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A multigenerational sales team is likely to include as many as four generations of employees. These include baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. This multigenerational mix offers many benefits. If the generation gap can be bridged effectively, multigenerational sales teams could help drive innovation, foster cross-generational talent sharing, and offer multiple perspectives that aid the sales process and help to reach out to wider target audiences.
However, there are also challenges of managing multigenerational sales teams. Working practices, communication styles and personal values are often at odds between employees of different generations. In this article, we discuss how multigenerational sales teams can be managed effectively to enhance sales.
Leaders must understand that each generation is defined by specific characteristics. Values and workplace characteristics differ quite dramatically between generations. For example, baby boomers are used to a hierarchical culture, whereas Generation X prefer autonomy, and millennials desire flexibility. Younger workers are driven by values-based, meaningful work, while older generations by the respect shown for their strong work ethic.
Before strategizing to motivate your multigenerational sales team, it is crucial to understand what each generation values. Only then can a manager develop the right approach to generational groups and individuals to motivate them to perform at their peak.
The sales manager who understands that different generations operate differently and have different motivators will build more effective sales teams. Collaboration and performance will improve if sales managers treat their people how they need to be treated. Here are a few tips to help sales managers motivate their multigenerational sales teams.
Baby boomers will be highly experienced and generally optimistic employees. Their motivators include recognition, promotion and responsibility, and the opportunity for professional development.
Tactics that can be used to motivate baby boomers include public recognition and using their experience in mentorship programs.
Generation Xers have developed many of their values during the age of innovation. Their experience spans analogue and digital. They have seen internet research overtake textbook reading. They are naturally innovative and independent. They also value financial reward and flexibility of work schedules.
Managers should provide meaningful tasks that require problems to be solved. Allow Generation Xers a high degree of autonomy by providing lenient boundaries and seeking results rather than input of time. Each project you ask of a Generation Xer should provide opportunities for learning and professional development.
Millennials seek inspiration form their managers and leaders. They often need a high level of supervision, and appreciate feedback, mentoring and personalized rewards. Therefore, managers must make the effort to understand the personal motivations of their millennials. They will need to show a high degree of empathy when dealing with millennials, and ensure that their millennial employees understand that the work they do adds value.
An effective strategy to engage millennials is to involve them in decision-making processes. This also has the benefit of providing managers with opportunities to improve millennials’ knowledge and experience.
Whatever the age of your salespeople, they will appreciate transparent, honest and inspiring leadership. However, to develop the strengths and improve the performance of your salespeople, you must manage at the individual level, because each member of your team has unique experiences, talents and goals.
Emotionally intelligent managers understand their employees as individuals, build stronger working relationships, and improve their ability to motivate individuals across the multigenerational divides.
Developing your sales managers’ emotional intelligence will help them to develop themselves, foster effective collaborate, and motivate their multigenerational teams. Contact us today, and discover how we help sales teams across all industries reach their peak.
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