The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 10 months ago

How to Manage a Team with 5 Generations w/ Aaron Owen


We have five generations working in telecom sales now… all on the same team.

It’s no walk in the park to manage a team of a dozen reps ranging in age from 18 to 65.

I recently had a chance to pick the brain of Aaron Owen, Inside Sales Manager at Verizon, about his experience leading a cross-generational team.

What we talked about:

  • People: the tendencies of different generations
  • Process: whether two daily meetings is too many
  • Technology: the best channels to communicate are all the channels

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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Welcome to the sales engagement a podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach welldoes outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record timeafter virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreachrus accountbased, plays, manages reps and so much more using their own salesengagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as theydo. Had to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello and welcome back everyone to thesales engagement podcast. You're hanging out with Scott Barker and we've got an excellencetwenty five minutes lined up for you. As always, I am joined byAaron Owen, are known is inside sales manager over at the verizon, massive, massive telecom company. Aaron, welcome to the show man. Hey,Scott, thanks for having me and I'm glad to be here. Yeah,absolutely, I like it. I liked it. I'm excited to to pickyour brain. You've had a pretty pretty incredible run at the rise in threeyears, three months, at least in my world. That's that's that's agood that's a solid run. It's a solid run. See, the salesmanagement and says, leadership tenures isn't too long these days. So you youhad a great run. But let's start there. Let's start quickly with justthe backstory of Aaron Owen. How did you become an inside sales manager atVerizon? I usually call this the the superhero origin story. Yeah, so, first of all, amazing organization.

Plan to do my best to retirewith this organization. So, you know, if anybody's ever thinking about the telecomspace, you learn a lifetime in a matter of years. But itis a wonderful, wonderful company to work for. I started off and risingand retail, so I I was I was selling phones and fix and emailsand retail location here in Parker Colorado, and it had been after, youknow, ten or fifteen years of sales leadership and sales experience and the workmy way up through the the organization, champion the retail environment, specialized inbusiness sales. I moved over into the the wireline and telecom space to kindof diversify, right. I mean, you know, telephones and tablets isa very polished organization and I wanted to make sure that I knew everything thatI needed to know about telecom. So I moved into the Wirelin Organization,camping that and then quickly, after about six months, moved into an insidesales manager role, and that's when I've been doing ever since. I managinga team of six to twelve sales professionals ranging anywhere from, you know,early one thousand eight hundred and eighteen all the way up to, I thinkone of my oldest reps was in mid S. that's a an interesting storyand a few things I want to jump into in that that story. Butyet where we're going to spend the bulk of the time, which I thinkit's such an interesting topic, is we now have five generations of sellers inour our workforce as of when we're recording this, and each with their,you know, unique ways of doing things, ways of learning, ways they liketo be managed, ways they like to be empowered, and so we'regoing to dive a little bit into that today. About first I do wantto talk a little bit about your transition of making this transition from from retailinto, you know, now this kind of inside sales role? How didthat come to be? And I asked...

...because we have listeners of all rangesand there may be some that are looking to jump in industry or get intothis profession. How did you go about doing that? Yeah, so that'san interesting question. So lots of baying in my head against a computer screen, information through a fire hose. I don't know any other terrible analogies thatI can use to kind of identify it. It was hard. The transition issomething that you've got to take the time to understand. The the industry, right, telecom industry, there's the motto is it depends, right,because there are seven ways to do one simple thing, and that's just kindof how it's been laid out since, you know, the early, theearly S, right when it comes to the telecom and you know, Itook it one day at a time. I made sure to I took alot of notes. So I made sure to invest time and resources and Imake sure in a network. So you know, I ran across some superheroesin the industry that had been doing it for ten, twenty, thirty,forty plus years, and I listened everything that they said, I asked questionsand I made sure that I built a connection that I could reach out tolater on down the road if I didn't know something and it benefited me.Right Advice, great advice. I like that. Okay, so now you'vegot this role. You're an inside sales manager, which, you know,many, many aspired to be leaving a leading a team of around eight totwelve. So let's wrestle with the yeah of and and I all ages,all different experience levels. Let's wrestle with this idea of the difference in managingthese five generations. And so what I want to do is kind of breakit down into people, process and technology. I think those are like the threeto we buckets of like managing. So maybe let's talk of the peopleelement first. What have you found effective...

