In Sales Training

Do you have millennials in your sales team? How about Baby Boomers or the GenX people? Many sales organizations consist of multiple generations in their team and even within the buyer-seller process. Sadly, conflicts can arise from this eventually affecting your close rates at the end of the day.

Today’s guest is David Szen and he shares with us his thoughts about how the nuances of generations can actually impact sales and sales leadership and what you can do to keep your boat sailing.

David is a principal consultant for the Symmetrics Group, an Atlanta-based company helping organizations undergo sales transformation. David specifically does workshop development for the team. David is also the author of the book, The Multigenerational Sales Team: Harness the Power of New Perspectives to Sell More, Retain Top Talent, and Maintain Tight-Performing Workspace.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with David:

The impetus behind writing his book:

  • They wanted to investigate how generational differences could impact sales and sales leadership.

What makes this book unique:

  • They’re focusing less on how generations can get along well and focus more on the direct impacts on sales and sales leadership.
  • They’re focusing on the intersection of generational nuance and sales.
  • They interviewed over 50 sales professionals and sales leaders and they surveyed hundreds of people in the field.
  • They validated some things and also busted some myths.

By 2025, 70% of the U.S. Workforce is going to be millennials. Baby Boomers are declining quickly and Gen X are going to be the next tenured staff. As a result, there will be a lot of newer sales professionals and a lot of tenured decision makers and that can cause a collision.

Examples of collisions between generations:

  • Millennials either choose sales or sales pick them.
  • A lot of millennials who enter the salesforce are trained to do it.
  • A lot of collision comes from millennials flaring up from their differences with an older decision-maker. (ex. informal tone of communication or failure to follow up).

Building Trust and Credibility

Trust is earned on a very slow clock and credibility, while you’re trying to build trust, if you put it on too fast of a clock, you lose trust while trying to be credible. Throw in generational differences to the mix and it becomes harder.

Generational Flexibility: The Three-Step Process

  1. Be aware.

Educate yourself on the generational nuances to make sure you understand the characteristics of each generation.

  1. Observe the behavior.

See the person in action and figure out which generational characteristics they embody. Observer their behavior over time, not one time.

  1. Adjust.

Dial up your own behavior based on what you witnessed from the other person and what generational nuances they carry or don’t.

Compensation and Hiring of Millennials

  • Hiring remote people is a thing to consider.
  • New sellers are looking for a compelling career path.
  • There is a need for a great onboarding program.

An Ideal Working Environment for Millennials:

Millennials have been entertained all their life so work also has to be a game. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Open work environment feeds into the collaborative nature this next generation entering the workforce.
  2. Find an opportunity to decompress while they’re at work (ex. video game even just for 15-20 minutes)
  3. A relaxed culture (ex. casual dressing)

David’s Major Takeaway:

Educate yourself on generational nuances as it relates to sales.  Think of generational nuances as written in pencil or chalk and not everyone grabs all of the things said about their generation. Some people need more of some things and less of other things based on their place of life and their influences. Educate yourself and be willing to be really flexible because not everybody is as advertised.

 

Episode Resources:

Connect with David on www.SymmetricsGroup.com  

The Multigenerational Sales Team by David Szen and Warren Shiver

7 Steps to Salesforce Transformation by Michael Perla and Warren Shiver

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