Ensuring sales training success among millennials is one of the biggest challenges faced by sales leaders nowadays. As the newest generation in today’s workforce, they are very different from those in the generations before them – especially when it comes to sales. The main characteristics of millennial salespeople are: confidence, self-expressive, liberal, optimistic and open to change. They are deeply interested with technology and instant communication. Besides, they have high expectations for both their career and personal life. Hence, finding the right training for millennials can prove to be a tedious task.
Statistics show that millennials will make up 40 percent of the workforce by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025. A study by LaSalle Network based on 5,000 millennials found that, 65% said they’re “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in their current jobs. However, less than half said they were pleased with their career path (45%) and training and development programs (49%) at their current company.
These statistics show the extent to which career and training is important to millennials. Moreover, the growing number of millennials has many companies contemplating how they’re going to handle these young adults and incorporate their values into the workplace.
There is no doubt that millennials have tremendous potential for great results in sales due to their characteristics. Yet, what they will need is a new style of management and an innovative sales training to foster that success.
Here are few ways which can help you ensure sales training success for your millennial sales team:
Make them feel part of something big
Millennials are always seen glued to their mobile devices and seeking a constant connection with the outside world. The question is why? According to the Nielsen report, this may be because they naturally crave personal communication. They want to feel connected, whether it’s to a particular brand, company or person. Hence, companies should not ignore this loyalty trait of Millennials.
As far as sales enablement is concerned, there is a lot of potential that can be extracted from millennial sales people. The key is to understand that Millennials want to be a part of something big; they are keen to play an essential role in everything they do, whether it involves closing deals or prospecting.
Therefore, when you train them to embrace your company values and brand messaging, make them realize that their contribution is greatly important for the progress of the organization and that they will get plenty of benefits by joining your sales team. In this way, they will be more motivated and engaged in their training programs.
Leveraging Technology Effectively
Based on learning preferences of millennials, training providers have to provide sales training content that is relevant to them. For instance: The training trends such as social learning, mobility, and gamification will not provide any sustainable skills improvement unless the principal content aligns with the development needs of the audience.
Additionally, irrespective of how the training is delivered, the core elements of any successful sales training program will include foundational selling skills such as call planning, identifying customer needs, aligning your solution with the customer’s needs, presenting value, etc.
Here are few factors to leverage technology effectively in sales training:
- It is a good thing to space out the learning so that learners can internalize and apply what they have learned.
- Learning can be extended through online sales coaching and mentoring programs.
- You can also create rapid eLearning that can be accessed on-demand through any connected device.
- A good way to make learners feel involved is by developing and sharing of information (including user generated content) through online discussion.
Reports have shown that one in five millennials access the internet exclusively through their mobile devices. It comes as no surprise as millennials have grown up in the presence of technology and they know how to go about learning things on their own. What they want is an accessible training program which can be done anywhere, anytime. Hence, they reject the idea of a traditional classroom structure of learning which involves hours of sitting and listening to a talking head.
Besides, studies have shown that Millennials are likely to move elsewhere if their employers do not offer them any kind of learning opportunities. They see learning as a fun, engaging, and easily accessible experience with the use of technology. For instance: modern e-learning solutions in the form of scenario-based video learning, gamification, microlearning etc. Such training are especially applicable for millennial sales teams since it helps them experience real work situations which prepares them for any eventualities in their jobs.
Set Measurable Goals
One common trait of millennials is that they strive towards professional excellence and therefore they want the bar to be set high for them. It is the responsibility of sales leaders to do so as far as their training programs are concerned. It is important to note that most millennials have certain set of goals which they want to achieve in life and at work. Hence, managers need to set targets and benchmarks for their sales reps to follow and strive for while they are on training.
This is a key step to take as it will serve as a great source of motivation and help sales reps have a better idea of what exactly is expected of them and how close they are to meeting them. Therefore, at the end of their training, they will have a sense of fulfilment and feel more ready for any challenge in their jobs. One trick is, instead of setting up a rigid work schedule, give your millennial sales team specific and well-defined daily or weekly sales goals.
Millennials function on the basis of feedback. They expect their training providers to give proper feedback for their performances. Innovative sales training solutions have performance tracking platforms where learners can monitor their progress and find out where improvement is needed.
Training millennial sales teams can be a daunting task if you do not cater for the right tools. The key is to evaluate where your sales training program is now on the roadmap, decide where you want go and over what time period, and then develop a well thought out plan to achieve your training objectives.