Featured On The Job

3 Ways to Support Sales Reps and Put a Stop to Burnout

Mental health awareness is a hot topic in the workforce. Even before the impacts of the global pandemic, employers across all industries accepted the mission to take on workplace stress, depression, and burnout. Still, many employees feel like they need to hide behind a mask, figuratively and literally.

After all, medical sales reps, in particular, rely on their energy and charisma to close sales. But, while sales is a highly-extroverted occupation, no personality type is immune to burnout physically or emotionally.

Naturally, as a sales manager, you want to see your team successful and happy. It’s not always easy to tell when they’re not. Especially if they are hitting goals, meeting deadlines, and engaged with the team. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can ensure your reps aren’t suffering from sales burnout and you can catch them before they fall.

Here are three ways to create an effective support system for your sales team and stop sales burnout in its tracks:

Make mental health a team mantra

“What’s a motto?” 

“Nothing, what’s a motto with you?”

As you can see, that’s half the problem. Many people don’t want to talk about their deep-seated issues. Sure, your reps will vent about a bad sales call or pipe up when the printer jams right before an important presentation. But when they are caving under the demands of their ambitious sales goals or feel as though they are failing to construct some semblance of work-life balance, they are less likely to open up.

No one wants to be a burden on their team or look like they don’t have it all together. And while you don’t expect them to be 100% all the time, self-imposed perfection is a common factor that leads to sales burnout. The best way to combat your sales reps secretly running themselves into the ground is to make mental health a priority.

It’s unnecessary to force your team members to talk about what’s stressing them, but make it your business to know your sales reps feel supported. They should be aware of resources your company offers and trust in the discretion of those services so they can walk through the doors confidently each day.

Circulate mental health awareness information with monthly newsletters. Keep it light. Just be sure phone numbers, websites, and resources are updated and accessible. Remind reps during performance reviews that they are doing a great job and if they ever feel they need help reaching their goals, they have a safety net.

Normalize taking time off

“Goals, goals, goals!” 

You’re your sales team’s No. 1 cheerleader. Just be sure they know you’re cheering for them to be successful, not for them to hit the magic number. This means they need to stay physically and mentally healthy. Better yet, they need to be happy!

In fact, happy employees are more productive. Data was collected through a weekly survey rating individual employee happiness for a study performed by researchers at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. The metrics were compared against employees’ productivity levels and the results revealed workers are 13% more productive when happy.

The problem is, to feel productive, most employees think they need to always be at work rather than doing things that make them happy. You need to be the voice of reason and encourage your sales reps to take time off. You can even set a positive example and use your PTO.

Not only do you want to make your sales reps comfortable with taking time off, you need to help them set boundaries. When they are done at the end of the day or over the weekend, they should understand that their clients’ questions can wait. That report will still be there on Monday morning, and so on.

Help them shut down and take time away from sales by resisting sending important emails during typical ‘off work’ hours. You can use a scheduling tool so emails go out during business hours, and instruct your employees to try to always do the same.

Also, use a shared calendar so you and your team are aware when a rep plans to take time off. This keeps employees from interrupting each other’s time away from the office. And it also makes it easier for everyone to plan to take time off and lean on one another for reassurance when they do.

Get out in the trenches

You know your employees can’t keep up a charade 24/7. In fact, they may have a happy face when they see you but feel comfortable showing when they are burnt out to their peers. Having an open door policy is great, but you can’t always count on your sales reps to come through that door when they need you. The best way to notice when an employee seems to be suffering from sales burnout is to know them.

Get out of your office. Get up close and personal. Interact daily (or as often as possible). Learn about their lives, their clients, their personal goals. They may be less worried you’re going to come down on them for missing a deadline if you’re congratulating them for hitting a personal milestone or consoling them for an unexpected loss. 

They will also believe your concern for their well-being if they feel you know them and they know you. Be open with your employees about how you’re doing, what goals you’re reaching for, and how that sometimes makes you feel. Be real and make valuable connections with your team so when anyone shows signs of sales burnout, you’re the first person they trust to turn to for help.