What does “OTE” mean in sales?

“OTE” stands for Over Target Earnings. This abbreviation is used for sales jobs – and is used in the advertisement for a sales job. It’s meaning is best understood by an example. Let’s say that you are hired by an electronics company to sell TV sets, and they expect you to sell 100 TV’s every year. If you sell exactly 100 TV’s a year then you receive the “base” salary or whatever you agreed to when you started the job. But, if you sell more than 100 TV’s a year (like 150) then you make more money – because you went over your “target” of 100 TV’s.


You will commonly see ads for jobs that say something like “$160,000 base / $320,000 OTE “. This means that your salary will start out at $160,000, but if you meet certain targets you have the potential to earn $320,000. But you should also be careful when looking at the OTE, because there are certain sales targets (like selling 1500 TV’s a year) that you would have to meet in order to earn that money. And, if those targets are unrealistic, then it’s unlikely that you will ever earn that OTE.

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FOLLOW Varoon Sahgal, Author of ProgrammerInterviewon