Build and Retain a Bulletproof Sales Teams with Mental Fitness
Sales team leaders are keenly aware that the ‘great resignation’ comes at a direct annual cost greater than $19,000 per employee and lost return on training investment costs of $15 billion annually. Add the fact that attrition among sales executives is more than double the rate of other positions, and the overall impact poses a tangible threat to organizational survival.
Here is what we know:
- 19 million+ workers have quit their jobs since April 2021
- 58% of employees state they are somewhat likely to almost certain to quit in the next 3 to 6 months (McKinsey)
- Organizations lose 7.5 months of productivity with each sales executive that leaves (McKinsey)
- The cost to replace a sales executive with new talent is 1.5 to 4 times their annual salary (Sparkbay.com)
Indirect Costs of Attrition increase uncertainty and vulnerability
Sales drives business. When sales teams fall apart, the organizational risk is more than just lost revenue. There is the cost to recruit for the vacancy, train new hires, and cover lost productivity. This adds stress to the remaining team members, causing a negative emotional impact on top of monetary loss. Not to mention the risk of losing new and existing business to competitors, which adds even more pressure for sales teams to continue producing at a high level with fewer resources.
Return to work reality filled with disconnection, disappointment, and distrust
When the workplace reopened after the pandemic apprehension and anxiety added stress for employees required to return to an 8 to 5 workday. Attempting to calm fears, leaders reacted quickly. They offered remote work options, schedule flexibility, additional personal time off, and access to health and wellness apps to get teams in the office and regain sales momentum.
Employees returned to the workplace believing it would be a return to the same environment they left in early 2020. Instead, they discovered a foreign and awkward place filled with new customs like physical distancing (6 feet or more), new gestures (fist bumps), missing teammates, and optional health protocols (masks).
Their unrecognized desire to reconnect with their team remained unfulfilled. Employees felt misled and betrayed by their leaders when the connection was missing. Tired and frustrated, many quit in search of a better environment.
Leadership felt similarly disappointed and confused, believing their quick response to alleviate stress and anxiety with remote work options and other benefits communicated – a sincere commitment to their happiness and success. Leaders mistakenly presumed it would slow or stop attrition.
Workplace resolutions require real change
In today’s circumstances, we all experience stress and anxiety. Fear and uncertainty affect the thoughts and actions of leaders and employees alike. Yet, to talk about our feelings in an organization is taboo. For a leader to do so is seen as a sign of weakness. But, if we aren’t willing to talk about our needs, desires, and worries, the remedies we try will regularly miss the mark, and performance will continue to suffer.
Neuroscience validates mental fitness training to build a positive mindset for wellness and performance.
In his work with over 500,000 CEOs, students, elite athletes, and sales teams, Shirzad Chamine validates that performance grows as wellness and happiness do. And it declines as uncertainty and fear erode our sense of peace and safety, and we react from a negative mindset.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) shows how we respond to situations, live in the brain’s neural pathways. Negative reactions naturally occur in the amygdala or left primitive brain. Negative emotions naturally trigger us to remove the threat and return to safety. This can look like quitting a job or quickly adding incentives in today’s business environment.
Luckily positive responses also live in the brain’s neural pathways. For example, fMRI scans highlight the pre-frontal cortex when we feel relaxed, safe, and clear-headed. Our work is to respond regularly from the positive brain more often than the negative brain.
Mental Fitness Retrains Neural Pathways
Neuroscience shows that we can create new neural pathways to build a positive mindset and improve wellness and performance. It’s called mental fitness. Shirzad Chamine, in his NY Times Best Selling novel, explains how his research used factor analysis to radically simplify the training by targeting the three core mental muscles.
“Our minds are constantly sabotaging our wellness and performance.” Chamine states. “The Positive Intelligence (PQ) training uses tools proven to strengthen the part of our brains that serves us and quiet the part that sabotages us, creating immediate and sustainable improvements in wellness and performance.”
Building high performing teams
At work, employees look to leaders to guide them out of the confusion and uncertainty back to safety. In a recent McKinsey report, over half of the employees admit they leave positions because they don’t feel valued or connected to the organization and don’t trust their leaders.
Start with trust
To regain trust and influence with teams, leaders must change how they lead. Brene Brown reminds us that the most effective way for a leader to create safety is to be vulnerable, and contrary to organizational culture, it is a sign of strength, not weakness. Shirzad Chamine, CEO of Positive Intelligence, calls vulnerability the currency of earned trust required to build a foundation of high-performing teams.
Setback or solution?
Inspired leaders recognize that their people are struggling and want to help. Companies like Hewlett-Packard, Fast Company, Indeed, and others are investing in mental fitness tools to convert the attrition setback into a solution for sustained wellness and performance in your organization.
Find out more about Earned Trust and the 4 Pillars of High Performing Teams here.
How We Self SabotageSaboteur Assessment
De Smet, Aaron, et al. “’Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The Choice Is Yours.” McKinsey Quarterly, Sept. 2021.
De Smet, Aaron, and Adria Horn. “A Military Veteran Knows Why Your Employees Are Leaving.” McKinsey Quarterly, Jan. 2022, https://doi.org/https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/a-military-veteran-knows-why-your-employees-are-leaving.
“How to Predict Turnover on Your Sales Team.” Harvard Business Review, July 2017, pp. 22–24., https://doi.org/https://hbr.org/2017/07/how-to-predict-turnover-on-your-sales-team.
Inc., SparkBay. “A Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating the Exact Cost of Turnover.” Sparkbay.com, Sparkbay, 28 Sept. 2022, https://sparkbay.com/en/culture-blog/calculate-cost-turnover-3. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.