Mental Health in Sales

Adam Jasnikowski

Mental Health In Sales (Resized) (2)

​We all give credit to the students who stay up nights cramming for their final exam or upcoming test. We all empathise and/or sympathise when a partner or loved one has a deadline to meet, or is under some level of temporary pressure in their job. In these circumstances, we’re talking about a week, maybe a month, of anxiety and stress which can do serious detriment to the mental health of the individual.

Working in sales? That doesn’t finish at the end of the week.

To work in sales means ongoing pressure and constantly building towards – look away, Sales Managers – something you don’t necessarily have full control over. Sometimes, your sales team could do absolutely everything right, and a deal still might fall through. It’s having the highest expectations placed on you from the off, to perform and hit those targets – no excuses.

Which is why mental health is something that, as a business leader, we should all focus on emphasising. This high intensity, often stressful career path can be incredibly rewarding – but, without the right understanding and focus from a mental health perspective, it can do damage. Particularly in the post-Covid era, where the world’s economies are edging toward turmoil and nothing is set in stone, we need to manage the mental health of our sales teams. Here’s how to do so:

Be open and build trust

If you’re currently in a position of seniority over other salespeople, chances are you’ve been there yourself. It sounds cheesy to say “never forget where you came from”, but it’s important – build a real connection with your sales team on the basis that you truly understand how they’re feeling, the pressure they’re under. Be open and share your own experiences, where your career began, the path which led you to here; in doing so, you’ll build trust and allow them to share their own fears or concerns in turn. A problem shared is a problem halved, so building these relationships and trust across your team will go a long way to easing many of the mental health hiccups they may encounter.

Prioritise collaboration and teamwork

It’s likely that your employees work to personal targets; nevertheless, building a culture around collaboration and working as a team couldn’t be more key to promoting positive mental health. Sharing connections, experience and knowledge amongst the team will show them the meaning of what goes around comes around, whilst ensuring that each individual feels like a part of something bigger than simply that number hanging over their own head. By working together, we also reinforce the notion that asking for help truly is not just okay, but encouraged. Teams which work together have been proven time and time again to perform better – I’d be speculating to suggest a link between collaboration culture and mental health, but it does make sense.

Give your team a breather from time to time

ABC is dead – sometimes, instead of closing, let’s take a breather. Let’s let our teams simply mull over and discuss the happenings of the last week, month or quarter in a safe, positive environment. There have been studies in which employers have given sales teams a ‘week off’ – that is, a week without a target. A week to simply sit back, reflect on what worked – what didn’t – and make a solid plan to attack the upcoming sales period. Whilst this might not be entirely possible for many organisations, it certainly is food for thought; giving your salespeople time to breathe for a while, however often, lets them know that you value their headspace and allows them to arrange, organise and understand their own mind.

Addressing mental health in the sales arena is something which has needed to be done for a long time, and yet still so many aren’t doing so. In a world of moving goal posts, unpredictable economic circumstances and general unsurety, there are still SDRs, BDRs, reps and a plethora of other job titles out there expected to achieve a certain number each month – and if any of them work for you, their mental health should be held paramount moving forwards.

Whilst building high-functioning sales teams is the ‘bread and butter’ of what we do, helping our clients develop best practices and retain their employees comes a close second. Promoting mental wellness strategies is just one way in which we do so; get in touch to talk more.