Tips on Coaching the Millennial Salesforce

In last week’s blog we set out a case for why onboarding millennials to your sales team will benefit your organization. Now we want to cover some specific realities and challenges that come with having millennial sales professionals on your team, and talk about best practices for coaching them.

Feedback in Real Time
Generally speaking, millennials expect and desire feedback. Many grew up getting regular “performance reviews” from folks like their parents, their teachers, and their athletic coaches, so they’re used to getting a “how’s my driving?” response from those around them. They also depend on feedback. If they don’t get it on a regular basis, there’s a chance they’ll make the assumption that they’re doing something wrong. In keeping with that, millennials want high quality. In the workplace, this translates as them not only expecting the best from their managers, but the best from themselves. And that’s a good thing!

On-the-Job Training
Digital is what millennial babies had for breakfast growing up. They’re not only great at technology, but it has made them masters at observational learning. Basically, they’re not going to be big readers of directions, necessarily, but instead the type to just jump into a thing and observe their way toward understanding it. You can capitalize on this millennial tendency in your training by including interactive and role-playing exercises that are relevant to the job.

Help Them Move on Up
Gen X’ers might have a hard time moving up the corporate ladder, but millennials have an expectation of career advancement. They’re career-oriented and tend to set high goals for themselves. They want to know from their managers exactly what they have to do to advance up the corporate staircase. Make it a priority to have an ongoing dialogue about personal career goals with your millennial sales reps.

Use Technology to Your Advantage
Millennials are all about the latest and greatest technological advances, so make technology part of your approach when you develop your coaching plan. Specifically, incorporate technology in giving feedback, sharing data, and presenting metrics to your millennial sales reps.

Now, we’re speaking in generalities when we talk about millennial workforce traits – some millennials will fit the profile; others will not. But there’s no denying that the “digital generation” is here to stay: It’s estimated that 75 million millennials are currently in or about to be part of the workforce. Knowing them and the qualities, skills, enthusiasm, and talent they bring to the workplace will put you in a great position to retain them and grow their talents through coaching. By making an investment in millennials, you’re making an investment in the future of your organization.