Hiring for the Generation Gap: Finding the Right Strategy

Advertise jobs carefully, pay attention to onboarding and support new hires.

September 30, 2019

4 Min Read
Job interview candidates

By Brad Stoller

We’re in the midst of a mass retirement event — 10,000 people are retiring every day, and forecasts show that number will creep closer to 12,000 over the next decade. The mass retirement event is affecting nearly every industry, and managed service providers aren’t insulated from the impact. For a growing business, that can mean a significant strain on your available talent as well as an additional burden on your leadership. You need new employees to keep growing, but you also need experienced team members to both move the team in the right direction and to mentor new hires.

This is a significant challenge, and getting it wrong can limit your ability to grow.

Retirements are always tough for a business to endure, especially when it’s a productive team member who needs to be replaced by an outsider. The challenge is even greater when one of your salespeople retires. As your company’s cash generator, even a small sales HR change can have a major impact on profitability.

You’ll face stiff challenges as you replace your aging sales team in the coming years. The workforce’s youngest generation has a general distrust of traditional sales roles and techniques. Cold calling and similar tactics have grown outdated, and these pushy approaches are major turnoffs for millennials.

Fortunately, millennials want to help. More than income, millennials want a flexible work environment, modern technology and meaningful work that improves the lives and jobs of those they do business with.

Hiring for Tomorrow

The modern hiring process has evolved to accommodate tomorrow’s workforce. Growing MSPs should keep these features in their hiring process:

  • An ideal candidate profile that covers hard skills, soft skills and future potential.

  • A reliable and readily accessible source for new candidates.

  • A robust hiring process that addresses both ability and cultural fit.

  • A hands-on mentoring and training process.

  • The built-in expectation and desire for the young salesperson to drive meaningful change in the business over time.

  • Prospecting behaviors and plans precrafted to get new hires in front of opportunities as quickly as possible.

While this is a good start, it’s far from a plug-and-play solution. You’ll need to thoughtfully apply it your own business model.

Finding the Right Fit

We know one firm that took a long time to find the right replacement. After one individual left, they worked tirelessly to fill the void. Despite their best efforts, they kept hiring duds. After four hires, they still couldn’t find the right individual to fill the spot.

Finding the right replacement is difficult. To smooth the process, start your search by looking for individuals with the right mindset. Industry knowledge is great, but it’s also teachable. Instead, search for an individual who’s looking for a long-term home, who also is willing to start the job moving at full speed.

Of course, lack of industry knowledge means a learning curve, and the onus falls on you to get the hire up to date. What we recommend:

  • Bring on an industry sales coach to provide training and feedback to your new hires.

  • Provide internal mentorship. Courses and certifications are important, but the best way for an individual to develop is internal guidance from the leadership team.

  • Consider dual hiring. If you have the budget available, bring on an experienced salesperson and young salesperson at the same time. Both team members will require mentorship and training, but you’ll have an additional expert to help.

Onboarding is a time-consuming process, but so is hiring and …

… firing the wrong people over and over again. With the right process in place, you increase your chances of making the perfect hire.

Preparing the Sales Pipeline

Once your new hire is in the place, you need to supply the individual with a sales pipeline. They can’t be effective without leads!

Our recommendations to speed sales:

  • Offer a portion of the leads coming in from your marketing initiatives. Ensure your most experienced team members are taking the highest-value prospects in the beginning, until your new hire catches up.

  • An appointment-setting program for the new hire, perhaps targeting an untapped region or a unique prospect type.

  • A drip marketing system built out with content and tactics that have already brought the firm success.

These tools will help new hires close new business faster than if they were left to their own devices, regardless of how much experience they bring with them.

By combining the right interview and onboarding process, you’ll prepare your business to withstand any retirement or employee departure. New faces in the office brings new energy, and properly channeling that energy can spark new business growth.

Brad Stoller is working to change how MSPs look at their sales processes. He authors articles, provides video instruction for MSP sales tips and holds sales-related webinars to help MSP owners, managers and sales personnel. As the national director of business development at The PT Services Group, Brad has interviewed hundreds of MSP owners to develop a new way of focusing on quality, first-time appointments and sustainable, exponential growth. Follow @BradStoller on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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