Sales Performance Enhancement

The five characteristics of a winning sales culture in construction

Jonathan Hubbard
Jonathan Hubbard
March 1, 2024

What does a winning sales culture look like for a construction company’s salesforce? 

We spoke to multiple sales leaders in construction and consulted our customer team to pin down the 5 characteristics which the best sales cultures are built on.

Have a read through to see if your sales culture matches up. Worried it won’t? We’ve got advice on that too. Let’s get going.

5 characteristics found in winning sales cultures across the construction industry

#1: Team is focused around the sales target

Strong construction focused sales cultures are united around their core goal: achieving target. Not only is that revenue or GP target clearly communicated, it’s achievable. There are few things which ruin a rep’s motivation more than having to reach an unrealistic target they heard about once at the start of the period.

Managers in high performing cultures are pros at taking the finance team’s goals and deconstructing them across their sales reps according to their capabilities. If the whole team’s target for the period is $2.5mil, every rep knows exactly how much they’re responsible for contributing to the target.

#2: Reps are using forecasting to stay on track

Smart sales forecasting is the underrated tool top performing sales cultures use as their weapon. In a competitive and transitioning (through covid and economic stress) industry like construction, using smart forecasting is an easy way for sales reps to keep an eye on where things are headed, helping them stay calm and ready.

We’ve found it’s the teams who have mastered forecasting, and use it as a guide, who are always aware of how far they are from forecast sales. They aren’t strung out: they know when they’re beginning to fall behind early enough to pivot and get back on track. As a result, the sales culture is clear, focused, and collected.

#3: Communication is seamless

The communication style in a winning sales culture is proactive and doesn’t miss a beat. Despite possible regional separations, everyone is kept on the same page, with information kept in a central source. If anyone needs help, their colleagues are there with advice.

The tell tale sign there’s something wrong? If you walk into the office, and you’re met with dead silence. Or you haven’t heard from your reps all week.

#4: Meetings are never missed

Your sales reps are likely self-sufficient - after all, they’re able to manage close to 200 customers every week. Doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate your help, guidance, and leadership. 

The 8am daily huddle, the monthly forecasting meeting, weekly 1-on-1s: these are all critical touchstones for you and your sales reps. Stellar sales cultures are forged in those moments of human connection. Everyone shows up. 

#5: All wins are celebrated 

Teams with strong cultures know how to celebrate every win, big or small. Sounds simple, but not everyone does it.

It’s easy to fall into only celebrating when a key account orders $10k+ of product, or $20k of slob stock finally gets shifted. The flip side is if it’s only wins of that caliber being celebrated, the team will start to think it’s only the massive, or even fluke-y wins that actually count. No. 

Every time progress happens - that’s awesome. Particularly as the industry continues to move slowly thanks to supply chain disruptions, unpredictable distributors, and less demand from end consumers. Top sales cultures celebrate every win because each time positive progress is celebrated, it reinforces the action. And if you’ve ever heard of Jim Collins’ flywheel principle, you’ll know it’s small efforts which drive momentum. The best teams know this, so they celebrate every win, and strive to achieve more, no matter how small.

What to do if your sales culture isn’t up to code

As a manager, you’re not always going to get the support needed to improve intangibles like sales culture.

The best way to find battle-tested ways to re-engineer your team’s culture? Network with other managers.

Get active on Linkedin, at trade shows, or even chat to other managers in different branches of your company and try asking:

  • What motivates your team to stay focused on target?
  • What are the essentials in your team routines?
  • How often are you having team huddles?
  • What agenda points do you never miss?
  • What comms tools work best for your team?
  • What 1-on-1 frequency works for you and what questions are you asking?

The short

The biggest trends we found among top cultures were a relentless focus on where the team is headed, purposeful communication, and the initiative to celebrate progress. 

If you’re feeling like your team isn’t making the grade, you’ve got nothing to lose by having a good chat with other professionals and hearing what works for them. And if your sales culture hit every characteristic on the head, kudos to you, keep leading the charge!

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