“Our goal was to establish benchmark medians and ranges of sales force salaries as a service to U.S. wine and spirit import companies,” said Steve Raye, Managing Partner at industry consulting company Brand Action Team which conducted the study.

Some of the key findings include base salary medians and range for the following positions:

PositionMedian Base Salary (excl. bonus and benefits)Base Salary Range (excl. bonus and benefits)
Sales rep responsible for one market, no experience/new hire$47,500$35-$60,000
Sales rep responsible for one market, 2 years’ experience$70,000$60-$80,000
Regional Manager with multi-market responsibility and  supervision of one or more sales reps$90,000$80-$100,000
Division Vice President or senior sales executive reporting to the company President$120,000$70-$150,000+

Bonuses represent a large portion of compensation with averages of 15-25% bonus incremental to base salary for the majority of companies surveyed. Surprisingly, there was a set of companies where bonuses were only a small portion of compensation.

Typical benefits offered by importers include a 401K program with some sort of match, partially paid health care program and a dental plan. A company car is not a common part of compensation but a car allowance is.

Travel to visit foreign suppliers is relatively limited: 1-2 trips per year for Market and Regional managers, while DVPs are more likely to make significantly more trips.

According to Bill Earle, President of NABI, one of the survey sponsors, “We recognized a compelling need for importers to get a sense of compensation ranges for sales personnel. Going forward we will expand the research to report data by company size and region, but we hope this set of information will provide value to our members as well as the import community at large.” Added Sid Patel of Beverage Trade Network, “there simply isn’t a lot of publicly available information on the wine import industry as a whole, and we’re pleased to be part of this first step in establishing some benchmark metrics.”

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