...ways to manage through these this differentkind of generational gap that we have now? You know, it's tough, right, because you look at it, people in a hole. You getthrough younger generations who really are, you know, used to using a cellphone, used to video collaboration, used to texting, used to email,and then you have your older generations who are now just having to take acrash course in you know, what it looks like to have a video callor how to set up a zoom bridge or, you know, just justlittle nuances like that. Then that that they're not familiar with, and Ithink that the the best way that I have found to manage both spectrums ofthose generations is collaboration. Right, so it's it's a matter of getting themall in the same room, virtually right of course, and then laying itout all on table. Sometimes, you know, it goes, it goesto the right and it turns into a big old denting and kind of adistress situation right because everybody's kind of throwing words around. And then there arethose times when it goes to the left, when there's those Aha moments that arecreated by reflection of a group and partnering up some of those who arestronger with the programs in the processes of the work from home generation with someof those that are right. So we're really really fostering team collaboration. Ilike that and that's a super tactical thing. People can kind of take a takeaway and I think it's a great one, almost like a buddy systemor mental program where they're both learning career from each other. And Yeah,I think that's huge. Okay, let's let's go to the to the nextone, which is kind of process and some and this I could be wronghere, but a lot of older sellers perhaps are used to their own process, a certain process that they had the...

Oh yeah, you know, thatthey've could be doing maybe longer than you in some cases. Right, andthen you have, you know, some newer wraps and it again. Thisis just from my experience, but I find millennials Gen z they really wanta very clear path to success. They want to know what's correct is andthey want to be driven down it. How do you manage that? Likeyou, of course you have some sort of sales process that you want thesepeople to follow. How do you keep it consistent while allowing for like,you know, a little bit of nuance between people doing things their own way? Yeah, so, you know, you're absolutely right there. You know, when you take a look at, you know, a lot of theolder client executives, they're very tactile, right, so they have their oneway of doing things and kind of stuff in their methodology. And then youhave, you know, like you said, the millennials that are and you know, I myself and technically considered a millennial, but I'd like to thinkthat that page range was I still know what it's like to play with sticksand stones. You see a lot of people asking in the millennial era forfor a road map, right, they want you to completely map it out, almost like you were using, you know, Google maps or apple maps, and I monitor and control that by setting the expectation and then constant reiteration. So I spend a lot of time answering the same questions over and overand over again every single day and saying the exact same things in our youknow, in our daily meetings. Right. So my team, I like tohave a meeting in the morning and I like to have a meeting inthe afternoon. The morning meeting is to talk about business, then meeting inthe afternoon is to kind of bus so we can kind of decompress, becausewe spend most of the day doing the exact same things over and over andover and over for again, and that's kind of how you manage through thatprocess tissue or that process gap. And then eventually it becomes second nature.I like. I like that again,...

...very taxical. So you're did youalways have an am and APM meeting or did you grant that up? Sincewe are we've all been forced to go remote, or was that always thecase? I ramped it up. I'm a very like I'm a very drivenand passionate and in I'm referred to as them who's like a puppy. Right. I have so much energy and drive for the business and when we werein the office, you know, I was all over the place. Imean we have offices that are the entire room is a white board, right, I mean the the from floor to ceiling, and you know, I'mdrawn on the white board, casting around the room. I have an entireaudience that I can have this conversation with, whereas and when we went from workfrom home, I couldn't even have that five to ten to fifteen minutesa day to raw, you know, rally the troops and to really drivethe battlefield discussion. Now, with the work from home environment, I hadto step that up. I had this step up my presence, I hadto step up there the The Times that we see each other on camera.So No, to answer your question plainly, it is absolutely new to the workfrom home space. Yeah, that's that's interesting and what I've heard alot of other you know sales later says that, you know, they hadto get up some of the meetings because they missed that kind of you know, that constant energy. I left the in these like a puppy. Ithink you should change your linkedin headline to that. I didn't think. ReallyAwesome, that's not a bad idea. Yeah, I picked that up.I picked that up from the restaurant industry because I used to be a frontof House manager and I used to run part time nightclubs and and you know, you become a miracle worker at that point in time, and so youhave to have that drive, in that energy to keep working with two thousandguests and, you know, a hundred and fifty servers and bartenders and stuff. So yeah, that that stuck with me over the past few years.Yeah, I can imagine there's very few things that teach you hustle and gritlike the service industry, having been in former bartender and server myself, onthose Fridays and Saturday nights where right all... can do is just like onething at a time, one thing at a time, and awful. Yeah, and it's the the Colle Yeah, the industry of a million details.So there's another there's another takeaway for those looking too, maybe higher, newentry level sales folks out there, give someone a shot who is maybe abartender or server who use so, you know, has that that hustle.I think it's a great training ground, of breeding ground for for no,I actually look for that. You know, there are a few things I lookfor when I'm hiring, right when I'm doing interviews, it is drive, it is energy, it is what you've done in your past experience.It's not licessarily are you qualified or are you a hundred percent qualified to dothe job at hand. It's it's are you qualified to be effective and whateverrole I put you in? Right, it's not. It's there are youpersonally, as your characteristics put you in that position? Right, not necessarilywhat the degree or piece of paper says. Couldn't agree more. All right.That leads us to our last one. Technology. So technology, of course, has become increasingly important as we moved to work from home. Youknow, a lot of companies were already going through some sort of sales digitaltransformation. What sort of things do you enable your rest with? Of courseyou've mentioned zoom, so zoom has become integral to everyone's life. I imaginesome sort of you know, crm walk we through maybe kind of the textact and some of the things you're doing on the technology front to enable yourwraps and effectively manage them. Yeah, so we work in the telecom space, so we touch a little bit more technology than than a lot of otherwork from home environments. I think the one thing is is that a lotof organizations are very complacent with there in...

