Why Aren’t Sales Professionals Happy with Hybrid Work?

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When my co-founder and I started Dooly in 2016, we did so out of pain. I’d spent much of my career as a salesperson, and I loved every minute of it. 

Well, almost every minute. 

The hours upon hours I spent on data entry and updating my CRM were hours I could have spent doing the thing that I loved most—selling—but instead, I was bogged down in gruntwork. The worst part? I knew that every other sales rep on the planet was going through the exact same struggle, and there were no solutions in sight. 

So, we created a tool to help salespeople cut down on the menial admin work they didn’t sign up for. We figured, “That’s that, we solved it,” and patted ourselves on the backs. 

Flash-forward to today. You can imagine my surprise when I learned salespeople are still burning out due to non-revenue generating activities! We suspected this problem had been exacerbated by the pandemic, so we surveyed 600 sales professionals in the U.S. to gauge their satisfaction at work. 

Here’s what we found. 

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The Great Resignation is upon us 

With so many workers unhappy in their current position across all industries, it’s no surprise that a number of our survey respondents are considering abandoning the sales profession altogether: 27 percent said they anticipate working in sales for at least the next three years, but 25 percent said they only anticipate working in sales for the next three to six months. 

When we asked why folks are planning to jump ship, 43 percent cited a lack of benefits; 33 percent cited a lack of access to the best tools and technology to be successful, and 31 percent cited a lack of bonuses. In short, companies aren’t taking care of their salespeople the way they should, and reps are feeling the pain. 


More hours spent not selling 

Of our survey respondents, 77 percent reported they’re working more hours now than before the pandemic, and a whopping 91 percent said they work after hours on weekends either occasionally (75 percent) or consistently (16 percent). Of those, 62 percent said they’re working on off-hours to catch up on administrative tasks. 

The vast majority of sales professionals we surveyed feel their time could be better spent elsewhere: 74 percent said much of their time at work is spent on activities that don’t contribute to selling, and 88 percent said most of the time spent on non-revenue generating activities (NRGs) is time lost. 

Don’t be fooled—we’re not saying sales professionals are doing this of their own volition. Many place the blame for all this wasted time on management, with eight out of 10 respondents saying management does not understand how time-consuming NRGs are. This has lasting consequences: 78 percent said a lack of understanding from management on how much time is consumed by NRGs leads to misalignment between expectations and what sellers can reasonably achieve. 


Salesperson burnout is heating up 

A serious repercussion of extra hours and misalignment with managers is employee burnout. There was 69 percent of respondents who said they’ve experienced burnout due to their job, half of whom feel this way often. Here’s the stat that keeps me up at night: 73 percent of those who have experienced burnout said it has negatively affected their mental health. 

The shift to hybrid work has highlighted the necessity of work/life balance, and the fact that so many people in the sales profession feel completely drained by their jobs means we need to do better. Full stop. 


What’s next? 

Thirty-six percent of the respondents said they’d be motivated to leave their current company for one that offers better technology or resources, and 21 percent said they’d leave for a role where they could spend less time on NRGs. 

Those of us in leadership positions have a responsibility to communicate with our sales reps to understand what works, what doesn’t and what they’re going through on a daily basis. We need to give them the tools they need to be successful, especially now that the majority of business is conducted online. 

If you set your sales teams up for success through transparent and frequent communication paired with the right sales prospecting tools, you’re bound to see an increase in sales happiness and avoid the Great Sales Resignation. 

  • Originally published March 23, 2022