The high stakes environment of the sales industry is the reason a lot of people choose to pursue a career in sales. As any salesperson will tell you, there’s nothing quite like the buzz of successfully closing a sale. Working in sales can be a hugely fulfilling and rewarding career, but the pressures of cold calling, repeated rejections and chasing leads can also be stressful for your reps.
A recent Statista study found 25% of men and 19% of women felt exhausted or burnt out. A little stress is normal in any job, but if stress becomes long-term, it can cause problems. Chronic stress can take its toll on the mental, physical and emotional health of sales reps, and if left untreated can lead to burnout.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of chronic stress which leaves people feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual process which takes its toll over many weeks or months. If a period of stress isn’t addressed or overcome, it could eventually leave the sufferer feeling helpless, overwhelmed and drained.
Not only can burnout damage careers, but it affects people’s relationships with friends and family, their mental health, and their overall outlook on life. Burnout saps energy, reduces productivity and causes people to feel detached and apathetic towards every aspect of their lives.
How to prevent burnout
Don’t let burnout happen to you or your team. These simple steps can help to prevent stress and minimize pressure in the workplace.
Address the causes of stress at work
The first step to preventing burnout is working out what the key stress triggers in your office are. Lack of support from management, conflict within teams, unmanageable workload and poor working conditions can all cause stress at work. Once you’ve identified what factors are causing people to feel stressed, you can take steps to improve them.
Improve office environment
We spend a large percentage of our time at work, and the office environment can have a big impact on stress levels. Working in a cramped, untidy or dirty office can contribute to people feeling stressed at work. Ensure that everyone has enough space to work, and that the office is kept clean and tidy. Additional features like break-out spaces, comfortable seating and natural lighting all help to create a pleasant work environment.
Managers often make the mistake of focusing too hard on the numbers, and lose sight of the people they’re in charge of. Let your team know that they’re doing a good job. Sometimes the reassurance that their hard work has been recognized is all people need to boost their mood. Sales will inevitably go through tough periods, and your team needs to know that you value their hard work during the lows as well as the highs. Proactively managing stress will help you and your team repeatedly achieve those sales goals.
Clearly define job roles
Ill-defined job roles at work can lead to confusion, blame culture, job insecurity, resentment and conflict within teams. Ensure that every team member knows what their roles and responsibilities are. Not only will this minimise stress, but it will mean your team works more efficiently and collaboratively.
Time out from work
The ‘always on’ culture in sales can be very stressful. If your team work long hours, rarely take their lunch breaks, and answer emails at all hours of the day and night, they could be heading down the path of a burnout. 13% of respondents in the 2017 study said that they have problems unwinding in the evening or on weekends.
Encourage your team to take time to relax outside of work, whether that’s spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies or just putting their feet up. Time away from work is the best way to recharge and destress from the high-pressure sales environment, and it will mean that they’re ready to focus once they return to the office.
Need more advice on minimizing stress and preventing burnout? Pipedrive has partnered with Mental Health America to produce a practical guide to managing workplace stress in a high-pressure industry. Read the guide now and share it with your team.