Three companies topped the $1 million mark in sales per employee in 2003, up from two in 2002. Overall, working behind the scenes to improve productivity, streamline operations, and ultimately boost profitability ratios were noted as 2004 goals for many of the firms on this year's PROSALES 100. Specifically, becoming more efficient, working smarter, and tapping more sales from existing customers are among the strategies the nation's top dealers currently are using to improve corporate performance.
To keep those sales numbers up and their reps motivated, the PROSALES 100 use a variety of different compensation packages. By far the most popular structure is percentage commission on gross margin, which is used by 54 percent of the group, an approach that meshes with the heavy emphasis the industry currently is placing on improving profitability and margins. Straight salary and commission on billed revenue were distant seconds in popularity at 23 percent, followed by percentage commission on collected revenue and gross margin at 22 percent.
When asked to rank the importance of growth within their organizations,82 percent of the PROSALES 100 respondents rated it important as either 4 or 5 on a 1-to-5 scale, with 5 being "very important" and 1 being "not important at all." Additionally, another 15 percent considered growth moderately important, ranking it a 3 on the scale.
How are the PROSALES 100 companies planning to expand their horizons in the next five years? According to this year's sur-vey,74 percent of the PROSALES 100 expect to expand within the same geographic region and 31 percent anticipate growth in another geographic region. An impressive 10 percent also plan to seek national growth.
This activity is taking place amid a relatively flat competitive environment, with 41 percent of the PROSALES 100 reporting that the number of competing companies in their geographic regions has remained constant. Only 8 percent report a rapid increase in the number of companies entering their turf, while an almost equal 24 percent and 26 percent, respectively, say that competition is slowly decreasing or slowly increasing.
PROSALES 100 dealers still are concerned with promoting their businesses; however, when asked about the significance they place on marketing, 52 percent said it was important, ranking it 4 or 5 on a 1-to-5 scale, with 5 being "very important" and 1 being "not important at all." Another 25 percent ranked it somewhat important at 3. Considered in combination with the current focus on expanding within established geographic regions, it indicates that the push to build business is backed, at least in part, by a desire to establish local loyalty.