One of the many complaints that entry-level candidates have about finding a job is that employers always want someone with at least two years of job experience. They wonder how they are supposed to gain two years of experience if no one will hire them. On the other end of the career spectrum, mature workers have difficulty because there is a stereotype that older workers are unable to learn new techniques or technologies.
The problem is not with the candidates. There are smart, driven, and talented people at every age. The problem is with the organization that refuses to focus on learning. When organizations take the stance that it is the workforce that should adapt to their needs, and not the organization that needs to adapt to the workforce’ needs, the organization will ultimately suffer. So, how is an organization to ensure that they encourage learning, even with a multi-generational team?
- Implement Reciprocal Mentoring
It’s quite likely that the senior members of your sales team have very strong negotiating, relationship building, and objection handling skills. It’s also likely that your entry-level team members will understand emerging technology trends, have great communication skills, and have a willingness to try new things. Pair your team together so that each team member can learn from someone else. If you were to pair two team members with similar backgrounds and skills together on an account, neither would learn very much. If you pair two people that have completely different skills and backgrounds together, both will learn, and the overall team will be much stronger.
- Make your Marketing and Sales Assets Accessible in Different Formats
In an increasingly digital world, many people assume that marketing and sales should be digital as well. However, many people are still more comfortable with printed materials and face-to-face meetings. In order to encourage your sales team to use your assets and share with their prospects, make your assets available in different formats. Encourage your team members to try out all of the formats, and they will determine what type of assets are working. Don’t force your team members to conform to one way of sharing content; different teams and organizations will want different things.
- Share Success Stories
One of the easiest ways to learn as a team is to share success stories. Create a place, whether it be in a sales meeting, a slack channel, or another commonly accessible channel, where members of the sales team can share their successes and learnings. People of any generation can learn from the successes of others, and hearing about how others on the team used different tools and strategies will help them when they encounter barriers as well.
- Encourage All Members to Go Out into The Field
Regardless of level or age, all members of the sales team should regularly “spend time in the field”. Depending on the product your organization sells, this may involve attending meetings with prospects, touching base with customers post-sale, or spending time in the retail locations where your end-product is sold. Customers always have new insights to share, and people of every generation and every experience level can learn from them.
With these tips, you’ll foster a team culture where learning is a priority, and everyone, regardless of their generation, will have an opportunity to succeed.