It’s a good time to be a sales representative in the Copier Channel. Their skills are in demand, and their quotas and commissions have remained steady. Dealership owners seem to have found the right compensation/quota formula to keep sales professionals satisfied and willing to stay in their current situation. It’s a nice place to be, after more than a decade of intense change as the industry morphed into an IT-based business and dealers faced myriad challenges and changes.
Respondents to our 2018 salary survey report their compensation has remained stable in a year when base salaries didn’t increase. That means they are making or exceeding quotas to maintain total compensation that is slightly above what it was last year.
In 2018, there are abundant opportunities for experienced sales reps across the Copier Channel. It’s something Copier Careers President Paul Schwartz calls a good news-bad news situation. “The good news is that they are in demand. The bad news is that demand is outstripping supply right now,” he said. “To hire top talent, dealers are continuing to adjust offers and company culture to attract and keep sales reps in the fold.”
So, even as the pace of technological change has slowed a bit, more change is in the wind for the industry. “They live in this environment that is always going to be changing and evolving,” Schwartz said.
2018 Sales Representative Salary Survey
Over the past 16 years, Copier Careers, the only nationwide recruiting firm devoted exclusively to the Copier Channel, has conducted annual salary surveys for key positions in the industry, including service technicians, service and operations managers and sales managers. In 2011, we added a salary survey for copier sales representatives. This year 10,448 Copier Channel sales representatives from across the industry participated in our survey.
Copier Sales Representatives by the Numbers
Zero. That’s the big number for sales reps to consider in this year’s survey — and it’s a really good thing for experienced sales professionals. “It’s basically zero unemployment for copier sales reps, if you are producing,” said Schwartz, of Copier Careers.
“In past years, we would see ebbs and flows, but this may be the best time in all 30 years that we have been involved in the industry,” he said.
Base salaries, commissions and quotas remain stable, with the total average compensation in 2018 for all job titles at $117,064, which is up slightly from last year. That year-over-year stability indicates that dealerships have found the right way to compensate sales reps, Schwartz said. Anecdotally, recruiters say that many sales reps report they are happy in their job and satisfied with their compensation.
“When I get ahold of a sales rep, one of the first things they say is, ‘I’m really happy in my position,’ ” said Jessica Crowley, business development manager and senior recruiter at Copier Careers. “They are interested in what’s available, but it’s not, ‘Get me out of here; I can’t do what I want.’”
Sales pros from across the industry who responded to this year’s survey include those who self-identified across seven job titles. The greatest number identified their job as MPS/Solutions sales rep (35.9 percent), Named Account manager (18.9 percent) and Account Executive (18.7 percent).
For Sales Reps, Compensation Is Steady as She Goes
In 2018, survey respondents indicated that their base salary and total compensation remained steady across all job titles. This marks the third year that sales professionals have maintained or slightly improved their compensation.
- The average annual base salary across all job titles was $49,092, up $180 from 2017
- The average sales rep commission was $68,142, up $76 from last year
- The average total compensation was $117,064, an increase of $86
“Sales reps are doing well,” Schwartz said. “It’s not like during the recession, where we were seeing bonuses drop or compensation cut. It’s been really consistent.”
Not long ago, as the industry became more IT-based, sales reps often expressed frustration that dealers could not deliver on solutions and were struggling to figure out how to compensate sales reps for selling a host of new products and services. But that has all changed for the better.
“Now our clients, the dealerships, have those things figured out,” Schwartz said. “People are comfortable, and they’re doing well.”
“Our clients want those 150 percent quota sales reps because they don’t have to baby-sit them.”
If the compensation of sales representatives has remained steady, it’s because when they do their work well, it steadies the Copier Channel. They sell solutions and services, and they have a nose for finding new business. That’s why recruiting experienced sales reps is a focus for many dealerships.
“Dealers want people with industry experience, and they are willing to wait for that person to become available,” Crowley said. “Our clients want those 150 percent quota sales reps because they don’t have to baby-sit them. They just tell them what their set way of doing business is, and they can just let ’em go.”
“The job market moves fast. Employers need to move faster.”
Finding Talent in a Very Tight Labor Pool
“We’re always looking for hunters. It’s been that way since Day 1,” Schwartz said of the No. 1 recruiting target in the Copier Channel. “Everyone’s looking to grow and bring in new business, so that calls for a hunter.”
