It’s fair to say that being a salesperson is a demanding job. The customer-facing nature of the role and the pressure to close deals and reach targets means that sales reps might end up finding themselves suffering from sales burnout.
As a manager of a sales team, the last thing you want is for them to feel like they can’t take the pressure and the that the walls are caving in. This applies to all businesses, but it’s even more prevalent with the nature of sales being a competitive, consumer-facing role.
Sales burnout can happen at any stage: New reps might feel overwhelmed and succumb to the pressures expected of them, while seasoned reps could feel that everything is becoming repetitive and stale—which can lead to its own kind of burnout.
To stop your team suffering from sales burnout, we’ve put together a list of key actions you can take to keep your employees in tip-top shape.
Make Sure the Workload is Manageable
If you find that your reps are always tired, it might be signs they are in the early stages of burnout. While many people equate physical effort to tiredness, mental stress can be just as tiring. Sometimes it can be even worse.
We all know the sales environment is a busy one; it’s hard to dictate the pace when so much of it relies on the outcomes of the prospect. Yet it’s vital that you set a workload your reps can manage and feel comfortable maintaining.
Make sure there is a sales process in place that gives your reps a clear structure and helps to minimize some of the stress that selling can bring. Define pipelines and focus on targets for making calls and setting up meetings. A sales process will help them to work smarter and maintain a healthier mindset.
Your team, who are usually in high spirits about the chances of closing deals, may suddenly become more negative. They don’t have the same vigor, can seem anxious and are even cynical towards their work tasks. Even the best closers have to deal with ongoing rejection—eventually, it will take its toll.
Listening to the problems of your team and hearing what they have to say can go a long way. We’re not suggesting that you become a therapist, but taking time to understand their issues will make a huge difference to their mentality. Organize one-on-one meetings to discuss their difficulties and what they think is going well. It’s also a chance to talk less formally than the usual working environment, which might help team members feel more relaxed when speaking to you.
You don’t need to solve all of their issues, but it helps to be a mentor to your employees. Offer guidance and take the time to them teach new skills, which should keep spirits high. Also let them know that they can come to you with their problems. Doing so should provide the boost they need to stay more positive about converting prospects.
Bonus Reading: Sales Motivation Tips to Boost Your Team
Encourage Them to Switch Off
Many sales professionals suffer from burnout because they don’t stop. There is always something to do, whether it’s another cold call, email to send, product demo, or meeting. With pressures to hit targets high, coupled with the competitive nature of salespeople, many reps can look past their workload.
Encouraging employees to do things like take their lunch break and slow down every now and then can have a positive impact on their wellbeing. It might even be worth looking at bringing relaxation methods into the office once or twice a month.
Whether it’s a massage therapist who spends 20 mins with each team member, or even meditation classes, introducing and championing ways for your staff to occasionally switch off will help to stop sales burnout. There is a good chance that it will even see them performing to a higher level in the long run.
Create a Supportive Environment
Sales are often gamified by reps due to its competitive nature. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the “no I in team” mantra, as reps compete to reach targets and be the best salesperson in the organization. A competitive environment is only healthy if it’s done correctly.
If not, reps going above and beyond to outdo each other will likely lead to burnout and broken relationships. As a manager, you need to create a competitive environment that also encourages support. Embody collaboration and make it known that you will will flag and deal with unsporting conduct.
If a sales rep is rude to their peers, don’t excuse it just because they convert lots of prospects. If that kind of behavior is allowed to fester, it will see the overall team feeling demotivated. Make it known from the start that team dynamic is a collaborative one where everyone should support each other.
Some ways to achieve this include making sure that each employee has a responsibility unique to them, and by making goals more team focused. If reps know they need to work together to achieve a greater goal, they are more likely to embrace the team culture.
Equip Your Team With the Right Tools
We have already talked about how establishing a sales process is vital for avoiding sales burnout. Once you have a process and have set up a pipeline for your team to follow, arm them with the right tools to succeed.
The modern-day salesperson has an array of tech at their disposal, but sometimes the options can be overwhelming. You can help them decide on the best solutions. There should be some form of sales software in place so reps can easily manage leads and be clear about the next step in the process.
It’s also worth having communication tools for collaboration (Slack, Skype), VoIP integrations (RingCentral, Aircall) ,and software that provides data-driven insights. Website tracking software (Logic Monitor, Appdynamics), lead scoring (SalesWings)—these tools provide insights that help salespeople understand their job better, creating more positivity towards their work.
When someone makes a mistake, you can be sure that it will be highlighted. But when success happens, it’s rarely met with much celebration. Sales burnout often happens because employees don’t feel valued—that their contribution isn’t appreciated.
You don’t have to get party poppers out every time one of your reps gets a win, but small acknowledgements go a long way to changing the overall mood. Something as small as providing a pat on the back in front of the team when one of your employees closes a deal can do wonders for self-esteem.
Creating an environment where everyone encourage success, including the wider team, will go a long way. A recent survey found that 57 percent of employees believed that praise should be forthcoming from an entire organization.
Avoid Burnout for a Better Future
Sales burnout has the power to have long-lasting effects on your team, which impacts your organization’s bottom line. Not to mention the personal wellbeing of your staff—careers can end. By identifying the signs and taking the right action, you can stop sales burnout from becoming a problem and create a healthier team environment for your company.