How to Avoid Burnout Among Your Sales Team

Salesperson suffering from burnout hiding behind his laptop and holding a flag with the word “help” written on it

Sales reps often experience burnout that can lead to high turnover rates when left unchecked. Savvy employers should see the telltale signs and know how to intervene early.

Key takeaways:

  • Sales can be a demanding job and lead to high rates of burnout among salespeople.
  • Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and sometimes physical distress caused by prolonged exposure to stress. 
  • Savvy employers can determine signs of burnout among employees and prevent them.

Sales can be demanding, to say the least. One Bridge Group study found the annual turnover rate for salespeople is a staggering 34.7%, for example. Given that the average onboarding time for sales professionals is nine or more months, it’s easy to see why burnout can mean bad news for companies. It impacts your sales department’s productivity and, by extension, your company’s earning potential.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, or physical distress caused by exposure to stress. It’s more common than many people realize, but it’s no wonder salespeople are particularly susceptible: The job of sales rep is a high-stress, high-pressure position that creates the perfect setting for burnout to occur.

Good salespeople are hard to find, let alone hold on to, so effective leaders should always be on the lookout for signs of burnout and the conditions that cause them. Here’s what you need to know about burnout and how to spot it in your team members.

5 signs of burnout among salespeople

Understanding and recognizing burnout is key to success for your team as individuals, as a group, and your company as a whole. The following are strong signs that employees are suffering from burnout:

  • Previously easy tasks start taking a lot of effort

    Sales is a combination of prospecting, cold calling, setting meetings, and more. Salespeople are usually adept at all, and the experienced ones can go through the day with no sweat at all. Once burnout hits or is near, however, even the most basic tasks start to pose a problem. At this point salespersons may start experiencing a lack of energy and motivation to do things that were previously simple.
  • Chronic fatigue and insomnia

    One of the earliest signs of burnout is feeling tired all the time, and this could include sleeplessness. People suffering from burnout may still drag their feet all day at the office even after the nights when they do sleep. This endless switch from lacking energy to sleepless nights perpetuates the exhaustion.
  • Lack of concentration and difficulty remembering things

    Salespeople who struggle with burnout often have great difficulty concentrating on the tasks in front of them. Memory is also often affected. Employees suffering burnout will often forget the tasks on their to-do lists or struggle with remembering the steps involved in a complex task – even while they work on it.
  • Loss of joy in work they once enjoyed

    Salespeople are often among the happiest and most energetic employees in any company. This buoyant energy is almost a requirement for success out in the field. A drop in this enthusiasm and satisfaction in a salesperson means chances are high your employee is suffering from burnout (or on the brink of it).
  • Annoyance at everyone and everything

    Becoming easily annoyed is another strong indicator of burnout. When your salespeople start finding it hard not to blow their tops when colleagues ask them for favors, burnout may not be too far off.

How to avoid burnout among your sales team

If you start noticing these signs in your sales team, it’s time to take action. You don’t want the burnout to become fully entrenched. Here are a few ways to avoid burnout among your salespeople:

  • Set specific times to disconnect

    Work has a funny way of following workers out of the office and into their homes. Whether its checking their emails after each notification to see if a prospect has emailed back or taking a look at the company CRM to check for updates from colleagues, salespeople can have a hard time effectively unplugging from the office. You need to establish and enforce a “no-work-allowed” rule after certain hours for your sales team.
  • Make a daily plan of action

    The greatest reason for stress at the office is work overload, according to the American Institute of Stress. A daily plan helps your salespeople prioritize, increases their chances of sticking to what’s important, and enables them to resist distractions and stressors. This tactic works even better if you insist your salespeople add breaks into their daily schedules.
  • Reserve energy for demanding tasks

    Train your sales team to pace themselves so they don’t run out of energy before the end of the day. This is important, because energy and focus become scarce in supply as employees approach burnout. Proper training means they learn how to manage resources diligently while completing their tasks. For example, they may choose to schedule tasks like prospecting in the morning when they feel more energetic, or may keep their schedules light during the period before a big meeting at the office so they have the required stamina to be fully present.
  • Encourage outlets for help and advice

    You have to let your sales team know that none have to walk through burnout alone. High performers may be reluctant to be vulnerable in front of colleagues, but burnout is so common that the chances are that others on your team have likely gone through a similar situation and could offer some handy advice. You could also make professional help available for employees already suffering from burnout. 
  • Train your sales team on stress management

    Stress management techniques abound, and you can invest in training your sales team on them. The better your professionals handle stress, the less likely they will be to suffer from burnout.

Offer world-class training to your sales team

To guarantee world-class performance in your sales department, you need to provide world-class training. MetaGrowth Ventures understands this and helps companies break through to the next level of growth by leveraging tens of thousands of hours to provide the world class training your salespeople need to produce world class results. We’ll help you hire a top-notch team, train them to meet and exceed your standards, and monitor their progress to ensure you have only the best helping your company grow.

Contact MetaGrowth Ventures to learn more.

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