The millennial bucket is somewhere around 75M people; that’s larger than the number of Baby Boomers, and already the largest group in the workforce. Sales leaders sometimes find great potential in their young workforce.
Other times, they’re terrified the younger generation is too entitled or doesn’t have the core skills needed to excel.
We’ve already shown that Millennials can sell. Here are the four core elements they need to be successful in sales.
Comfort with Failure: Salespeople must learn to fail early. There’s a lot of reaction and reflex in sales, and sometimes you completely miss. In general, I wouldn’t say companies are great at embracing failure, but they oftentimes grow from it; your salespeople will too. Here’s a recommendation: have them run a meeting or ask for an order 3-6 months in and don’t bail them out.
Adapt Impromptu Skills: Most interactions in sales happen quickly, but most managers don’t often train that way. At Tyson Group, we’ve done call center research showing we’ve got 7 seconds to get a prospect’s attention. When you’re new in sales, it’s hard to win favorable attention quickly — and we make it worse by training around long role plays. It’s much more about extemporaneous skills.
Keeping Score: This is important to Millennials. Whether they’re chasing Instagram likes or a potential promotion, this is a generation where metric scoreboards will matter even more than for the Boomers. Competition drives their efforts, ask your kid who scored the most goals in their last little league game, they’ll know.
Busy Work vs. Profitable Action: Research from MIT shows the third most popular reason for unproductive people is “assigning people pointless work.” We do that to young salespeople all the time. If young sales people aren’t actually selling, how can they grow? If you’re a sales manager, you can’t have young sales reps digitally paper-pushing all day. You hired them, so get them going to drive revenue.