How Sales Channel Experts Cope with Sales Team Stress

Some stress in life and in sales is inevitable. In fact, that little bit of stress can help lend motivation and drive to your team. However, when the stress becomes excessive, not only does it cease to help, it can even hurt your sales team, leading to mental and physical health issues, loss of production, and even quitting or termination.

Humans are naturally equipped to deal with a certain amount of stress. But when the stress reaches higher levels, it is important to have coping and organizational strategies at the ready. Netpique sales channel experts understand sales stress. Here are five ways you can help your sales team manage and overcome stress:

#1 Figure Out Where it Comes From

Stress can be an irrational thing. It is not necessarily come the biggest threats that generate the biggest emotional response. Stressors (factors leading to stress) can include issues from a sales representative's family or personal life, personality-related issues (such as shyness or a tendency to be confrontational), interpersonal difficulties, financial problems, or lack of skills to confront various situations, or even aspects of the way your sales program is organized. 

Obviously, as a sales manager you don't have control over every aspect of your sales representatives' lives. But if the stresses are work-related, there may be something you can do to mitigate them. Even if the stresses your sales representatives are struggling with have nothing to do with work, you can teach them coping skills that can reduce the impact of those stresses on both their personal and professional lives.

The best way to find out about the stresses an individual faces is to talk to him or her one-on-one. This can happen during scheduled meetings or ridealongs, or casually if you notice something seems to be wrong. Don't pry, but do be a listening ear. It's not important that you find out the details, but it is crucial that you learn whether the problem is something work-related or not, so you can know what steps to take to help solve it.

#2 Reduce Company-Caused Stress

Even work-related stressors come in a variety of different types. if the stress relates directly to some aspect of how your sales process works, perhaps there is something you can do about it. Does the interface between sales and fulfillment run smoothly? A common stressor for sales professionals is lack of confidence that their sales will be taken care of by the company, endangering their commissions. If you have a commission-only sales model, you may be causing your sales teams stress because they don't have a reliable salary to cover their financial needs. Another common issue is a lack of positive channels of communication between sales staff and management, causing small problems to balloon because they don't get resolved. Talk to your sales teams, whether one-on-one, in a group setting, or via anonymous surveys, and find out if there are things your company is doing that cause them unnecessary stress. Then work to reduce or eliminate those company-caused stressors.

#3 Mediate Interpersonal Conflicts

One of the major sources for stress, whether sales-related or not, is interpersonal conflicts. If you have sales representatives who are not getting along with each other, management, prospects, or other staff, these interpersonal issues may be creating a stressful environment not only for the participants but also for those around them. Try to observe and mediate conflicts as they occur. Work proactively to develop friendships between the members of your sales team. And teach your team ways to peacefully resolve disputes with others.

#4 Ensure Adequate Sales Training

Many sales representatives experience stress when they are confronted with sales situations they don't know how to handle. Your company's training program should comprehensively address all the sales skills your team needs to sell your product or service successfully. If you notice that several of your sales representatives are having difficulties with the same types of issues, there may be a gap in how your program addresses those skills. However, sometimes an individual sales representative just needs extra help in a certain area. Make sure that you have an effective mentoring program in place, and encourage sales representatives to ask for help when they need it.

#5 Teach General Coping Skills

Many, if not most, of your sales representatives' stressors will come from outside of work. However, that doesn't mean you can't help them deal with their stress. Sometimes stressors, whether related to work or not, simply cannot be eliminated. However, you can teach your teams to deal with stress in ways that minimize its effect on their lives and performance. Encourage them to find time to do things that relax them, like exercise, listening to music, or other leisure activities. Emphasize the importance of sufficient sleep and a healthy diet. Teach them organizational and time-management skills that they can use not only during their work-day, but also in the rest of their lives. 

Sales channel expert Netpique has over a decade of experience in managing sales teams, and can help you identify and resolve issues in your sales department, whether they relate to stress or other factors.