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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Bridging the Generation Gap


We have all been there. The manager announces a new hire and someone says, “but they’re so YOUNG!” Or “Really?! They look like they’re 12!” As people are staying in the workforce longer, it's easy to have 30, 40, even 50 years separating Junior AEs from seasoned salespeople. So the question is, how can you get your team to all just get along?

Before you make your hiring decision, pull a team composite and then take a look at your candidate’s Sales Talent Interview. While all 8 themes are important in finding a successful salesperson, narrow down to their Positivity and especially their Interpersonal. Being high in these areas will help your young salesperson approach their new, seasoned coworkers with a positive attitude and sensitivity.

Match Your New Hire With a Mentor

Once you have chosen your new hire, look at your composite again. Do you have a few salespeople whose talents are similar to your new hires? You might pick the salesperson with similar talents, who has been with the company the longest, to “mentor” your new hire. Ask this seasoned salesperson if they would be willing to help the newbie learn the ropes. Make sure you have their buy-in. Then at the very beginning of your onboarding process, introduce your new hire to his or her "Yoda." Treat them to lunch so they can get to know each other outside of the office.

Its also important for the hiring manager to introduce their new AE to each individual team member. “This is Mary, who is our genius at organization." Or, "This is Bob, our tech guru." Let your new hire know how each person can uniquely help them. And remember, your team will take their cue from you. If you are welcoming and excited, they are more likely to make your new hire feel comfortable. For other onboarding tips, enroll in Effective Onboarding.

Customize Your Management Style

Once your new hire has had a few weeks to acclimate to his or her role, conduct an Individualized Management Questionnaire and really pay attention to your new hire's preferences. How does he or she like to work, be managed, be rewarded? Find out if he or she feels welcomed by the sales team and the management team. You can pull out the IMQs of the rest of the team, and see how they match up. Are there any team members that they would work better with, or any obvious conflicts? As manager, you can help promote harmony on your team by being prepared.

Team Building Works

And finally, never forget the value of team building exercises. I know, I can hear your eyes rolling, but creating situations for your group to work together and get to know each other better can create a more cohesive team. Brainstorming sessions, energizers during team meetings, meeting for a team lunch, or even challenging another team in the company to fun contest (kickball, anyone?) can help your team to get to know each other on a deeper level and make connections, fostering team spirit.

Building diversity on your team can seem daunting, but it's definitely worth it!

Talent Resources
Topics: Sales