As a salesperson looking to advance your sales career, you want to benefit from a strong sales territory, high compensation, long-term growth potential, and a thriving local economy. However, without a clear roadmap, it’s challenging to discern which cities can give you the ideal environment to capitalize on your skills and experiences.
Based on Glassdoor’s Top Cities for Sales Jobs, our own data, and 3rd party sources, we identified the top cities for sales jobs in 2017. Each of these metropolitan areas is an economic powerhouse with distinct advantages for high-performing salespeople. If you are considering making a move to a new region or are curious to know how your city ranks against other major economic centers, this guide can help to set you up for long-term success:
More than any other city in the country, San Jose stands out as an epicenter for technology, energy, venture capital. It’s region — nicknamed Silicon Valley — was originally known for the high-tech engineering and manufacturing companies in the area. Although these industries still hold sway, Internet, software, and hardware companies now dominate the local economy.
Over 110 high-tech firms have offices in downtown San Jose including Cisco, eBay, and Adobe. Companies Facebook, Intel, Symantec, Tesla, Oracle, Netflix, Google, and Apple have their headquarters in the cities and towns surrounding San Jose. This area is also a center for venture capital funding, with more than 20 VC firms making their home along Sand Hill Road in neighboring Menlo Park.
San Jose’s dominance as an economic center cannot be overstated. In 2015, Milken Institute ranked San Jose as the #1 U.S. metropolitan area for sustaining and creating new jobs. The competition among companies for the top salespeople is intense — this demand is a reflection of the overall trajectory of the local economy.
Given the concentration of Fortune 500 companies based in Silicon Valley and the high cost of living, San Jose also has the highest paying sales opportunities. Glassdoor’s ranked San Jose #1 in its list of highest-paying cities for sales jobs. The overall average compensation for sales professionals reaches $127,500, while our research found that sales managers make an average of $165,570.
Although living in San Jose is also extremely expensive, it’s the ideal location for salespeople who want to enter a competitive, fast-changing market filled with organizations at every stage of growth.
San Francisco’s booming economy is only 49 miles north of San Jose. Together, these two cities create a dynamic ecosystem of thriving companies and high demand for top performers. In San Francisco, top salespeople will find the same technology industries that thrive in Silicon Valley in addition to a big financial services presence. It’s largest employers include Wells Fargo, engineering company Bechtel Corp, and professional services firm Ernst & Young.
San Francisco benefits from the highest concentration of venture capital funding of any city in the world. Over 15 percent of the world’s VC funding is invested in San Francisco, totaling close to $6.5 billion dollars. Combined with #2 San Jose, Bay Area companies account for over a quarter of the world’s VC funding at $10.5 billion dollars.
San Francisco also offers a higher level of job availability than San Jose at a lower average pay. In 2015, Glassdoor listed close to 3,000 jobs in San Francisco — almost 2,000 more jobs than in San Jose — at a median salary of $100,000. Between 2011 and 2015, requests for Peak to headhunt enterprise software sales leaders in the SF region rose by more than 15 percent, suggesting B2B companies are doubling down on their recruitment efforts in the city.
Living in the San Francisco also means that you benefit from companies and clients based in both Silicon Valley and San Francisco proper. Due to the prevalence of employer-provided transportation, salespeople can live in San Francisco while working in Silicon Valley or vice versa.
In addition to being one of the most expensive cities in the country, San Francisco has also been dubbed the city with the highest quality of living by Mercer. For sales professionals who live here, the cost is well worth the lifestyle and professional opportunities.
Situated at the head of Charles River, Boston is an iconic city with a flourishing economy. As an epicenter of higher education, healthcare, tech and biotech, Boston offers increasing opportunity for B2B salespeople.
A 2016 Wall Street Journal article described “knowledge capitals” like Boston as punching “above their weight” economically. In particular, Boston’s brainpower, rooted in over 100 colleges in the area, make this city a dynamic place to build a career. The unique combination of a talented workforce and elite research institutions ensure it’s poised to grow even more in the coming years.
GE’s recent decision to move their headquarters to Boston’s Seaport District reflects increased interest in tapping into this kind of energy. In particular, both the Seaport District and Cambridge’s Kendall Square attracting companies of every size that want to maintain a strategic edge, causing an influx of businesses to flock to the area. Boston is such a hub for emerging companies that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation declared it as the top city for start-ups.
Salespeople who want to have a material impact on a growth company or thrive in an innovation-based economy benefit from exploring Boston. Because the local economy builds on both a strong start-up culture and a long list of marquee companies, this city appeals to salespeople who want to position themselves for a promising, long-term career.
