Every salesperson wants to have a successful career and show good results at work. But it takes a lot of effort to make that engine run. Salespeople work in a competitive environment and must stay positively charged each day. Keeping up that pace can be exhausting and stressful.
As a result, more than 67% of employees in sales are close to experiencing burnout. To avoid burnout in sales, you should be aware of some indicators that may lead to it. And to enjoy doing what you do professionally, we recommend applying a few strategies into your everyday routine.
What Is Burnout in Sales?
Burnout is a state of mental and sometimes physical distress. Frequently exposed to stressful situations, salespeople can be highly susceptible to burnout. They are in close contact with often demanding clients, and sometimes even the best salesperson must deal with rejections.
The sales business is like a marathon—you must always stay motivated and in good shape to make it to the finish line. Subjected to different triggers, sales reps can turn apathetic and even refuse to start the race.
Stressors in sales can cause you to get frustrated, stressed out, and even quit. The beginning of the pandemic and transition to working from home may have ignited a burnout, but are there other instigators?
In many companies, sales reps still do multiple tasks, starting with searching for prospects until closing the deal. The number of responsibilities and poor distribution of tasks can also lead to burnout. To keep salespeople content in a working environment, managers must watch out for the triggers and carefully define sales team roles to prevent burnout.
What Triggers Sales Burnout?
Burning out in sales is not just a result of sleepless nights and heavy workload. Many salespeople have lost the boundary between where the job ends and their personal life starts. That's an immediate sign.
A recent survey by Mental Health America has shown that more than a half of responders engage in unhealthy behavior in their personal lives to cope with work-related stress. Both spheres of life are tightly connected and depend on each other.
Let's see how these other major triggers blur the lines:
1. Staying plugged in 24/7
Salespeople often treat their jobs as more than just a profession. They devote the majority of their time to building relationships with prospects or finding new ones. Technology has made it even harder for salespeople to unplug when they can stay connected in real-time. That means staying up late, not getting enough sleep, and constantly checking their email and cellphones, which can lead to burnout.
2. The COVID pandemic
The global pandemic has hit hard in every industry, but B2B was one of the most susceptible. HubSpot reports that in 2020, sales turnover rates were about three times higher compared to other industries. Due to the economic downturn, it became harder to hit targets and close the deals.
According to B2B International Research, 58% of respondents admitted that they were worried about sales and revenue in the B2B industry. With the uncertainty that comes in a rapidly changing market, it’s no wonder that salespeople have felt a tremendous mental and emotional drain brought on by the global pandemic.
3. Unrealistic quotas
The start of the pandemic for the business world meant adapting to new business practices. The sales industry faced changing economic conditions, budget cuts, and other challenges. Salespeople are still struggling to meet old quotas in this climate, causing an upswing in turnover caused by burnout to meet unrealistic expectations.
4. New technologies
Adjusting to new digital technologies and ways of doing business in a quickly changing industry can be a difficult transition for many people. Without the proper guidance and training, salespeople may feel overwhelmed to master new skills to perform their jobs effectively. Getting caught up on how to use technology can be particularly frustrating.
Signs of Burnout
People working in the sales industry are generally extremely competitive, motivated, and passionate about their jobs. So it might seem like it would be easy to see the signs of burnout with this dedicated crowd.
But it’s not always so. Sometimes, it's not that obvious until it’s too late: Burnout signs have risen by 33% in the sales workplace, an ongoing issue that shouldn't be overlooked. Here are some signs:
1. Lack of motivation and interest
Burnout causes people to grow cynical and negatively oriented toward professional goals. They consider their job tiring and don't perceive any joy from it. They may become grumpy and annoyed by simple everyday tasks or by the people they work with.
2. Low productivity
People experiencing burnout often have difficulty concentrating. What used to be an easy task to accomplish now takes a lot of time and effort. This will likely show in decreased performance.
