Tight Job Market, High Turnover Concerns for Copier-Industry Sales Managers

Copier-industry recruitment firm Copier Careers recently published its 2019 Sales Manager Salary Survey, which examines some of the challenges facing today’s copier-industry sales managers, as well as average salary and working hours.

Among the findings is that building a sales team has become more challenging because of a tight labor market: “For sales managers…building a sales team — is much more difficult because of the extremely tight labor market. In May, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent. The New York Times found the hiring pinch is even tighter in the business services sector, which has added thousands of jobs because of new technologies.”

The survey – which includes the responses of 1,590 sales managers, found that the the average sales-manager salary increased $1,593 to $163,761, or a 1.0 percent increase in base salary and commission. Note that traditional sales managers and selling sales managers are represented in the survey.

According to Copier Careers, his compares favorably with average compensation for sales managers across U.S. industries. In its annual salary review, U.S. News & World Report found the national median for all sales managers to be $121,060 in 2017. U.S. News also ranked the job title “sales manager” as number-two on its list of “Best Sales and Marketing Jobs,” behind marketing manager.

Average Sales Manager Total Compensation 2006-2019

As it did in 2018, Copier Channel sales managers were nearly unanimous in their focus on core issues. Ninety-nine percent of respondents indicated an interest in innovation, leading-edge technology and knowing that their work is important to the
company’s success.

2019 Salary and Benefits

This year, sales managers who responded to the survey have an average base salary of $63,739 and commissions totaling $100,022, for an average total compensation of $163,761 (+1.0 percent). The relatively flat compensation is said to explain why satisfaction with total compensation remained nearly identical to last year’s survey.

Mirroring 2018’s survey, 50 percent of respondents said they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their total compensation. Twenty-two percent were “neutral” on the question, and 27 percent were “dissatisfied” with compensation, up 1 percentage point.

On overall job satisfaction, 56 percent of respondents said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied,” a dip of 1 percent since 2018. Thirty percent were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied,” with 16 percent of respondents “neutral” on the issue.

Sales managers also typically put in long hours, with the average being 68 hours per week – versus a low of 49 hours per week in 2004. Reflecting this is that on top of the respondents’ “wish list” was a company-provided laptop, showing that many are working after hours, on nights and on weekends.

Growth of Regional Dealerships

In 2019, of the sales managers who took the survey, 35 percent said they work at an independent dealership, down 2 percentage points from last year. Twenty-seven percent reported working at regional dealerships, an increase of 1 percentage point. Of the other employers, 24 percent of respondents worked at an OEM, up 1 percentage point; 10 percent worked at a national publicly traded sales and service organization; and 4 percent worked at some other organization.

According to Paul Schwartz, president of Copier Careers, the increase in the percentage of regional dealers and OEMs is part of a longtime trend. “The typical model in this industry is local to regional dealerships. It’s why there are so many mergers and acquisitions, because it’s a fast way to grow,” he said. “If you go buy somebody else and you acquire their base, that gives you a client base to start working with to grow it some more.”

From 2002 to 2019, the proportion of sales managers who said they work at regional dealerships with more than one location increased from 4 percent to 27 percent. It’s a trend that Schwartz thinks will continue.

Troubling Turnover

In the current marketplace, replacing a sales representative is a top issue for many dealers, as, according to Copier Careers, “there just aren’t enough qualified candidates in the pipeline.” Another concern is said to be that talented sales reps’ skills are highly transferable — not only within the industry but outside it, as well.

From the sales manager’s perspective, dissatisfied sales reps pose a constant worry, Schwartz said. “They onboard people and need to onboard more, but they don’t have time to ramp them up. So, something gives and they have phenomenal turnover. The cost of making a hire every six or eight months can be devastating to a company.”

A poll respondent said much the same about turnover at his dealership. “We are currently staffed well in sales, but with the turnover, we lack the proper connection with our current clients.”

The complete survey is available here.

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