Cross-Generational Impacts in Sales: Ignore At Your Own Risk

By Warren Shiver on Sep 20, 2017

In merely eight years -- by 2025 -- 75% of the workforce will be Millennials.

As a sales leader, does this sound anecdotal or material to you? 

Before you answer the question, consider these real scenarios that play out today and will continue at an increasing frequency:

  • A 31-year-old sales professional calling on a 58-year-old decision maker
  • A 55-year-old sales professional calling on a 34-year-old decision maker
  • A 60-year-old sales leader coaching a 24-year-old seller
  • A 32-year-old sales manager recruiting a 50-year-old seller

A sea change is underway in the generational makeup of our workforce that causes undeniable friction between people. Yet, very little (if anything) has been written about the implications between sellers and buyers and amongst sales teams.

The impacts of Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials co-mingling in selling situations will be more palpable and frequent than ever.

Quotable, a digital magazine and podcast published by Salesforce, just interviewed David Szen and myself on our recently published book, The Multigenerational Sales Team.  In it, hosts Kevin Micalizzi and Tiffani Bova ask us several central questions about the impact of generational differences on sales leaders, sales teams, and buyer-seller dynamics.

Namely, we discussed various perceptions, myths, and real dynamics that impact every facet of how sales teams operate, including researching, prospecting, communicating, sales call planning, recruiting, on-boarding, and coaching. 

In addition, we described findings from our generational research leading up to our book’s publishing.  Some might find the answers to the following questions surprising:

  • How does each generation describe generational differences they observe and its impact on selling success?
  • Which generation demonstrates the highest adoption of technology (e.g., social selling technology) in their selling role?
  • What motivates a Millennial in taking on a role as a sales professional?

Listen to our interview with Quotable for the answers to these questions here. 

We also provide “Monday morning advice” to sales leaders to help them assess what they have on their team from a generational perspective and what opportunities they have to address, and more importantly, capitalize on the differences.

Multigenerational Sales Team Pocket Guide

Warren Shiver

Written by Warren Shiver

Warren Shiver is the founder and managing partner of Symmetrics Group, a management consultancy focused on end to end improvement in sales force effectiveness. Through Warren’s leadership, Symmetrics Group has helped numerous organizations build high-performing sales teams focused on the right go-to-market strategy, disciplined sales process and well-designed enabling tools. Clients and consultants appreciate Warren’s uncompromising focus on quality and measureable impact and how he embodies the firm’s core values.

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