Recent changes in the customer’s journey have created new pressures on salespeople to perform at higher levels than ever before. The growth of online retail has turned the average customer into a research team of one with a wealth of detailed information about products, services, and user experiences at her fingertips. The role of the salesperson has to be reimagined to keep pace with these changes and remain competitive in the era of Amazon, Google, YouTube, and social media.
Part of reimagining the salesrole is strategizing around the challenges to a healthy work/life balance. After all, competitive pressure in a fast-changing work environment creates more stress. And a stressed-out sales team will be less productive and profitable. Keep reading to pick up some tips and resources for finessing work and improving life in sales.
Delegate the Busy Work
As the American businessman and humorist James H. Boren once wrote, “When in trouble, delegate.” In 2018, this means outsourcing busy work to an army of helpful robots.
As most folks in sales know, there are many digital sales tools designed to help them manage their dealings with clients. Since most sales teams are vastly outnumbered by their customer base, it helps bring stress levels down to have a single database in which information about and communications with current and prospective customers can be organized.
1. Automate Sales
It pays to have modern sales tools at your disposal. There’s a wealth of options out there now for any number of applications, whether the task at hand is cold emailing or other email management applications, lead generation, communication and conferencing, analytics, and so on down the list.
2. Streamline Social Outreach
Your sales team’s efforts on social platforms can be delegated as well. Social media management tools like Buffer, Falcon.io, Hootsuite, and Spredfast can ease the burden of curating a company’s social presence by helping users manage content, track performance, and schedule posts across platforms.
3. Transform the Culture
There are limits to digital delegation. Some old-fashioned techniques for making the office more supportive and inviting will go a long way. These include:
- Setting the right tone with an efficient and empowering onboarding experience by (a) introducing new hires to the team; (b) ensuring all their initial questions are heard and answered; and (c) providing resources for learning the software and sales methods they need to excel.
- Bringing an administrative assistant on board to help relieve the burden of busy work.
- Convening meetings sparingly, and only when the value gained under the circumstances is likely to exceed the cost to your team’s time and energy.
- Building professional but close relationships with each team member in order to know their particular strengths and weaknesses for ongoing and future tasks.
Pump the Brakes
The very idea of a work/life balance can seem quaint in the smartphone era when our job never leaves our pocket. Take it from someone who knows: Craig Cincotta, Senior VP at Porch.com, worked full-tilt as the “king of the 3 a.m. email” until he realized that slowing down was the best thing for his life and work. His advice for avoiding burnout is five-fold:
- Open up communication between managers and employees about personal needs around work hours, downtime, stress-relief, and so on.
- Once you define your needs, respect your own boundaries by not backsliding into overload.
- Structure your day to budget your time according to what will really drive your primary business objectives. Identify and purge what just makes noise.
- Unplug: deactivate your work-related devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.) or leave them behind for meals, recreation, or quality time with family and friends.
- Keep tabs on your success with steps 1-4 and pace yourself accordingly.
Some business leaders, like former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, regard burnout as a myth. In her view, the problem is not long hours but resentment from missing out on the things you love besides work. Which dovetails nicely with #4 above.
You can only do so much to promote a healthy work/life balance for the folks on your sales team. By fostering a supportive and empowering environment in which salespeople can flourish, and by outsourcing what’s left, your team will have every advantage you can provide.