Selling software is far from easy, and as any experienced software sales rep will tell you, the challenges of the job come with a certain degree of stress.
Whether you’re trying to hit a challenging monthly quota, get a difficult lead over the conversion line, or have to deal with managers and colleagues who are laying on the pressure, stressful situations come with the territory of software sales.
Though the fast-paced and demanding environment of software sales may not be for everyone, it can also bring out the best in many professionals, and there are a number of ways to mitigate the pressures that are baked into this career path. In today’s post, we’ll look at some of the common stressors in software sales, and what you can do to combat them.
Why Is Software Sales Stressful?
Pressure to Maintain a Veneer of Success
Though this is found in many career paths, software sales reps in particular experience a lot of pressure to give off an impression that they’re always enjoying a great deal of success and crushing their targets, even when things aren’t going so well.
When caught up in the culture of sales, and having to maintain a veneer of success in all their interactions, this can create a level of dissonance between the image they have to present to customers, managers, and colleagues, and the way they really feel about their performance.
It’s natural to feel like you’re not performing at your best sometimes, but when you’re in an environment where showing vulnerability is taboo, it can rapidly pile on unnecessary stress.
Having to be Constantly Available
One of the biggest pressures software sales reps experience is an expectation from customers, and sometimes colleagues, that they should be available around the clock to clear up details about specific software features and functions, or to discuss nuances in a piece of software that’s being developed for a bespoke order.
This pressure to be constantly in “work mode” can fill your waking hours to the brim with high-pressure situations, robbing you of any opportunity to kick back and relax after a long day.
Difficulty Consolidating Long and Short-Term Goals
Sales, whether in software or otherwise, is a numbers game by nature. When the success of a sales professional is calculated based on revenue vs quota ratio over short periods of time, many sales reps can feel like they’re constantly under pressure to keep their progress aligned with a cut-off date that’s looming on the calendar.
Though every month and quota is certainly important, successful sales professionals also need to be able to align their short-term projects with the broader aims of the business, as well as their own long-term career goals.
Maintaining this balancing act is challenging to say the least, and requires a smart, proactive, and efficient approach to managing your workload.
Ways to Make Software Sales Less Stressful
Discussing Sources of Stress with your Colleagues
It may sound simple, but the basic habit of openly discussing your stressors with your colleagues can go a long way in helping you relieve your stress. Because openly feeling stressed about work is somewhat of a taboo in sales, many reps find it hard to take that first step and admit they’re feeling the pressure.
If you’re struggling to find a good point in your working day to naturally bring up your sources of stress, then your colleagues are probably experiencing the same thing. You may even want to suggest having a regular slot in your calendars specifically for discussing stressors in a calm and non-judgmental environment.
Sort Tasks by Stress Levels
In our post-pandemic business arena, the average professional has much greater freedom to organize their working day as they see fit. If this holds true for your organization, it could present a great opportunity to mitigate the stress you feel from work.
Try making a list of all the tasks that make up a standard week in your position, and rank them by the level of stress they cause you. From there, look at the most stressful tasks, and think of things you can do to try and mitigate the stress they cause you. For example, if you have a quota of follow-up emails to draft, you might want to prioritize them to get them out of the way as early as possible or set aside some time for self-directed learning that will help you complete these tasks more efficiently.
Put Little Failures into Perspective
Failing to close a prospect, running a product demo that doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, and similar situations, can all feel very personal when you’re in a software sales position. When you’ve got challenging quotas to meet, and these things happen several times in a short period, it can quickly pile on feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy.
Make a habit of taking a step back and putting the situation into perspective. Remember that although a rejection may feel personal, it almost never is, and is much more likely to be tied up in issues of budget, time constraints, or value alignment.
Wrapping Up…Is Software Sales Stressful?
Whether you’re considering a career in software sales or you’re a veteran who’s feeling a little worse for wear, we hope this post has given you a good idea of the stressors in software sales and taught you some effective ways to combat them.
If you’d like to learn more about life in software sales, be sure to check out our other tips and guides, or browse our job board for your next software sales opportunity.