Sales can be rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. Your sales team sees ups and downs depending on the market, clients, industry changes and other factors out of your control.
All these reasons demonstrate why B2B sales and marketing professionals worldwide are experiencing stress. Sales can be a stressful profession for beginners and 20-year veterans of the field. Here are the five biggest stressors affecting sales employees.
1. Difficulty Finding Leads
A good sales strategy starts with high-quality leads, which are more challenging to gather nowadays. Your existing customers are valuable, but you must expand your client base. Finding new clients has become more difficult in the last three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions.
These events have caused businesses to become tighter with their budgets and rethink their purchasing habits. Now, the job is more complex for sales teams worldwide. A Pipedrive survey reveals about two-thirds of sales professionals say selling has become more difficult since the pandemic. Difficulty with buyers has only increased the competition between you and other sellers.
2. Competition and Commission
Facing competition for your clients is nothing new. However, closing on client deals has become more difficult due to smaller buyer pools and more sellers. Everyone is fighting for fewer clients who are becoming pickier with their purchases.
Most sales professionals have a base salary but earn their keep through commissions. A more challenging sales market could mean you need help making ends meet in high-cost-of-living areas. Commission-based jobs epitomize stress because professionals who don’t meet their quotas may have to seek financial assistance to pay their bills.
3. Longer Sales Cycles
Another consequence of COVID-19 is longer sales cycles. The sales and marketing world has changed drastically, leading you and your colleagues to spend more time on individual clients — time you’d rather spend on finding new buyers. If you feel sales cycles are longer, you’re not alone. Research shows that most B2B vendors say their deal cycles are longer because of the pandemic.
Longer sales cycles can negatively impact your mental health at work. These extended periods lead to uncertainty because it becomes harder to close deals with clients quickly. The pressure increases, and you feel like control is slipping away. You’re at the mercy of the buyer, who may be slow with their decision-making process. You can nudge them along, but the last thing you want to do is ruin the sale.
4. Not Enough Time
The primary objective of your job is to make sales, but that’s not what you spend your entire day doing. Sales jobs require research, writing emails and other correspondence, product presentations, negotiations and other tasks. You might not get to spend as much time as you like making sales calls and closing deals, creating pressure to work more.
Most sales professionals work Monday through Friday, but some companies expect employees to work weekends. Alternatively, the salespeople may feel pressure to fill their quotas by working weekends. A Salesforce survey shows 61% of sales professionals work weekends – compromising their work-life balance.
Working long hours during the week and weekends can quickly lead to burnout. Many professionals put too much pressure on themselves to perform and reach their goals that it compromises their mental health. You were excited to start this B2B sales job, but now you need more motivation. Others in the industry share similar sentiments.
A 2022 Gartner survey shows 89% of B2B sales professionals feel burnt out at work. Gartner says the leading factor in burnout is drag, occurring when salespeople procrastinate or feel bored at work. Drag leads to adverse outcomes like lower sales numbers, higher burnout and increased turnover rates.
How To Alleviate These Stressors
As stressful as sales can be, there is hope for B2B sales and marketing professionals. Managers can help their team members reduce stress. These three strategies help manage day-to-day stressors.
The first tactic you should incorporate is self-care. Ensure you take your breaks throughout the day and nourish your body. A Tork study finds nearly 40% of Americans occasionally or never take breaks during the workday.
Encourage each rep to take breaks away from work. Vacations are an excellent way to recharge the batteries and increase motivation. Research shows vacations reduce anxiety and depression symptoms by providing a change of scenery and new experiences.
2. Offer Assistance
Are sales numbers not where they need to be? If a salesperson is lagging, take control and find ways to help them improve early in the quarter.
It’s likely that a number of team members may feel stressed. Forming a support group could be a conducive way to brainstorm strategies for success.
3. Optimize the Work Environment
People need a quiet workplace, whether at home or in the office. Encourage team members to block out time on their calendar for the most critical tasks, such as sales calls.
If employees work at home, they may increase their motivation through small exercises in their workday. For example, some sales professionals do micro-workouts that last no more than a few minutes. These exercises are terrific for breaking up the monotony and re-energizing you.
Reducing Stress in the Sales World
Sales is challenging, and most professionals feel daily stress and burnout. These five stressors demonstrate why the job is tough, but reps can practice self-care, seek mentorship and optimize their work environment to mitigate problems.