Feeling overwhelmed in your sales job?
You’re not alone. This survey done by Uncrushed shows that over 67% of salespeople interviewed feel they’re close to burnout.
It’s clearly not abnormal to be feeling this way — but the question stands: Why are so many salespeople feeling this way? And more importantly — how can we fix it?
Why salespeople are so overwhelmed
Let’s start with the why. The natural work habits of those in sales are often extreme. Salespeople are often praised for juggling heavy workloads and working entirely too much. This cycle of overwork is now the status quo, and constant productivity has become the norm.
Sales jobs often culminate in the perfect storm of work stress: long hours, pressure to obtain results, frequent travel, endless administration tasks, demanding managers, competitive colleagues and a frantic pace that puts a strain on client relations. The more you push through it, the more overwhelmed you get, and eventually, your productivity will actually go down.
My team and I know this because we’ve all been salespeople too, and are very familiar with how easy it is to feel like you’re spiraling. We’ve interviewed hundreds of salespeople (and garnered our own experiences) to understand why and how salespeople are struggling in order to create the perfect formula for change.
Most salespeople note these pain points (among others)
- It’s virtually impossible to follow up on every lead or potential client.
- Staying organized is tough, and takes too much time.
- The tools offered (like CRMs) are only helpful in tracking our performance, and not much else.
- Multitasking is causing stress, anxiety and burnout.
- Manager woes: stress, pressure, strain, and conflict.
If you’re a salesperson, these issues may sound familiar. But you’re not alone. I’ve faced these issues, as have hundreds of others. And if they aren’t dealt with, burnout is inevitable.
My run in with burnout
Burnout happens to the best of us. These days, I’m the CEO of tech company Kara with a healthy work-life balance. I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to manage stress at work. As a working mom, I had no choice but to prioritize my personal life just as much as my professional life. Much of it comes down to time-management, as well as access to AI tools that make a career in sales easier — including the app Kara.
But it wasn’t always this way. I’d been in the top five salespeople at every company I’d worked at, putting in over 70 hours of work per week. I went through periods of major burnout — one of which left me unable to work for three months because of serious exhaustion.
Now, I use technology to help me with time management, which helps me balance my work life while still enjoying my free time.
After facing burnout, I decided it was all about working smarter. Rather than constantly chasing small deals, I opted to be strategic and go after big deals with loyal clients. My strategy at work is to have two or three tasks that are either urgent or important per day. Instead of prioritizing money, I prioritized human relationships with colleagues and clients. And, to build a sustainable work ethic, I worked on replacing productivity guilt with trusting myself and my sales instincts.
In order to do this, I need to shift my focus to human tasks like building relationships, strategizing, problem solving and creative thinking. This meant I needed to outsource my CRM admin to an assistant that could get it done quickly and accurately. But what human could make this happen? No one seemed to make the cut. I needed a robot. These days, we call those apps.
Take back control with AI technology
AI-related technology provides the ability to streamline and support repetitive tasks, making sales processes more efficient.
Using AI improves the quality of CRM data while automation and mobile technology simplify and reduce salespeople’s interactions with the CRM throughout the day. AI assistants can open up space for a new kind of manager-salesperson relationship and a new way of thinking about productivity in sales.
It’s normal that salespeople assume making a lot of money is the most important thing, but that shouldn’t always be the case. Maybe it’s opening new markets, entering new industries, or having a new kind of target within a company. Salespeople need time to outline these goals with their manager, working together as a team.
While managers rely on CRM data to make accurate sales forecasts for their companies, filling in the CRM adds hours of mindless, unpaid administrative tasks to salespeoples’ already massive workloads. All that time filling in the CRM is time someone could be out in the field, working on client relations and sales.
And let’s face it: we all want to earn. CRM technology seems tailored to companies and managers, rather than the salespeople themselves — those who need to be interacting with the CRM the most. In 2018, more than 65% of CRM investments were justified only on the basis of the benefit to the organization — without taking into consideration any benefit to customers and employees.
Kara is the fix
You’re clearly aware of problems that salespeople face, and how AI can help. My team and I made it our life’s work to figure out how to fix these issues, gathering data and using personal experience to figure exactly what type of AI might best address these problems and in turn, helping salespeople to work more productively.
Kara is an app that syncs seamlessly with CRMs. We all know that CRM systems are oftening lacking when it comes to the needs of salespeople. While they do track performance, they don’t help users stay organized or efficient. CRMs seem to benefit managers more than salespeople, and that’s where Kara comes in to help.
Salespeople often work with objectives that are quarterly-based. Instead of focusing on hitting my quarterly numbers, I began to shift focus on breaking down objectives into week-long sprints and actionable tasks. This is one of the main things that Kara can help salespeople to do: order and prioritize the most important tasks.
As an experienced salesperson and manager working in complex sales cycles in B2B, once I found these routes to success, I achieved 200% of my goals — and in half the time.
Kara is basically a manifest of this discovery, helping salespeople take back control of their professional lives with increased communication and time management.The app uses up-to-date, weekly resorts that focus on objectives and automatically feed directly into your CRM. The app syncs with your calendar and to-do lists so that you can work on time management and prioritize key tasks in between meetings. Custom analytics will show you where you’re focusing your time and efforts, helping you to make the right choices for your business and yourself. It allows you to reorganize your priorities and decide where you need to focus your time.
When my team and I designed Kara, we thought about our own struggles as salespeople and wanted to address them — but not by making things more complicated. If you have to do lots of additional work, it’s not worth it. That’s why Kara’s easy-to-use interface is simple, clear and uncomplicated.
And managers will be happy, too, as the app can help them with team scaling and onboarding processes. Plus, happy salespeople equal happy managers.
At the end of the day, we want people to be proud of themselves. Successful salespeople should feel good, especially at the end of the day when they’ve accomplished their tasks. This is why our app celebrates its users with bright colors and confetti. Setting goals and checking them off as done is a positive thing.
Our goal is for Kara’s users to be less stressed, more successful, and happy. And isn’t that what we all want as professionals (and as humans)? To be stress-free, successful, and happy? Now that’s an actionable goal worth manifesting.
Featured image courtesy of Luis Villasmil on Unsplash