A sales job, while often advertised as a 9 to 5 job is anything but. Salespeople are often at the end of the phone to answer queries or talk to clients after hours.
This can understandably contribute to burn out, depression and anxiety, all of which must be closely monitored by those in leadership positions.
The cost of ignoring mental health conditions is significant. In fact, a recent study led by the World Health Organisation has uncovered that depression and anxiety conditions cost the global economy around $1 trillion every year in lost productivity.
Mental Health & Sales
Many people choose to work in sales for the rush of success, but on the other side of this coin can be a fear and anxiety triggered by failing to meet targets.
Anyone who has worked in sales will know that feeling of anxiety when that prospect you’ve been working on for weeks suddenly goes quiet. A salesperson is expected to manage the daily stresses of closing sales and balancing a healthy home life, but once this line starts to become blurred, it can begin to affect professional performance and overall health and wellbeing.
Anxiety and depression are becoming more common in modern society (or, rather, more people are willing to discuss it openly) and it’s no surprise that the high demand nature of the sales environment is an area that is tough on mental strength and wellbeing.
We all know that sales professionals are often required to be ‘on’ a great deal of the time, and so much energy is expended when someone is required to be confident, energetic and extroverted for large portions of the day.
Mental Health Risks in a Sales Environment
Addressing mental health and anxiety concerns in any working arena must start with a broad awareness of the environment and how it can be adapted to improve employees’ mental wellbeing across the board.
At my company Meet Hugo, this is something we’re always keen to keep an eye on, especially so once we started asking people to work from home once the pandemic took hold.
Any organisation must take the time to understand the culture and its employees’ requirements to involve everyone in the development of more effective mental health policies.
Finally, it’s crucial to ensure that everyone is fully aware of the support resources and structures that are in place to aid their mental wellbeing. Of course, some people may not be comfortable with sharing their thoughts and feelings, so they must know that assistance is there for them should they need it.
Never forget that your employees as people matter far more than any task or target.
What Could Cause Mental Fatigue in the Sales Department?
Any healthy working environment can only be so when strong leadership places all the pieces together.
How a salesperson, or any other employee for that matter, is treated by those in leadership positions will have a massive impact on how confident they feel and ultimately how well they can complete the tasks in front of them.
Some of the biggest reasons for mental health triggers in a working sales environment are:
- Poor communication.
- Losing prospects.
- Unclear directions and confusing instructions.
- Limited involvement in decisions that directly involve them.
- Lack of support.
- Bullying or intimidating behaviour.
Quite apart from management skills, empathy is a crucial ingredient to being a better leader. All great leaders are capable of putting themselves in others’ shoes, which is especially important when managing a team.
How to Address Mental Health in Sales
As a manager, it’s important to lead from the front and be open to the fact that mental health challenges will present themselves to at least one in four of us during a typical year.
Open the floor to your salespeople and create an open dialogue. Listen carefully to those that might need your help.
Here a few strategies to help in your quest to manage the mental health of your sales team:
- Compassion & Empathy – never attempt to downplay the thoughts and feelings of others as they’re communicated to you; you never truly know how someone feels, so it’s essential to be compassionate and empathetic. Acknowledge the presence of mental health struggles and work with that person to make positive steps.
- Open Communication – listen to what your team have to say, particularly those who appear to be struggling. By helping and supporting someone through what might be a tough time, you can help them get back to top form, both personally and professionally.
- Be Clear and Consistent – ensure that every member of your sales team is crystal clear on what is expected of them. If you notice confusion among the ranks, clear up and leave no room for ambiguity.
- Feedback – take the time to share useful and constructive feedback to help your team hit their targets.
- Navigate – you must always remember that you are the captain of the ship. Therefore, it’s crucial that you ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction.
Notes on a Healthy Workplace
Mental health is just as important as any physical complaint, particularly in a sales environment, where one relies on their personality to make sales.
For a business to truly thrive in 2021 and beyond, they must be sure to address mental health concerns if they wish to keep all their salespeople firing on all cylinders; both at home and in the office.
As with any health worries, difficulties with mental health in sales stop people from doing the best they can. If left unaddressed, these matters can seriously hamper your business.
Establish a healthy workplace not just for a stronger sales team, but also for your company’s financial health and the wellbeing of those that make your business what it is.