The world of business is changing every day at an alarming rate. Technological advancements, complex products and an informed customer are some of the highlights. But the change that has been the most phenomenal is the rise of the millennial workforce as sales consultants. This lot is very different from their counterparts and they need to be understood and taken seriously. By 2020, 50% of the workforce will comprise of millennials and this number will increase to 75% by 2025 (US Bureau of Statistics Report).
Let’s look at the major challenges that organizations are currently facing with this generation:
- Job hoppers – The millennial has the reputation of being the biggest job hopping generation with the highest rates of employment and underemployment in the US. As per Gallup, 21% of millenial workers had left their jobs in the last year to do something else.
- Highly disengaged – As low as only 29% of employed millennials are engaged at work (Gallup).
The biggest reason cited by this generation for quitting their jobs is lack of professional or personal growth. As much as 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. If these smarties are a part of your sales force, you need to think beyond your current growth plans and make sure you give them a reason to stay. Failing to do so can lead to businesses incurring major turnovers costs.
Not just this, there are more causes of worry as there also happens to be a talent lag. Two million jobs in the US manufacturing industry are likely to go unfilled over the next decade due to a skills gap! What this statistic is suggesting is that the unavailability of jobs is no longer the biggest problem – the problems are a poorly skilled workforce and lack of proper training aids that fulfill the needs of the ever thirsty for knowledge generation – the millennials. The solution to this is sales training that not only appeals to this generation, but also adds to their skill level and lets them grow professionally.
92% of sales people say that sales training has increased their selling abilities.
Here is some of the measures organizations need to take to ensure that they enable their sales consultants with the power to perform better.
1. On-the-job learning opportunities
Gone are the days of pushing learning to employees by conducting boring and lengthy classroom training sessions. Professional growth within the company is possible through learning and customized and blended training programs – which is something the young workforce is desperately looking for. Technology is here to stay and mobile devices and the power of the internet can be used to make learning fun, accessible and convenient. Millennials are hungry for knowledge and they are also very serious about growing professionally.They see training as an investment their own organization makes in them to have a mutually rewarding relationship. Millenialls also look forward to coaching for which mentoring programs and frequent manager check ins should be made a critical part of training programs.
2. Harnessing the power of the digital wave
1 in 5 millennials access the internet exclusively through their mobile devices.
The millennial sales consultant generation has grown up with technology and the internet as a major part of their lives. They have been a part of a self-directed learning environment and they prefer juicing out any kind of information from their mobile devices in a jiffy, whenever required. Not to forget, this generation is also highly active on social media platforms. Such preferences need to infused into sales training programs and made more flexible so that learning does not seem like a task, but like a free flowing process that one can adjust to at one’s own will. Accessibility through tablets and smartphones, along with options of remote working can prove to be motivating. 75% of millennials prefer to work remotely, which is why their training should not be ignored at any cost and made available to them easily through technology.
3. Pre and post training feedback
As per Manoj Onkar, L&D Head at IL&FS, one of the myths with feedback is that it should be captured only training is complete. As per him, feedback is a continuous process that should be captured at every stage of the learning process to improve efficiency of training programs. As per Gallup, the biggest reason for disengagement amongst millennials is the lack of feedback from their managers. Before the training, participants should be asked about what they want to learn, how would they prefer it and similar questions. This would enable learning professionals in organizations to craft sessions as per the needs and preferences, rather than blindly assigning courses. Post training feedback is also critical as it helps gauge what has worked, what has failed and what changes need to be implemented. Apart from this, millennials would also want to be given personalized feedback on their performance and progress at different stages so that they feel wanted, appreciated and valued.
Just providing sales training isn’t enough. The need and wants of the workforce, the current market trends, all of these need to be understood before devising a sales training strategy. How are you engaging your millennial sales consultants? Let us know in comments!