3 Ways Millennials Have Changed the Sales Game
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.
Millennials Are Hungry For Feedback
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.
Millennials Are Data Driven
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!
Millennials Are Pro Tech
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.
Keeping Young Talent: Millennial Retention Strategies
Sales Team Retention Strategies for Millennials
Did you know that people in their twenties are advised to change jobs often to increase the likelihood that they will have something closer to their dream job in their thirties and forties? While most employers think that money is the main factor, research has shown that employees are more likely to remain with companies that invest in their career development through training, coaching, mentorship, and great leadership. But there are many, many more things that appeal to a younger generation. In this post, we’re going to look at what investments are required for your company to retain the valuable millennials on your sales team.
Invest in Career Development
No one, and most especially millennials, wants to feel stuck. They want to feel like they are moving forward in all areas of their life, including their career. If your company wants to keep the millennials on your sales team, start with investing in each employee’s career development. Career development can take many forms. It can be a weekly or monthly in-house training on the latest strategies in sales or the latest news about your company’s products and services. All you have to do is invest the time that your employees spend in the training and the time that the training leader takes to put together their presentation. It can also be in the form of offering each employee a specific budget per month or quarter to use for approved outside training and education. You can define the sources of the training and education, such as specific conferences, training partners, educational institutions, and colleges. Or you can allow employees to submit their request for training to have it approved for use with their training and education budget. To really motivate your employees to take advantage of training and education, gamify it. Recognize the employee that accomplishes the best achievement every quarter in training and education. You could easily reward someone who created a great in-house training for other employees, someone who passed a vigorous certification, or someone who earned their master’s degree.
Invest in Community Service
Millennials want to know that they are doing good for not only themselves, but for their community as well. Show employees that you care about this too by investing in community service. You can do this by matching donations for local drives and charities, or by partnering with a local non-profit to connect employees to volunteer opportunities. Start by surveying your employees to find the causes that are closest to their hearts. You might find that you have enough to turn each month into a specific community service focus. In January, you can coordinate a volunteer event where employees help out at a local pet shelter. In February, they can help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. In March, they can help collect food for a shelter. Or, simply offer your employees one day each month to dedicate to the community service work of their choice. This is another investment that you can also gamify. Each month or each quarter, celebrate the employee that offered up the most hours of community service. Or recognize the employee that raised the most money for a specific charity.
Invest in Health
Have you noticed the trends in employee perks offered by major companies? Gym memberships (or in-house gyms), on-site healthcare, extended maternity and paternity leave, and similar perks show that employees care more now about their health than ever. As an employer, you need to find a way to invest in employee health as well. If your company can’t afford an in-house gym or pay for each employee’s gym membership, start small by partnering with a local gym to get a discount. Kick the junk food and soda vending machines to the curb and keep a fridge full of healthy drinks and snacks. Create an opportunity for employees to get together once a month or once a quarter to do something healthy, like a sport or hiking day. Like the other investments, you can find a way to celebrate employees that are investing in their health. Create a health-conscious environment by encouraging employees to set health and fitness goals and recognize the ones that achieve them each month. Acknowledge the employee that stops eating candy and starts eating fruits for their midday snack. Celebrate the employee that participates in their first marathon or wins a local tennis tournament.
Celebrate the Wins
At the end of the day everyone wants to feel like they are making an impact. Millennials, more than any generation before, are seeking out positions where they can truly contribute. Whether they are working in a team of 5 or 50, it’s important for them to feel like they are a part of the action and are making a difference. This is why so many millennials flock to startups where they can be one of 20 people building something from the ground up. In order to fulfill this need, it is important to keep employees engaged and create an environment that recognizes individual success, which further motivates the team to perform.
Why These Tactics Work
We all know that recognizing your top sales performer each quarter motivates members of your sales team to go above and beyond just “doing their job”. By investing in education, community service, and health, you show your employees that you care about their job performance and you care about them. When you actively celebrate their wins and recognize those that make significant strides in each of these areas, you show your employees that you really do want them to get involved and improve professionally and personally. Those are the things that will keep all of your employees engaged with their jobs and your company. That engagement will ultimately help you retain more employees. At Hoopla we specialize in creating a sales culture that celebrates the wins and helps teams visualize their progress and successes on a daily basis. Want to start recognizing and motivating the stars in your company? Find out how Hoopla can help.
Tips for Selling to Millennials
With the baby boomer generation expected to curb spending after retirement, millennials have quickly become the primary focus of every company’s new marketing and sales strategies. According to Forbes, “There are eighty million millennials in America alone and they represent about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power.”
It’s no secret that companies who wish to stay relevant need to ditch traditional methods of advertising and come up with innovative ways to capture the hearts (and pockets) of millennials. Here’s a few tips on how you can reach millennials.
Millennials are strongly resistant to age old sales pitches and fluffy advertising. They can detect artificial content from miles away and are determined to outsmart even the subtlest and most subliminal messaging. Trust is a key factor for millennials and the real way to win them over is to build genuine relationships and become the brand they can relate to.
Millennials know the game of marketing and are willing to buy into it as long as they don’t feel like they aren’t being tricked into making their purchases. In other words, cut the flashy messaging and be real – focus on the benefits of your product and trust that it’ll essentially sell itself. The good news is that you save yourself from hours of marketing brainstorming since all millennials really want are the basic facts about the product.
Recommendations Are Important
Millennials are weary of marketing campaigns. Therefore they look to peers and fellow consumers for advice on the latest sneakers or gadgets they are considering. Millennials spend ample time reading reviews and researching blogs before making purchases so it is important to know what the critics are saying about your product.
Amazon, for example, has tons of customer reviews that either encourage or discourage potential buyers. Google AdWords has made ratings extensions a key feature in online advertising because they know just how important reviews are to millennials and to all consumers in general. Take note of trending comments and come up with solutions to appease your customer base. For every happy customer might mean 1 or 2 successful referrals.
Remember that we are living in a time where Google is available right at our fingertips. Be sure you are only presenting facts about your product since Millennials can dismantle any lie in a matter of seconds through a quick Google search. You definitely don’t want to get caught up in false advertising claims and have your social media handles spammed with resentful and distrusting customers. Keep your reputation clean and customers happy – again, just be authentic.
Keep it Short
Millennials have grown up in a world of constant simulation and instant gratification. The combination of the two can only mean one thing: keep your pitch short and sweet. Millennials are not going to entertain a 10 minute sales pitch on why they should hand you a chunk of their hard earned cash. In reality, you probably have a solid 2-3 minutes of their attention and you should think strategically about how to maximize that time.
When organizing your selling points, be sure to follow all the rules – be authentic, only state the facts, and let the reviews speak for the product whenever possible. Don’t go agonizing over a long, drawn out elevator speech; for millennials, less is more.