Namastes Won’t Make Your Team’s Number
Insomnia. Work-related nightmares. Startling every time you hear an alarm clock go off in a movie. According to the American Psychological Association, which just released its annual “Stress in America” survey, Americans are reporting the most significant increase in stress in the report’s 10-year history. American stress levels rose from 4.8 to a 5.1 on a 10-point scale between 2016 and 2017. And sales burnout is at the center of the stress crisis.
In a survey by online career database PayScale, sales account manager was ranked as the second most stressful job, with 73 percent of respondents rating the role as "highly stressful." This news is hardly surprising. Salespeople are under a lot of pressure to meet quota, convert quickly, and prospect more and more new business.
Sales Leaders: Why Burnout in Sales Should Matter to You
Why does this matter to a sales leader? Beyond simply caring about your team members’ wellbeing-which, of course, you do-burnout leads to churn and churn leads to costs. There is a minimum 20% annual turnover in Sales—and it’s up to 34% if you include both voluntary + involuntary according to Bridge Group research. This matters because the average cost of replacing a sales rep is $114,957 when you factor in separation costs, replacement costs, training costs, and acquisition/recruiting costs.
No wonder sales leaders are paying increased attention to their team’s stress levels. There has been significant change implemented in the industry to deal with sales stress. The story of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff hosting 30 Buddhist monks in his home to train his team on mindfulness is a bold example. This visit resulted in the implementation of Salesforce’s mindfulness zones.
Benioff isn’t alone in his interest in mindfulness and wellness. As stress levels escalate in general, self-care has become a huge trend. These wellness trends have leaked into the workplace, from Wellbeing Wednesdays, nap pods, and more. But while yoga sessions and green juice are effective stress-reducers in the moment, they are ultimately a Band-Aid fix. When the kale buzz wears off and the last Namaste is ommmed, your sales reps are right back where they started: in a crushing 30-days cycle that ends only to start right back up again.
Sales leaders need to think more broadly about how to systematically and permanently reduce the stress of the sales role, or continue to deal with costly sale burnout and churn.
Sales Engagement Platforms are like Cold-Pressed Juice for Sales Burnout
For a long-term fix, sales leaders would be wise to turn to an unlikely ally. While it may seem counterintuitive, the right technology can actually help reduce stress for sales reps. New categories of technology, such as sales engagement software, automate many of the more tedious parts of a sales reps’ job: sending emails, setting up calendar invites, organizing their daily tasks, and remembering critical info about their accounts. By automating these tasks, reps are empowered to focus on the strategic tasks where they really shine. More than the quantity of work, being empowered to work on a higher quality of work will have the most impact on your team’s stress levels.
Research shows that feeling underemployed-aka doing manual low-level work that you are overqualified for–is a huge source of stress and low morale. It is beneficial to both the rep and the manager to have reps functioning at the top of their game. After all, Sara is a killer closer, not a killer cutter-and-paster. You owe it to your reps, your business, and your bottom line to free up reps to do the truly strategic work where they thrive at.
Moral of the story? When you are looking at your quarterly budget, skip the yoga sessions and invest in something that will truly relieve the mental burden from your reps and free them up to sell at the top of their game. Sales technology is the most overlooked and most effective way to achieve peak sales performance-what could be more Zen than that?
Is Outreach the missing piece in your tech stack?