Sales Reps are Burning Out, My Dear Lady

18 August 2023
Reading: 4 min

The sales profession is not for chilling out. It is a results-driven career that demands constant peak performance. Sales reps are particularly susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and high-pressure goals. Do you work in sales? Have you been experiencing a lack of motivation, negative energy, or fatigue lately? Or have you noticed these signs in your colleagues or subordinates? Let’s talk about burnout in the sales department: how to recognize it and how to deal with it.

What burnout is 

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and sometimes physical distress that arises from prolonged or repeated exposure to stressors. It occurs when individuals consistently give more than they receive in return, leading to a depletion of their resilience. Symptoms of burnout can include irritability, insomnia, frequent illnesses, increased anxiety, a susceptibility to addiction, and a tendency to engage in escapist fantasies.

Sales Reps are Burning Out, My Dear Lady

What are the causes of burnout in the sales department

Burnout presents a considerable obstacle for sales teams, and it is crucial not to underestimate its consequences. To mitigate burnout in sales, it is essential to identify and tackle the root causes that can contribute to its emergence. While every individual is unique, there are several common factors that can lead to feelings of burnout. Here are some of the primary culprits to be aware of:

The workflow itself

  • Lead generation. Consider a scenario where a sales rep made 50 calls in a day: out of those, 30 individuals hung up, 10 did not answer, 6 requested a callback, and only 4 showed interest in the offer. This outcome reflects low efficiency, unmet expectations, and the potential for burnout.
  • Sales. Unsuccessful negotiations, significant levels of responsibility, and failed deals inevitably impact the mental well-being of sales reps.
  • Reactivation. Frequently, there is insufficient time to effectively engage with the customer base, resulting in a low percentage of repeat customers.
  • Communication. A lot of time is spent on routine and testing marketing hypotheses rather than warmed-up contacts.

Weaknesses in corporate culture

  • Lack of support and recognition. When sales reps do not receive the necessary support from their managers or colleagues, it can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. Similarly, a lack of recognition for their hard work and achievements can diminish motivation and morale.
  • Toxic sales environment. Sales managers frequently overlook the significant psychological impact of facing daily rejections. While it may be possible to momentarily forget, maintaining a consistently positive and upbeat attitude is nearly impossible. Salespeople are often subjected to prejudice and rudeness in their interactions, with others failing to recognize that they are human beings who can be emotionally affected by such treatment.
  • Poor tools and resources. Sales representatives in numerous companies are tasked with a diverse array of responsibilities, encompassing everything from identifying potential clients to closing sales deals. In addition to the physical demands of juggling multiple tasks, organizations may neglect to equip their employees with the essential tools and resources needed to automate certain aspects of their work and enhance the overall efficiency of the sales department.
  • Absence of mentoring and coaching. Without guidance from experienced mentors or coaches, sales professionals may struggle to navigate complex sales processes, handle objections, or effectively close deals.

Sales Reps are Burning Out, My Dear Lady

Signs of burnout among sales reps

Given that individuals experiencing burnout frequently remain unaware of its presence, it is challenging for others to detect it from an external standpoint. Nevertheless, there are certain signs that can provide clues to its existence.

  • Decreasing performance. Sales reps who were once high achievers may start to struggle to meet their targets or show a decline in their sales numbers. This decline can be attributed to a lack of energy, enthusiasm, and engagement caused by burnout.
  • Lack of focus and motivation. Sales reps experiencing burnout may find it difficult to concentrate on their tasks, leading to decreased productivity. They may also lose interest in their work and feel a sense of apathy towards their sales goals and targets.
  • Frequent absences due to illness, fatigue, headaches, etc. The chronic stress and exhaustion associated with burnout can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses and experiencing constant fatigue.
  • No will for professional development. Sales reps who were once eager to learn and grow in their careers may lose their drive and become disinterested in attending training sessions, workshops, or seeking new opportunities for growth.

Sales Reps are Burning Out, My Dear Lady

Coping with burnout in the sales department

Coping with burnout in the sales department requires a combined effort from both the company and the individual employees. Here are some strategies that can be implemented from both perspectives.

From the side of the company

  • Control. Provide sales reps with a sense of control over their work by involving them in decision-making processes and giving them autonomy in managing their tasks. This can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and increase job satisfaction.
  • Community. Foster a supportive and collaborative work environment where sales reps can connect with their colleagues, share experiences, and seek advice. Encourage team-building activities and create opportunities for open communication and feedback.
  • Fairness. Ensure fairness in workload distribution and performance evaluation. Implement transparent and consistent policies and procedures to avoid feelings of favoritism or inequality among sales team members.
  • Reward. This can be done through incentives, bonuses, or public recognition. Celebrating successes can boost morale and motivation.

From the side of the employee

  • Sleep. Prioritize getting enough sleep to restore energy levels and promote overall well-being
  • Healthy food. Maintain a balanced diet that includes nutritious foods to support physical and mental health. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine, sugar, and processed foods, as they can contribute to fatigue and mood swings.
  • Movement. Incorporate regular physical activity into daily routines. Exercise helps reduce stress, improves mood, and increases energy levels. Find activities that are enjoyable and sustainable, such as walking, yoga, or dancing.
  • Self-motivation. Set realistic goals and break them down into manageable tasks. Celebrate small achievements along the way to stay motivated. 
  • Therapy. Consider seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to address burnout symptoms and develop coping strategies. 

Sales Reps are Burning Out, My Dear Lady


Burnout in the sales department is a significant issue that can have detrimental effects on both individuals and the overall success of the team. It is crucial for companies to recognize the causes of burnout and take proactive measures to address them. This includes providing support, recognition, and resources to sales reps, as well as fostering a positive and inclusive corporate culture. Additionally, individuals must prioritize self-care and seek help when needed, such as therapy or counseling. By addressing burnout and implementing strategies to prevent it, companies can create a healthier and more productive sales environment, leading to increased job satisfaction and improved performance.

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