3. Physical exhaustion
Chronic emotional exhaustion may lead to physical symptoms, such as lack of sleep, constant fatigue, headaches, and many more. If someone is taking off multiple days sick, this may be an indication that they are burnout.
How Managers Can Help Prevent Burnout
Sometimes it might be hard to prevent stress at the workplace, but managers can help their teams avoid burnout. Sales managers should focus on implementing long-term strategies rather than short-term solutions. Giving an employee a day off for vacation will have a positive impact, but the effect will be temporary. Here are a couple of effective ways you can keep their spirits high:
1. Have weekly one-on-one meetings.
Try to establish close relationships with your salespeople. One-on-one weekly meetings with employees to discuss their issues will help build trust and a connection. Salespeople need to feel that they are heard and their voices matter. Sales managers should listen, support, and discuss the possible solution for their problems.
2. Provide the right productivity tools.
Technology doesn't stand still, and salespeople need to be equipped with the necessary tools to win prospects and close the deals. There are a lot of sales tools for SDRs to choose from, but not all of them are up-to-date. Sales managers must provide efficient, easy-to-use modern tools, as well as the proper training to use them.
How to Stay Healthy And Love Your Job
No salesperson is immune to getting stressed or overwhelmed at the workplace. But establishing a healthy work routine and sticking to it goes a long way. Use these simple strategies to reduce tension and gain back the joy of your job:
1. Prioritize your day.
Salespeople have a lot on their plate. Setting a feasible plan for each day can reduce the chaos and stress in the daily routine. Be realistic and don’t take on more tasks in your schedule than you can handle. Pick priorities and bigger tasks to focus on during your peak hours of performance, shown in the time clock software that you can try using.
To help you establish your daily activities and workflow, check out a day in the life of an SDR at CIENCE.
2. Seek professional development.
- Sales training workshops. Taking a one or two-day training course is a great way to develop the necessary sales skills and build strong customer relationships. By participating in customized scenarios, you can put practice into motion by improving your negotiation skills and building confidence.
- Online webinars. These training sessions are generally available to an unlimited number of participants online. Highly on-demand these days, webinars allow you to participate and interact with other attendees in real-time.
- Sales brainstorming. This activity is designed to generate new solutions to problems where participants have a chance to offer their own ideas. An interactive development tool, brainstorming is a useful way for sales teams to implement new ideas. A useful tip is to write down the ideas using a whiteboard tool.
3. Participate in team building.
In times of a COVID pandemic, it’s hard to feel like a part of a team. With most people working remotely, sales reps need to find a way to keep a sense of connection and unity with their colleagues and company. Online get-togethers in a non-work environment can cheer up the team and boost performance. Here are a few fun ways to connect:
- Online escape rooms and mystery-solving games. These are great activities for the team to sharpen their communication skills and solve problems. These outlets can improve teamwork, encourage creativity, and build problem-solving skills.
- Team contests. These can create a healthy competitive environment inside or outside of the workplace. It can help to identify personal characteristics that can be wisely implemented into the work strategy. A board game tournament or a sports competition can be a fun start.
- Day-out activities. Sales reps can spend some time in locations where they don’t often get a chance to interact. Participating in a day-out activity with your colleagues can help you learn more about each other and help improve team performance. Coordinate a group hike, a road trip to the nearby town, or a simple picnic in the park.
4. Develop a positive mindset.
It's super important to take care of both your mental and physical health to do your job effectively. If you feel worn out, there is nothing wrong with taking a pause to relax. Taking a day off, a yoga class, or an evening out with friends might be just what you need. Once you're back on your feet, you will feel rested and ready to reach new professional heights. For inspiration, check out these tips on how to stay positive in sales.
Keep Your Spirit High And Sales Higher
Succeeding in the sales business is hard work. Although it’s very demanding, it can also be equally rewarding. On the way to success, it’s important not to forget about self-care to do your job well. Once you are on the edge of sales burnout, it’s hard to get back on track. But knowing the signs and how to avoid them will help you stay focused and excited about your job.