Toxicity, Burnout & The Sales Floor

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Story Submitted by Anonymous

“Sadly I can’t post this publicly because my company would probably fire me.

I speak about this often. The soft skills that are lacking in sales manager development are driving this awful epidemic of sales leaders pushing on their teams with relentless aggression.

This leads to terribly toxic culture, burnout and ultimately, ridicule.

Yes ridicule.

Literally sales leaders belittling burnt out or struggling employees as employees who cannot “hack it” or who “aren’t a fit for sales.” When those people speak up “they are haters who are weak and jealous of those who are able to make it.”

Sales people are being asked to work at break neck speed with no relief.

One month ends in a panic and the next starts with yelling and aggression because they are “already behind.” When someone quits or gets fired it’s just, on to the next one.

It’s insane and scary that this level of work is allowed. It’s why people leave sales floors with forms of PTSD.

The floors I have seen succeed have leaders. Leaders who promote work life balance and drive success with development and empowerment, not by fear. It’s a sad state and more leaders should be held accountable for the terrible reputations sales floors get.”

Key Learning:

The last 10 years have been dominated by tremendous advancements in sales enablement technologies.

Today there is a sales technology for almost every moment a sales person is at work. Technologies that help them call faster, email faster, prospect faster and sell faster.

Sales organizations have become obsessed with speed and efficiency.

With all this new technology comes data. Thousands of data points that can measure and predict whether or not the sales team will hit their target.

Data that will help organizations and leaders understand why they miss and pinpoint the laggards. People who held them back so they can trim the fat.

As a result of this data, it has created a management style that overemphasizes a manager’s ability to manage to metrics.

If a sales team hits their metrics, no one really cares how the manager gets them to do it.

But the real question is… Does this method of managing sales actually work?

The data is telling us no.

According to Salesforce 57% of sales reps miss their quotas.

Our survey data showed that over 2 in 5 salespeople struggle with their Mental Health.

And data from our partner UNCrushed showed that 67% of salespeople who responded to their survey Agree that they are close to experiencing burnout.

Conclusion: All this “efficiency” and data is just burning people out and not actually making them perform any better.

The growth we have seen in sales performance has been through brute force. Using technology to work salespeople faster and harder, but not smarter.

When they tire organizations replace them rather than support their recovery.

To fix this, we need to redefine what success in sales looks like and what good sales management actually means.

It means no longer rewarding the manager that only cares about KPIs and metrics.

This overemphasis on metrics is breeding a manager who will yell at, step-on, bully and fear monger their team to a “successful” quarter.

It should come as no surprise that salespeople working in this environment often feel like they’re being treated like a number or cog in a machine.

To combat this we need to revisit how our managers are being incentivized. We need to start training managers to prioritize other metrics. Metrics around people development , team retention and overall sales team well-being.

Things that will not only lead to higher performance, but also humanize sales for the better.

In doing so we’ll finally have leaders who are building a workplace we actually want to work in and creating a culture we actually want to be part of.

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Your story can help create hope for people in toxic environments and provide direction on how we can improve workplace Mental Health together.

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