Service Center Sales Pros See Bump in Earnings
MCN’s latest sales compensation survey shows gains in salaries and commissions for inside and outside salespeople in 2010.
By Tim Triplett, Editor-in-Chief
Sales professionals at North America’s service centers saw modest increases in their average earnings in 2010 as the economy improved and metals shipments made a comeback.
Findings of the latest sales compensation study, collected in October as part of MCN’s annual Outlook Survey, show that total earnings for service center salespeople vary widely by region and company size. Compensation for outside salespeople ranged from an average of over $120,000 for high achievers at large companies down to less than $50,000 for low achievers at small companies. Average salary, commission and bonus for outside salespeople totaled about $78,627 in 2010—an increase of about 7.1 percent compared to the prior year. Calculated as the median—the point at which half the responses were higher and half lower—the “typical” take for an outside salesperson last year was about $75,000.
Total compensation for inside salespeople in 2010 ranged from a high of $82,500 for high achievers at large companies down to $42,500 for low achievers at small companies. Overall, earnings for inside salespeople averaged about $57,864, an increase of 1.9 percent over the prior year. The median or typical take was around $54,000.
Gains in sales commissions correlate with gains in shipments of steel and aluminum, as reported by the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill. MSCI data shows that, for full-year 2010, U.S. service centers shipped 20.6 percent more steel and 25.8 percent more aluminum, compared to the depressed volumes in 2009. Similarly, Canadian service centers saw an average increase of 15.3 percent in steel shipments and 7.7 percent in aluminum shipments in 2010.
Another factor that may have contributed to the increase in the average compensation level is the likelihood there were fewer salespeople at many service centers last year, the result of layoffs in 2009. Thus each individual was responsible for a bigger share of the pie. With business on the upswing and many service centers back in a hiring mode, the sales staffs, and the pie, should continue to grow.
Service center sales compensation data was gathered as part of MCN’s annual Outlook Survey. Links to an online questionnaire were e-mailed to approximately 8,500 subscribers on multiple occasions between Oct. 20 and Nov. 30, 2010. In total, the magazine received 118 usable responses to the sales compensation questions. Because of the relatively low response rate, the return was insufficient to calculate reliable regional breakouts.