Advantages’ 2019 Sales Compensation Survey Finds Job Satisfaction Matters More Than Pay

Younger distributor sales reps want alternatives to straight commission pay

TREVOSE, PA – June 19, 2019 – The 2019 Sales Compensation Survey published in the latest issue of Advantages® magazine found distributor sales reps and managers cited “enjoyable workplace environment and culture” as their number-one job priority, followed closely by high compensation.

The annual report also found that straight commission declines have leveled off while straight salary models are increasingly being replaced with salary-plus plans, following a five-year trend in the $24.7 billion promotional products industry.

“For the first time, our annual survey found that happiness at work is more important than money for most reps, which reflects our changing world as well as shifting personal priorities,” said Michele Bell, who oversees ASI’s editorial department. “Putting workers’ needs first is essential in a tight labor market when many sales companies are hungry for new talent, and their investment in good benefits and a work-life balance returns dividends in successful reps who stay loyal – and stay put.”
Additional highlights from the 2019 Advantages’ Sales Compensation Survey include:

  • Compensation Trends. While older distributor sales reps are still comfortable with straight commission pay, younger reps increasingly want salary plus commission plus bonus. Of the reps who receive straight salary, nearly 80% would prefer a salary-plus model.
  • Industry Growth. As sales industry-wide continue to rise (a 4.9% increase from 2017 to 2018), average and median salaries are keeping pace, and the number of reps taking home more pay has grown the last three years, with the median salary now $65,000.
  • Better Benefits. Promo companies are increasingly offering benefits such as Paid Time Off (PTO), retirement plans and insurance, signaling a shift to adding reps as full-time employees rather than independent contractors.
  • Culture Counts. While compensation is still important to employees, company culture tops the list, including healthy work environments and flexibility, work-from-home options and hours outside 9 to 5.
  • Job Satisfaction. Nearly 90% of sales reps and sales managers are satisfied overall with their jobs. However, just half of sales reps (49%) are very satisfied with their jobs compared to 61% last year.

Click here for more highlights.

Advantages is published by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) and edited by C.J. Mittica (@CJ_Advantages). The award-winning magazine is the leading publication for distributor salespeople in the industry, providing tips and tactics for sales success, as well as the latest product offerings.

The online 2019 Advantages Sales Compensation Survey fielded responses from readers of Advantages magazine from March to April 2019.

For more information on the annual survey, please contact C.J. Mittica at [email protected]. For info on advertising in any of ASI’s three magazines, contact Matt Barnes, ASI’s vice president of publishing and media services, at [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®) serves a network of 23,500 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $24.7 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, manages the industry’s supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 55 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s Counselor® magazine provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Education Certification Program features 200+ live and online education courses for industry professionals. The company, family owned and operated since 1962, is proud to have been consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA. For more info: