How to Motivate Your Sales Team in Construction

If you are a construction executive or business owner, you’ve surely discussed how to motivate your sales team on more than one occasion. How do you motivate your salespeople and estimators to achieve sales targets? What motivates a salesperson the most? Or not at all? Everyone in your company, be they responsible for marketing, sales, estimating, proposal preparation, or project management plays a part in moving prospects and jobs through all your sales pipeline stages. It is therefore crucial that everyone remains motivated until the prospect is converted to a client and the jobs are won and delivered.

A common misconception, especially in the construction industry, is that it can be costly to keep employees motivated. The key to how to motivate your sales team is surprisingly simple. It is understanding what equals motivation and how to put it to work… all at the same time! So, let’s take a three-pronged approach, and look at how to motivate your sales team in construction from these perspectives:

  1. Goals
  2. Rewards
  3. Leadership
How to motivate your sales team in construction through goals, rewards, and leadership.


A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot. Think BIG. And then think bigger than THAT.

Joe Vitale

Goals by their very nature are motivating, but they can also cause frustration… and fear of failure. How does one ensure that instead they set an employee up for success?

1. Work towards a common Goal

Motivate people towards working for a common goal or a common mission. Show them how they can make a difference in alignment with your construction company mission and vision. Give them a purpose.

2. Diversify Objectives

Objectives should include activities that build customer relationships and partnerships, not just sales focused.

3. Give Your Team Ownership

Cultivate a culture of ownership and responsibility by including your construction sales team in not just setting their goals, but decision making in general. Delegate responsibilities, and provide opportunities for professional development.

4. Transparency Is Key

Provide transparency into objectives and create metrics to track sales activities and identify new issues. If necessary, adjust objectives.

5. Promote Professional Growth

Find out what’s working, what’s not, and how you can help as a sales executive. Focus on solving problems and promoting personal and professional growth.

Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It’s a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalize the deal.

Jill Konrath

6. Determine Employee Styles

Determine what individuals on the team’s “employee styles” are:

  • What is their feedback preference (public or private praise)?
  • How would they like to have issues (both ways) communicated?
  • What is their meeting cadence preference?

7. Break Down Siloes

Break down siloes between the departments in your organization. Bring different departments in alignment with the company mission and vision. Build bridges between them.

8. Be Proactive

Be proactive. Prep for risks and have contingency plans built into objectives. Steve Herz, senior director analyst in Gartner’s Sales Practice, believes crises also contain long-term opportunities. 

9. Foster Trust

Foster trust. Factor in ramp-up times for new hires as well as for new sales processes and techniques or technology. 

10. Communicate

Rewards Play a Big Part in How to Motivate Your Sales Team in Construction

Rewards don’t always have to be monetary. Sometimes you can have a little fun with your team and find new ways to recognize them. Maybe you reward them by offering to do a task they hate, such as prospecting or cold calling. Or perhaps you pledge to shave your head if your team reaches a certain goal.

Sujan Patel

Acknowledgment is a rich reward and motivates people in general to repeat behaviors, build on achievements, and grow their strengths. Of course, compensation translates to acknowledgement but, how could or should it work:

Break down objectives, i.e. short term vs. long term. 

  • Set daily, monthly, yearly goals. 
  • Make metrics available to each sales associate to track his/her own progress. 
  • Put them in charge of their own destiny.

Provide incentives along the way:

  • Make it fun with games that encourage friendly competition and build team spirit.
  • Acknowledge efforts toward objectives with recognition programs.
  • Provide additional rewards, for example, tickets to a football game, the movies, dinner out.

Build Confidence

Build confidence by making it possible for sales associates to come “into the money” – the momentum will carry them towards achieving their goals.

Give Your Team Different Levels of Attention

According to a Harvard Business Review, sales execs are able to coax better performance from their sales teams by treating them “like a portfolio of investments that require different levels and kinds of attention”. Our takeaways from the article:

  • Identify the different personalities. For example, don’t impose sales ceilings or reward ceilings on Type A personalities. And some sales associates need prodding, i.e. carrots AND sticks.
  • Set multi-tier targets as stepping stones for your core performers.
  • Ensure everyone on the team has a chance to walk away with a reward.
  • Coach them out of their comfort zones.

Allow your employees to not just set their motivation, i.e. goals, but pick their own rewards!

Set Team Goals

Introduce territory or team goals between sales peers or, if your company is large enough, between sales and estimating colleagues, for example. 

Leadership is Key to Motivate Your Sales Team

While training is essential initially, leading a sales team that knows what it should do and one that does what it knows are two very different things. 

Express gratitude

Look for opportunities to thank employees for what they contribute to the sales process. Is it establishing relationships? Consistent follow-up on a bid? Mentoring peers? Promoting team spirit?

Encourage risk

Don’t punish mistakes. Treat them as opportunities to get to know and coach your team. Revise what went well and what went wrong. And how to do better next time.

Work on mutual trust

Afford your sales team the same trust that you would like them to have in you. As the saying goes, mean what you say, and say what you mean. That also means not to micromanage them unless it is their management style preference.

Inspire your employees

Set an example. Get down in the trenches with your sales team. Nothing motivates employees more than their supervisors or managers rolling up their sleeves and pitching in when needed. It affords them respect for leadership.

Show that you care

Take the time to learn more about every individual on your team. Meet their families. Find out what their interests are. Send a Get Well card when someone is ill. Etc.

Introduce wellness programs

A healthy employee is a productive one. It can be as simple as a basketball hoop where they can have fun and let off some steam, or a morning meditation class before they venture out to perform their duties. 

Encourage a balance in their lives

It is a known fact that balance between one’s work and one’s personal life promotes productivity. For example, if they have gone above and beyond to reach their goals, give them a day off.

To close, below are examples of motivational emails that you may want to look at. And here is a library with motivational videos you can leverage.

Motivational Email Examples – How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Motivational Email #1, Short of Target Goal

Good morning, guys!

We’ve been trending X% below goal now since [Date}. Yep, this is largely in part because of [challenge or problem]. But I’m proud of how we’ve performed so far. For example, [Provide an example of an achievement]. So, let’s rise to the challenge!

We in management are looking into solutions so we can move the needle yet again, but please feel free to weigh in with any ideas of your own.
Suffice it to say, stuff happens. This week, let’s come up with an action plan that will get us to our goal. Let’s come up with a game plan.

Looking forward to our brainstorming session!

[Insert humorous image like the one below]

Bring It On - How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Thank you,

Motivational Email #2, On Target

Congratulations, guys and gals [or whatever is appropriate at your company]!

We just hit [milestone], exceeding our targets by X%. Thank you to each and every one of you for getting us there. Enjoy this moment of glory:  [Share how the team is being rewarded for their performance].
Having said that, let’s continue to ride the wave. We have momentum on our side, so …

 [Insert image that will appeal to your team]

Motivational Email Example for How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Keep up your stellar performance, signing off, with much appreciation,

How to Motivate Your Sales Team with Videos

And here are some examples of videos that will get you and your team fired up for more success. Watch this space for more on this topic!


Motivation to achieve success is a synergistic combination of factors. Attainable goals need to be set and employees need to buy into those goals. There needs to be a reward system in place, whether it is acknowledgement or monetary or both. And, finally, leadership is key to motivating employees to achieve their goals. We hope you found this article insightful and inspiring. Below is a list of the resources we researched for more in-depth reading.

Further Reading