Sales Management Digest

Three Tips for Inside Sales Managers Who Manage Millennials
Josaine Feigon
Sales professionals from the Millennial generation have some awesome natural strengths. They love workplace collaboration. They're strong digital multitaskers and natural social-media promoters – and they're strongly aligned with Customer 2.0; however, they also pose some high-maintenance challenges that, if left unchecked, could turn inside sales managers into full-time babysitters.

Here are four Millennial characteristics that inside sales managers need to know.

1. Red Bull is killing their sales momentum.

Millennials are high octane. They're accustomed to moving quickly from one task to the next and using multiple technology devices every day. For this group, focusing on one task – like making it through a couple of hours of call-list work – can be a very foreign experience.

Tip: Set up a work environment that cultivates strong sales momentum. Provide inside reps with sales-productivity best practices, and help them create a distraction-free workstation.

2. They always want to know, "What's next for me?!"

A recent study by The Bridge Group and VorsightBP revealed a significant expectations gap between reps and managers about when to promote. The younger the rep is, the sooner he or she thinks a promotion is appropriate. MTV's classic study showed that 75 percent of Millennials think their boss could "learn a lot from them."

Tip: Many sales organizations are embracing the impatience factor by creating additional job functions. Creating new junior and senior job titles helps ensure regular career progression. These make reps happy because they guarantee a shorter time spent in one role with strong promise to move to the next level in their department or into a new role within three to six months. If you can create a sense of organized career development, research has shown you'll be more likely to keep your new Millennial hires from making quick lateral career moves.

3. They want lots of feedback about their performance.

According to the "Millennials in the Workplace" study by MTV, 8 out of 10 Millennials reported needing regular feedback from the boss in order to perform at their best. Managers who don't face this fact will get stuck in micromanagement quicksand.

Tip: Don't micromanage. "Microcoach" instead. Help them with strategy, ideas, techniques, and tips. The big picture helps all the little processes fall into place. Provide perspective to your young reps who are lost in the weeds of outreach, social-media prospecting, and complex org charts.

Finally, if your reps can't digest the big picture or translate it into concrete action, you're in the Millennial feedback loop. Time to get real, put people on plan, and start considering replacements.
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