Maintaining Company Wellness While Doing More with Less

September 3, 2020

Sara Howshar

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Each week, Chorus CEO Jim Benton is joined by GTM leaders to discuss the insights behind the conversation data that inform their decisions most.

This week, Jim was joined by Stephanie Benavidez, the Senior Director of Sales Enablement at WellRight.

The data on deck was powerful. They discussed how sales teams are doing more with less, and how leaders can help support, inspire, and motivate in the face of burnout.

Jim and Stephanie opened up their discussion by sharing their experience in a common challenge for working parents: Distance learning in the home.

Stephanie shared that she had learned a lot over the spring. “I’m a mom of two, working full time, scaling a startup, and I realized I can’t do it all.” She and Jim stressed the importance of asking for help when needed and finding some support from everyone else that is in the same boat.

“People are being pulled in a lot of directions,” said Stephanie. “It’s somewhat comforting knowing that we’re all in this together.”

Working Creatively: Smarter not Harder #

Stephanie shared that in WellRight’s seven years of operation, the last three have been true years of selling after their strong product development.

“We spent the last three years creating and building a sales team around consistency and niche functions,” she said. “We’re following the Predictable Revenue Model.”

And the last year - the last few quarters - has been interesting, to say the least.

“During this time we’ve had to get gritty,” she said. “We’re doing more with less. So it’s really about how we make full use of the people we have on our team. How do we work smarter not harder? We’ve tried to be really creative during this time.”

Balancing Sales Team Productivity with Burnout #

Since March, there has been little to no variety in day to day work. The world has changed and is going through a lot of upheavals. But for those who have turned their kitchen counters into their new office, there’s less separation between the days, work, and life.

“We’ve been hearing that every day feels like Groundhog Day,” said Stephanie.

And while we can see that there’s some of that Summer Softness impacting Q3 - we’re down -6% productivity since Q1 - sales teams are continuing to call, book meetings, and make deals.

“We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been busy because we promote health and wellness during this time,” she said. “We’ve seen an increase in our meeting volume, given what we provide to the market”

We’ve seen this same thing throughout the past few months. “People make changes and see strong performances,” said Jim. “They’re getting creative.”

[Burnout] is such a widely discussed topic now. More now than ever. People feel stretched really thin and they’re trying to overcompensate.

The Weekly Briefing Running Deck 2

RIF Mentions In Sales Calls

Burnout is On Everyone’s Mind #

The mentions of burnout on sales calls is up 26% since the end of Q1.

“This is real,” said Jim.

Stephanie agreed. “This is such a widely discussed topic now. More now than ever. People feel stretched really thin and they’re trying to overcompensate. Sometimes I’ll start mornings at 5 am and end at 11 pm - and I’m not unique in this situation!”

The best antidote to over exhaustion and burnout? Stephanie says you need to make time for yourself.

“Get in a bike ride, work out, go for a walk,” she suggested. “Zoom fatigue is real. Not just for our kids in e-learning, but also for us.”

WellRight has developed a lot of content around wellness - physical and mental. And you can find it on their LinkedIn if you’re interested.

“We’re mixing the places we relax and interact with our families with work,” said Jim. “We need to protect these areas that used to be recharging. We need to keep the fun at work, and keep that human connection.”

Stephanie shared how WellRight is prioritizing wellness, fun, and culture across their teams.

“Prior to this call,” she said, “we were meeting about how we’re building out our culture. There’s no more ping pong or happy hours. Our sales team does happy hour, trivia, things like that.

You guys invited us to a wine tasting event that we actually copied and brought our sales team into which was so fun.”

Jim laughed and agreed that the wine tasting events were a hit. “It sure helps loosen things up. I’ve been so surprised about these virtual events. It’s a special event when you’re turning the dining room into a bar. It’s important to keep the fun in work.”

The Impact of RIF on a Team = Doing More with Less #

Digging into our Performance Intelligence, Chorus found that mentions of RIF QoQ are down 20%, but we’re still coming off of a big spike in Q2 from Q1.

“We definitely saw a lot of groups saying that now’s not the right time because we had to layoff some people,” said Stephanie. “Even so, when we’re presenting our value add to people, there is more interest in investing in WellRight for their employees.”

And, more than that, they’re seeing it change their sales cycle. “We’re seeing the sales process shorten up a little bit in the beginning of Q3.”

Onboarding in a Virtual Environment #

On the other hand of RIF, some companies have onboarded new hires in this new normal. To some, this is unorthodox and a difficult pivot. But for others, this is run of the mill onboarding.

“Our sales team has always been remote and having different modalities for training is important,” Stephanie said. “So these principles have always been there. We’re relying more on virtual trainings since those other aspects in person are no longer taking place, but people learn differently anyway.”

The Weekly Briefing Running Deck 3

How Are Sales Teams Coping?

Doing More with Less #

In teams that experienced RIF, each Rep is having to work harder. They’re holding 21% more meetings than they did before. This wasn’t represented in data from teams that were spared RIF.

Jim asked how leaders are weighing the mentality of sales teams and the impact it's having on them in the long term.

“We didn’t have RIFs but went on a hiring freeze,” Stephanie shared. “My team definitely felt this impact. They were getting a lot of meetings, great, but they were feeling some of that burnout. In doing more with less, you can get tapped out pretty easily.”

Even in this environment where hiring is scarce, there’s still concern about the retention of your top talent.

“You don’t want your people quitting on you,” she said. “This has been a really challenging year and months, so take a few days off, enjoy your family.”

Jim agreed. “We’re seeing the lift that companies are having, but it’s not sustainable. We’re having to operate in ways that are unchartered. And some are having to make a lot of decisions, so no judgment, but it is taking its toll on some teams.”

What about physical wellbeing? Well, Stephanie offered some great advice.

“Zoom meetings are great,” she said, “but if you’re having internal meetings, maybe change them to walking meetings so you’re moving. Sitting is the new smoking, as they say.”

Sales can be so competitive, but there’s a lot more collaboration, transparency, and sharing coming to life.

Team Selling on the Rise? #

Ending on a bright spot: We’re seeing a 13% increase of sellers joining meetings. Rather than going it alone, sellers are relying on their teammates to get a deal across the line.

“Sales teams are really coming together,” said Jim.

Stephanie enthusiastically agreed. “Our team has been more collaborative now more than ever. We’ve been sharing more in our weekly sales meetings and our company chat. It makes my heart happy to see so much collaboration,” she said. “Sales can be so competitive, but there’s a lot more collaboration, transparency, and sharing coming to life.”

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