As of 2015, Glassdoor listed medium base salaries in Boston at $55,000 with an additional $33,000 in commissions. The robust economy suggests an expected growth in both B2B revenues and salaries for salespeople. For senior technology sales reps with 5+ years of experience, for example, salaries have risen 7 percent over the past three years. Territory managers in the software vertical have also experienced a 5 percent increase to $135,200.
Furthermore, Boston differentiates itself by offering residents a small-town, New England experience that accompanies the advantages of a major metropolitan area. Homes in its neighborhoods continue to grow in value as job seekers and companies flock to its brownstone-lined streets.
New York City
New York City is a hotbed of lucrative sales positions with a high level of intensity. In this city of over 8 million residents, financial services reign supreme, accounting for 15 percent of the economy. JPMorgan Chase is the city’s largest private-sector employer, followed by Citigroup.
The New York area includes a seizable portion of the country’s B2B professional and scientific services headquarters, which have consistently rebounded from the recession. For this reason, New York City boasts over 5,000 open sales jobs according to Glassdoor — the highest number on their list of top cities.
The big apple has also seen significant growth in the technology industry. According to the Partnership for New York City, the area’s tech sector has expanded by 29 percent in the past five years. In 2016, there were 75 percent more unicorn companies based in New York City than in 2014, including Buzzfeed and Oscar Health. CEO Kevin Rose even noted that people in New York’s start-up scene exhibit more “hustle” than its West-Coast counterparts. Therefore, salespeople who want a high-intensity work environment thrive in the fast-paced NYC economy.
With over 100,000 salespeople working in New York City with less than 50 percent of them consistently hitting quota, A-players can stand out among their sales peers. New York City sales candidates will find a medium base salary of $60,000 with a bonus of $30,000 for junior sales positions.
Although New York City is the most expensive city in the world, most New Yorkers couldn’t imagine an alternative. With an exceptional client base, unmatched opportunities to climb the corporate ladder, and the city’s cultural experiences at your fingertips, New York offers an amazing opportunity for top performers to advance their career.
Los Angeles is known for the entertainment industry, but it’s also an ideal environment for continuing a career in sales. In addition to being a creative capital, it’s the largest center for manufacturing in the United States, which offers opportunities for salespeople who work in industrial B2B sectors. Los Angeles-based companies create everything from computer and electronic products to automobiles. Plus, it’s location on the coast mean that $1 billion of products move through the port every day.
In addition to trade, LA has seen significant growth in the aerospace industry and specialized manufacturers, once a stagnant industry in Southern California. Clear skies and an abundance of space make Los Angeles an ideal environment for testing drones and satellite technology. For that reason, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Rocket Lab all chose LA for their headquarters.
Salespeople in this sunny city make an average of $55,000 in base pay with $30,000 in commissions. Meanwhile, B2B regional sales managers make an average of $97,484, which is slightly above the national average. Although this compensation is not at the level of the cities like San Francisco and New York, cost of living is lower. In New York City, for example, cost of living is 21 percent higher than Los Angeles.
According to our data, Los Angeles Area based employers have increased the number of sales positions they are recruiting for over the last 24 months by ~5 percent. Combined with amazing weather and a distinct quality of life, Los Angeles offers a breadth of opportunities for B2B salespeople interested in the aerospace, defense or manufacturing industries.
Government, education, and tourism may be the largest industries in Washington. DC, but the private sector is on the rise. According to Business Insider, Washington DC is the seventh best economy in the nation. Stephen Fuller, an academic specializing in Washington’s economy, believes that professional and business services are the fastest growing industries in DC. Fuller argues that the next thirty years will add 800,000 private-sector positions in the metropolitan area.
Salespeople in DC benefit from the proximity to government — contractors, think tanks, and consultants drive innovation and policy in the public sector, contributing to long-term growth in the private sector. In particular, salespeople with experience working in the consulting industry will see plentiful opportunities in DC.
The largest private-sector employers include Clark Enterprises, Tasc, and Alion Science and Technology. According to DC Inno, the Washington start-up scene is also thriving. Over 400 local companies made Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies, including technology consultants ByteCubed and Oasys.
With a median base salary of $55,000 and $30,000 in commissions, salespeople in Washington, DC are setting themselves up for short-term and long-term success in a robust job market. For salespeople who want to work in a thriving city rooted in government and culture — and don’t mind a high cost of living — DC is the perfect metropolitan area.
Although people associate Houston with the oil industry, its job market offers other diversified options for sales candidates. The city provides a large B2B customer base in energy sector, space science, biotechnology, and technology. Top employers include Chevron, but also Deloitte and health-care company Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. Houston also stands out as the top exporting metropolitan region in the United States, which supports economic growth in this region.