Schwartz and Crowley agree that being proactive is key to finding a great hunter — and they also agree that it’s not an easy task. “The right time to contact someone like Copier Careers is when you have a whole team, so there is time, so you can make a hiring decision not in a panic mode,” Crowley said. “I tell that to every single client. If they anticipate hiring a sales individual, they have to move quickly, because if a candidate has a proven track record of success, they won’t be on the market very long.”
Crowley, who has been recruiting in the industry for nearly a decade, said that the advantage she and other recruiters have is that they are in touch with a lot of experienced candidates, “so when they are ready to make a move, they come to us.”
Being decisive and nimble as a recruiter and an employer can make a difference. Crowley said that external factors can make top candidates ready to consider their options in an afternoon. They may have a new sales manager they don’t like; the dealer switched their territory; their compensation changed; or they want to relocate. When that happens, it happens quickly.
I Love My Job. No, Wait. I Hate My Job
Crowley and Schwartz say that the continuing evolution of the Copier Channel can quickly turn a happy, settled employee into someone looking for a new job. “The job market moves fast. Employers need to move faster,” Schwartz said.“
Crowley recalled a recent conversation with a major account rep who has been with one company for more than a decade and was doing well. “At the time, she said, ‘Let’s keep in touch,’” Crowley said. A few days later, the same woman called to set up a time to talk about her options.
“Something must have happened,” Crowley said. “Situations always come up, and that’s why it’s important for us to stay in contact with people we know in the industry, whether they are looking or not. Because things change daily.”
Crowley notes that in the tight market, dealers are looking for new ways to attract top sales talent, and money isn’t the only incentive. “It’s also about company culture,” she said. “Candidates want to know what it’s like to work there on a daily basis.”
She sees a common thread among candidates in what they want from an employer. “They want to work for a company with a good reputation and a solid onboarding process that builds immediate rapport between them and the employer,” she said. “Most importantly, they want to know that they will be valued, resources are available when needed and success will be forthcoming.”
Non-compete agreements are still an issue in hiring, Schwartz said. “If anything, clients are looking at them more carefully and are afraid of litigation.” His advice is the same as it was in last year’s survey: Be sure to have your legal counsel review a non-compete.
At Copier Careers, recruiters also screen candidates on several industry benchmarks, including sales, territory, performance against quota, awards and other factors. “The value-add that we bring is that we are able to vet people, to find and place the most experienced sales candidates for our clients,” Schwartz said. “Our connections allow us to continue to help our clients in this ever-changing industry. We stay in contact with people, provide them with information and engage them on opportunities.”
“The momentum forward is good. There is no reason to think the Channel won’t be growing.”
A Hint of Change in the Wind
If constant change is the new normal, the Copier Channel is doing what is normal. It is adapting to new solutions and facing hiring challenges.
“It’s a terrific time to be in the business,” Schwartz said. “I don’t see any roadblocks from outside the industry.” But he noted that there is potential for some mergers and acquisitions in the industry in 2019.
“In the past, we would typically see one dealer acquire another. However, in recent years, private equity firms have begun taking an interest in the Copier Channel, as well.
“Solution sales have made these businesses much more profitable and much more interesting to own,” Schwartz said. “This is a new phenomenon in the U.S. Copier Channel, and private equity investment appears to be here to stay.”
Like the rest of the industry, Schwartz and Crowley said it will be interesting to see how potential mergers and acquisitions will affect the industry in the coming year.
“People don’t like change,” Schwartz said, “but we see opportunities. From the respondents to this survey, I think that the momentum forward is good. There is no reason to think the Channel won’t be growing.”
The news is simple. Sales reps and dealers are connecting with clients to sell and service solutions. For now, the compensation model is working. Overall, the industry is in a good place. Of course, more change is inevitable in a dynamic industry, and it seems that the industry has gotten used to the idea that it will be constantly evolving and adding new solutions. -CC
Our Other 2018 Salary Surveys
In Case You Missed It
- 2018 Copier Tech Salary Survey
- 2018 Sales Manager Salary Survey
- 2018 Service & Operations Manager Salary Survey
Copier Careers® is a recruiting firm dedicated exclusively to helping Copier Channel employers find experienced service techs, copier sales reps, sales managers, service & operations managers, controllers, back-office staff and MPS/MNS experts. Learn more about our commitment to the Copier Channel at CopierCareers.com or call 888-733-4868 to talk with a recruiter.