Being a sales rep is a challenging, high-pressure job. The reality is that every day, salespeople get smacked in the face with rejection a heck of a lot more than they get acceptance. If stress is not managed well, then there is a good chance your sales reps will hit the wall, and burnout can occur.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a person’s response to a negative situation caused by many emotional and personal demands. It is not caused by one thing in particular but rather by a buildup of numerous circumstances and factors.

What are the causes of burnout?

Burnout occurs for a number of reasons:

  • An overwhelming to-do list
  • Conflict in the role and with fellow employees
  • Lack of mentorship and coaching
  • Ineffective sales tools and resources
  • Lack of incentives and rewards
  • Lack of positive feedback
  • Little decision-making or responsibilities
  • Consistent interaction with unhappy customers or prospects

What are the signs?

Are your reps exhausted? Then it is a sure tail sign that they are on the road to burnout. Your sales reps may find that they are unable to motivate themselves at the start of the day and always feel tired, despite a good night’s sleep. Their commitment to the business may be fading and most likely lead to looking for their next gig.

Negative emotions such as bitterness, cynicism, disillusionment, self-loathing and sarcasm will rise to the forefront. A burnt out employee will struggle to be confident about his or her work situation and will achieve limited job satisfaction. Relationships with colleagues and managers will become strained.

Burnout has a huge negative impact on sales performance. Stressed and tired out reps will begin to just go through the motions to get through the workload and are happiest when five o’clock rolls around.

How you can you prevent it from happening?

Similar to the fact that there is more than one cause, there is also more than one form of prevention. Have a read through the list and consider which may be useful in your situation. What may suit one work environment may not work out so well for another.

  1. Be realistic

It is all well and good assigning tasks and creating goals, but are they realistic? A challenging task is good for your team, but an impossible task will only serve to lower their morale. Sales reps love to succeed, so let them.

  1. Don’t force overtime

Not everyone can commit to 60 hours a week. Allow for reasonable working hours with paid time off and vacations. If you ask for a minimum and take into account sick days and time off as necessary, your reps will be more committed to working long hours to hit their goals.

  1. Allow for regular breaks

All employees should be allowed to stretch their legs, make important phone calls and have a decent lunch hour. Walking, talking and stretching are all beneficial to their health and well being. It is all about finding the balance within their busy schedules.

  1. Give your team extra responsibility

We all need responsibility to grow and learn. Give your team the ability to make decisions that will affect the team or the company as a whole. Minimize their distractions and increase their challenges to boost their performance.

  1. Nip any issues in the bud

If a sales rep has an issue, deal with it as soon as you can. Be supportive and show them that you are concerned about what is affecting their overall performance. Advise them that appropriate action will be taken to smooth out their frustrations.

  1. Educate them on the signs of burnout

If you are managing a large sales force, then it will be difficult to monitor the entire team or branch for burnout. Educate the employees on the signs and show them how preventable it can be. Teach them ways to cope with stress. Ask the team to be supportive of their environment and keep an eye on each other.

  1. Be flexible

If you need to move your staff around to avoid overwhelm or limit goals so they are more realistic, then do it. Nothing is set in stone, and the goal posts can be manipulated slightly to reduce some of the pressure.

  1. Define job descriptions in detail

No one wants to be presented with a job description that involves a few gray areas. Be specific so that each team member understands their role and how it fits in with the overall organization. Follow up to ensure that each sales rep has the necessary tools and resources to get the job done.

  1. Reward your reps

Everyone likes to feel that they have done a great job, especially after a very hectic week. Reward them with coffee and pastries, useful gift certificates, bonuses or the opportunity to leave work early. Let them know you appreciate all the hard work they are doing for you. Excellence and achievement should always be rewarded.

  1. Encourage get-togethers

Provide opportunities for your team to get together for bonding purposes. Schedule breaks, lunches and endorse after work get-togethers to assist with the socialization aspect. Even online socialization through Slack or Stride can be helpful. This will help inspire their creativity and team vision.

  1. Give feedback

To ensure that everyone is meeting their benchmarks and job descriptions, provide feedback as often as you can. Give praise when it is due and direction when they are struggling. Direct feedback will give them something to work towards on a daily basis. One-on-one mentoring can also be very helpful.

  1. Let the fun in

A dull and dry workplace will wear anyone down. Make work fun with plenty of laughter. Don’t feel the need to rival the offices of Google, but there are things you can do to make the office setting more enjoyable. Ask your team and see what they would be keen on introducing to the office.

It is crucial to identify causes and create strategies to prevent burnout before it happens. While no one is immune, these tips will go a long way to ensuring that your sales reps are aware of the possible health issues and will look out for each other. Negativity and low self-esteem will have a detrimental effect on their careers so bolster them up and support them each step of the way.