The median age in this Texas city is 33 and is becoming younger every year, as a growing population of young professionals make their home in Houston. The city is seeing changes that accompany the influx of millennials. This year, two big downtown coworking spaces are under construction, one operated by TechSpace. These coworking spaces signal that companies are investing in this region as an entrepreneurial and technology center.
Houston stands out from other cities on this list by offering the highest compensation for salespeople outside of the Northeast and California. Total compensation averages at $85,000 in Houston. With 1,775 sales positions available, it also surpasses San Jose for opportunities in the job market.
Once a thriving industrial center, Bridgeport, Connecticut is in the process of reinventing itself after years of economic hardship. The biggest city in the state, it’s home to nine of the top employers in Connecticut, with dozens more in surrounding communities.
Manufacturing still drives the economy here despite a significant drop in available factory jobs. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation employs 8,300 people right outside of Bridgeport’s downtown. Neighboring cities Stamford and New Haven also provide opportunities. In fact, our research shows that there was a 13 percent increase in requests for senior account executives in the Bridgeport area over the last 24 months.
Non-profits are in the process of rejuvenating Bridgeport’s ailing downtown with the hopes of sparking creative and tech industries. This September, the city hosted its first hackathon. By working with the neighboring Stamford Innovation Center and a grant from Connecticut Main Street Center, the city intends to shift in a renewed direction.
Bridgeport offers a slightly lower median income than Houston at $85,000. Its cost of living is 34 percent lower than New York City, despite the short distance between the two commercial centers. By train, it’s only an hour and a half ride to midtown Manhattan from downtown Bridgeport. B2B salespeople looking to work and live in the Northeast in an area with a lower cost of living should definitely explore the opportunities in Bridgeport.
Boulder is a city teeming with entrepreneurs. In 2013, the Kaufmann Foundation reported that it has the highest density of tech start-ups in the country, with twice the number of start-ups per capita as San Jose. In the first three quarters of 2015, $150 million of venture capital funding went to Boulder-based companies, with 41.5 percent supporting software companies and 39.3 percent allocated to biotech companies.
Tech firms employ the greatest percentage of Boulder residents with large employers like IBM and the aerospace contractor Ball Corporations anchoring the economy. However, according to University of Colorado Boulder, the strongest job growth will occur in professional and business services. Their research also suggests that the state’s concentration of professional, scientific, and technical services are 33 percent higher than the U.S. as a whole. These statistics signal that Boulder-based firms rely on talented salespeople to close deals, outperforming the country in its concentration of sales employers.
Like Boston, Boulder is home to many higher education institutions and research organizations. Residents are well-educated and technically skilled, which makes it a competitive hiring environment. Although this city offers a booming tech scene, available jobs hover around 108 because qualified young professionals who flood the market. It may take extensive networking and an aggressive job search to find the ideal sales role.
The median pay for salespeople in Boulder is strong, at $85,000. Because of a moderate cost of living, 300 days of sunshine a year, and a mountain environment, sales roles in Boulder are coveted positions.
Dallas-Fort Worth is the economic epicenter in North Texas. Home to 21 companies on the Fortune 500 list, this region has a gross metropolitan product, or GMP, of $504.36 billion. If this region were its own state, it would be the ninth biggest economy in the United States after North Carolina. Top employers include American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, and Alcon Laboratories.
With a thriving, diversified economy, Dallas-Fort Worth offers B2B salespeople opportunities in defense contracting, professional services, aviation, financial sectors, and information technology. As with the other cities on this list, Dallas has benefited from strong ties to the technology sector. Known as Texas’ “Silicon Prairie,” it is gaining traction as a great ecosystem for entrepreneurs.
Salespeople who choose to build a career in Dallas make an average of $84,000. They benefit from a strong job market with 252 jobs available per 100,000 residents — a ratio that’s higher than New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Combined with the affordability of homes and low cost of living, Dallas’s hot job market and thriving economy make it a great place to be.
Situated alongside Puget Sound, Seattle is home to marquee companies Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, and Nordstrom. Some of its top industries — technology, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, green technology, and information communication technology — are ideal for B2B salespeople.
Most notably, 238,900 people in Washington state work in tech. Recruiters can attest that it’s a job candidate’s market, especially for technical sales roles. It’s rated the third-best city in the nation for job growth, with over 100,000 available jobs. Seattle’s also boasts strong salaries with compensation for sales roles averaging at $84,000. Salespeople can find even higher salaries at big tech companies.
Start-ups that can’t compete with Seattle’s biggest companies on compensation incentivize job candidates with a culture-first approach. With a supportive sales culture, extra flexibility, and significant perks, these start-ups offer their sales reps additional ownership over their work and an exemplary experience. If a salesperson values a fun, dynamic environment, there’s bound to find an abundance of options here.
