How to Identify and Beat Sales Burnout

Any top achiever will, without a doubt, attribute their success to discipline, hard work, and determination. These are attributes that cut across all spheres of life including the sales profession. However, it is important to mention that even as one endeavor to work hard, they should be wary of the dangers of overworking themselves to the point of burnout. This is a state marked with both emotional and physical exhaustion and can easily metamorphose to depression if not well managed.

Spotting Burnout 

Going by the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, the symptoms of burnout are, in all rights, gloomy. Here are some of the symptoms: 

  • Extreme physical tiredness – This can cause frequent spells of sleeplessness in some people. In others, it can manifest in sudden naps whenever they get the opportunity to sit.  
  • Emotional fatigue – It’s a general feeling of being detached from your usual self, with little or no empathy.  
  • Becoming easily irritable – It’s characterized by sudden and unwarranted outbursts of anger at things you would usually overlook. 
  • Unusual pessimism – One becomes increasingly negative in their talk especially on the possibility of achieving their targets. 

Causes of Sales Burnout 

Just like any other profession, burnout experienced by salespeople is related to their daily work. Some of the key contributors to this unhealthy condition include overworking, tight budgets, unrealistic sales targets, and unpredictable compensation plans. Abrupt operational changes such as new territory allocations can also escalate burnout. When sales managers know these causes, they can make better operational decisions and avoid pushing their staff towards burnout. 

The Impact of Sales Burnout  

It’s easy to see how burnout affects individual salespeople in terms of ill health, underperformance, and broken work relationships which can affect career progression. However, businesses also get a fair share of woes such as employee absenteeism, miss-selling, customer complaints, and drop in sales volume. These often contribute to reduced profits and slow growth of companies, depending on how sales reps are affected.    

How Can One Prevent Sales Burnout?  

Fortunately, there are various practices both sales reps and leaders can follow to shield themselves and their teams from this menace. Here are some tips: 

  • Have a work-life balance and jealously guard your personal time. 
  • Be assertive and know when to say no to undue pressure.  
  • Eat a balanced diet and always allocate sufficient time for sleep. This is important in ensuring that your body unwinds and preventing the build-up of fatigue. 
  • Exercise regularly to keep your body strong and healthy. 
  • Develop a daily schedule of tasks to be completed and stick to it. Prior planning of what you need to do reduces anxiety as you can anticipate what may transpire within the day. 
  • If you have direct reports, learn how to delegate some of your daily tasks to free you more time. 
  • As a sales leader, avoid surprise communications that may demoralize your direct reports.   


It’s always better to catch burnout before a worker slips into depression. As a sales leader, watch out for the above signs to point out when any of your team members could be experiencing sales burnout. And if one is already affected, the best way out is to help them accept their condition, reevaluate their daily schedules, or seek professional help.