Lube Sales: Where the Money Is


What do sales and marketing managers at U.S. lubricant companies earn? According to an exclusive survey conducted recently by LubesnGreases magazine, they average $140,400 a year.

Median pay in the sales and marketing executive suite is also in the six-figure bracket, at $131,000. The median means half of the respondents earn less than that amount, and half make more.

This year, 220 anonymous lubricant sales and marketing manager participated in the confidential Lubricants Industry Salary Survey, which is taken every two years by Lube Reports sister publication. Their responses ranged from a nadir of $35,000 a year to a high of $380,000, with company type, size and location playing a large role in the outcomes.

How do the 2016 bottom-line figures compare with what LubesnGreases found in its 2014 survey? Because a different pool of participants responds to each biennial questionnaire, no direct comparison should be made. If the figures go up, it does not prove that income is climbing; it just means that this years participants said they make more than 2014s group.

With that caveat in mind, both average and median compensation are above what was reported in 2014. All told, 2016s respondents average almost $7,000 more than their counterparts of two years ago, and their median pay is $6,000 higher, too.

As before, a sharp divide can be seen between the rewards doled out by lubricant blending companies versus lube distributors. This years respondents included 128 individuals working for lube manufacturing companies, where they average $149,700 a year. Their median compensation is $140,000.

Another 92 participants work for lubricant distributors, and take home an average of $127,600 a year (median: $120,000). That puts them at a $20,000 disadvantage to their colleagues on the manufacturing side of the business.

By some measurements, though, the two respondent groups look pretty similar. On both sides, the average participant is 51 or 52 years old, has around 22 years of work experience, and has been with his or her current employer for 11 to 12 years. One key difference is in the number of people supervised. Survey participants with lube manufacturers said they manage an average of five people; those with lube distributors have 11 people reporting to them.

The 2016 survey also confirms:

  • Geography matters. Sales and marketing execs reap the highest average pay ($158,200 a year for those with blenders, and $146,600 for those with distributors) in the U.S. South Central region, which is a lube manufacturing powerhouse. By contrast, respondents from the Northwest tilted heavily toward the distribution side of the business, which may be why this region generated the lowest average, just $92,200 a year.
  • Company size counts. In general, although not always, compensation balloons along with company size. Survey respondents at firms with 51 to 100 total employees, for example, said they pocket an average of $125,200 a year, while those at companies with 101 to 200 employees trouser $132,500. Sales/marketing manager pay averages $143,400 at companies with 201 to 500 workers, and $159,500 at companies above that rung.
  • Compensation has many forms. Fifty-six percent of all respondents said they received a raise in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 76 percent expect a bonus as part of their compensation. Commissions are part of the pay structure for 32 percent of the sales and marketing managers with lube distributors, but only 20 percent of those with lube manufacturers.

Additional insights about compensation for sales and marketing managers are featured in the November issue of LubesnGreases. The magazine spotlighted lubricant plant managers in October, and in December will reveal the survey results for laboratory and technical Managers. The complete 2016 Salary Survey data report will also be available for purchase and immediate download on the website, starting Dec. 1.

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