How to Nurture Gen Z Into Effective Sales Leaders
Look out: Generation Z is officially outnumbering the Baby Boomer generation in the workforce, and these tech-native, emotionally intelligent young people are beginning to change the way workplaces function. If more seasoned generations are up for the challenge, they will be able to lead and guide these newcomers into decision-making positions that benefit and elevate the entire organization.
Sales leaders, in particular, will need to learn from Gen Z’s unique strengths in order to successfully re-imagine the salesforce of the future. Gen Z brings with it a fascinating adeptness at technology. Gen Zers are natively skilled and, as such, can think and dream in digital terms. They can quickly master tools like CRMs, AI-driven automation, and social media, tapping new lead sources and powering greater efficiency. They can also bring new cultural and educational perspectives into your team since their college experiences are still fresh and they have had time to grow professionally in fast-paced environments.
What Challenges Will Sales Leaders Need to Overcome to Nurture Gen Z Decision Makers?
With its unique skills and perspectives, Gen Z is poised to become the next generation of super salespeople––but only if sales leaders can motivate and support them. To do this, they will need to adapt their workplaces and processes.
Gen Z as a whole has some vastly different expectations of the working world. For one, their comfort level with digital tools means they expect their workplaces to embrace innovation. If they have to make do with old, outdated technologies, they won’t feel like they’re able to perform optimally. Leaders need to be ready to invest in AI and other innovations as they emerge.
Another challenge Gen Z brings to the table is job satisfaction. Younger generations are motivated by different things; they value sustainability and climate activism; they value flexibility and freedom over routine; and in order to feel like they’re succeeding, they need to see evidence that they’re making an impact. In fact, according to research by Deloitte, members of Generation Z are the least motivated by salary compared to other generations.
For these reasons, leaders should be ready to shift their goals and incentives and offer Gen Z workers the chance to create successes that are meaningful to them.
4 Strategies for Helping Gen Z Become Super Salespeople
The traditional sales strategies may not apply to Gen Z, but that doesn’t mean you can’t nurture and mold this young breed into innovative, successful sales leaders. The key will be to meet them where they are, use their strengths, and get their input at all times. Here are just some of the ways you could support and elevate your Gen Z sales employees:
- Craft a sales contest with a personal touch.
Sales contests have always been popular and would motivate salespeople to reach further and push harder toward their team’s goals. Today, contests can feel somewhat stale, especially in light of greater rates of burnout. How could you reimagine the sales contest for younger generations? What kinds of prizes or formats would give Gen Z a sense of reward and motivation? At Abstrakt, we’ve found that customizing the prizes for each individual team or salesperson has led to better results. Personal rewards and accolades help your employees feel seen and appreciated.
- Celebrate the last day of the month.
Sales months can be long. Giving your employees a big push at the end can help combat fatigue and make work feel more special and purposeful. Setting up holidays and occasions within the working month is a good idea for giving young salespeople motivation. It could be a day dedicated to raising money for charity or a day dedicated to one of your defined values. Why not host a Last Day of the Month theme day, in which everyone dresses up and aims to achieve a final boost of sales to round out the month? At Abstrakt, we celebrate the last day of each month with team meals, special playlists, and contests. This helps ensure our team members are giving their best efforts on every last sales day and are motivated to start all over the next morning.
- Make communication seamless and special.
Gen Zers have many modes of communication, each with its own unique flavor. From Slack to Snapchat, Gen Z is comfortable communicating on the fly and integrating video, audio, and text to make messages personal. Open up your workplace to collaboration platforms like Slack or Teams, adopt a well-defined CRM process, and remember to make any tool you use mobile accessible so that people can adapt their work routine to their needs.
- Make training part of every day.
Gen Zers need to feel that they’re progressing and making a difference. They want to learn and are conditioned to continual, immersive education because of their connection to digital sources. How could you make training regular and highly engaging in your workplace? Could you give Gen Zers chances to try out other roles in your organization? Could you ask them to create a vision of their own future career and then help them take steps to get there?
By carefully and lovingly adapting your workplace to the needs of Gen Z employees, you can support and inspire these future leaders to make your organization their own. Embrace new technologies that make Gen Z feel at home, get proactive rather than reactive with communication, and make training and learning part of every day so that young people feel connected to their future careers.
Eric Watkins is the president at Abstrakt Marketing Group, a business growth company that provides lead generation solutions.