Tackling work-related stress in sales

21 August 2019:

Working in sales is stressful. The pressure is always there to hit targets, and to deliver great customer value. As salespeople, we know this; we also recognise that not all pressure is bad. The problems happen when the load becomes too much, then fatigue, exhaustion and ill-health can follow.

Some 15.4 million working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety according to government figures [1] and in today’s insightful webinar – our most popular to date – Angie Vaux, CEO and founder, OutsideIN Performance and Ollie Sharpe, VP of Revenue, EMEA at SalesLoft discussed a variety of ways to optimise your mental well being and to watch out for the warning signs.

During the webinar Angie talked about making stress your friend but also understanding your limits, and when you should take time out to rest and come back refreshed.

“Just like the rest of your body, you have to re-charge your mental being as well, so take time each day to relax, have a digital detox; go out in the fresh air. Give your brain a rest so when you come back, you can ‘up’ your performance.”

Angie reviewed the human performance curve originally, developed by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908, to demonstrate that peak performance happens when we are facing just enough pressure to hit our “flow”. No pressure and we can get bored and unmotivated; too much and there’s breakdown.

Angie Vaux continued: “Sales is all about mindset. You can have the best skills in the world, the best processes in the world, but if you’re not there emotionally, if you don’t have that right mindset, it’s difficult for you to achieve at a high level.”

The Human Performance Curve, adapted from psychologists, Yerkes and Dodson.

Ollie Sharpe looked at the role of sales leaders in setting the culture to build a strong, happy resilient sales team. “Be human, be approachable, and lead by example,” he said.

He encouraged the webinar audience: “Understand people’s own purpose but also give them a purpose within your company that ties in with what they’re doing every day.

“People are not performing at their best and happiest when they are just coming into work and thinking about a target, but if they know how it fits in with the grander goal of the company, and that is a goal they can get behind, it makes a big difference to their wellbeing.

“I don’t perform well when I’m working for a leader who does nothing for me, then if I miss a target or my forecast, comes down on me like a ton of bricks.

“Sales, every quarter, every year is a partnership. If we work together well, and understand what’s needed to be successful, that partnership, I believe, reduces the stress level at the end of the quarter. It’s joint accountability.”

If you missed the webinar, click here to watch a recording.

Reference: [1] Health and Safety Executive, Labour Force Survey 2017/18 

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