There’s a word being used more and more in discussions within the business, marketing, and sales realms that can no longer be ignored: Millennials. The “M” word. This generation of people, born between 1980 and 1996, will soon dominate the numbers in both the workforce and buyer demographics. According to a Pew Research Center study of U.S. Census Bureau numbers, over one-third of the American labor force is Millennials, thus making this generation the largest part of the workforce. By 2025 they will account for 75% of the global workforce as reported in a separate research study by Ernst & Young.
Those that fit into this generational category hate being “labeled” as Millennials and those at the helm for decades are sometimes hesitant about how to successfully integrate them into the workforce and management style. But one thing is certain: we’ve reached a point within business, especially in the sales industry, when it is essential to adapt your existing sales strategy to resonate with your millennial employees and thus tap into the full potential of your bottom line.
It’s become more and more evident that this generation has different wants and needs in the work environment. When you evaluate and understand what truly matters to your employees, how they can make a difference, and craft your sales strategy around that, you are assured of a higher degree of success.
The Millennial Mindset
One thing that sets millennials apart from previous generations is their mindset when it comes to the workplace. More importantly, it is critical that you show them exactly how they fit into your structure and its culture. It’s become apparent that most people from the millennial generation look more at the big picture of things and exactly why things are the way they are. This is one of the most curious and insightful generations ever in history. For them, it’s not so much about the individual details that need to be taken care of daily as it is about the big picture of all of those details and tasks, how they work together, and why. One of the core concerns of this demographic in the workforce is how they personally fit into that big picture and how they can make an impact for the better.
One of the reasons this is such a concern for millennial is because an entrepreneurial spirit is extremely evident in this generation. But it is an entrepreneurial spirit with a twist. More and more millennials, when it comes to working and business, seem to have a curious and nomadic drive, a grit and determination that sets them apart, and an entrepreneurial mindset that seems so different to many of the previous generations. Some of the most influential, disruptive, and fastest growing companies in the world have been founded by millennials (like Mark Zuckerberg or Airbnb). A job where you can have the option to work remotely (sometimes from a laptop with your feet in the sand), have flexible hours, still have benefits, make a good salary, have a good work-life balance, and feel like you are making a positive impact on the company is what many millennials would describe as their perfect job.
Why You Should Adapt Your Sales Strategy
Adapting your sales strategy to fit the millennial mindset has reached a point where it can be a make or break situation. This is because of the sheer numbers of millennials as well as a shift in buyer preferences. For millennials, long gone are the days of clocking in and working 9 to 5 and completing the same monotonous daily tasks, and very little interaction, only to go home and return bright and early the next day to do it all over again.
The “Millennial Mindset” is also true in their thinking from the perspective of the consumer. The more your product or service can make their lives easier and more enjoyable, the more profitable it will be. The adage that happy employees equals a productive workplace is especially true with the growing number of millennials in the sales industry. Many employees from this generation want to be given enough freedom to prove their worth to their employers and know that they are making a difference to help reach goals for both the company and themselves.
“Organizations need to build and implement a comprehensive strategy that squarely addresses millennial challenges, considers their preferences, and optimizes their unique strengths.”
-Max Altschuler, Founder & CEO of Sales Hacker
Another big concern of millennials is the ability to work smarter and not harder. Some of the more seasoned employees sometimes see this view as not necessary, disrupting the system, or not going by the book. But if automation tools or new technologies are available to reduce the amount of time spent on daily tasks from 5 hours to 2 and you are not utilizing them, then it’s time to make some changes to your sales strategy. Also, having grown up in trying times, after 9/11 and the Great Recession, this generation has produced some of the best problem solvers who can figure out new ways and answers through high levels of creativity and innovation. Expanding your openness to new ways and new strategies can open new doors for your sales team like never before.
Millennials are also the only generation that you could call “digital natives”. They grew up during the same time as the evolution of mobile technologies, the internet, the cloud and oftentimes know about new technologies or devices before they even come out. Because of this, as an employer, you can take advantage of the fact that they can adapt extremely quickly to new sales technology and programs and accurately analyze sales data easily. Almost every millennial also has several social media profiles, so you can easily capitalize on their heightened social sales skills.
