It’s hard to disengage when you work in the sales industry. There is no concept of 9-5 PM. You have to be ready to engage whenever a prospect is available. No weekends or holidays truly exist.
Sales teams are constantly chasing goals, crushing monthly quotas, and beating KPIs. It’s impossible to catch a break—and for this reason, sales reps and managers find themselves burnt out, depressed, and anxious.
A 2019 survey from the Sales Health Alliance found that 2 in 5 salespeople (43%) experience mental health issues. What’s more interesting is post-COVID-19, the number has significantly increased. The new 2022 report shows that nearly 3 in 5 salespeople (58%) now struggle with their mental health.
How Mental Health Affects Sales Performance
Everyone knows how critical mental health is to workplace productivity. But only a few companies invest in resources and initiatives that can improve the mental health of salespeople.
Investment in mental health is hard to quantify, and most companies don’t know where to start or how this will positively impact their business.
To put a figure to it, poor mental health in the sales team costs at least $2,469 USD per rep/per year, as per Sales Health Alliance, considering your team has people aged between 18-39.
If your team has 10 sales reps, it’s around $24,690 USD per 10 reps/per year.
Research has shown that improved mental health has a direct correlation to sales reps hitting their monthly target and improving the company’s revenue.
According to the 2021 State of Mental Health In Sales report, 70% of salespeople with good mental health rated their performance as very good or excellent. On the other hand, only 22% of people with poor mental health rated their performance as good or excellent. People with better mental health perform at least 3x better than those with worse mental health and bring in more revenue to the company.
5 Strategies to Improve the Mental Health of Your Sales Team
Set group targets rather than individual targets
Adam Grant’s research on Givers, Takers and Matchers explains that human beings broadly fall into the following three buckets:
Givers enjoy sharing their expertise and knowledge with others. Takers exploit others for their personal gains, and Matchers believe in an equal give and take in relationships.
Grant’s research shows that a company performs better when more people are giving. In fact, on an individual level, people who are givers tend to be the top performers and bring the most revenue into the company.
When a company employs ‘individual targets’, it leads to unhealthy competition, toxic culture, and a lack of trust and support in the organization that contributes to poor mental health.
But with ‘team only targets’, a company can create an environment where the giving culture is fostered. This eliminates the ‘takers mentality,’ and everyone approaches the project as a team which leads to better results and improved mental health. Motivation and accountability are at an all-time high because people feel safe, connected, and incentivized by team success.
While this can be tricky to implement initially, the approach behind ‘team-only targets’ can improve employee morale and satisfaction and contribute to long-term growth.
Take Help Of Data Jars
A concept by Jeff Reisely of Sales Health Alliance, Data Jars, is effective in combating the lack of motivation and improving mental health in the workplace.
It’s a simple technique: Each person writes an activity they want to do at the end of the week and drops it in the jar. A few random chits are pulled out at the end of the week, and everyone decides amongst themselves what they want to do.
When we anticipate something we’re looking forward to, such as a birthday, a friend’s wedding, a vacation, etc., our brain releases dopamine. The dopamine can be so strong that it helps us enjoy the current events more than the actual event and can help salespeople move past the stressful triggers they encounter in their job.
To keep motivation from running dry, take the help of Data Jars, so employees have something to look forward to at the end of the week.
Set SMART Goals
Setting SMART goals can protect the mental health of your sales team.
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Relevant
- T: Time-specific
The most important part of the strategy is ‘A’, i.e., achievable. When a sales rep is unable to meet their target, revisit the strategy and do a course correction. The targets set for the sales team need to be data-backed and strategic, which can help them meet their goals.
Do This SMART Goals Exercise To Set Achievable Targets
Determine conversion rates at each stage of your pipeline to understand how much volume is required to hit targets.
You can determine the conversion rate by looking at the calls made and emails sent and the number of people converted from them. Then match against your targets and see if it’s possible to meet those numbers in a month.
Set Cyclical Targets
When the sales team is constantly chasing results and does not take time to rest and recover, they can easily burn out.
To counter this, deploy cyclical targets that will allow the team to slow down before they can gear up and cycle between recovery and stretch targets.
During the recovery target phase, team targets are set lower than the previous month. Sales team incentives and commissions revolve around self-care and personal development achievements.
In stretch targets or the Big Game, team targets are substantially higher than recovery targets and also higher than the previous stretch target. The incentives can be around metrics such as emails sent, calls made, etc.
When your team has fully recovered during the recovery phase, they’d be able to do more during stretch targets.
Start Employee Recognition Awards
Your company may have certain employee programs in place, but you may not be doing enough to satisfy the needs of the employees in the workplace.
To keep your top employees motivated, you need to make them feel recognized and important. Employee awards are one of the best ways to do it. This initiative makes them feel their hard work is valued and their contribution has significantly impacted the company.
Take inspiration from this list of awards:
1. Employee of the month/quarter/year
2. Years of Service Award
3. Teamwork Award
4. Employees’ Choice Award
5. Most Creative Award
6. Leadership Award
7. Cultural Harbinger Award
Another way to keep your employees motivated is through a sales leaderboard. It’s an application with important metrics to keep the score of the individuals and groups. This is a great way to promote healthy competition and a thriving performance-based culture.
Here are the metrics you can cover in your sales leaderboard:
1. Biggest deal closed
2. Lifetime revenue
3. Percentage of revenue contributed to the team target
4. The current streak of weekly targets achieved
Better Mental Health = More Productive & Efficient = More Deals Closed
Stress at the workplace is inevitable, but most of us can agree that sales is more intensive and difficult, so taking care of your mental health is even more important. Look into the strategies we have outlined above to improve mental health at your workplace.