Since 2019 the World Health Organisation has recognised ‘burnout’ as a legitimate health complaint linked to the experience of workplace stress.
This will come as no surprise to telesales managers who have been actively helping their team to deal with or avoid this for decades.
Yet the latest research suggests that we should be doing more.
In this overview we will help telesales managers to clearly recognise the signs of burnout in their team and understand how to proactively reduce it.
What is burnout?
Telesales departments are target-driven – but there comes a point where these targets are no longer experienced as motivational but as imposing, stressful and, ultimately as, debilitating.
It is at this point that burnout occurs.
Burnout is the feeling of being overworked and put under excessive pressure without adequate support. Typically, behind this condition lies a strong sense that many of the following are true:
- There is an unrealistic workload
- KPIs and targets are set too high
- The team’s role in securing and being recognised for a sale is unclear
- Job roles lack precise definitions and responsibilities
- There is a lack of parity within the team
- The culture at work is not supportive
How can I spot burnout in my sales team?
The best way to spot burnout is to maintain an open culture with your team. If people feel comfortable with you, they will honestly voice their feelings, especially when those motivational goals are beginning to seem like impossible stresses.
There are usually some very clear signs that a member of your team is at risk of burnout. Here are the 12 most telling:
- Activity levels will drop
- Headaches will be more commonly experienced
- An air of fatigue is compounded by troubled nights of sleep
- Difficulty swallowing or a loss of appetite occurs
Mental health signs
- An inability to concentrate or focus
- Worry or anxiety become pronounced
- A disinterest in work may be noticed
- Team members may start to feel removed from each other
- Sudden bursts of anger or irritability
- Over sensitivity to perceived criticism
- Cynicism or negativity dominate the emotional landscape
- Clear signs of physical and mental exhaustion
How can I prevent burnout affecting my telesales team?
Again, prevention and awareness will be most effective in an open work culture where team members feel free to speak honestly to colleagues and managers.
In this way you will become aware much earlier of problems brewing and stresses accumulating – and be able to do something about them.
Here are some actions you can take – although you should always make your starting point what your reps tell you they are going through and what is causing this.
- Review targets
- Review quality of leads
- Review working practices:
– would remote work help or increase stress?
– could the teams be rejigged to offer more support?
- Introduce variety in the role and accounts a rep works on
- Tighten up definitions of roles within the team
- Help them reduce and prioritise their workload
Burnout is a sign of something…
Burnout is always a sign of something.
Something that needs to change.
It’s up to you and your team to work out exactly what that is – and the sooner you can do it, the easier it will be to get everything back on track.