HTA salary survey reveals importance of sales staff

The HTA’s new salary survey for 2007 has revealed the importance of sales managers in increasing nurseries’ profitability.

The association collected salary data for the post of sales manager for the first time — industry experts claim this has become a significant role within the nursery sector. The larger nurseries pay salaries of £30,000 plus, and the average remuneration is £26,416. This is more than the average salary paid to nursery managers and similar to that of garden centre managers. HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said: “The industry is looking more clearly at the issue of salary and is increasing what it pays. We’ve highlighted the sales side because it’s an important aspect. It comes back to collaborations (HW, 2 August). Large nurseries can afford larger sales teams and smaller ones can pool resources to employ sales executives. A good sales person needs a salary that reflects that. “Wages are going in the right direction and are making the industry appear more attractive.” Hayloft Plants sales director Derek Jarman said: “This shows how important sales are to a business. Nurserymen are very good at producing plants but not very good at selling them. Sales are very important to any nursery. We’re an underestimated profession — though I am biased.” Jarman and Briercliffe both criticised the Agricultural Wages Board for driving up wage expectations. Golden Acres Nurseries operations director Simon Edwards said: “We’re taking a much more sales-driven approach across our nursery and it is improving business. We have a dedicated salesman out to talk to customers and everything we grow is based on his targets, so we don’t grow it and then try to sell it afterwards. “While we’ve been dedicated to knowing about plants we now also have to be dedicated to selling things to people. But this is going to mean a lot more training in sales for sure. We have to sell things otherwise we’re out of a job.”

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