Sales is notorious for being one of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing occupations. In a recent survey, Payscale ranked Sales Account Manager as the second most stressful role. And this isn’t without reason.
There’s the repeated chasing of quotas month-on-month, the interactions with prospects of varying tempers, the recurrent rejections, and the constant challenging yourself with new ways to sell better. In such a demanding career, stressing yourself out at least once is inevitable.
To prevent such undesirable outcomes, let’s jump off the “suck it up and deal with it” bandwagon asap and learn how to deal with sales stress face-on.
How to Deal with Sales Stress and Anxiety
Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress and one must do what’s best for themselves. To make this slightly easier, here are 7 simple ways to go about facing sales stress.
1. Identify the root cause of sales stress
Sales stress can have a variety of plausible causes. Some of these may be internal causes that arise as a result of your personal issues, while others may be external causes that stem from circumstances at the workplace.
Some internal issues that may contribute to your sales stress may include:
- poor health – physical and mental
- sleep issues
- tensions arising from personal life
- personality traits like neuroticism
Sales stress can also come about as a result of workplace issues such as:
- poor quality CRMs
- unrealistic quotas
- inaccurate and poorly enriched data
- insufficient help from enablement/ops, etc.
No matter the scenario, identifying and acknowledging the root cause is the first step. Upon identifying the root cause, you can devise a plan to resolve it which we’ll discuss later on in this blog.
2. Pin down the type of sales stress
There’s a lot of lingo used within and around the topic of mental health—stress, depression, anxiety, burnout, etc. At times, you may be able to tell what you’re going through, but it’s also possible to find it difficult to put a label on your feelings.
Stress is a temporary state of emotional or physical tension that arises due to an external cause. It manifests itself when you are faced with external triggers that make you feel nervous or frustrated.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is more of an internal factor.
Meanwhile, burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion, detachment, cynicism, and feelings of reduced personal accomplishment usually associated with workplace stress.
Depression is a serious psychological condition that involved continued feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with your everyday activities.
Beware of misdiagnosing yourself based on insufficient information and always rely on a licensed professional when it comes to your mental health diagnosis. Being completely aware of the underlying issue is half the battle.
3. Deal with rejection healthily (instead of downplaying your emotions)
If you had a dollar for every time somebody asked you to get over rejection, you could probably quit sales and retire by this point. Not only is this sort of advice pointless, but it’s also harmful. You can’t avoid your emotions as a human being. Dealing with rejection is a very real part of being in sales
There are several ways you can deal with rejection healthily without downplaying its effect on yourself. This may range from talking to your teammates about it to using it to review your sales strategy.
But no matter your choice, maintain a healthy strategy to deal with it and avoid attempting to bury your emotions.
4. Explore creative vents to de-stress
Taking time off work won’t unless you take your mind off it as well. In addition to adequate leisure, it’s also a great idea to use the time to tap into other vents to de-stress yourself. These can be hobbies you’ve always wanted to try like cooking, gardening, dog-walking, or if you’re adventurous, extreme ironing (yes, that’s a thing!).
The only condition is that it shouldn’t stress you out further. Your vent should be something that leaves you refreshed when you check in for work the next day.
The end goal is to create a healthy cycle of things to do in a day rather than summarize it to eat, sleep, and work.
5. Set realistic, actionable goals for yourself
One of the prime culprits of sales stress is unrealistic goals. Setting unrealistic goals can make you feel like a failure and diminish your sense of self-esteem when it might not really have anything to do with your ability as a salesperson.
Understand your capacity and be realistic when setting goals. This includes personal expectations as well as your workplace expectations and quotas. Talk to your manager if you feel that your quota is unreasonable or if you have certain blockers that prevent you from achieving it.
If you’re a sales manager, you might have often wondered how to make sure the company hits the numbers without stressing out your team members. Here’s what Shruti Kapoor, the CEO of Wingman, and Anupreet Singh, the Director of GTM at Slintel have to say in this regard:
6. Consult Your Organization’s Mental Health Support
If your organization has complimentary mental health support options, leverage them to the fullest. Talk to your manager about your sales stress and let them know you need professional help to deal with it. Consult the therapist and have an open conversation with them to explore solutions to your sales stress.
Coordinate with your manager regarding the results of your consultation and if necessary, request space to take the recommended course of action to alleviate your stress. If you’re a sales manager, there are several ways you can manage sales stress in your team.
7. Take time off work and prioritize self-care
Everyone knows that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is one of the key ways to deal with sales stress. What most people fail to understand is that their definition of “time-off-work” most usually involves work to some varying degree.
A vacation is not a vacation if Martha from enablement calls you to review your sales strategy while you’re on the beach, trying to steal some sips of your margarita in between.
Finish important tasks or reschedule them for later and talk to your team beforehand to provide yourself with a proper vacation. Self-care matters.
“In a demanding profession like sales, there’s a limit to which salespeople can be stretched thin after which the rubber band breaks. Once, one of my reps told me he was actually scared to open his laptop at his previous organization because he knew he would always be welcomed by some bullsh*t from his manager on Slack.
Whenever a team member reported a burnout to me, I made sure that they took a break or a vacation to cool off.”
—Anupreet Singh, Senior Director of GTM at Slintel
4 Bonus Stress Buster Activities to Mitigate Sales Pressure
Stress buster activities serve their purpose only after initially identifying and eliminating the cause of sales stress among your team members.
Nevertheless, your team could use some stress busters every once in a while and not only when they’re under stress. That said, let’s dive right in:
1. Special Events
If you’re a sales manager, you can light up the workspace by hosting fun events like office parties and team-wide meetups that aren’t work-related. This can be a huge stress-buster activity, especially in today’s work-from-home environment.
In addition, you can host special events like themed parties and coffee roulettes, and hold special days like Cook and Serve day and Bring Your Pet to Work day (unless of course, somebody owns a tarantula).
2. Gamification in Sales
Gamyfying sales is a great way to de-stress your team while also driving productivity. Sales gamification is the process of turning sales tasks such as calling prospects and booking meetings into a competitive game.
In fact, 89% of employees believe they’d be more productive if their work was gamified. This can be weekly contests, random rewards, competitive titles like “SDR of the month”, etc. Here are some sales gamification ideas to keep your team motivated.
3. Goal-setting sessions
Holding a weekly goal-setting session, preferably on Mondays, can help your team visualize their tasks for the week. Sales managers can use this time to set the week off to a good start and bring out their teams from the Monday blues.
There are different kinds of goals you can include in your goal-setting sessions like waterfall goals, sequence goals, and activity goals. An ideal goal-setting session actively includes the salesperson and is set based on their capacity and availability.
4. Guided Meditations
Meditation is one of the most widely referred to stress-buster activities and salespeople could definitely use some of it. In fact, employers who implemented meditation programs for their employees saw an 85% decrease in absenteeism.
A 5-minute team meditation session at the start of the week can prove to be incredibly useful in soothing a team for the week ahead. You can also take it further depending on your team’s availability. Some companies choose to take employee mental health up a notch like Saleforce, which introduced meditation rooms in their San Francisco offices.
Sales stress is a very real problem and the faster you quit the “Get over it” crew, the better. One too many salespeople struggle with mental health in sales and sales stress is only one of the myriad of issues salespeople have to deal with it.
Have open conversations with your managers and team members and strive to take time off work whenever necessary.
Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.