Launching a new structure can only be achieved successfully thanks to a strong dedicated sales team. Even before a legal entity is created, a team of business developers must act as the « first on the ground » in order to create a network of partners and prepare for the active phase.
Of course, sales isn’t only important when launching a new business; the continued development and survival of a company are just as dependent on its sales power and network. A good team of sales and marketing people, well compensated, well motivated and supported, is the first success factor for companies, in the B2B or B2C markets.
This is why we have decided to focus our second analysis of the West African talent markets on the sales and marketing function. On the various markets of the region, as more and more groups arrive or grow, the need for talent and competition between market players to recruit de best salespeople are both intensifying, and a good recruitment can overturn a market.
In order to obtain the most precise data, we have chosen to focus on the B2C market. Trends and compensation for commercial teams are different depending on the sector, and we can offer more accurate and relevant data by focusing on only one of those.
The positions we have chosen to examine are :
We have interviewed a number of Commercial Directors of global or pan African companies, not only in their capacity as finance professionals but also as team managers. Our questions focused on compensation, but also on the trends regarding salaries in their respective countries, the war for talent between companies and their employee’s demands in terms of compensation and benefits.
In the coming pages, you will find compensation tables allowing you to compare the salary levels for the same position in the different target countries, with our observations as drawn from the interviews of Finance professionals.
For greater ease of comparison, we will share graphs showing the same compensation stats between West African countries in the appendix
Note : For the sake of clarity, the salary levels are shown in US Dollars, even though none of the countries targeted by the study use the US Dollar as their currency.
The salaries studied do not include packages offered to expatriate managers. They only concern local or regional talent. What’s more, they are expressed in net-cash terms, and on a monthly basis
The countries where commercial directors have the best compensations are the most dynamic of the region, i.e. Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Nigeria is clearly the leader in compensation terms for West Africa; thanks to its expanding economy and competitive talent market.
Neighboring Ghana is the last country in the list. This can be explained by the comparatively small size of the market and the fact that fixed salaries are completed by bonus schemes that are higher, on average, than in other countries.
Ivorian and Nigerian markets are again the most positive, but the average of Nigerian compensations are clearly under those for a Commercial director, whereas the difference in the Ivory Coast is less clear.
The Mauritanian market is more lucrative, for this function, than other dynamic countries in the region like Senegal or Togo. A possible explanation is the influence of the mining sector, which drives remuneration up throughout a country’s markets, including in B2C companies.
Other than the presence of Nigeria and the Ivory Coast at the top of the chart, we can again observe that Ghana is at the lowest position. Once again, the bonuses given to sales professionals in Ghana are higher in proportion than in other countries, which explains the discrepancy.
The compensation for a field sales manager in Nigeria is very close to that of a sales manager, even though the latter is theoretically more experienced and with more responsibilities. That can be explained by a local tendency to select a field sales person to head the team, without increasing their compensation.
The position of Sales Executive is the most vaguely defined of the positions we have examined. In some countries (Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso), the position is given a responsibility on repeat sales, and on discussing certain terms once the order is passed. These countries are also those who compensate the position the best.
In other countries, principally in Ghana, the position is often a back office and database manager, which drives down its average compensation.
The position of Marketing Manager follows the general trends of remuneration on the region, with two exceptions: Senegal and Ghana. In general terms, as a sound marketing strategy is more important in mature markets where competition is intensifying, those markets will be more lucrative for marketers.
Nigeria and the Ivory Coast are again on top of the list but Guinea and Ghana, unlike with sales positions, are either in the first half or the middle of the list when it comes to marketing positions.
Beyond the statistics, the experts interviewed also provided information on the state of their countries’ compensation market and of competition between companies for talent.
The trend in all countries is to increase compensations internally. Employers offer more and more advantageous packages to their new talents in Finance functions, and are forced to revalue these compensations internally to avoid losing their managers. This trend is more or less present depending on the countries.
It’s particularly visible in the Ivory Coast and in Nigeria where compensations are being revalued,
It’s less marked in Burkina Faso and Mauritania where the national markets are focused around mining. What’s more, the political situation in Burkina Faso has slowed economic growth.
Our experts in Ghana have discussed a slowdown, even stagnation, of compensations, as the economy is destabilizing.
The exception in the region remains Mali, where the conflicts of 2013-2014 have strongly slowed down the economy and bankrupted an number of companies . The current trend in the Malian market is renewed growth, but the consequences of the destabilization of the country will be felt for the coming years.
Competition between companies for the best talents, including tactics colloquially known as « poaching», are similarly increasing throughout the region.
In the Ivory Coast, most companies have similar problems to retain their personnel, which employers have attempted to solve by offering more and better health coverage. A large number of Ivorian companies, in order to catch up with the market, have scrambled to offer health insurance to their employees and dependents
Average bonus levels also fluctuate a lot over the region. Depending on their level, they can explain international differences in fixed packages. The data we’ve collected shows that:
Bonuses are high in Ghana and Guinea, where they can comprise up to 50% of the fixed package,
In Senegal and Mauritania, the bonus levels are generally lower, averaging between 25% and 35% of the fixed package.
Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo are very close to each other in averages, with a rate around 15%
The use of scaling bonuses, where the rate increases depending on the level of revenue generated, isn’t widespread in West Africa Most contracts instead envision bonuses as a flat rate,
As noted above, Mali is currently speeding up again, but the market is still difficult.
In other countries, the war for talent is also intensifying, but the phenomenon is more recent. Companies have put in place more extensive incentive programs, for instance by increasing bonus levels.
Competition also drives companies to offer more competitive total packages. Employees over almost all the region, are becoming more demanding regarding packages they receive on top of their cash salary.
Employee’s demands are principally focused on two aspects:
First, access to communication and transport, meaning a telephone, laptop computer and vehicle. Most companies that did not previously provide these vital tools for their sales team have had to include them in their complete benefits package in order to attract the best sales managers.
Medical coverage is also particularly in demand, mainly in the Ivory Coast but also throughout the region. Employees have been requesting medical coverage not only for themselves, but also for their dependents.
The study we have just put together shows the transformations the market for sales personnel si undergoing. As for other functions, employees are becoming more and more demanding as the region becomes strategic for global groups, and these companies are widening teir programs in order to retain the best salesforce.
The specificity of the sales function lies in the importance that bonuses and other variable compensation elements have in the war for talent. Bonuses are still the main variable for adjustments. With the intensifying war for talent, we can predict the appearance of modes of compensation based almost entirely on variables and commissions, which is rare in other geographic zones.
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