Known as the Research Triangle, this part of North Carolina includes Raleigh and Durham, as well as Chapel Hill. Thanks to significant investments in the private sector and numerous universities, the Research Triangle is a center for aerospace and aviation, automotive, biotech and pharmaceuticals, energy, information, and communications technology.
Raleigh-Durham’s hiring landscape offers a full range of options for salespeople. Mid-size companies and start-ups in R&D’s emerging tech scene both offer sizable opportunities to salespeople who want to be a part of a growing firm. A large pool of multinational corporations that include GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer Crop Science offer corporate opportunities for salespeople who are interested in pursuing a career in a large organization.
Peak Sales has seen an increase in requests for senior salespeople both from Raleigh-Durham’s technology and professional services organizations. Specifically, the Research Triangle has seen a 12 percent increase in sales job growth in technology and science sectors over the last five years. Companies in this booming area need B2B salespeople with in-depth industry knowledge and the ambition to grow their careers.
Our research found that the average income for sales managers in Durham and Chapel Hill is $142,320 and $130,800 respectively. Glassdoor reports that the median income for non-managerial sales jobs is $84,000 total, including commissions. This area also offers affordable housing, a thriving sense of community, and access to three of North Carolina’s best cities.
Atlanta is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Southeast, second only to Miami-Dade County. An affordable cost of living, low housing costs, and state and local incentives have helped drive Atlanta’s economic boom. For every new job created, the state of Georgia gives the employer a $2,500 to $5,000 tax credit.
Atlanta remains firmly rooted as a key area for pharmaceuticals and life science industries while making gains in technology, transportation services, and professional services. Specifically, the region’s professional and business services sector has outpaced the U.S. economy at 5.3 percent job growth.
The tech scene in Atlanta also continues to gain traction. DataFox named it one of the best places to create a start-up outside of Silicon Valley and New York. The city also recently benefited from the opening of a $100 million venture capital fund Leaders Fund that will further support the city’s SaaS companies.
Atlanta’s thriving economy is ideal for salespeople in every stage of their career. In particular, Peak has seen requests for senior salespeople in Atlanta grow by 24 percent since 2014. Salaries for sales professionals in this region are above the country’s average. Glassdoor reports that the average salesperson makes $82,500 while our data suggests that sales engineers make a median wage of $106,700 and managers make an average of $117,160.
Although Atlanta offers lower salaries than the other cities on the list, as in Raleigh-Durham and Dallas, its low cost of living make this region an ideal place to put down roots. With an average home cost of $178,900 compared to $809,400 in San Francisco, your salary provides much greater buying power.
Sacramento is often overlooked when compared to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, but it’s still a top city for sales jobs. This region is the seat of state government, but it also built a varied economy, with thriving clean technology, life sciences, transportation, and aerospace industries.
This year, The Sacramento Bee reported that the region’s economy has grown at the fastest pace in 10 years, reaching a 3.5 percent growth in GDP. Household incomes also grew by 5 percent between 2014-2015, showing promise for continued prosperity.
According to Glassdoor, Sacramento-based salespeople make a median income of $82,000. Although this salary is significantly lower than sales positions in other commercial centers in Northern California, Sacramento offers much lower housing costs. Rent prices are 227.84 percent less expensive than in neighboring San Francisco.
Sacramento companies also exhibit an increased need for talented sales reps. Peak Sales has seen a 10 percent increase in the number of requests for enterprise reps selling complex, multi-stakeholder solutions in the Sacramento area.
Hartford is home to seven major insurance companies: Aetna Inc., Travelers Property Casualty Corp., MassMutual, The Hartford Financial Services Group, CIGNA, The Phoenix Companies, and The United Healthcare Company. As the epicenter for the insurance industry, it offers the best opportunities for B2B salespeople who specialize in this sector.
Hartford’s appeal doesn’t stop there. In addition to a strong presence in the insurance and financial services industries, Hartford benefits from a thriving manufacturing sector led by Fortune-500 companies United Technologies Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker
This year, Hartford is poised to make significant investments in creating a local tech hub.
CTNext, which offers state-funded grants for entrepreneurs, set aside $90 million to boost entrepreneurialism in Connecticut. Their goal is to turn Hartford, and other cities in the state, into centers for innovation. As Connecticut makes significant investments in the technology sector, salespeople can expect a growing need for their talents moving forward.
Hartford-based salespeople also benefit from a 120-mile radius that includes Boston, New York, New Haven, Springfield, and Albany. In other words, they have access to clients in the Northeast’s biggest economies, all within a day’s drive. With salaries at a median of $82,000, sales professionals in Hartford make a good living in a city that offers long-term career potential.
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