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We refer to Millennials in a lot of different ways. Some call them innovators, others say they’re entitled, and still others are just trying to figure out who is technically a Millennial. Is that 38 year old who always wears tight tees and dark rimmed glasses blurring the generational lines a little too much? Maybe. But one thing that is hard to ignore is that Millennials are chronic disruptors. Like many generations before them, they’re shaking up the status quo, and demanding new standards for how we work, live, and interact. So it should be no surprise that Millennials are changing the landscape of sales, too. Here are just some of the ways you may notice Millennials are changing your sales floor—and ways you can leverage that disruption to your ultimate benefit.
It is often a criticism that Millennials are too in need of affirmation, but a different way to look at it is that they want things done well. And that means that they are eager to hear from their managers on what works—especially as they’re carrying those things out. While the traditional profile of a salesperson may be more rogue or independent, Millennials may not be so. As the Sales Coaching Blog at the EcSell Institute points out, that means that managers can have a much more integral role in the development of their account executives. Your Millennial salespeople are hungry for your feedback, and that gives you the platform to really effectively cast your vision for your business.
Especially in the last year, we’ve seen the proliferation of fact-checkers, hyper-relevant polling, and all sorts of other data-driven initiatives. Big data, in a huge variety of forms, is taking over the marketplace—people want the hard numbers, especially Millennials. One article on DataFloq shows that this even affects the way that Millennials are buying cars. When you can make a good case for efficacy using numbers, it can be a hell of a good sell. So why not boost data in your sales process? Try displaying goals and numbers, helping your associates to correlate, and even visualize, the data on how serious prospecting can really pay off. Don’t be afraid of the numbers, use them to your advantage!
As Harvard Business Review tells us, Millennials “were first to experience a wireless, connected world, and according to a PwC report, they ‘expect the technologies that empower their personal lives to also drive communication and innovation in the workplace.’ ” It’s not about handing tablets to everyone as they come through the door. But whether you’re a startup in Silicon Valley, or a paper supply company in Scranton, your employees expect a certain standard of technology. And that means new ways of driving sales, too. Your AEs are texting prospects, and closing deals on FaceTime. They’re scanning contracts on their phones and networking with a Snap. If you’re not adopting these capabilities into your sales process, you simply won’t be able to keep the talent. The truth is that sales has changed—and Millennials are to blame. But whether you’re nervous about the innovations or excited, it’s important to be prepared so that your business can truly flourish no matter what the landscape looks like.