HubSpot recently reported that 46 percent of sales leaders missed their sales targets in 2020. That puts even more pressure on sales professionals to boost their numbers in 2021. Yet, the way we work has radically changed, and that brings its own stresses and challenges. Whether it’s juggling kids and work, barking dogs, makeshift workspaces, or being stuck in one place 24/7, sales is more challenging than ever.
This creates a mix of loneliness and under-stimulation. Work hours bleed into downtime. Sleep schedules get disrupted. All these issues and more are continually working against sales reps’ sales numbers.
At first, the solution appears to be working harder and longer. And while that may have some immediate results, the long term consequences will end up working against you. What’s needed in 2021 isn’t a doubling down of your work, but a shift in the way that you work.
Since the nature of work has changed, it only makes sense to change the way you work as well. Let’s take a look at seven practices to stay at the top of your sales game in 2021.
1) Forget a Work-life Balance
Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe says it’s time to stop aiming for a work-life balance, because this puts work ahead of everything else. Instead, it’s better to think about a “life-with-work balance.” A better life-with-work balance will not only take better care of your person, but also help you become more effective in your work. So let’s look at several practical ways you can achieve better sales numbers while also taking care of yourself.
2) Stop Multitasking
Give full attention to one particular item at a time. When you get that one thing done, you’re more likely to have a sense of completion and accomplishment. You’re no longer bouncing from one thing to another, which makes you feel like you’re constantly moving but never getting anywhere.
You’ll still have times when you need to multitask, but dedicating time each day to monotasking will help you crank out mentally intensive work more efficiently.
3) Master Your Transitions
It’s important to be able to transition between home and work quickly, because you don’t have a commute to help you make that shift. Think about the types of rituals that will help you change gears. What do you need in place to do this successfully?
4) Know Your Non-negotiables
Sales professionals experience burnout and disengagement when work demands start to encroach on their non-negotiables. Think of this as your boundaries. When work crosses those boundaries, you begin to feel unvalued and disrespected.
If you want to stay in a state of high-performance, you need to know your own boundaries, and to be transparent about them. Communicate those boundaries to others, and enforce them. Sticking to your boundaries will help prevent exhaustion and raw nerves.
5) Reset Your Environment
You want to start each day with a work environment that’s ready for performance. Take time at the end of the day to reset your workspace. That way, you can jump into each day fresh, rather than entering a chaotic space.
6) Self-Care Isn’t Optional
If you want to be a high performer, it’s important to build a wellness program. Develop your own self-care playbook for staying aware, emotionally regulating, and unwinding when you need to. Create a way to disengage and disconnect as needed. Don’t be immediately available 24/7, so that you can show up at 100 percent when it’s time for work.
Of course, exercise is key. It’s so easy to be sedentary all week long. Make it a point to connect with nature — getting out in nature actually helps foster certain skill sets, like problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning.
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7) Flex Your Work Schedule
Working from home while kids are also home means you’ll need to be flexible. Work hours might need to make way for family needs or personal priorities. This can be tricky, because a flexible work schedule can easily take over your personal downtime. Be purposeful about what your flex hours look like. If you’re getting up earlier, or working later, protect your off hours. Be fully present with your family or significant other when you aren’t on the clock.
A Word for Sales Leaders
If you’re leading a sales team at your company, you may need to rethink your motivation tactics. Working in the new normal creates stresses and frustrations that your people haven’t dealt with before. It will be critical to spend time talking with them and listening to them. Touch base one-on-one each week to see how your sales reps are doing, and make every reasonable effort to give them the time they need to be with family.
As we enter Year Two of a new normal, sales reps will need to shift from makeshift work setup to a proactive life-with-work balance. As you evaluate what that looks like for you, we hope you’ll consider IDI as a trusted resource. We’re here to help you succeed as a sales performer, and we have decades of experience to help you exceed your sales goals.