The more opportunity you can give these employees to clearly see how they fit into the big picture of your business goals, clearly defining what those goals are, making their jobs easier with all of the available tools (like Map My Customer), allowing for new processes, and showing your sales employees how they contribute to your success is now more frequently the recipe for a successful sales team.
How Do I Do It?
Let’s take a look at how to implement your sales strategy to be more synergistic with all of your employees, especially millennial sales agents, is clear, let’s take a look at how to implement this. Here are some ways to up your sales strategy and make it cohesive for the growing number of millennials in your workforce:
1) Stay Up to Date On Sales Enablement and Automation Tools
As stated earlier, Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation currently in the workforce. It is imperative to allow full integration of available technology to help your millennial sales agents perform to their full potential. There are dozens of different tools and technologies available to utilize and increase your sales efficiency, increase the number of leads and customers, and decrease your expenses. Why not tap into the knowledge and experience of a generation that was born with all these tools on their landscape?
One place to start is to ask them for their thoughts and insights on your existing sales stack and how it can be improved. You will be showing them they are valued while at the same time upping your sales strategy game. You can easily streamline your sales process by utilizing things like route automation or mapping tools and automating your daily sales administrative tasks.
2) Design Your HR Strategies To Resonate With Millennials
You have to focus your recruiting and retention strategies on helping motivate Millennials to perform to their fullest potential. This will greatly decrease sales agent turnover. The more opportunity you can provide for social and organizational impact, continuous learning and career advancement, flexible work environment, and a healthy work-life balance the better your efficiency and profitability numbers will be.
Offer opportunities for remote work from home along with outside sales. Or provide opportunities to be a part of key account meetings where critical decisions are being made. These kinds of things are what really resonates with the millennial workforce and will drive more of this generation to want to work for you and be part of your team.
3) Shift Your Incentives and Bonus Structure
Millennials care more about recognition, free certified training opportunities, and additional job responsibilities than monetary rewards. This generation is hungry for success and places more value on opportunity now for more gains in the future. It’s imperative to create a clearly defined set of sales metrics and KPIs that are viewed as challenging but attainable goals. And then motivate them to meet those goals on a consistent basis.
Millennials that do not feel challenged or rewarded will jump from one sales employer to another more quickly than other employees. Make your sales environment one that promotes a cohesive team working together to meet goals that are rewarded and you’ll have some of the hardest working sales agents around.
4) Create a Positive Environment Of Feedback, Communication, and Inclusion
Implement regularly scheduled team conferences calls or meetings, team brainstorming sessions, or recognition meetings. Weekly social lunches to get everyone together and work on team building efforts also. Create an environment of positivity, friendliness, and inclusion. The more open and transparent you are with your millennial employees, the more valued they will feel and the more they will thrive.
Also, implement the use of a comprehensive project management software that requires everyone’s collaboration. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all are able to easily provide feedback and ideas, and quickly implement those sales strategies. This generation places high importance on workplace environments that foster open lines of communication, regular constructive feedback, and an even playing field. If you can create that then you will have a sales team that is running like a well-oiled machine.
To Wrap It All Up
With the number of millennials in the workforce increasing more and outnumbering other generations, it’s a crucial time to step back to reevaluate if your sales strategy is cohesive to that generation. Millennials have a very unique set of preferences and desires in the workforce and if they are not happy in their work life they will be the quickest to leave.
Embracing their unique set of characteristics and strengths in the sales force, giving them all of the tools they need to excel, and providing them the flexibility to develop new and improved strategies will do wonders for your bottom line. Map My Customers offers a total solution for automating and mapping your sales strategy. It allows you, Millennial employees, to work smarter and not harder. Building that cohesive working team that is all striving towards one clear goal will ensure an efficient, hardworking, and happy group of employees and ultimately fewer headaches for you.
What new strategies have you implemented that play to the unique characteristics of your millennial employees? How has it worked for you? We’d love to hear from you!
Want to learn how Map My Customers can help you do this? You can watch a video demo, attend an upcoming webinar, or book a live 1-on-1 demo here, or jump straight into a free trial to explore it yourself.