A while ago, we curated content for a sales digest on “Old-School Salespeople.” This week, we tackle the opposite end of the generational spectrum: Millennials in Sales. What do sales experts have to say about Millennial salespeople? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Read on to see the range of viewpoints.

But first, who exactly is a Millennial? Here are some key facts:

  • In 2015, Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • Boomers are aged 51-69 in 2015; Gen Xers are 35-50 and Millennials (Gen Y) are 18-34 in 2015 (Pew Research Center).
  • Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (Deloitte).
  • All generations vary, but younger generations seem to have much greater difference, in large part due to the role technology has played in their lives from the start. Most notably, that has elevated tech-savviness and the expectation for instant gratification and instant feedback among Millennials (Time).
  • Reported drawbacks of Millennials (relative to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers): they aren’t great team players, aren’t very hardworking or productive, they are “entitled,” and lack executive presence (Ernst & Young).
  • Reported positives of Millennials (relative to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers): they are tech-savvy, enthusiastic about their jobs, adaptable, collaborative, culturally-competent and diversity-friendly brand ambassadors (Ernst & Young).

 

From the Women Sales Pros Network:

Title: How to Provide Inside Sales Training for Millennials [Infographic]
Author: Josiane Feigon, CEO of TeleSmart
Source: Salesforce.com Blog
Published: Sep 22, 2014
Time to Digest: 5-7 minutes
The Gist: In this post, Josiane Feigon addresses some challenges and observations she’s encountered both in her research and in conducting inside sales training for Millennials. Among them:

  • Millennials are less trusting than previous generations and they won’t buy into training unless they understand how it will benefit them.
  • Millennials prefer a less formal learning environment and aren’t comfortable with hierarchical relationships.
  • They respond well to peer-to-peer learning and crave varied, multimedia experiences when learning.

The post also provides suggestions on how to adapt training to be effective in light of these trends. Inside sales managers should also refer to the infographic for insights as to what team dynamics they should be paying attention to during the sales training. Read it here.

Title: Six Things You Need to Know About Millennial Sales Reps
Author: Josiane Feigon, CEO of TeleSmart
Source: SellingPower.com Blog
Published: Feb 18, 2015
Time to Digest: 3-4 minutes
The Gist: In this post, Feigon lays out six broad generalizations about the Millennial generation that sales managers should be aware of. In a nutshell: they overshare, they value engagement with their parents, they are easily confused about how they get paid, they blur boundaries between employee and manager, they fear negative feedback and can go quickly from little angels to little monsters. Read the post for additional details on each of these six characteristics and some ideas for how to work with them.

Title: How Millennial Employees Can Boost Your Company’s Sales
Author: Colleen Francis, Founder and President, Engage Selling Solutions
Source: The Globe and Mail
Published: July 10, 2015
Time to Digest: 3-5 minutes
The Gist: In this post, Francis explores ways that employers can attract more Millennials to their sales teams. She identifies just four points, but each is positioned to be actionable for sales managers and business leaders. These include: treating time as a valuable currency, being tech-friendly, dealing with job-jumping and motivation. Read it here.

millennial_downside_2Title: Best Strategies for Managing a Millennial Sales Force (Next Generation Podcast)
Author: Colleen Francis, Founder and President, Engage Selling Solutions
Source: The Sales Leader Blog
Published: Sep 17, 2015
Time to Digest: 38 minute podcast with 1 minute skimmable takeaways and resource links
The Gist: If you enjoyed the prior post from Colleen Francis, you will be excited to learn you can get 38 minutes’ worth of her expertise here. In this podcast (hosted by Ryan Jenkins of Next Generation Podcast), Francis explores the Millennial issue from a couple of angles: selling to Millennials and managing a Millennial sales force. Covered topics include:

  • How you can effectively sell across generations
  • Positive traits of Millennial salespeople
  • Likely pitfalls of Millennial salespeople
  • Best practices for managing Millennial salespeople
  • Advice for rookie Millennial salespeople
  • How to build virtual trust with Millennials
  • How a multi-media sales strategy can help
  • How the sales landscape and sales skills are changing and how to be ready

Get all the details when you listen to the recording on-demand. Listen for free here.

