Unfortunately, getting promoted to sales managers is a bit like getting promoted from a top blackjack dealer to a supervisor.
I.e., you probably make less after the promotion. Because with variable commission — or tips in blackjack — if you crush it as an individual rep, you will make more than as a manager.
There’s actually no logical short-term reason to get “promoted” to sales manager if you are a great AE making tons of money.
The “easiest” way to make $500k a year or even $1m a year in sales is to be the best AE ever at a super hot company. Every great SaaS company has a rep or two that makes that much, or more. If you can bring in the big whales, crush the huge deals, 10x better than anyone else … you can and should make serious coin as an AE.
The only reason is to climb up to sales manager is if your really want to get to VP — and beyond. There, you can get both meaningful equity, and play a very senior role in building an amazing company — and get a high OTE. And you get to build your team. And do it all your way. But it will take you several years to get there, best case.
But if you aren’t sure you want to be a VP. Maybe stay an IC. The middle steps aren’t, usually, a financial step-up. And they are also a lot, lot more work.