While many companies adopt specific sales processes, they are often using criteria that are either too complicated or sometimes too simplistic, and often promote the wrong selling behavior.

Managers are hired and promoted for showing expertise in leading their teams and driving revenue for the company. However, managers often like to adopt their own spin on the sales process and often your company may end up with too many variations to the playbook. Imagine if on the sidelines of a football game you had each coach carrying out their own version of the game plan. It would be chaos. The same can occur in a company's sales environment if your team is not on the same page.

In today's economic environment, it is paramount to set the right criteria to drive behaviors that will impact the company's bottom line and long term goals. This criteria has to be succinct and measurable, and workflow must be instilled to assure each manger is sticking to the process you deployed.

Working smarter also requires driving this repeatable process on all levels of sales. Providing sales management and sales reps with the visibility and insights they need to see how they are performing, and allowing them to measure where they stand across "metrics that matter," forces managers to follow the plan.

A recent survey done by CSO Insights with 1,000 respondents found that "just over half noted that spreadsheets are still a primary vehicle for managing." The report states, "using spreadsheets can often be error prone (at a rate of three to five percent) and limit the integration with key technologies like sales analytics, CRM software, and Sales 2.0 systems. But, by combining rich sales and post-sales data, managers can set plans that better motivate reps and identify areas where rep coaching is needed."

In adopting a system-wide approach with built-in workflow and consistent utilization of sales coaching tools, your chances to succeed in sales will increase substantially.