Title: Teaching New Dogs Old Tricks
Author: Janice Mars, Principal and Founder, SalesLatitude
Source: The SalesLatitude Blog
Published: Apr 30, 2015
Time to Digest: 2 minutes
The Gist: In this short post, Mars runs down a list of “old dog” qualities that “new dogs” (Millennials and Gen Zs) should learn. The basic thrust is that not only should old dogs be staying up with new selling trends and technologies, but that the newbies need to recognize that sales basics are tried and true, and still essential. Read the post here.

From Around the Web

Title: Your Guide to Managing Millennial Sales Reps
Author: Jeremy Boudinet
Source: The Ambition Blog
Published: Jul 29, 2015
Time to Digest: 7-10 minutes
The Gist: Jeremy Boudinet of sales management software company Ambition has compiled an impressive group of blog posts on different aspects of Millennials in sales, from recruiting, retaining and maximizing their talent to how to best manage them. They’ve even started a LinkedIn group dedicated to Best Practices for Managing Millennials. This post includes video, audio and quotes from experts like Trish Bertuzzi (Bridge Group CEO) and Matt Heinz (Heinz Marketing CEO). A noteworthy takeaway from this post is the idea that compensation and onboarding need to be adjusted for relevancy to Millennials in order to be effective. Read the entire post here.

Title: Eight Tips for Managing Gen Y and Millennial Sales Reps
Author: Matt Heinz
Source: Heinz Marketing Blog
Published: Apr 30, 2013
Time to Digest: 3-5 minutes
The Gist: Matt Heinz provides some tips for sales management success when dealing with younger sales reps, including:

  • Plan to give them more of your time than older reps
  • Reward them with experiences over things
  • Create a fun, expressive environment
  • Don’t restrict social site access

The one tip that seemed out of place here is Heinz’ suggestion to tighten the reins on work hours; most other experts seem to suggest greater flexibility and creativity with work hours to accommodate the many Millennials who reject traditionally-organized businesses and “prefer to work…through digital means,” a.k.a. potentially remotely (Deloitte Millennial Survey 2014). Get additional details and see the other tips here.

millinnial_salespeople

Title: Why Millennials Make Great Salespeople [Infographic]
Author: Leslie Ye
Source: Hubspot.com
Published: May 12, 2015
Time to Digest: 3-5 minutes
The Gist: Ye takes issue with unflattering media characterizations of Millennials, including that they are entitled, narcissistic, idle and lazy. In this post, she shares an infographic (from SalesLoft) which is a visualization of a blog post by Hubspot’s Chief Revenue Officer Mark Roberge. In his post, Roberge argues that Millennials possess important qualities that make them great salespeople. Perhaps Millennials aren’t so bad after all, only misunderstood. Read the entire post here.

Title: 24 Ways to Effectively Coach Millennial Salespeople
Author: Beth Sunshine
Source: The Center for Sales Strategy Blog
Published: Feb 24, 2014
Time to Digest: 3-5 minutes
The Gist: In this easy-to-digest post which is part of a two-part series, Sunshine argues that Millennials do not have any less sales talent than prior generations. She shares 24 simple tips to coach Millennial salespeople more effectively. One example: “Share your thoughts on their career path with them to increase retention and keep them from bouncing from job to job.” There is also an offer for an eBook on “4 Hot Topics in Managing Millennials.” Read the entire post here.

Even more related content:

Much of this boils down to things you should already be asking and doing as an effective sales manager. You already should be tailoring your approach to each individual salesperson and honing in what motivates them and how they work best. The distinction is you may have to go to new lengths to manage Millennial salespeople effectively, or pivot in new ways, and it will increasingly become the new normal.

You may have to re-tool and re-think your programs (onboarding, training, compensation, dress code, work week, software) to better accommodate these younger workers. Though it might be more accurate to say that these steps must be taken to maintain the organization’s competitiveness (rather than viewing them as “special accommodations” for one group). The bottom line is that by familiarizing yourself with generational trends and suggestions on how to accommodate Millennials’ learning styles, work preferences and motivations, it can help you unlock their optimum performance and strengthen your sales team.

What do you think of our curated content posts? Let us know in the comments if you find it valuable.

Prior Sales Digests with more curated sales content:

Sales Digest: How Old-School Salespeople Can Stay Relevant
Sales Digest: Make Your Pipeline More Effective
Sales Digest: Scary Useful Reads for Sales This Halloween