that mostly determine how much money a sales professional can realistically make at a particular job.

Though, these factors do not live in a vacuum and, most if not all must be present to truly monetize a business development job to its fullest extent:

Base Salary: every sales job comes with what is called a ramp-up period where the sales employee is busy prospecting for new business, but is starting from "0", thus having no commission from sales coming in. For this, and a few other reasons, when factoring in how much a sales job can be worth to the employee, base salary is always critical.

Product or Service: without a viable product or service, the sales professional is not only bound to not make money, but they are likely to go into an insanity that many sales employees have experienced upon selling a product or service that is not industry competitive.

I will never forget when I was still in college selling SEC / NASD financial compliance solutions that would capture email correspondence of brokerage firms and, right before making my first big sale, the system froze during the client's demonstration, thus solidifying us as a "B" player and solidifying me as someone who would have to wait for their first big sale.

Marketing: marketing needs to be strong on a few levels for the sales employee to reap the full monetary benefits of working at a particular business development position.

First, there usually is a direct relationship between the number of incoming leads a sales representative gets (as opposed to outbound cold-calling) and the conversion rate of each prospect that the sales rep. comes into contact with. Most sales professionals who hold the more lucrative jobs tend to have incoming leads from marketing initiatives that be in the form of SEO or PPC Google marketing.

Second, there is public perception of the product or service being sold. Trying to turn around negative sentiment is nearly impossible and is definitely a waste of time and effort if the marketing department can't do its part.

Author's Bio: 

Ken runs KAS Placement:

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KAS Placement is an executive staffing firm.