Tips for managing a millennial sales team
You have probably read a lot of articles about millennials. CNBC says Generation Y has a reputation for being “entitled, lazy, narcissistic and addicted to social media.” As with many stereotypes, there is a grain of truth to this, but there are plenty of reasons millennials also make great salespeople.
Millennials are changing workplace more than any generation before them. Managers often vent about their stubbornness and unfettered sense of confidence. This is particularly true among millennial sales professionals, since they exemplify these traits more than anyone else.
While millennials have their quirks, they can be amazing additions to your sales force. The trick is knowing how to manage them.
Make them See the Social Impact of Your Brand’s Work
Millennials tend to be less Machiavellian than previous generations. Rather than being driven by a need for financial stability, they tend to want to foster social change.
Instead of fighting this mindset, you should embrace it. You won’t encourage millennials to meet their sales quotas through financial incentives to the same degree as older workers. If you want to motivate them, you should help them see the benefits of the products and services that you provide. Show them that your solutions offer real benefits to the people that use them.
Mentor them on Professionalism
Millennials tend to go against the grain, but they generally respect the need for professional decorum. This is especially true in the sales profession, since they know they will be representing their employer to a diverse base of customers.
However, as younger members of the workforce, they often need some direction from their older peers.
Don’t expect all millennial sales professionals to understand these norms on their own. Here are some things you need to encourage them to do.
Emphasize the Importance of Dressing Appropriately to Make a Professional Presentation
Millennials have a very strong sense of confidence, which they sometimes believe eliminates the need to look sharp and behave appropriately.
Teaching them to dress appropriately is very important. Let them know that certain events and venues may warrant a different dress code, so they should do so accordingly.
Require them to Use Business Cards
You also need to make sure every sales professional uses business cards when appropriate. If you already have a strong brand image, customers have an easier time relating to them if your sales professionals present their business card during their initial meetings. Make sure you have a consistent business card design for every member of your sales force to foster a uniform branding strategy.
Teach them About Social Norms in Each Region
Teaching millennial sales professionals about the social norms of each region is also important. If they plan on traveling to different parts of the country to represent your brand, they will need to understand the different customs in each location they visit.
Help them Empathize With Other Demographics
While there is nothing inherently wrong with millennials focus on self-actualization and social change, it can impede their ability to relate with older customers. Millennial sales professionals may work a lot with older clients, so you will need to make sure they can see things through the eyes of their customers.
Marc Wayshak a sales training strategist from Boston and best-selling author on sales, states that brands will have better sales figures if they drive this point home to their millennial clients.
“Because millennial salespeople sometimes sell to older clients, they'll need to understand and connect with them. Teach your millennial sales team that 55-year-old prospects won't have the same outlooks or aspirations as 27-year-olds. The baby boomer client might be highly motivated by financial security, say, while a millennial one could be driven by convenience and flexibility. If millennial salespeople fail to understand the perspectives of those from other generations, they will struggle to maintain relationships with some clients and close sales with many prospects.”
Annie is an entrepreneur and startup investor. She embraces ecommerce opportunities that go beyond profit, giving back to non-profits with a portion of the revenue she generates. She is significantly more productive when she has a cause that reaches beyond her pocketbook.