As a sales coach and mentor, you have to constantly adapt your methods to ensure your team is working in a motivational and educational environment that enables them to be the best salespeople they can be.
Leveraging the right sales coaching strategies for a multigenerational sales team has its challenges, but understanding your team’s preferences can go a long way in making the process more achievable. Below, we’ll discuss coaching techniques you can use to create a positive environment where everyone can thrive!
Sales Coaching Techniques With Generational Differences in Mind
In order for a salesperson to be at the top of their game, they’ll need the right motivational tools to maximize their performance, sale after sale. Different generations may have preferences for coaching and learning approaches.
Born between 1946 to 1964, baby boomers are often the experienced, well-seasoned members of your team. Typically, they value relationships and interpersonal skills because they grew up in a less tech-savvy world than later generations. They are driven and desire to share their knowledge with others. They appreciate a classroom-type learning environment and desire feedback. Baby boomers who respect the team they work with will be loyal and often stay with that same team for decades.
Born between 1965 and 1979, Generation X members may be at the peak of their working years. The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that this generation is worried that they may not be financially ready for retirement. Their main focus is to be self-sufficient and task-oriented. They are often problem solvers and appreciate a balance between collaborative and individual projects.
Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are eager to make an impact. These may be the rising stars of your sales team. Tech-savvy and confident, millennials respond to smaller sections of learning at a time, with a focus on learning new things. They are typically confident and highly collaborative.
Born between 1997 and 2012, Generation Z is the youngest generation you’ll see on your sales team. They are considered the first “digital natives,'' having been surrounded by technology since birth. Although they are highly active socially online, many Gen Zers prefer in-person interactions and self-directed learning techniques.
Effective Sales Coaching Techniques for Multigenerational Teams
When more than one generation is represented on a sales team, it’s important to find the middle ground for continued education and sales coaching while still keeping generational preferences in mind.
1. Understand Communication Preferences
To keep everyone on the same page, leaders should discuss preferred communication methods. Older generations prefer phone calls or in-person discussions, while younger generations may be more comfortable using web-based applications. Discuss these preferences with your team members to avoid miscommunication and promote a collaborative team environment.
2. Adopt a Blended Learning Approach
By incorporating different learning styles, you can promote an inclusive culture that recognizes the value each generation — and individual — brings to the table. Consider educating your entire team using various engaging learning formats, such as:
- In-person meetings
- Recorded meetings
- On-demand videos and podcasts
- Guest motivational speakers
- Mobile apps
- Interactive learning
3. Apply an Individualized Management Style
Individualized management means a tailored approach to managing your team. You can base your techniques on a team member’s personality, learning preferences and passions. For example, one sales team member may prefer praise in private, while another wants you to shout it to the world. Since no two people are the same, it’s important that their relationship with the leader is personalized so that they feel valued and encouraged to perform their very best.
4. Respect Boundaries
An open environment can help all generations feel comfortable enough to discuss their thoughts and feelings without fearing judgment. However, boundaries should be respected so that no one feels marginalized or looked down upon. Knowing each team member’s comfort level as far as conversation topics can help reduce anxiety in the workplace.
5. Optimize Performance
Different generations will have slightly different motivations for doing what they do. For example, millennials can be very family oriented, while baby boomers may be focused on leaving a legacy. When you learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each generation, you can help your individual salespeople grow by guiding them to be their best selves with a personalized approach. To be successful, this personalized approach should be engaging and delivered in a way that best suits their preferred learning style.
Set Your Team Up for Success
Understanding your team’s preferences and generational differences is a key part of leading a successful group of salespeople. With an open, supportive line of communication, every person on your team can feel comfortable working with others, no matter the age or knowledge gap.
When you add a blended learning strategy and mutual respect, your sales coaching strategy can appeal to salespeople of all generations.