The next sales person you hire will likely be a Millennial. In order to successfully integrate new, younger individuals into the sales team it is important to put aside popularly held biases about the Millennial generation and recognize the talent and potential of those who want and need your leadership, encouragement and coaching.
No young person, of any generation, has ever come into a new career with all the necessary credentials and skills fully formed. This was the case when Baby Boomers and Gen Xers entered the workforce and it remains so for Millennials beginning their sales careers. It is the job of leaders to develop the raw talent and ambition of rookies into the skills and competencies of professionals. To write-off an entire generation as lacking “the right stuff” is an abdication of the leadership responsibility to create the next generation of sales professionals and leaders.
A few Millennials behave according to the extremes of the stereotype; but most behave like previous generations of young people, with the self-centred and hopeful ambitions of youth. These qualities, when guided by skilled leadership become the energy that drives accomplishment, as well as individual and organizational growth.
Here are four best practices for integrating Millennials into your sales team:
Define the skills and qualities of your ideal salesperson and then use industry recognized job-fit assessment tools such as Prevue to mitigate negative biases that may cause hiring managers to bypass qualified and capable millennial prospects.
Set realistic onboarding expectations for yourself, your company, and your new hires. Define professional development goals and milestones for the first year, and beyond. Celebrate accomplishments as they are achieved.
Provide purposeful, professional sales training and coaching. Sales professionalism is a learned skill: raw talent is not enough. Investments in training accelerate success and deepen organizational commitment from new team members.
- Be open to new ideas
Millennials are the new consumers of your products and services. Your Millennial salespeople think like your millennial customers and they use the same information technologies. It makes sense to seriously consider new ideas raised by your millennial salespeople, test them, and integrate the best ones into your sales systems.
The success of your sales team has always depended on how you train and lead them. It remains true for the new generation of salespeople.