Are your B2B sales reps in a state of flow?
Sales can be a challenging and stressful profession, particularly in the B2B sector. Sales representatives often face rejection, customer issues, and pressure to meet targets. In the life sciences industry, representatives are expected to shift flawlessly to digital channels, cover wider territories, and juggle internal Zoom meetings and manager ride-alongs while visiting as many customers as possible. Despite the low morale, however, many reps love what they do.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book, Flow, suggests that a mental state of complete absorption in an activity, where time stands still, is the key to happiness and fulfillment. To achieve this state, we must be challenged by what we do, with challenges aligned with our skill set and interests, clear goals, time and space to concentrate, autonomy over meeting challenges, and feedback on progress.
At its core, sales is about moving people, and it is no accident that the most engaged reps have high emotional intelligence and are people-people. The ultimate feedback is the close, but in life sciences, the industry's impact on human lives also provides purpose and meaning.
However, there is a risk of undermining the motivational aspects of B2B sales as we shift to digital. Standardizing calls, imposing digital sales aides, and offering solely one-way communication in the form of performance reviews and weekly touchpoints may remove the personal touch so desperately needed in keeping reps engaged.
What is the culture of your sales organization? Do you foster flow?