In this article series, our intent is to help Sales Leaders and their teams get ready for the changing Sales and Buying Demographics by the year 2020.
In previous articles on this topic we shared the major upcoming workforce changes that will have a serious impact on sales teams. Fifty percent of the workforce will be comprised of millennials by 2020. Currently, 50% of most sales teams are baby boomers (age 52+)—meaning this shift will effect more than your sales team and customers. It will be important to transition the boomer’s sales roles to the incoming millennial talent; however, before this can occur, you need to attract this age group to your sales positions.
Millennials think and work differently than Boomers and Gen X, therefore it is important to approach this dilemma with a strategy. The first thing you should do to attract and hire millennials into sales positions is rename your Sales Department and Sales Rep titles! This may seem counterproductive, but it is because college and university grads do not want to go into sales—even though 50% of marketing grads end up in a sales type position. Most millennials view sales positions negatively because they typically see them as B2C situations and not as B2B sales where selling is about understanding businesses, customer challenges, solving problems, helping customers find solutions and achieving results. All these job qualities are attractive to millennials. We just have to educate them on sales profession opportunities.
Here are 6 strategies to assist in attracting millennials.
- Be strategic when naming job titles and departments. Consider using Business Development or Client Services as the titles. Millennials are more likely to be attracted to this term over sales and sales rep classifications.
- Try to convey a sense of purpose and a connection to the brand in the job offering, as this is important to millennials. They want to be part of an organization with a larger sense of purpose. Think about how your company is helping the world and convey it through the job description. For example, Apple introduced an employee matching donation program, where it has since matched over $25 million, resulting in over $50 million in donations to various charities worldwide.
- Be the kind of leader millennials want to follow. A recent study showed Millennials place more value on strategic thinkers (39%), inspirational (37%), personable (34%) and visionary (31%) leaders and less value on visible (19%), well-networked (17%), and technically-skilled (17%) leaders. [Forbes]
- Provide an on-boarding, training and CSP Certification program—as Millennials love to learn and be educated. They want to be a part of an environment where they can grow and prosper with the organization. Additionally, this will provide them with a better understanding of their career path. Hiring millennials into customer service and marketing positions can create a career path of promotion in different sales positions.
- Allow flexibility—45% of millennials would choose workplace freedom over pay. This means working from home, flex hours, more time off and holidays mean more to them than a pay increase or larger wage. [Forbes]
- Create a mentorship program. Teaming up the younger work force with the older experienced workforce will help create collaboration and foster success. Additionally, this opportunity to share and transfer product and customer information from experienced baby boomers to aspiring millennials could become the sucession plan for retiring baby boomers.
Stay tuned for more in this series to help get your team ready for the NEW DEFINED Sales Team by 2020 with strategies and ideas to be prepared.
To learn more about the 2020 initiative attend our Evolve Event on March 31.
Lisa is driven by the mantra – Be Strategic. Be Pro-active. Be Brave. – and has been successfully training and coaching sales leaders and their teams to do the same for over 15 years. As the President of Teneo Results since 2003, she has trained thousands of sales professionals at more than 250 companies across North America. She transitions salespeople away from the standard “product & price” approach to having purposeful business conversations with their customers that drive results.