Product Development Sales Compensation Question...

Having sold electronic components, printing & graphic design, and now engineering, industrial design, and product development services, can anyone give me an idea of what typical compensation is for someone who is responsible for business development in a small, medium, and large product development consultancy? I’m just trying to get my bearings, and wondering what some common salary and commission structures might be. Generalities are fine. Thank you.


The most common arrangement is a base salary and a percentage comission after a draw number/goal. The draw goes against the base, the pecentage can be set or vary on the increase in volume after the draw is achieved. In other words, become greater at intervals the more busines is secured.

Thanks for the follow-up. In selling components there was a low base + 5%, 7%, or 9% of profit based on levels shipped for the month (clearly, selling commodities allowed for greater sales throughput, being limited only by how fast you could bring in product and QC it). When I was selling printing and graphic design there was a similar base plus commission, but the commission was based on gross sales. We were a print broker, so for all intents and purposes the sky was the limit for sales. Working at a smaller PD firm, a commission of 3% of gross sales on top of a medium to low base seems a little light. But I’m not entirely sure how to raise the subject to re-negotiate. If I could get a handle on Product Development industry standards, I would be able to sleep a little better at night, and request a re-adjustment in commission structure.

Thanks again,


3% is very low. Especially on a low/ medium base. It should be the other way around. The higher the base the lower the comission. On a helathy base 6-8% comission is normal.

Some deals go to 10%, depending on how low the base is.