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Raking It In

By AICC Staff

September 12, 2019

AICC has released its 11th Sales Compensation Report. Based on a survey conducted over the last few months, it is the most comprehensive survey of key sales compensation salaries and benefits being paid by independent corrugator plants and sheet plants in the United States.

“Benchmarking is a critical way for AICC member companies to ensure best practices and leadership,” remarks AICC President Michael D’Angelo. “Knowing where you stand is vital information in the competition for people, and especially vital when looking at the sales function.”

This report is based on data from 56 independent corrugator and sheet plants. These companies employ more than 5,600 full-time employees spread across all the U.S. in aggregate, and these plants sold approximately $2 billion of corrugated products in 2018.

The report is presented in two sections, one covering plant characteristics and sales compensation policies and the other covering base salary and total compensation. Each of these sections is further divided into tables for sheet plants and tables for corrugators. In the report, salary and compensation data are broken down by AICC region, annual sales, number of employees, age of salesperson, years of industry experience, and gender.

As of January 1, 2019, the mean base salary for sheet plant salespersons in the U.S. was $72,558, which is 19.0% higher than reported in 2017. This represents an increase substantially larger than that observed between 2015 and 2017 (3.3%), between 2013 and 2015 (1.5%), or between 2011 and 2013 (7.5%). Total compensation, which adds actual commission/bonus paid in 2018 with the 2019 base salary, averaged $141,517, a substantial increase (21.5%) from $116,482 in 2017.

Most often, sheet plant respondents indicate that their organization uses salary plus commission (60.4%) as their sales compensation method. It is far less common to observe any other compensation model, although nearly 3 in 10 (29.2%) use straight salary, with slightly smaller proportions reporting that their company uses straight commission with expense accounts (27.1%) or salary plus commission and bonus (25.0%).

The mean base salesperson salary at U.S. corrugator plants as of January 1, 2019, was $66,140, a decrease of 17.7% compared to the average reported ($80,339) in 2017. Still, the 2019 mean base salesperson salary was higher than that reported in 2015 ($57,911) or 2013 ($64,405). Total compensation averaged $208,053 and showed an increase from the $164,908 reported in 2017 and was also higher than was reported in 2015 ($137,039) and 2013 ($123,953).

Among those who pay commissions, half say commissions are typically paid before invoices are paid. More than one-quarter base commissions on either gross profit or revenue (28.6% each), but 42.9% base commissions on some other factor.

The report offers detailed information on sales objectives, base salaries, bonus basis, CRM usage, social media activity, and more, as both a national and regional view to allow independent sheet plants and corrugator plants to benchmark their companies.

All responses to this survey were collected and compiled by Association Research Inc. in Gaithersburg, Md., and have been held in strictest confidence. None of the data received have been seen by any AICC member or staff member.

The full report is available for electronic download for $210 for AICC members. To order the full report, visit or contact Patrick Moore at 703-836-2422 or