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Turning Millennials into Sales Leaders of Tomorrow

By Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO & Co-Founder, Denave

The landscape in which sales people operate is constantly changing at a fast pace and it is, in a way, redefining the rules of the trade. Underlying dynamics of the industry, such as changing consumer demands, demographic shifts, globalization as well as advent of disruptive technologies, all these are powering a perfect storm of industry trends which neither the customer nor the provider can escape from. These are the trends which are altering the framework of how buyers and sellers interact and share information with each other, and how they finally make decisions. What has also evolved along with this is the customer himself who is much better informed and attuned with the technological advancements.

The convergence of data driven platforms, mobile and cloud technology, social media, and big data innovations have ushered us in an era of buyer empowerment. In realm of such an evolved overall industry landscape, even the workforce has undergone a huge transformation and is no more from the old-school traditional sales methodologies using workforce. In sync with this evolution of new age sales practices and trends, even the workforce has undergone a technological revamp. In this new era, millennials given their complementing natural attributes are the ones who are spearheading the sales industry.

Multitasking, dynamic, passionate, data-driven, tech-savvy, energetic and ambitious - these are few of the general traits of this young population who have much to contribute, especially in purpose-driven and robust sales organizations. Backed by the critical skills relevant to the sales segment, such as, high competitive streak, data driven approach, technical bent, a never-give-up spirit and an urge to learn something new, all these attributes make them an apt fit in the DNA of an organization. After all, millennials have a right mix of attitude and caliber to generate the best and at times, the most successful sales lead and impact. However, there still remains a gap between millennial’s already-have and the should-have skill set in order to become the future sales leaders. This is where the role of training comes into the picture by channelising their energy and enthusiasm towards impact-based orientation.

When it comes to training millennials, every ounce is a like an investment and every minute spent is a value-add for any organization. Given their innate inclination for technology and various other inherent attributes, the training and learning curves are extremely sharp. Certain ways of preparing this generation of the millennials in order to hone their natural leadership instinct and bring about the sales orientation are:

Digitally-Yours Generation

Millennials are considered to be far more technology savvy than any of the previous generations. Having grown up in the era of social media, technology becomes a preferred learning platform for them. This generation is also identified with short attention spans and less patience; hence, mobile-based training is something which fits the bill perfectly. Small chunks of training related information shared with them in order to capture their attention can be effective. Being highly visual learners, short videos which can be accessed in real-time are also an effective technique to groom these future industry leaders.

Leverage interactive learning modules

Most of the millennials have grown up playing video games wherein they enjoy the fast pace and quick results. They gravitate towards experiences which have similar game-like elements.  Gamification provides an accessible and interactive technology based platform. Therefore, providing web-based game-like modules to them will in turn enhance their productivity and performance. Alongside, they also learn various different interactive methodologies which they can further use with their subordinates and gradually with their juniors, thus enabling them to develop an all-inclusive learning approach.

Foster multi-tasking abilities

Unarguably this generation is an expert at multitasking. However, distracting them is as easy. Giving them deadline-oriented tasks instead of open-ended ones, will ensure that a millennial learns to prioritise work within the stipulated time period. Once they have mastered this art of efficient multitasking, the learning process becomes smoother.

Nurture the team spirit

Millennials are also found to be innately collaborative, owing to the inclination towards fostering friendships. The same spirit comes in handy in a professional environment with a certain amount of conditioning required. Their ability to handle pressure acts like a cherry on the cake. While a one-sided information flow is less likely to hold their attention, training activities which include teamwork, brainstorming, mock-selling situations, case study discussions, role playing etc. prove to be extremely effective in polishing their team spirit. This collaborative bent is an essential trait for any leader, especially in the sales industry.

Provide consistent feedback

Millennials are in a rush – they know where they want to be, and want to be there fast! They have high expectations for their mentors and equally high expectations from themselves. With a consistent feedback mechanism, their work approach can be channelized to become more productive as well as impactful.

Focus on up-skilling

Given a high level of inquisitiveness and constant urge to learn something new, makes rotational programs an apt training program for millennials. It allows them to experience the various facets of the sales process, and enable them to learn more about their own professional inclinations and areas of developments. These rotational programs enable an organization to identify and polish the right talent for the right department and thus act as an important tool in honing the all-rounder skills of the millennials, ultimately making them a leader material.

Address their questions

This new generation of sales consultants does not take anything on its face value, rather makes an attempt to understand it, and is transparent enough to call out anything that doesn’t work and therefore, even change it. A proper mentoring and guidance ensures that this thirst for knowledge is addressed well. This questioning nature when tackled well develops into a knowledge building chore which sets them apart from their peers and establishes them as a prodigy in the making.

While these are just few of the approaches aimed at polishing and grooming this new-age talent, there are many other ways which complement and enhances these traits of millennials and ultimately groom them to become future sales leaders of the industry. This holistic refining essentially converts a sales employee from a mere sales agent to a well-articulated consultant. Considering all these aspects, it is true that millennials have that extra punch in them which makes them apt for holding the leadership baton in the near future, however, proper grooming and a thought-through channelization of their energetic spirit is needed for making them ready to hold that baton and lead the trail.

Snehashish Bhattacharjee
Global CEO & Co-Founder

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