Research Shows Salespeople Are Burning Out at Work – Here’s Why

At Dooly, we wanted to see how salespeople feel about their jobs nearly two years into the pandemic and the shift to hybrid work, so we surveyed 600 people working in the industry for a deep dive. We learned salespeople are burning out at work and many are considering changing careers: 1 in 4 reps said they plan to quit sales in the next 3-6 months. 

According to our research, 69% of respondents said they’ve experienced burnout due to their job, 50% of whom said they feel burnt out often. What’s worse, 73% of those who’ve experienced burnout say it’s had a negative impact on their mental health. 

So, what gives? Why are sales reps burning out or planning to jump ship altogether? Let’s take a look at the three main factors contributing to salesperson burnout, and what managers can do to combat it.

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Longer hours 

Over the past two years, sales jobs have become increasingly time-consuming. We found that 77% of respondents are working more hours now than before the pandemic. All these extra hours are leading salespeople to adopt an “always-on” mentality, with 91% of respondents saying they work after hours on weekends. 

While 93% of salespeople agreed that work/life balance is important to them, it appears striking that balance is easier said than done. But, if having a life outside of work is so important, then what’s keeping sales reps on the clock? 

More admin work 

62% of respondents said they work after hours or on weekends to catch up on administrative work like updating CRMs or tracking down meeting notes. Not only is this admin work contributing to burnout – it’s taking away from time spent selling; in fact, 25% of respondents said updating Salesforce or another CRM frequently takes time away from selling, and those below the management level were 32% more likely to say this. 

Your typical sales rep may be working more hours, but too many of those hours are wasted on Non-Revenue-Generating activities, or NRGs. 88% of respondents agreed that time spent on NRGs is time lost, and 74% said much of their workday is spent on activities that don’t contribute to selling. But that’s not the only thing impacting their productivity…

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Hybrid solutions create hybrid problems 

In many cases, the tech solutions presented by hybrid work have actually been detrimental to sales reps’ productivity. When it comes to salestech, we learned that you actually can have too much of a good thing: the average number of tools in a company’s sales tech stack is 13, but respondents said they only use 8 of these tools regularly. In all, 57% of respondents said their company’s tech stack is harmful to their productivity, especially when the tools don’t work together or are hard to use. 

Video calls on platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have emerged as a solution to in-person meetings made impossible by the pandemic. 89% of sales reps said they use video calls for work purposes, with the average salesperson spending 12 hours per week on work-related video calls. But this solution has its downsides, too: 65% agreed video calls contribute to burnout, and 61% feel pressured to keep the camera on during calls when they would rather turn it off.

Where do we go from here? 

8 in 10 respondents to our survey said management does not understand how time-consuming NRGs are, and 78% said this lack of understanding leads to misalignment between expectations and what salespeople can reasonably achieve. 

If you’re a decision maker at your company, seek out tech tools that integrate with one another so sales reps aren’t constantly toggling between different apps to get their work done. Above all else: talk to them! 

Understanding where salespeople feel their time is being wasted and assigning tasks accordingly will make your teams feel you value their time, cut down on burnout, and help your business avoid the Great Resignation.

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