We’ve all been there. We’re tired and we’re burnt. Sales is one of the most rewarding careers, but at the same time it can be the most stressful career.
According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:
* Physical and emotional exhaustion
* Cynicism and detachment
* Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
More importantly, burnout makes you less effective at your job, which is why you want to prevent it.
Signs of Burnout:
- Don’t want to get up to work
- Loss of appetite
- Anger at your team
- Not feeling excited about work anymore
- Feeling depressed because everything feels like a grind
- Overwhelmed and just hate yourself
Salespeople have the highest amount of burnout because the work we do is frustrating, tedious and repetitive.
Our normal process involves list building for hours — which can keep a salesperson motivated for a few days, but commonly salespeople report being tired of sending emails, using excel spreadsheets or doing calls.
Once they start feeling tired, they slow down and hit a wall.This leads to frustration and a loss of productivity, which leads to missing quotas and more pressure.
A tale of sales burnout from a previous hire..
About two years ago when I was running my previous startup, I went to a conference with my VP of marketing and we had an in-depth discussion about two of our new sales hires.
When the two sales peeps first came on board, I was working this new hire hard to the point of burnout.
Here’s the story:
We hired this member to be a full stack sales guy — no specific role like SDR, AE — just an all in one.
He did everything from list building to outreach, because we were a small team and felt that everyone should wear all the hats.
Eventually, there was a lot of pressure on him, and I did’t take the time to understand the issues he was facing.
Turns out, there were a few problems:
- A lack of tools: we didn’t equip him with the right plugins or training to get the job done.
- Knowledge of product: he didn’t understand the product well enough
Because of that, when it came to calls he was struggling.
Each time he struggled, I got mad because we were losing customers which made it worse.
I got around it by understanding his problems: he needed to take time to understand what was lacking, and improve from there.
Talking to the team member to understand helped.
What Ilearned was:
- Don’t give team members hard problems first
- If you want to bring in a rep to close the biggest and most valuable deals, it’ll be difficult.
- It’s better to bring him in and give him a sense of accomplishment first. Have him close smaller deals, with shorter sales cycles to allow him to move forward.
Ways To Prevent Sales Burnout
There are a lot of creative ways you can use to prevent sales burnout. Not the same thing works for everyone, but here are my favorite ones that work for most people.
1. Company retreats
I’m writing this before getting on a flight, where the whole team is going to a short retreat for the weekend.
Retreats work well, but it’s a one time thing.
If an employee hates their job, they might feel better on the retreat but when coming back they’ll still feel bad.
BearMetrics blog was the first company that I came across that wrote openly about their retreats. They rented a house somewhere and got the whole team together.
The problem with retreats is that it is hard to plan because everyone has different needs. For example, some team members don’t like to drink, while some are scared of rollercoasters…
Our team find adrenaline activities fun, so we go for that. Other teams might have more fun renting a house on the beach, or doing a huge party at a bar.
As a CEO or founder of a company investing in a retreat will allow the team to recharge.
2. Delegate work
If somebody on the team is doing work that they absolutely hate, or it isn’t what they’re good at, that team member will start to resent doing it.
For examples, some AEs are just damn good at closing, but they suck at researching and list building..or they hate it..
It’s much better in the long run to outsource that work and let the employee focus on what they’re good at. Plus, you’ll save money too.
If your team hates list building, use GrowthOK to generate leads instead. Or find other tools online to improve their efficiency.
There’s so many affordable outsourcing services and sales tools out there to supercharge your team’s productivity. Take advantage of it.
3. One on Ones
At a Series B company that I worked for before I used to do weekly one on ones with the staffs, and it was super helpful for expressing struggles and goal setting.
Everyone on the team that held any type of leadership role was required to do one on ones with their team and department.
It depended on the manager, but the ones who took one on ones seriously saw their teams become more productive.
If you’re the boss, you can use 15Five to get feedback from your team to see what they’re struggling with.
It’s important for a VP of sales to understand what’s happening with their team, and remember that the world doesn’t solely revolve around deal flow and hitting numbers.
Team morale is important too.
Instead of being harsh with the team about not hitting numbers, talk to them to better understand the problems.
* Is it a lack of tools?
* Are they doing the same grunt work again and again?
* Do they need to switch roles?
* Do they need more practice or role playing?
* Or do they not understand the product fully?
It could also be any number of personal reasons that you learn while talking to them.
Find something that the company can improve on that the whole team agrees on.
The VP of Sales should be able to figure out problems, and try to solve them. That’s what makes a VP of sales good.
4. Alternate between sprints and breaks
Have the team sprint for an hour or two, and focus on only one task at a time.
For example, I used to get into the office at 9am, and from 9–11am is a two hour work section. During that time I’ll only focus on list building.
After that I’ll take a 20–30 minute break before going into the next task.
Take this time to grab a quick snack to recharge yourself. Eat something healthy and drink a coffee. Refresh your mind.
One of my co-workers use to work heads down for a few hours then go for a 15 min walk where he would just listen to a podcast episode. Worked for him.
Working like this will let you keep going even if the work is something that would normally cause burnout.
If you’re looking for highly qualified and targeted sales leads that converts and don’t bounce, check out GrowthOK
P.S. We have a free sales course HERE