Sales leaders want to continuously improve sales productivity. What many may not realize is that high seller engagement and wellness directly correlate with higher productivity. However, evidence from Forrester’s Q3 2020 US Future Of Work Survey shows that B2B sellers feel fatigued, less engaged, and more frustrated at work compared with other B2B professionals. This decline in seller wellness prevents sales teams from performing at their peak. Fortunately, sales leaders can improve seller productivity by taking a few steps to help sellers feel more engaged and well at work.
How Does Wellness Affect Sales Productivity?
Forrester defines eight categories of wellness, including physical, emotional, psychological, social, occupational, spatial, financial, and spiritual. When any of these suffer, our productivity suffers. Our research shows a relationship between workers who rate themselves high in terms of wellness and their own described level of productivity. We were curious about which eight categories of wellness matter most to seller productivity and what sales leaders could do about it. So, we conducted a survey to find out.
What Can Sales Leaders Do To Improve Wellness And Sales Productivity?
In our Q4 2021 Global Seller Wellness Survey, we learned a lot of surprising things from sellers about what companies, sales leaders, and especially first-line sales managers can do to improve wellness and productivity. The good news is that most of them don’t require outside investment. Here are four suggestions that can impact seller wellness and improve their productivity:
1. Appreciation Matters
One of the most important findings of Forrester’s future-of-work studies is that a culture of appreciation is critically important to employee wellness. Our seller-specific research amplified the need for appreciation. The vast majority of sellers, 86%, identified that appreciation impacts their productivity. Fostering a culture of appreciation means actively expressing positive respect for each other. Appreciation happens in day-to-day interactions, which is different from recognition programs. Recognition is a formal, planned, and cadenced way of appreciating our employees. Both are essential, but we tend to forget about day-to-day expressions of appreciation. Sales leaders must model this behavior and encourage their first-line managers to do the same. Consider these seven phrases every leader should say more often.
2. Link Personal Seller Goals To Broader Company Goals
Sellers, more than most employees, understand how their efforts to generate profitable revenue impact the company. What they may not know is how their day-to-day actions also have an impact on the company. Sellers feel connected and engaged when they have a good understanding of how their actions contribute to revenue, customer experience, corporate culture, and the like. Foster a connection between the work sales does and the company’s purpose. Train and coach sales managers to reinforce the connections between seller action and greater outcomes on a regular basis, not just during annual performance reviews.
3. Remove Process Friction, And Automate Administrative Tasks
One way sales functions can improve wellness at work is to remove seller frustrations caused by administrative tasks and difficult processes. An effective way to uncover seller pain is to conduct a sales activity study. Our clients say these studies uncover the friction that causes the greatest frustration for sellers. Sales leaders must take active steps to design and implement seller-friendly processes and technology. Careful implementation is critical. Consider creating seller and customer journeys that create positive emotions. Implement pilots to validate seller and customer effectiveness and take corrective action.
4. Feedback Matters
Sellers say the relationship they have with their manager is the single most important factor in terms of their success. A large majority of the sellers we surveyed say their managers care about them personally. But sellers believe that more timely, and more effective, feedback from managers would greatly improve their productivity. Feedback, like appreciation, is best served warm: at the moment when it occurs. Feedback must be specific so that sellers know what they did or did not do well, and it should include constructive pointers on how to enhance execution. Train all sales managers to observe sellers and give effective feedback. Senior sales leaders must demonstrate and model feedback best practices through regular interactions with their direct reports.
To learn more about how to improve the productivity of your sales team by focusing on wellness, stay tuned for our report, “Improve Sales Productivity By Improving Seller Wellness.” In the meantime, clients can also access this report: Take Employee Wellness Beyond Benefits.