Avoiding Burnout: How to Improve Efficiencies in Your SME Sales Team

Harvey Holloway
Freelance Digital Marketer
27th March 2024

Staff burnout can be detrimental to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). But, in the sales industry, it can be especially damaging. This is because the entire nature of sales is built around one key thing: confidence. 

Without having confident, self-assured employees in your SME sales team, they simply won’t be able to perform at their best and bring in the numbers required of them. This, in turn, can affect their overall morale, making them feel an added pressure to perform in order to hit their targets. 

What is Burnout?

Over time, these feelings of pressure, stress and angst can build up, developing an unsustainable workload and stimulating what’s known as burnout – a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. 

Left unresolved, this can then go on to have an adverse effect on the workload and morale of other employees, creating an inefficient workforce – the last thing you want when working in sales. 

So, what can be done to combat the threat of burnout among high-performers? And how can you ensure your SME sales team continues to work as efficiently as possible? 

Join us as we look to answer both these questions and more, highlighting some of the best methods to keep burnout at bay within your sales team.

Automate Processes

Technological advances come out thick and fast, helping a wide array of industries improve and hone their processes. And the sales industry is no exception. 

Long gone are the days of needing to purchase multiple pieces of software to handle each separate component of the sales process. Nowadays, all-in-one solutions exist that are designed to not only save time but also reduce the cost of each sale you make. 

Automating processes like these will inevitably free up a lot more time within the sales team at your small business, reducing the need for more labour-intensive tasks while taking some of the weight off your team’s shoulders. So, why not consider doing the same for your workforce? 

Set Realistic Targets 

Having goals that are actually realistic is vital to avoiding staff burnout. After all, it’d be a waste of everyone’s time setting a target you know is unachievable.  

Instead, make sure to treat each team member on an individual basis and remember that, just because one person can bring in twenty leads per day, doesn't necessarily mean everyone else can. 

Set each team member a realistic goal that aligns with what's expected of them on both a personal and business level, and then continuously update this over time. 

Generally speaking, your workforce will feel a lot happier and more confident thinking they’ve over-achieved on what’s expected of them, helping raise their spirits and encouraging them to carry on working productively over the long term. 

Create an Open Dialogue 

Thankfully, since the pandemic, the taboo surrounding mental health issues has finally dissipated. So, why not utilise what sales workers do best by giving them a platform to talk about their mental health? 

Many of us have an inherent fear of appearing weak, ignorant or incompetent – a psychological trait that affects our ability to talk openly about mental health issues. 

However, only by actively talking about mental health will your team be able to break the stigma around it and feel as if they have a platform to be listened to. 

Therefore, it's important to demonstrate to your sales team that you're on their side, encouraging them to speak up without fear of being stigmatised for reaching out. 

In doing so, you will also soon find that your SME workforce will become a lot happier and more collaborative as a result, with team members working more efficiently to gain insights and encouragement from one another. 

Encourage Breaks & Exercise

While it may sound a little counterproductive to encourage breaks when trying to improve staff efficiency, research has consistently shown that giving employees time away from their work can actually increase their productivity. 

Whether it be reading, meditating, exercising or simply scrolling on their phone, giving your employees the freedom to disconnect from their work is a highly effective way of avoiding burnout. 

After all, spending too long staring at a screen or performing the same repetitive action can not only cause boredom and fatigue, but it can also affect their overall performance. And the last thing you should want is to miss out on a potential sale due to a low-energy member of staff. 

Instead, you should encourage your sales team to take breaks throughout the day, ideally in the form of exercising from time to time. That way, you’ll help trigger the release of more endorphins in their brain – a feel-good hormone shown to have a positive effect on depression and a wide range of other mental health conditions. 

In Summary

There is a direct correlation between burnout and staff efficiency; the more burnt out your sales staff feel, the less efficient they are going to perform, and the higher your turnover rate is likely to be. As such, it’s imperative to integrate approaches that help keep burnout at bay – and now more than ever.

In light of the ongoing changes to the world of work – from the transition to remote working to the implementation of flexible working hours – employees will be more aware of their mental health than ever before. So, as their employer, it now rests on your shoulders to support them in any way you can. 

Whether it be through investing in new software, adapting your sales approach or simply spending more time together as a team, generally speaking – the more you can do to support your sales team’s mental welfare now, the more you’re likely to get back from them as a result. 

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