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

By Warren Shiver

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.

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The Generational Mentality Map

By David Szen

The composition of generations in the workforce today is different than ever before. Each generation has unique traits that impact the way people think, communicate, and buy. It can be a tricky selling environment, especially if you do not understand and embrace these nuances.  

So, how can you equip your sales force to sell across generations? Here is your field-tested cheat sheet to help you better understand - and sell to - Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers.

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Your Buyer’s Age – It’s More Than Just a Number: Part 2

By Kelsey Peusch

In Part I of this blog series, we explored the case for change, highlighting how generational diversity impacts a seller’s ability to connect with buyers from generations different than their own. This blog investigates how recent market and demographic shifts, such as the internet and generational differences amongst buyers, have created new dynamics in today's B2B buying process.

What specifically are Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennial buyers looking for and how does a seller adjust?

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Your Buyer's Age - It's More Than Just A Number (Part I)

By Kelsey Peusch

As Millennials start climbing the ranks, decision-making authority is shifting toward the workforce’s youngest generation.  In the meantime, Generation X-ers take personal risks to establish a foothold in middle and upper management, while Baby Boomers cling to a management style marked by bureaucratic decision making. This changing of the guard is to be expected, but understanding generational nuances of buyers will be critical to ensure that the influences of age do not leave sellers at a disadvantage.

In our recent blog post, Why Leaders Are Failing At Managing Their Generationally Diverse Sales Teams, we explored how generational differences influence what attracts a seller to a new job versus what drives them away from a current one. In this post, we begin exploring generational differences amongst buyers and particularly, what happens when sellers sell across generations.

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Why Leaders Are Failing At Managing Their Generationally Diverse Sales Teams

By Erica Abt

Have you ever heard an experienced sales manager complain about the “young sellers” on their team who demand inordinate attention and TLC, lack accountability, and quickly jump ship to a new and exciting roles elsewhere?

The topic of Millennials and their prevalence in the work place is not uncommon and while many seasoned professionals complain about their insurgence, I rarely hear of helpful tips or useful recommendations of how to successfully manage these “odd creatures”.

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Sales Coaching Collision – Old School Meets New School

By David Szen

At a recent workshop I engaged in a conversation involving three parties, each from a different generation. Representing Generation X, I approached a Baby Boomer Sales Manager and a Millennial Seller discussing the ideal amount of activities required to fill out a “robust” pipeline. It quickly became clear that the Manager did not feel that the Seller was getting in front of enough prospects.

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Work Hard, Play Hard – The Annual Sales Meeting Mentality

By David Szen

If you hang in a professional sales, consulting or sales leadership role long enough you will spend a few weeks of your life at the ANNUAL SALES MEETING.  You know, the ones with clever themes that are going to make you feel like changing the world: “Aim Higher,” “Deliver,” “Innovate and Motivate,” “All Together,” “Amp it Up.”  I could go on forever about the time and money companies spend to differentiate their yearly sales rendezvous - I have the t-shirts, water bottles, bag tags and pens to prove it - but at the end of the day, these meetings share a common purpose that usually boils down to a combination of the following:

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The Millennial Sales Pursuit – You Spin Me Right ‘Round

By David Szen

In consulting, we have the pleasure of working with clients across a variety of industries who share interesting stories.  Every once in a while you hear a story that makes you stop and think about the traditional ways we try and advance a sale. Here is one of those such stories…

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Millennials in the C-Suite

By Hope Eyre

There are an estimated 82 million Millennials and some are just a few short years away from entering into executive management. What makes them different?  What are they looking for in a buying process?  

Prepare yourself to start selling to them now.

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Generations Matter

By David Szen

 “Hi, I am a 30-something sales professional with 10+ years of experience, and I am selling to a 60-something VP who has spent more years at this company than I’ve been alive.  Most of my customers love me…  what is the deal with this guy?”

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