Salesperson burnout is hurting your business. Here’s how to fight it.

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The life of a sales rep has never been easy. Whether they’re traveling around the globe, bogged down in administrative work, or fresh out of leads, the road to closing a deal can be an uphill battle. A lot of sales reps work overtime under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem: now that the majority of business is conducted remotely from home offices, the lines between work hours and off hours are blurred more than ever before.

At Dooly, we recently surveyed 600 people working in the sales industry (i.e. sales reps, managers, account executives) to determine their satisfaction at work nearly two years into the pandemic, and the results are dismal: 91% say they’re working after hours or on weekends, and 69% say they’ve experienced burnout due to their job. Of those who said they experience burnout, 73% said it has negatively affected their mental health. That’s not okay!

With the Great Resignation a mounting worry for every industry, sales managers and business leaders must prioritize retaining their reps. Dooly’s Sales Happiness Index found a quarter of salespeople only anticipate working in sales for the next 3-6 months, with only 27% saying they plan to stay in the industry for the next three years.

As the holiday season kicks into full gear, here are three tips for fighting salesperson burnout at your business.

1. Communicate

Our 2021 Sales Happiness Index found that 41% of salespeople’s workday is spent on non-revenue generating activities, or NRGs, including sitting in meetings and doing administrative work like updating Salesforce or another CRM. Understandably, this can be frustrating when you’re trying to make a commission and you spend nearly half your workday on distracting tasks assigned by your manager.

To make matters worse, 8 in 10 of respondents say that management does not understand how time-consuming NRG activities actually are, with 78% noting that lack of understanding leads to misalignment between expectations and what sellers can reasonably achieve.

As a sales manager, you must communicate with your team members to ensure they feel supported and enabled to do their best work. Make sure the tasks you’re assigning to them actually make sense with their daily workflow and you’re not over-burdening them with minutiae that takes away from revenue-driving sales activities.

2. Consolidate

While salestech can be an asset to reps working from home, 57% of our respondents reported their company’s tech stack is actually harmful to their productivity. We found the average company has 13 different tools in their salestech stack. 55% of respondents say they don’t use all of these tools because they’re extraneous, and 50% of respondents cited a lack of useful integration between tools. Salespeople are overwhelmed with too much tech, and when those tools don’t work together it can create even more of a headache – as well as important data lost between the cracks.

The big picture here: underutilized tools hurt your business’s bottom line. If you’re responsible for purchasing and implementing tech tools, consider options that consolidate different functions like note taking and CRM automation. Your sales reps are tired of toggling between different apps – find them a solution that’s geared toward making their lives easier. It’s a win-win for everyone!

3. Cut down on calls

These days, in-person meetings feel like a relic of the past. With Zoom and video calls now the norm for internal and external comms, our data found salespeople are spending an average of 12 hours a week on work-related video calls, and they’re starting to feel the pain: 65% of respondents said video calls contribute to burnout, and 61% feel pressured to keep the camera on when they’d rather turn it off. What’s more, 67% agreed that at least half of the meetings they sit through each day seem unnecessary or could be more efficiently accomplished through other comms channels.

If you want your sales reps to stay engaged and productive, consider cutting down on the amount of internal video calls throughout the day. You can chat through your team’s progress on this quarter’s KPIs over Slack or email – not everything has to be a meeting.

If you absolutely can’t bear to part with your daily Zoom calls, try implementing “camera-off” days to give your reps a break. That way you’ll cut down on the anxiety that comes with getting (and staying) camera-ready for every single call.

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is crucial to employee morale and retention, no matter where you work. If you’re committed to helping your sales teams flourish and reach their fullest potential at work, combating burnout needs to be a priority reflected in your daily policies and practices. Your sales reps – and your bottom line – will thank you for it!

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