Make salespeople more than directors

Salary in sales: is there still big money in sales?

Stefan Siedler

Nothing works without good salespeople and employers often pay a lot for the best sales professionals. Earning a lot of money in a short period of time is quite possible in sales. For everyone and everywhere? Stefan Siedler from Xenagos on earning opportunities for sellers and recruiting opportunities for employers:

A salary made up of a fixed salary plus commission: Is that still standard in sales?

This creates an incentive for achieving special results - this is why variable salary components are standard in sales and will continue to be so in the future. Since the Results of salespeople are usually good based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to be measured, it also makes sense. What we, as headhunters for sales positions, observe is that the bonus systems are becoming more differentiated and are often no longer aimed purely at sales or margins. Other factors such as the number of appointments, cross-selling or up-selling or qualitative goals come into play.

What should employers look for in sales bonuses and commissions?

The sooner a salesperson can influence and control his results himself, the more he can do performance-related bonus Sense. If a stairlift seller closes during the appointment, this service is to be assigned directly to him. It gets more difficult with a key account manager in the automotive industry. There are many influencing factors as to whether he or she will get his contract extended. Also, bonuses on company results will not induce the individual salesperson to be more committed.

For which personality type is this form of earnings best suited?

Sales - and thus the associated variable remuneration models - is best suited for goal- and result-oriented personalities, as their motivation and commitment are spurred on by the desire to achieve success. In other words: good salespeople enjoy the competition and like to be measured by their results. It is precisely this behavior that is most rewarded in sales. As already mentioned, it is particularly important for top performers to have it in their own hands to make more of their salary in sales.

What does the Austrian top earner in sales look like - in theory?

The nice thing about sales is that it's politically correct. Employees are measured by the result, not by age, religion, gender, skin color or anything else. Potential customers may not always be that free from prejudice, which can make getting into business more of a challenge. But: if you are good at your job as a salesperson, you can and will get rid of these prejudices and celebrate your success as a result. With that in mind, I wouldn't want to make any restrictions, except maybe for the industry: the higher the margin of a product and the lower the variable costs per additionally sold item or service, the higher the earning potential. One example is software distribution.

For whom a career with good earnings is particularly important: Which industry pays off the most?

In general, it can be said that good earnings can be earned in sales. Because at the end of the day every company - regardless of the industry - lives from the fact that its products and services are sold - and sales are responsible for that. Even if the sellers are no longer referred to as such, but, for example, as Business Development Manager, Client Manager, key account manager or Channel manager. As I said, the highest salaries are paid where companies generate high margins on their products or services. We currently have mandates with quite high salaries in these areas software, E-business or with highly specialized technical issues. The banking, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals sectors have tended to decline.

Mortal sin: capped sales salary

For employers: What monetary benefits do I have to offer sales personnel in order to find the best and retain them? What are the incentives?

It is important that a bonus system is simple and understandable for the seller. And good people must be given the opportunity to earn significantly more than the average. In the field service, there is also a nice company car. Lids are a deadly sin: If a company says, for example, that a five percent commission is paid on the sales achieved, but a maximum of 20,000 euros per year, why should the seller, if he has already reached this value in November, continue to accelerate? That takes the incentive model ad absurdum. A really performance-oriented personality will not feel comfortable in such an environment and will leave the company. And yes, then it can be if you have one Star seller have that they earn more than the sales manager or even the managing director. Actually, they should be happy because it is clear that they will have a sensational annual result.

In your opinion, should employers increasingly work with counter-offers when employees want to leave the company?

Salary is certainly an important issue, but our experience as headhunters shows that it is not the most important. The main reason for a change is usually the task, the development opportunities or the creative freedom in the job. Therefore, a higher salary will not permanently resolve the employee's desire to leave the company. It is more important that the other parameters are worked on. In addition, at Counteroffers there is always the risk of exposing yourself to blackmail, both for upcoming salary negotiations and for other employees who get wind of it.

"Today's activities are tomorrow's sales."

Further education, sales area etc .: Your tips and strategies for more salary in sales?

Continuing education, focus and working with clear goals!
I think like Karl Pinczolits from the FH Wr. Neustadt, who is one of the few who deal with sales on a scientific level: “Today's activities are tomorrow's sales. The connection between activity and success is nowhere clearer and nowhere has a greater impact than in sales and distribution. ”And which activities are best implemented and how can be learned and implemented on a daily basis. If you succeed, you will continuously achieve better results and thus automatically earn more in sales. This applies equally to salespeople and managers.

Sales: Salaries in Austria

Industry, work experience, state - these and other factors influence salary opportunities in sales. You can do your individual paycheck quickly and easily with our salary calculator for Austria.

Photo credits: Andrey_Popov / shutterstock; Stefan Siedler