To say the sales landscape has changed in the past decade is a dramatic understatement. Sales representatives are no longer considered the sole source of product knowledge as information is readily available to anyone who can perform a basic Google search. By the time the sales rep makes contact with the prospect today, they are much further along in the buying cycle than ever before. Also, sales reps now begin the sales process via a social media channel long before the first face to face meeting. Most businesses with primarily transactional business have replaced sales reps with online sales.
How do all of these big changes affect the largest group in our workforce today? According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics Project, Millennials will make up 40 percent of today’s workforce by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025. Millennials have values and motivations that are unique from prior generations. This generation no longer embraces the concept of getting a job, making money and retiring some day. They want what they do to make a difference. Also, they are knowledge seekers. In fact, 95 percent report that they are willing to pay for their professional development and training. With this shift in mind, what can organizations do today to keep up with the demands of this influential workforce? And, what do Millennials want most from sales training today?
Ten Things Millennials Want From Sales Training
- Make learning accessible: One in five Millennials report that they access the internet exclusively through their mobile devices. This generation has grown up surrounded by mobile technology and are not afraid to go looking for information on their own. The traditional classroom is a no-go for this generation. Learning must be readily accessible from a mobile learning platform.
- Fun and flexible: Training should be fun, engaging and flexible. Learning resources should be available anytime, anywhere. They should also include interactive features. Gamification is popular with millennials, as it provides web-based games in a training setting that increases the level of engagement and the learner’s ability to retain information.
- Keep the sessions short and precise: Whether for better or worse, Millennials are masterful at multi-tasking. And, like most people, they typically have a short attention span.If you want to keep your millennial sales reps focused on the training-at-hand, you’ll want to break your training curriculum into bite-sized pieces. A great way to do this is by leveraging a microlearning format when developing your training.
- Utilize technology in training: Take advantage of this generation’s deep use of technology and allow them experiential training where they learn by doing.
- Ongoing training: Personal and professional development is of high importance to Millennials. The opportunity to constantly learn and grow will help millennial sales reps stay motivated in the training process.
- Incorporate Coaching: Millennials prefer to be coached instead of managed. This coaching should include consistent feedback rather than waiting for an annual review.
- Measurable goals: Training should have measurable goals. Millennials want to be able to measure the results and see evidence of change.
- Training should adapt to their mobile lifestyle and social learning style: Millennials check their devices around 43 times during the day. If you can find a way to incorporate social media into your online training program, you will be more successful at keeping millennial sales reps engaged.
- Include collaborative components: Millennials embrace training which includes an aspect of teamwork and collaboration. This could include role playing and brainstorming.
- Adapt training to Millennials motivation and expectations: Understand what motivates millennials and know their expectations ahead of time.
Millennials are currently the largest segment of today’s workforce, and it is reported that 87% of Millennials believe development is important for job satisfaction. When creating training materials, try to think like a Millennial. The following characteristics of Millennials should be thoroughly considered when developing training materials:
- Innovative: Millennials not only embrace technology, but they expect technology advancements to change the way they learn.
- Adept at social media: This generation is adept on every major social media platform. They expect training materials to be adaptable to any social media.
- Difference makers: Millennials are motivated in making a difference. They are looking to have a purpose and a cause.
- “Free range employees”: This generation does not want to be tied to a desk. They want mobile eLearning options, both in their job and their training.
- The expectation for recognition: This generation grew up in the era of “every kid gets a trophy” regardless of whether they win or lose. As employees, they seek recognition and awards as part of their training initiatives.
Since training is increasingly being delivered as eLearning via mobile devices, a Learning Management System (LMS) can revolutionize your training and help you develop tomorrow’s leaders today. An LMS provides the elements of training that are important to Millennials such as social collaboration, mobile learning, videos, and more.
As you consider ways to capitalize on the largest segment of today’s workforce, consider trusting an industry expert. Knowledge Anywhere has been improving the training process for companies for more than 18 years, and understands how to develop training programs for Millennials. Contact Knowledge Anywhere today to learn more!
Learn how you put education at the center of your organization with these great articles and resources.