The BLD Blog

A collection of building materials marketing trends and insights focused on helping building product manufacturers BLD their brand.

Today’s Best Practices for Commercial Building Materials Sales Teams

image of a person drawing building plans'

Article Date: April 17, 2020

Behavior in the review and selection of building materials by target audiences has changed. Thus, over the past five years, the role of commercial building materials manufacturing sales teams has evolved dramatically.

Today’s architects, building owners and contractors that are looking for building product solutions prefer to begin their journey on a manufacturer’s website triggered by an organic search, a click on a digital ad, a media placement, a social media post or an email. Many of these habits are directly aligned with how everyday consumers engage in the research and review of product information. As we know, most people take significant steps in the product purchasing journey without ever speaking to a person at the company.

A Gartner Customer 360 Report published in 2018 noted that by 2020 approximately 85% of the relationships managed between enterprises would take place without human interaction. It’s 2020 now, and that behavior is definitively prevalent in our industry.

Recent research completed by subject matter experts at CNVRT and the 2018 The Architect’s Journey to Specification** confirm that this is the exact environment for building materials today.

So how does that impact building materials manufacturers (BMM) sales teams?

It impacts them significantly.

In the past, your sales team was carrying out much of the role that your digital journey can handle today. Opening doors, introducing the company, products and the details thereof, through direct interaction with your target audiences. Marketing supported these efforts, providing the tools needed for the sales team to effectively begin the product selection and specification journey.

Today, all of this work is done through your digital journey, not by your sales team. The BMMs with sales teams in roles of the past are following a poor approach and practice. Many of them distancing themselves as preferred products, instead of maintaining or growing the level of penetration desired for product specifications. 

What is the role of a building materials sales professional today? 

It is exactly this, as a true trusted advisor, subject matter expert and consultative resource with the ability to deliver fully integrated product support. Their role also requires them to execute optimally on project pursuits and effectively deliver products to market.   

For BMM sales teams, trusted advisor attributes should include the following:  

  1. Extensive and technically grounded details of their products, how they perform, how they are tested and how theyalign with building codes and compliance, if applicable.
  2. Deep knowledge of how the materials are installed, the construction methodology and how they integrate with other products.
  3. Extensive knowledge of the competitive set, technical details of that set and the innateability to recommend the right product for the right 
  4. Rich knowledge of building science as it relates to the product category, specifically for performance-based and building envelop products.
  5. Ability to discuss budgeting, bids, proposals and overall project costs and the impact of labor on those costs.
  6. Ability to support the specification process and lead the development of specifications for architectural firms.
  7. A deep understanding of your product’s supply chain. 
  8. Extensive knowledge of contracting methodology and how different approaches affect project pursuit planning.
  9. Extensive knowledge of the trades and their behavior and roles in the delivery of your products.
  10. Ability to develop project pursuit plans and manage them through to sale. 

For many BMMs today, their sales teams are more aligned with the past than they are the present. If that’s the case for you, you may be working “against the grain.” There’s no better time than now to realign these resources through training and reorganization. This will position your business as one that your target audiences prefer to work with.  

**Published October 2018 by The American Institute of Architects - 1735 New York Avenue, NW - Washington, DC 20006 -

BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.