For the first time in history, four generations will soon be working side by side. As a sales manager, figuring out how to train a multigenerational sales team presents a unique challenge. Understanding the difference between generational learning styles will help you be more effective in your sales training endeavors.
2016 sales teams may include:
- Baby Boomers: Individuals born between 1946 and 1964
- Gen X: Individuals born between 1965 and 1981
- Millennials: Individuals born between 1982 and 1997 (approximately)
- Gen 2020er or Gen Z: Individuals born after 1997 (approximately)
With such a diverse blend of perspectives and selling styles, some dealers are confused about the type of sales training strategies they can use to get everyone trained and ready to achieve the company’s sales targets.
How do you engage all generations in sales training?
One way that is proving to be increasingly effective for sales managers is scenario-based best practice sharing activities. Contrary to skills based learning, this technique challenges all salespeople with a common selling scenario followed by individual explanations of how they might start or advance a sales cycle.
When executed in a sales meeting, a sales manager would present all reps with the exact same selling scenario and ask each of them how they would go about achieving the same specific sales objective. Each rep would be asked to share their personal approach or selling strategy, one by one, to the team.
Popular selling scenarios may include:
- Booking appointments
- Value propositions
- Competitive differentiation
- Handling objections
- Delivering presentations
- Proposal creation
- Qualifying prospects
- Gaining commitment
This approach tends to foster a more open discussion and gets everyone engaged, unlike some traditional skills based training sessions that too often become a one-way PowerPoint presentation from the sales trainer to sales learner. With everyone engaged, teams are able to explore different selling strategies based on the generations, tenure and selling styles participating in the exercise.
Scenario-focused training sessions tend to most productive when kept short i.e. 10 to 20-minute mini workshops. This helps to deal with short attention spans, and lengthier discussions can be handled offline.
One the biggest benefits of this contemporary training approach is that sales managers get the opportunity to watch and listen. This helps them identify where skill gaps exist and how they may best want to develop those skills at the individual and generational level.
If you’re current sales training approach isn’t working, try running a common selling scenario by your sales team and see what they all say!
Need help getting the training you need for your multigenerational sales team? Preview Partner Pro’s ‘Selling to Win’ module today to find how new hires and tenured reps benefit from Partner Pro’s engaging online sales training.