In the old days, top sales performers hit their numbers in cold calls each week, boasted charisma and held season tickets for major sports teams. Making sales was about impressing the customer with exclusivity.

But as times have changed, the sales teams playing by the old rules likely will be extinct in no time. As HubSpot executive Mark Roberge notes, the “lavish lifestyle” exuded by legacy salespeople would most likely make present-day customers “wonder how much is baked into the ultimate sales price being pitched to them.” Today’s customers are well informed and somewhat skeptical of “standard” sales tactics.

The evolution of contracting sales into trust-building, data-driven, tech-inspired relationships has been in progress for years now. Sales functions that don’t take part and evolve with the changing landscape are at risk of being left in the dust. With sales
as the major driver of business revenue, it might not be so hyperbolic to say that sales teams that don’t evolve may simply drive a company to extinction.

As a result, it’s imperative that the catalyst for change comes from business owners, sales managers and human resources leaders. The bottom line depends on a willingness to change that comes from the top.

For construction business leaders, this means taking a look at how the sales process is evolving, determining how they can best rally and support changes within the function, and recognizing the tactical relics that need to be left behind.

To better understand how business leaders can catalyze sales evolution, they must first understand where the function is headed. Despite being in a constant state of transition, a select few strongholds have emerged in today’s top sales practices for construction firms.

Top Salespeople Are Out to Help

Forget the elevator pitch. Today’s customers are already aware of what companies do; they’ve visited websites and read peer reviews. Instead of designing initial meetings about themselves and what they do, top salespeople create an experience that’s all about the customer. They focus on understanding the root of the customer’s problem, and then
figure out the best way to help.

The foundation of any good relationship is trust. With a focus on building relationships and solving problems, closing deals is a welcome byproduct.

Top Salespeople Love Data
Numbers haven’t always been a salesperson’s best friend. But today, top sales performers use numbers to drive their actions. They crave data: Who’s opening the email blasts and when? Who’s clicking the links? Who’s visiting the website, and how are they navigating to the information they need? What are the conversion rates on landing pages?

Big data has shifted from a fear of numbers to a love of them, especially when they’re used to enhance selling tactics.

Top Salespeople Prospect Outside the Box
Leads are no longer contained in printed lists and phone books. Buying signals are more than positive body language in a meeting and a request for proposal.

Because qualified prospects can come from any sort of physical or digital direction, top salespeople leverage the power of social networks—spurring engagement via sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Google Alerts are their best friend. They absorb data and use the analytics to determine who’s indulging in company content, who’s visiting product pages and who’s engaged in social conversations.

Top Salespeople Use Technology to Sell

Because there is a fear of technology among some “old school” salespeople, company leaders need
to instill a new view on emerging business solutions. Good leaders help salespeople recognize technology’s ability to streamline their own sales processes and also create a better buying experience for the customer.

The way to impress a customer comes from differentiating the company. They aren’t stuck in carbon copy mode, but instead are
willing to learn and implement technology that allows them to serve customers where and when they need it most. Their employers equip them with mobile tools in order to better serve customers with professional quotes delivered on the spot, in the field.

Top Salespeople Are Enabled by Company Executives
Clearly, top sales functions are driven from the top. Salespeople are only successful with support from company executives, IT managers and human resources managers who proactively invest in applications that positively impact processes and revenues.

It’s up to the company’s decision-makers to seek out the right tools and software to help salespeople thrive. Desktop computers, oversized printers and fax machines are soon-to-be fossils in the evolution of the sales role. Applications made to fit the modern construction business, and that don’t take years to implement, are worth today’s investment for
tomorrow’s return.

Armed with the awareness that evolution must take place, and the knowledge of where the sales function is headed, it’s the
owner’s responsibility to drive change within the company. Embracing this role and taking time to explore the possibilities ensures investment at the top will generate a welcome return at the bottom.


Sam Flanery is a principal partner at JobFLEX. For more information, call (855) 354-3539 or visit www.jobflex.com/improve-sales-infographic.