Avoiding Lost Sales Productivity
Tips for Keeping Your Sales Team in Tip Top Shape
If your company has a sales team, you are probably familiar with the usual reasons your team doesn't always perform to its potential, whether it has to do with time management, insufficient training, or lack of proper oversight and accountability. However, one of the major causes of worker unproductivity that often goes overlooked and unaddressed is illness. In fact, U.S. business spend $576 billion per year on expenses caused by workers' poor health. While some of those costs are related to disability and workers' compensation claims, $227 billion goes to cover the costs of either absenteeism (people not coming to work) or "presenteeism" (workers who come to work, but can't perform their jobs properly because of illness).
To help their employees stay healthy, many companies are implementing fitness programs, lifestyle-related insurance discounts, weight-loss contests, and other incentives. Even if your company is not ready to start a formal program, it makes sense to educate your employees on what they can do to stay healthy, and encourage them to develop healthy habits. Here are a few simple topics you can incorporate into your sales meetings to make staying healthy and productive a team effort.
Get Enough sleep
One of the easiest health habits to overlook is getting a proper amount of sleep. Research shows that nearly three quarters of Americans fail to get adequate sleep.
Insufficient rest can leave people drowsy, grouchy, and less able to think and plan effectively, reducing their effectiveness as sales professionals and even putting them and others in danger if, as many sales people do, they spend a lot of their day behind the wheel of a car.
What to do? For most people the problem is not that they get up too early, but that they go to sleep too late. Brainstorm with your team about how they can prioritize a good nights sleep. Encourage them to establish a bedtime for themselves and stick to it. Avoid saving up sleep time for the weekends, since occasional sleeping in is not as beneficial as consistent, adequate sleep. And yes, coffee is a great pick-me-up, but if your sales team is regularly substituting it for proper sleep, you have a problem.
You Are What You Eat
In our fast food culture, we’re surrounded by constant temptations to eat things our body was never intended to process. While a little junk food every once in a while never hurt anyone, a constant diet of it can result in lowered energy levels, mood swings, and greater susceptibility to both short-term illnesses and more serious chronic health conditions like cancer and diabetes.
While we all know that a salad is better for us than a bag of chips, often our better judgment takes a back seat to cravings and convenience. So instead of telling your sales people to rely on will power to help themselves eat right, invite them to set themselves up for success by making healthy eating easy.
One of the best ways to make good eating a habit is to buy healthy snacks that are easy to grab and go—baby carrots, an apple or banana, a yoghurt, or a bag of nuts and dried fruit. Maybe your company can invest in branded soft-sided coolers so your sales team can tote their healthy snacks even if they’re perishable.
Be sure to set a good example at the office too. If you usually order pizza for sales meetings, try adding in a vegetable tray. If breakfast donuts are more your style, consider providing a basket of fruit as well. You don't have to become the food Grinch; just offer some healthy options. Many of your sales people are probably trying to eat better anyway, and having some support at work could give them a boost, improving morale as well, and helping them meet their health and fitness goals.
Almost everyone knows they need to exercise more. What can be difficult is having the motivation to get out and do it. And that's where you can take advantage of your sales team dynamic. Running a 5K or doing another fitness challenge together can be a great team-building activity, as well as getting everyone into better shape.
Another way to band together in fitness is to all download the same fitness app so that you can motivate each other, or have a team contest to see who can lose the most weight. The most important thing is to make it fun, and make sure that everyone is included in a positive way.
Make Sure to De-Stress
While it may not seem like a health issue, stress is an underlying factor in many illnesses, both physical and mental. A certain amount of stress is unavoidable, and can even be a positive motivating factor. But if your sales representatives don’t find ways to unwind when they’re off the job, they’ll find themselves less effective at work and less happy and healthy in their lives.
Encourage your sales representatives to speak with their managers if they feel overstressed. Often job-related stress can be alleviated by better organizational methods, solving a difficult sales problem, or identifying areas of weakness and receiving support and help in making a plan to improve. Getting together as a team to do something fun every once in a while can also help blow off steam and build team morale and cohesion.
Need more help increasing your sales productivity? Contact Netpique sales outsourcing for solutions to your sales problems.