How to Manage a Young Sales Team

December 16, 2014 Doug O'Grady

How to Manage a Young Sales TeamHaving a young sales team in business today can be extremely advantageous. The younger generation grew up learning and using the latest technologies, so they're more open to change and can easily adapt. However, they're also used to instant communication, instant results, and constant gratification. It can be difficult to get them to slow down.

To be able to use a young sales team to its fullest potential, you're going to need to know how to manage them. Old managerial tactics used with older generations aren't going to work with younger sales people. You need a complete strategy overhaul.

Drive

Younger people are increasingly living at home at older ages. They're waiting longer to get married and have kids, too. So typical financial compensation might not be what drives this new generation of sales people. To manage your younger sales team, you need to figure out what drives them.

If it's personal achievement, then create sales incentives for them to strive for. If it's glory, create morale-boosting celebrations for big sales. Younger people aren't as content just receiving a high salary anymore, they need more. They need deeper satisfaction to be happy at a job.

Connections

The younger generation can also be more self-involved. In today's social selling business, it's important to coach your young sales team to empathize with clients, to create strong relationships, and to focus on the customer's needs, rather than their own. This is especially true when it comes to buyers or consumers who are much older than them. They might find it difficult to connect and build relationships with older generations since they'll likely have nothing in common with them.

Patience

It's all now, now, now with the younger generation. But you know that your sales team needs patience to see results. Your reps need to learn to focus on a task and to keep with it until they see results, because you understand that success doesn't come overnight. Constantly switching tactics or strategies because they're not working fast enough can result in devastating losses. Patience is vital in sales.

Ambition and Creativity

Younger sales teams are more ambitious. They know about all the latest technologies and they're interested in using them. It's important as a sales manager to let your sales people experiment with the newest sales tools and advancements. You never know which new winning strategy they might come up with if you allow them to be creative. Don't stifle their ambition or creativity.

Flexibility

A younger sales team will not work as well with the typical 9 to 5 work day. Your sales management should focus on coaching your sales team to be results-driven. As long as they're accomplishing goals, you shouldn't be boxing them in with specific work hours. They'll work when they're most productive, whether that's in the middle of the night or bright and early in the morning.

Trying to stop them will only frustrate them and you won't be able to keep them on staff if you don't provide them with flexibility. With a results-driven sales team, you can set weekly goals and allow your sales team to accomplish these goals on their own schedule.

Recognition

The millennial generation grew up with constant recognition. They received trophies for any activity under the sun, even if it was just for participation. They've grown up expecting and needing this type of recognition. So give your young sales team frequent feedback, whether it's a high five or a party or gift for a big sale, it will be just enough to motivate them to work harder since they'll feel gratified and appreciated.

The millennial generation is drastically different from any other generation. If you're managing a young sales team, you'll have to throw away most of your old management tactics and reinvent a new strategy to connect better to a younger generation's behaviours, attitudes, and work styles.

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