Very few salespeople naturally have the skills needed for success. Most reps have to learn them and, therefore, need a good teacher. That’s why a sales manager needs to focus on the selling process, i.e., how the sales rep goes after business.

The added challenges and wrinkles of today make a sales process — a multiple step definition of the proactive efforts a sales rep needs to accomplish to dramatically improve their chances of making a sale — even more critical. 

Whatever sales process a company does follow, there are a few attributes it should involve to make it ideal. The process needs to be memorable, so a salesperson can remember it easily, needs to be sustainable, needs to be proven, and must be followed by all of the sales reps and management, says Peduto.

“The sales manager should coach to it not just enforce it, so it becomes a consistent methodology,” he says. “Adherence to the sales process increases results as our data show that if there are two similar people and one uses the sales process and the other doesn’t, they'll have a minimum of 15 percent more business.”

Although there is not one perfect formula, companies benefit from consistently following a certain form of sales process. This is because a clearly defined sales process helps a sales manager coach reps. 

“Once a company clearly defines their sales process, they can collect data for each point,” says Sawchuk. “Insight gained from this include recognition of a sales rep’s areas of strength and weaknesses, which can then be worked on.”

Building a better sales force that can compete in today’s tough jan/san market comes down to commitment. 

“There needs to be commitment from the C-suite to accept the fact that markets have changed, selling is harder than it has ever been, and the sales team needs help,” says Peduto. 

If a company focuses on data and uses it to drive sales coaching, results will follow. 

With competition arising from both inside and outside of the traditional jan/san industry, companies need to boost their sales teams with a manager who dedicates time to being a coach who motivates, questions and teaches reps so they can thrive and boost the company’s bottom line.

Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

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