There’s a new breed of sales representative on the rise. They were born between 1980 and 1995 and they’re giving tenured sales managers and experienced sales trainers gray hair faster than ever before. Born in an electronics-filled, online and socially-networked world, they were bombarded by advertising and tend to have shorter attention spans and need flexibility in their work environment.
They’re called Millennials, and if you’re wondering how to train them to sell your products and services, you might want to consider rethinking your entire sales training strategy. Progressive dealers realize they need innovative ways to develop today’s new hire.
Here are some best practices you may want to consider in your organization:
1. Leverage online video module learning – Millennials grew up with it.
Ask your new hires how they took courses and learned in high school, college or university and they will tell you a significant portion of their learning experience was online learning with short, bite-sized modules filled with video and multimedia. Short because their attention span simply can’t stick with something like a Gen X or baby boomer could. And if you think millennials have a short attention span, get ready for the next group of new hires (born after 1995) because their attention span is estimated at eight seconds or less!
2. Provide blended learning experiences – Millennials benefit from variety.
At some point a salesperson usually has to actually speak face-to-face or over the phone to another human without using a keyboard. This is why a healthy blend of online learning mixed in with traditional classroom and sales call role playing will yield the best results. You probably have a healthy base of traditional learning activities, but without integrating some form of online learning in the mix, you may be alienating the new millennial seller from what they know.
3. Make the training relevant – Don’t rely on millennials to figure it out.
Most millennials have a difficult time converting general concepts into field-ready selling behaviors. Try to make sure the training is specific to their role. If they’re an inside telesales rep, train them to be effective on the phone and with email. As silly as it sounds, most millennials have not used email very much and thank heavens for spellcheck! If they are in a field sales assignment, train them on face-to-face selling techniques; if they are selling specific products or services, make sure they get specific training on topics such as Managed Print Services, Document Management or Managed IT Services if you sell these types of solutions. Millennials don’t like to be embarrassed, so the better you prepare them, the better off you both will be.
4. Complement training with digital enablers – Don’t handcuff a millennial with analog sales tools.
All too often, the implementation of a training program is short-lived because the newly trained sales rep has no sales tool to apply the learning experience. Another missed opportunity occurs when organizations fail to leverage the digital talents and tendencies of a millennial by providing them with old school hardcopy brochures or bulky presentations that simply don’t jive with their digital DNA.
If you’ve got millennial sellers, maybe now is the time to take a second look at how you are training them. Are you treating them like a baby boomer who grew up before the Internet? Unfortunately, more than half of the imaging resellers still do it the old way which could end up being the most expensive training of all because it simply doesn’t work with that new superstar you’re counting on in the sales bullpen!
Your reps can learn how to win more deals with Partner Pro’s online sales training, perfect for the millennial sales rep. Preview the course ‘Selling to Win’ now!