...the office technology, right. Theythey unders stand that they're there's an IT team manager that's going to come downand help you of something breaks. They understand that there's a building suit that'sgoing to help you if something's not working right. But whereas and you switchto this like lifted shift, will work from home environment. You are thatit team manager, you are the building manager. You need to know howyou know where these net cord goes, how to get an additional monitor.So you know, we touch a lot on the hardware side, right,whereas, and you know, each each one of the reps utilizes two monitorsand a desktop and then a camera. And then on software side, youknow, people needed to understand that we now need to be able to seeyou, right. You need to have that kind of personalization or that presencein the in the conversation. So we're using more and more video collaboration technology, whether it's zoom, whether it's Webex, whether it's Blue James, we're utilizingtools that we have not necessarily created, but you but implemented, which isvirtual meeting excellence, right, making sure that our customers can see andfeel even without being an in person. That's awesome. Yeah, are youusing any sort of slack, instant messaging, Microsoft teams, anything like that,if you found that to be affective or so? And it's all theall of the above. Yeah, I mean we we use everything, Imean anyway that we can to communicate internally and externally. We use I mean, of course, external only word, mainly using the primary sources, email, video collaboration or phone call. But internally we use everything from instant messageto sales force chatter, to slack, to Jabber, to hang out,and then everything else that we use externally. Yeah, that's awesome. That's awesome. Part of the reason, I imagine that, you know, verizonis growing as fast as it as it is is because it is bick toadopt technology and that's obviously the way, the way forward for for our salesorganizations. That's awesome. All right,...

...that was very, very valuable.I'm only shocked how quickly this time goes. We have about five minutes left andI always like to keep this question kind of open ended and I'll letyou take it whichever way you want. You can either reiterate some of thepoints we already hit on in the episode or just share three things that arereally important to you and you want to share with the listeners. So justthree things that if people forget everything about this whole episode because people are SuperBusy, they can only retain so much information. If people only retrain threethings from this boat, you want to leave them with, don't try toreinvent the wheel. I think is the biggest thing. Get back to thebasics. Collaboration is key and success isn't made alone. Right you, you, you don't be we become successful together and not individually. So I thinkthose would be the three things that I would say for anybody that is managingor trying to manage a successful sales team in today's and age, with thegenerations that we have, collaboration, get back to the basics and you haveto do it together. I love that. Now more and more important than ever, I love that message. Have to do it together. That appliesin sales, that applies in in the world we live in right now.Everything right, something together is is what it's all about. Well, Aaron, thank you, brother. That was super insightful. Thanks for coming onand you for having me, of course, anytime. We'd have you back.And for all those that hung out with us, thanks for rocking withus today and that we will see your next episode. Thanks. This wasanother episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front ofmore eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. JoinUS at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure tocheck out outreach, that ioh, the...

...leading sales engagement platform. See youon the next episode.

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