The Distributor Compensation Files
Survey says strong investments result in solid retention.
Last April, BFL&S sent out surveys to more than 200 distributors asking for information about how salespeople in the forms industry are compensated. While the results were somewhat varied, they revealed that most companies invest significant time and energy toward keeping sales staffs satisfied, an attribute that is especially important during an era when many workers perceive the grass, and the money, to be greener on the other side.
The Initial Investment
It's this new work philosophy that has employers carefully profiling potential new hires, while also presenting an attractive compensation package from the onset. But a risk still exists, and in some cases, investing in a newcomer can be a leap of faith.
For Doraville, Georgia-based F.I.A. Corporation, however, hiring is not based so much on faith as it is on proof.
"When it comes to hiring new salespeople, having a loyal customer base is more important to us than having knowledge of the print business," said Brad Dorsen, president and CEO. "Learning how the industry works is secondary and can be obtained over time."
F.I.A.'s new hires are subject to a six-month trial period, after which the salesperson is reviewed and either accepted into "the family" or asked to leave. If accepted, he or she is given the employee handbook to sign, thus agreeing to company conditions.
One change F.I.A. Corporation has implemented is a slight shift in the percent of gross profit a new hire receives—new sales reps work on a 60/40 percentage basis, while current reps receive 50 percent of the gross profit. They are, however, responsible for extra expenses such as lunch, dinners and travel incurred for new business. Those hired on the new plan receive additional support—such as car allowance—in addition to the 40 percent gross profit. "We will give them what they need as long as it fits within our capabilities," said Dorsen.