Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to conduct approximately 1000 sales coaching sessions, with a diverse set of sellers across different demographic groups. A majority of these individuals are classified as millennials. There are several different definitions of classifying millennials. For purposes of this discussion, we will use a commonly accepted one: born after 1980 and entering adulthood in the 21st century. They are also referred to as Generation Y. The following chart from Pew Research shows how different age groups are segmented:

It is somewhat ironic that we are even discussing this, since a key tenet of effective sales coaching is keeping an open mind and never pre-judging a person or situation. However, anytime you are trying to teach, sell, market or communicate to an audience, it is vital to understand that audience the best you can before you actually engage them. In general, different demographic groups learn differently, partly because the brain processes information differently at different ages and partly because of environmental factors. Therefore, it is important to factor that into your coaching, mentoring or training. You can then adjust to individual traits as you and your coaching clients discover them.

How are millennials different than other demographic groups?

● They tend to be less experienced in most aspects of business, although some individuals have specific business experiences that older individuals may not have.

● They have a clear desire to impact society in a positive way. That is a significant aspiration; hence, a motivator. It is not all about the paycheck, status, benefits, title, etc.

● The desire to express their opinions is extremely important.

● Understanding why they are doing a certain task (i.e., learning a particular skill) is of high importance, as is understanding how that task fits into the bigger picture. They will seek out and value feedback. Praise is especially valued. Experience is respected.

● They tend to be more impatient as it relates to information flow, since they developed their learning habits during an era where virtually all data is available on demand.

● They are savvy and comfortable with the uses of technology, especially social media; hence, there is a greater emphasis on sharing information.

● Probably most importantly, they best understand information when it is provided in bite-sized portions, whether it is word based or a visual representation of data and ideas. This sounds logical when you consider that millennials grew up in a world of tweets, searches, memes, etc.

In an upcoming article, I will address some approaches and best practices on coaching millennial sales professionals. If you have any best practices you like to share please do so.

This article first appeared on Linkedin.