How can organizations promote digital wellness in 2021? This article series draws on best practices from leading companies to look at vital business roles and how company leaders can best support their well-being.
ARTICLE | 7m read
March 2, 2021
Sales teams are the original remote workers. With decades of experience working from home offices and on the road with clients, sales teams are used to getting a tough job done anywhere and at any time. Now that remote work is the new normal, it’s natural to expect salespeople to adapt well to social distancing—and even be a bit relieved that everyone else better understands their typical work situation.
But the last year has been challenging for everyone, and salespeople have also felt the pandemic’s impact on their health and well-being. As organizations of all sizes look for ways to improve digital wellness, examining how sales teams have adapted and changed over the last year can provide useful insights. This article distills key insights from sales teams for IT consultancyand the to illustrate how to promote digital wellness for sales teams.
Sales teams have led the way in creatively adapting to the changes forced by social distancing in a remote work world. When they cannot meet clients face-to-face, there are other ways to connect. “Before Covid-19 hit, we were shifting away from a heavy reliance on landlines and empowering our team to use texting as a relationship building tool with prospective clients,” said Carly Townsend, Director of SBL and Group Sales for the 49ers.
IN TODAY’S WORLD, TEXT IS SUCH A PRIMARY FORM OF COMMUNICATION THAT THE TEAM HAS FOUND SUCCESS IN BUILDING RAPPORT WITH SHORTER AND MORE FREQUENT TOUCHPOINTS.
Director of SBL and Group Sales
San Francisco 49ers
For many salespeople working from home for the first time, productivity is at an all-time high. “In essence, we’ve given people four hours of their day back because they’re not traveling here and there,” said Paul Kunze, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for IntraSystems. However, this added work time has come with a cost to employee well-being. As Kunze continued, “There are two sides of this – our sales team can be more productive; however, there’s also no barriers around the workday anymore. That is something that needs to be addressed. Sales can be very stressful, so it’s so important to take mental health breaks during the day.”
After a long and stressful year, organizations everywhere are looking for ways to improve digital well-being and reduce burnout. One beneficial practice is creating specific programs to address today’s health challenges. As Townsend describes, “To prioritize employee wellness since the pandemic, the 49ers provided a variety of perks and benefits on our organization’s intranet site, including mental health tools, physical health tips, newly added discounts and more. And the Human Resources team organizes a Health & Wellness fair that helps familiarize employees with the many benefits available.”
Beyond dedicated wellness programs, organizations should do all they can to prioritize community and connection—especially since isolation has been a major challenge for remote sales teams. “We try to do more company briefings to see how everyone is adjusting and keep our team more informed,” said Kunze.
WE HAVE ALSO TRIED SEVERAL UNIQUE ZOOM/TEAMS VIRTUAL EVENTS, SUCH AS COOKING LESSONS, BEER AND WINE TASTINGS, YANKEE SWAP HOLIDAY PARTY, ETC. TO ENGAGE OUR TEAM. I DO ASK THAT OUR TEAM ENABLE THEIR CAMERA SO THAT WE CAN HAVE MORE OF A FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Leadership is always important for company success, and doubly so for promoting wellness across a distributed workforce. Communication about well-being has become an especially important focus for managing remote sales teams—and who asks wellness questions matters. As Kunze describes, “We need to ask employees, ‘What can we do to help you?’ from a wellness perspective. Now, that can be a loaded question coming from your boss, so it may be better coming from an HR person scheduling check-ins with people who aren’t their direct reports.”
In addition to transparency about well-being, managers should also look for ways to empower their sales teams to make their own decisions about what’s best for their digital wellness. “I’ve found the biggest tool for success you can give a sale rep is earned autonomy to let them flourish,” Townsend said. “Some reps just function better at different times of the day, so the flexibility in scheduling their own meetings, appointments, and call blocks lets them adjust and spend time with family. I encourage those on my team to take those necessary breaks, both daily and annually with PTO, so that when you’re ‘on,' you’re incredibly focused.”
Even once offices reopen en masse, it’s clear that we’ve entered a “new normal” after the last year of everyone working remotely. From adopting flexible work models to getting creative about preventing burnout, there are many ways for sales managers to find a path to digital wellness that works for their team. Above all, we must persevere and take care of both ourselves and our colleagues. As Townsend said, “Sales by nature can be a grind, so it’s all the more important to check-in on the mental well-being of reps and make sure they are stepping away at times to comeback refreshed and better.”