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Reverse Mentoring: Is It The Key To Social Selling Success For Your Sales Team?


Research shows millennials — people born between 1980 and 1994 — act and think differently than their predecessors. 

The Pew Research Center recently released a study showing that millennials have fewer attachments to political and religious institutions. Only a quarter of them are married (half of baby boomers were married by this age), they’re racially diverse and they’re less trusting of others, the study shows. 

So, yes, today’s young people are different than older generations. But this doesn’t mean that sales teams don’t have a place for them. Working with these 20-somethings is critical to effectively understanding and employing social selling. While millennials are just getting started in their sales careers, they’re already digital natives that intuitively understand social media. 

In other words, millennials are extraordinarily efficient communicators. They value efficiency over anything else. One of their key communication strengths is their ability to use the appropriate channel for the moment, and that’s critical to social selling. 

Here’s an example: Switching between Facebook, Twitter, texting, email and any other communication method is second nature to millennials. Sometimes a direct message on Twitter is actually the right thing to do. Or maybe a public post on a LinkedIn profile work best. Other times a quick text is the best choice. 

Older sellers tend not to do this; they use email and the phone for the bulk of their communication. As sales prospects increasingly use more channels, employing the right tool for the job becomes more critical. 

Simply stated, more experienced sales reps know what to do. They’re more experienced at strategic thinking. But millennials are better at how to deliver it. Millennials are very astute at delivering the right message through the right channel. A merger of the two strengths is powerful, and sales teams should harness these opportunities to make the most of social selling.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): While research suggests that millennials may require more attention and training, there’s a wealth of knowledge in the generation that should be leveraged. The fact is they do bring value to organizations, particularly as it relates to social selling. Consider mentoring relationships that function more as partnerships. Relationships between more experienced sellers and younger millennials offer wonderful opportunities for both groups.

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