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Enabling the next generation of sales talent

A quick introduction to the upcoming series of blogs I am teaming with Altify to write over the coming months. This series is all about managing and developing Millennials, specifically in the Sales function of a company. I will be on a live Webcast on June 19th at 10a PDT/ 1p EDT where you can hear firsthand about how true sales transformation takes into account every member from executive management to the frontline sales reps. You’ll also hear some insight into how to hire and manage millennials to drive sales and team success.

I have spent the majority of my career in a quota carrying sales roles and many of those years as a first or second line sales manager. In my last role, as Head of Channel Sales for Google’s U.S. team, I managed an incredibly talented, driven and mostly millennial group that I feel honored to have had the privilege to work with and lead. More on my background here. I learned a lot and I want to share some of those learnings here to help unlock sales success.

My series of blog posts will largely draw from those years and include important topics such as: Hiring the right mix of team members, how to identify leaders, promotions and expectation setting, upward feedback and how to maintain a high-performance sales culture while ensuring everyone feels empowered, energized and inspired.

There are a few critical principles that I feel are key in managing millennials that I want to call out upfront that will serve as the foundational themes in the upcoming blogs.

  1. Millenials are humans too (and first)!

Sorry about the overuse of the Millennial moniker. Everyone HATES labels. And the Millennial label, unfortunately, gets such a bad rap from preceding generations. Casting an entitled, “trophy for showing up” persona as a broad brush stroke across an entire generation of young, talented and different individuals trying to make a difference in the workforce is a huge missed opportunity. My first piece of advice is to ditch the label and get to know your team as individuals. Determine through conversation (not assumption) what key motivators are for that person and keep the dialogue open and fluid.

  1. Be open to learning from your Millennial workforce.

Don’t fall into the trap of being closed minded and assume, “what worked for me will work for you, I know best, and do as I say.” You’ll be better off to just not hire these folks to begin with – and certainly don’t claim to aspire to be a good leader or mentor. Have an open mind and truly believe and act upon the ideas and differing opinions, processes and ideas that millennials bring to the table. Regardless of age, this young pool of people brings a lot of value and impact, if you’re open to it.

  1. Be authentic.

Politics, passive-aggressive management and over-architecting everything with obfuscating language and bureaucracy is death. Just say what you mean, DO what you said you would do and be clear about your intentions and your expectations.

Act as a team player and mentor. The challenges most sales managers face are similar: How to manage a group of people who are all furiously trying to grow professionally, often aiming to having fun at work and also trying to achieve their absolute best. Enable an authentic environment that rewards results and fosters growth. This is truly what everyone wants from their colleagues and their job, regardless of what generation they were born in.

And finally, at a minimum….. know the difference between Postmates and Post Malone.

To find out more about enabling the next generation of sales talent and growing the next generation of sales leadership, join me for Altify’s webinar on June 19th at 10a PST. For more information and to register, see the webinar details here. Happy selling.

About The Author

Christine Merritt
Christine Merritt
Sales and business development executive with 10+ years of success aggressively expanding revenue in high-growth technology companies. Goal-focused leader who excels in ever-changing and uncertain environments. Possesses a unique skill set that includes strong multi-channel sales experience, keen cross-functional business acumen and an ability to influence decision-making across the company. Respected for initiating and accelerating growth strategies while balancing opportunity and risk against corporate goals.
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