In the 50s, teenagers flipped burgers and octogenarians lived in Florida. Sadly, many retirees lost their life savings in the recession, which forced them to stay in the workforce longer. Some of these employees had already retired and been replaced, so they couldn’t just assume their former positions. Plus, some of their skills had been phased out by industrial advancement. Younger workers face a similar predicament. They don’t yet have the credentials for the jobs they want. This has resulted in drastic age variations around easily available entry-level sales positions. How can you prepare them for success? Below are 5 tips to bridge the divide and develop online training content for your multigenerational sales team.
5 Insider Secrets To Develop Content For EVERY Sales Staffer
1. Lots Of Practice
Starter sales jobs are relatively easy to land, for three reasons. One, they’re the money-making wing of any organization, so there will always be a market for salespeople. Two, it’s a difficult job with high turnover, so there are always openings. Three, it usually doesn’t need prior experience. It’s the ultimate ‘learn on the job’ position, so any sales online training program needs lots of practice built in. Include plentiful opportunities for experiential sales calls. Write a script they can learn, then give them low-pressure practice scenarios. They could be animated simulations, branching scenarios, or cold calls to an internal robot hotline. The AI will pose as the customer and respond in kind. Sales employees can change ‘difficulty levels’ as they progress. You can also design your sales online training course to automatically adjust complexity, matching all members of your multigenerational sales team.
2. Direct eLearning Feedback
Don’t make your corporate learners wait for their ‘results’ or wonder how they did. As soon as an online training activity is over, debrief. Provide a digital transcript of their session, so they can see where they went wrong. The transcript can be annotated with cues and alternate wording. This shows them what they could have done better. During the online training activity, if a corporate learner gets stuck, they can ask for a prompt. A pop-up can give them suggested phrases to use.
You should also have a summary option, for those who don’t want to consume the whole transcript. It can point out their trouble spots, telling them how they could have done better. It should praise their strengths too, showing them what they did well. Outside of ‘class’, offer a database of case studies they can review in their own time. Focus on personalized eLearning feedback that centers on the individual, instead of generalized praise/criticism. That’s the best way to cater to a multigenerational sales team.
3. Build A Blended System
The older member of your sales team may prefer analog, offline training, while Gen X, Y, and beyond would rather do it online. Design your sales online training course with a blended approach, so all members of your multigenerational sales team can train in a way that suits them. Build a buddy system that pairs younger workers with older ones. Your iGen can learn old-fashioned sales tactics while their ‘seniors’ can develop social media skills. It will make both employees stronger and build a more cohesive team. The end result is better profits all around. You can also form a kind of ‘governing council’ with members of all ages. They can serve an advisory role in training techniques and brainstorm course updates.
4. Personalize The Online Training Experience
The beauty of online training is that it’s highly customizable. Before you develop your online training course, profile corporate learner segmentation. For example, Millennials and iGen prefer social, experiential learning. Baby Boomers typically prefer passive training from recognized experts. Therefore, while both millennials and baby boomers can benefit from a ‘chat with the CEO’, the latter may want a pre-recorded video. The youngsters would opt for a live #AMA session. Equip your sales online training course with both choices and let your sales employees pick their poison. You can also incorporate a microlearning online training library that has a good mix of activities. There’s something for every generation and preference. Ranging from bite-size podcasts to immersive simulations that offer “moment of need” support. Once again, it’s crucial to solicit their input so that you can develop personalized online training resources for the repository to target relevant gaps.
5. Balance The Tech-Savvy Scales
A multigenerational sales team runs the entire tech-savvy spectrum. While some sales employees may have mastered the LMS, others are still carefully wading in the IT waters. Thus, you need to provide them with support resources for the support resources. Such as tutorials to help them navigate the platform and peer-based coaching sessions. Or live online training events that show them the ropes and teach them how to create their own personalized online training paths. Don’t simply assume that they know how to use the LMS to get the information they need. Likewise, you shouldn’t treat resident tech experts like newbies. Make the support tools optional so that employees can master the basics and refresh their memory without ‘talking down’ to digital natives.
Training a group with mixed age brackets can be challenging. For members of a multigenerational sales team, the only thing they may have in common is their job title. Their life experience and cultural backgrounds vary. Building a one-size-fits-all program can be problematic, so don’t try to. Include lots of practice, from cold call simulations to role-play scenarios. After each online training activity, offer immediate, constructive eLearning feedback while online training content is still fresh. Assign case studies as ‘homework’, so they can absorb in their own time. Combine both online and offline components for maximal reach. Build an online training council with members of different ages and departments within your organization. Personalize your online training approach so that everyone receives their preferred style of online training.
Are you hiring an eLearning content provider to help you launch your sales enablement online training program? Read 7 Tips To Develop An Accurate Sales Enablement Outsourcing Budget to learn how to set spending caps and stretch available resources.