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4 Essential strategies for managing millennial salespeople

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There’s no doubt that millennials and their affinity for everything digital are altering the way we work and live.This includes sales teams.

You no doubt have a healthy contingent of millennial salespeople on your team. What do you need to do to make sure they can be successful?

According to US Census Bureau estimates, millennials — those born between the early 1980s and 2000 — represent more than a quarter of the nation’s population, and outnumber baby boomers by 8 million. Analysis of the US Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center showed that millennials are now the largest generation in the US labor force.

Millennials are a force to be reckoned with, and sales organizations need to harness their energy if they want to reach their revenue goals. Companies must consider the way this young generation works, and how it differs from past generations as they design their sales training and sales tools.

Let’s take a look at some of the habits and characteristics of millennials to understand what they need in order to keep them happy and motivated members of the sales team.

Strategies for managing millennial salespeople

🎼You used to call me on your cell phone 🎼(but that’s not what the youth use cell phones for): Mobile access is crucial

Glued to their smartphones, millennials have led the mobile revolution. Mobility enables them to work fast without being tethered to a desk. They want to get the job done and not waste time on internal processes, weighed down by spreadsheets and other manual systems.

They need to be able to access core sales systems at any time, from any device. Whether it’s the CRM, training, content, commissions, or a configure, price and quote system, all must be readily available from mobile devices.

Automated, accessible sales tools enable millennial salespeople to speed through their day. For example, CRM applications that automate key functions mean that they aren’t bogged down in manual data inputs. A centralized online content management platform allows them to quickly find the right collateral to close a deal. With automated CPQ tools, millennials can generate quotes rapidly without having to pore through spreadsheets or wade through email chains for approval.

Make it matter: Purpose is key

For many millennials, being passionate about what they do for a living is important. They want to make an impact on the business and the world in general.

This makes automated tools all the more important for the Y generation. Wanting to change things for the better, they will get quickly frustrated inputting manual CRM updates, hunting for content, or waiting for approvals in order to send a quote.

Millennials need to know their opinion is valued; sales leaders can demonstrate this in regular sales meetings in which everyone is given a chance to be heard. Providing opportunities to manage and avenues to leadership roles also is critical.

Keep it simple, stupid: (If you’re a millennial, you probably won’t get this h3) 

Millennials grew up using technology, and are well-versed in the way computers and the internet work, which often earns them the label of “digital natives.”

As such, they’re likely to have less patience for old-school classroom sales training and bootcamps. They’re happier using their mobile devices to access virtual training sessions and videos on their schedule. After all, flexibility is key for millennials.

To ensure engagement, training sessions should be short and concise. Millennial sales people are apt to tune out during long presentations.

Since millennials embrace technology, sales tools that leverage automation and artificial intelligence will go a long way towards keeping them motivated and productive.

While older generations have a reputation for being suspicious of new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, this generation will readily adopt tools like smart CPQ so they can close deals faster.

It’s not just avocado toast: Millennials are hungry for employee feedback

Many millennials grew up with constant coaching and feedback from their Baby Boomer parents, who sometimes hovered too closely (hence the phrase “helicopter parents”), so it’s no surprise they expect it to continue at work.

Studies show that compared to other generations, millennials want more frequent feedback from their managers. Professional development is important to them, and they expect their managers to be coaches and mentors.

To address this, sales managers can’t just be supervisors who grill their sales reps about the status of their deals or nag them to fill in the CRM. If managers have visibility into the sales pipeline and forecast, they have the ability to provide the individualized coaching millennials crave.

Feedback in the form of employee recognition also is a key ingredient in keeping millennials motivated. Taking time in meetings to hand out monthly awards or compliment employees on a job well done will help drive them to succeed.

Incorporating gamification in training and sales performance management systems also is a good strategy for engaging millennials. They grew up playing video games, so they’ll thrive with a gamification format that allows them to earn achievement badges and see how they’re performing against their peers.

The unique characteristics of the millennial generation are rapidly reshaping sales organizations. Enterprises that align their sales training and tools with these traits put themselves on a path to success.

Learn more about strategies for managing millennial salespeople here.

Marcia Savage
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Marcia Savage

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