In the last 10 years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of millennials in the workplace. This is especially true in the sales world. According to a survey by Deloitte the number of millennial salespeople in the United States has grown by nearly 50% just since 2010. This influx of younger professionals, also known as Generation Y, has changed the dynamic of the sales industry, bringing with them new ideas, new strategies, and a different approach to the sales process.
The boom of millennial sales reps is largely due to their tech-savviness, their digital skills, and their ability to navigate the online world. Millennials are often drawn to sales because of their ability to use technology to analyze data, build relationships with customers, and close deals quickly.
As technology continues to evolve, it is expected that the number of millennials in the sales field will continue to increase. Deloitte estimates that millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. This also means an increase in millennial leadership. Millennials are increasingly seen as the perfect fit for the modern sales landscape, as they are comfortable using a wide range of digital tools. Additionally, they are often seen as more creative, open-minded, and innovative, all of which are traits that are valuable in today’s sales environment, whether in a sales rep role or a leadership role.
It is clear that soon, millennials will become the dominant force in sales. Businesses need to find ways to tap into their skills and resources to remain competitive in the market.
So, to successfully lead a millennial sales team, it is critical to understand how to empower these Gen-Y professionals, the common traits that drive them, and how they are best motivated.
The Importance of Fostering a Workplace Culture That Empowers Millennials to Thrive
The importance of building an empowering workplace culture that accommodates millennials cannot be overstated. As the largest and most diverse generation in the workforce, millennials bring different values, expectations, and communication styles to the workplace.
Companies that can adapt and create an empowering workplace culture that accommodates the needs of millennials and helps them thrive will be able to attract and retain top talent, increase productivity and innovation, build stronger workplace relationships, and increase revenue even further.
Creating an empowering workplace culture involves creating an environment that values each employee’s unique skills, talents, and experiences, while also providing the resources and support needed to help them succeed.
Employers who ignore the importance of doing this are likely to suffer from a high turnover rate and difficulty recruiting top talent.
“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.” — Warren G. Bennis
What Drives Millennials in the Workplace & What They’re Looking For
Millennials are unique in that they have grown up in a world of advancing technology, have a strong sense of individualism, and are often more socially and environmentally conscious than their predecessors.
This means that this generation has a unique set of traits, motivations, and workplace requirements. And it is important to understand these things to be able to effectively lead a millennial sales team and create the workplace culture that we described above.
Common Traits of Millennials
Here are some of the common traits of millennials in the workplace, which drive their actions and interactions with others. Many of these traits are very valuable to have in a sales environment:
- Highly tech-savvy and comfortable with the latest technologies.
- Proactive in seeking out new challenges and opportunities.
- Self-directed and capable of working well both independently and in team settings.
- Collaborative and team-oriented, valuing an understanding of the importance of collective effort.
- Open to change and willing to experiment with new ideas, which means they are often also more open to taking risks.
- Focused on results rather than hours worked, with an appreciation for efficiency.
- Prefer flexibility in terms of working hours and vacation time, with an understanding of the importance of a work-life balance.
- Open to feedback and receptive to constructive criticism.
- Intellectually curious and interested in career development, with a desire to learn more and grow/advance professionally.
- Respectful of the opinions of others and willing to consider different perspectives.
What Motivates Millennials & What They’ll Be Looking for in a Workplace
Once you understand the traits that many millennials have in common, you can more easily create a workplace environment that motivates them. It is important to keep in mind what drives this generation and what they’ll want to see in the workplace. Things that are important to them include:
- A robust tech stack: Millennials have grown up in an era of technology, and are used to having the latest tools and resources at their fingertips. They view technology as essential for sufficiently doing their jobs. Your company should therefore be offering the latest sales technology to make the workplace more efficient and provide reps with the resources and support they need to do their best work.
- Regular one-on-one meetings with their sales leader: Regular one-on-one meetings between reps and their sales leader are essential for fostering trust and open communication, as well as providing the feedback and guidance millennial reps are looking for. They also appreciate the chance to build a relationship with their leader, as it helps them to feel supported and motivated to perform better in their role.
- New ways of communicating with the internal team and customers: Millennial sales reps value newer ways of communicating with their internal team and customers because it allows them to connect with them on a more personal level. For example, social media, in particular, has allowed millennials to interact with customers (especially those who are also millennials) in a more meaningful and engaging way, which can lead to better customer relationships and higher sales.
- A positive and respectful workplace culture: In the eyes of millennials, this means a culture that provides a sense of belonging and allows employees to feel valued and respected as professionals. This includes offering flexible work hours, providing mentoring and sales coaching opportunities, offering meaningful rewards and recognition (especially short-term based), being transparent and open with authentic communication, and valuing diversity and inclusion.
- An open and trusting environment: This means encouraging an environment where employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their ideas, collaborating with others, and are empowered to make decisions. It also means creating a workplace culture that respects and values the diverse perspectives of all employees, regardless of their age, gender, or background.
An Empowered Millennial Sales Team = Continued Success
Millennials are the largest and most diverse generation in the workforce, and they are driving changes in the traditional workplace. The way millennials work is changing, as is the way they expect to be treated by employers. Millennials want to be part of an organization that empowers them to succeed, values their contributions, and provides opportunities for growth, development, and advancement.
As you can see above, successfully leading a millennial sales team is directly dependent on if your reps feel supported and empowered. By creating a workplace culture that accommodates millennials and enables them to thrive, you can ensure that you are able to attract and retain top talent, while also building a strong and successful salesforce.