Avoid Burnout & Increase Retention: 5 Strategies to Motivate Your Customer-Facing Teams

Burnout in sales and CS can be a huge detriment to revenue, engagement, and retention. Discover the ways to encourage your customer-facing teams and build a healthy work environment now.

Burnout is real: here’s how to avoid it and increase retention in your customer-facing teams

We’ve all experienced days when meeting targets, interacting with customers, and maintaining an ‘always on’ mindset felt like a constant struggle. But when these days become the norm and motivation at work seems like a distant memory, you’re in the realm of burnout.

Throughout our professional journey, work pressures and anxieties can overwhelm us, leaving us without a clear path forward. We find it challenging to meet targets, communicate effectively with customers, and ultimately deliver the excellence we aspire to.

So, what’s burnout?‍

It’s precisely what it sounds like: emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion, coupled with a sense of diminished achievement and a loss of identity due to prolonged, excessive stress. While it’s important to note that “burnout” isn’t a medical diagnosis, it can be linked to conditions like depression, influenced by personal traits and family dynamics.

Regardless of its origins, the consequences of job burnout can be detrimental to both physical and mental well-being. Recognizing the signs of burnout is essential, as is exploring strategies to address it.

Is burnout in sales a common issue?

Unfortunately, it is — especially in the manufacturing and distribution sector.

A recent Gartner study revealed that nearly 90% of sales professionals feel burned out, with more than half actively seeking new roles. Yikes.

A significant part of the problem is task allocation, with reps spending about two-thirds of their time on non-revenue-generating activities. This high turnover rate not only disrupts business continuity but also incurs recruitment and training costs.

A large part of the issue is task allocation — Forbes reports that reps typically spend almost two-thirds (64%) of their time on non-revenue-generating activities.

It’s little wonder that staff turnover rates are so high. But at a corporate level, the consequences of sales burnout extend beyond individual performance.

High employee turnover rates disrupt business continuity, and also incur significant costs associated with recruitment, onboarding, and lost sales opportunities.

The bottom line is clear: it’s crucial for organizations to address these challenges proactively.

The consequences of burnout are clear

Recognizing burnout is just one part of the picture. Understanding the consequences of burnout is a crucial first step to addressing these issues.

These include:

  • Decreased Productivity: Burnout negatively impacts productivity. Product loss often spirals into missed targets, reduced performance, and lower revenue generation. Not to mention, it can also result in increased errors, poor customer service, and missed opportunities.
  • Diminished Job Satisfaction: disengagement breeds dissatisfaction. Burnout erodes job satisfaction, leaving reps feeling unmotivated, uninspired, and unfulfilled in their roles. Who’d want to work in those conditions? No one.
  • Low Staff Retention Rates: sales burnout often foreshadows staff turnover, where talented professionals seek alternative opportunities or leave the industry altogether. This turnover disrupts team dynamics, harms knowledge transfer, and incurs significant recruitment and sales training costs.
  • Negative Impact on Team Morale: Burnout and high turnover create a negative atmosphere within sales teams, impacting the entire team morale and cohesion. Low team morale can result in a cycle of low motivation, decreased collaboration, and reduced team effectiveness. A.K.A no more team players.
  • Damaged Customer Relationships: when CSRs begin to experience burnout, warning signs often appear in their client accounts. Inconsistent or subpar service due to burnout or frequent turnover will inevitably lead to dissatisfied customers and potential loss of business.

Five strategies to combat burnout and get time back for your customer-facing teams

The good news, though, is that there is a way through it. Let’s draw insights from a recent article, Streamline Your Sales Process: 5 Ways to Get Your Reps’ Time Back. In it, Benj Cohen from outlines five practical ways to streamline the sales process and alleviate burnout:

  1. Automating administrative tasks: imagine a world where robots do the dull stuff. We’re not quite there, but we can leverage technology to automate repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks like data entry, order processing, and report generation. That means our trusty sales reps have more time to shine — selling and building customer relationships. Tip: include a “Plan B” in your list of resources. If additional support is needed, you can quickly reference your backup plan to identify available resources that can help keep your project moving forward.
  2. Implementing a centralized CRM system: using a centralized customer relationship management (CRM) system to consolidate customer data, track interactions, and streamline communication enables sales reps to access relevant information quickly and efficiently, enhancing their productivity.
  3. Providing sales enablement tools: the article emphasizes the importance of equipping your teams with effective enablement tools, such as mobile apps, digital catalogs, and product configurators. Armed with these, they can whip up personalized, and engaging sales experiences, ultimately driving better results.
  4. Offering training and development opportunities: training is the name of the game! By enhancing sales reps’ skills and knowledge, organizations can boost their confidence, job satisfaction, and overall performance. That means happier reps and better results — it’s a win-win!
  5. Balancing work and play (yes, really!): Hustle is warranted, but don’t forget the importance of promoting work-life balance to prevent burnout. It suggests implementing flexible work arrangements, encouraging time off, and fostering a supportive and inclusive work culture. Work hard, play hard, amirite?

Empower your sales team with automation technology to help them focus on important tasks that boost revenue and foster professional growth and satisfaction. This yields a twofold benefit: you’ll see a noticeable increase in productivity, and minimize the rate of turnover.

To learn more about how Conexiom can maximize the potential of your sales division, schedule a demo today.

The Long Term Impact

Addressing burnout and streamlining the sales process can have several significant long-term impacts on an organization:

Improved Employee Retention

Addressing burnout and creating a more efficient sales process can lead to higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover among sales professionals. This, in turn, saves the organization the recruitment and training costs associated with replacing employees.

Enhanced Productivity

Streamlining the sales process and alleviating burnout means that sales reps can focus more on their core selling activities. By creating more time to focus on sales, leads to increased productivity, more closed deals, and higher revenue generation over the long term.

Better Customer Relationships

When salespeople have more time and energy to invest in building customer relationships, it can result in stronger and more enduring connections with clients. This can result in strengthened customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and favorable word-of-mouth recommendations.

Competitive Advantage

An efficient sales process allows your organization to respond quickly to market changes and customer needs. This agility can provide a competitive edge and help capture market share over the long term.

Innovation and Growth

Addressing burnout and empowering sales teams with the right tools and training can lead to a more innovative sales approach. Sales professionals who aren’t constantly stressed are more likely to think creatively and come up with new strategies to drive growth.

Positive Company Culture

Fostering a culture that values employee well-being and efficient processes can have a lasting impact on the organization’s overall work environment. A positive company culture can attract top talent, improve morale, and boost overall employee engagement.

Financial Benefits

A sustainable approach to sales and employee well-being can make sure that the organization remains resilient and adaptable to changing market conditions over time.

In other (shorter) words: addressing burnout and streamlining the sales process can create a virtuous cycle of improved employee satisfaction, better customer relationships, increased productivity, and long-term growth and success for the organization. It’s an investment in the future well-being and prosperity of the company. 

Avoiding team burnout: bottom-line benefits

Remember, always keep your team’s wellbeing first. Ultimately, investing in your sales team’s engagement and wellbeing is an investment in your organization’s long-term success.

To learn about avoiding sales burnout and lowering staff turnover, watch our on-demand webinar: How to Keep Your Employees Happy and Grow Your Business in the Great Resignation.