Millennials in the Sales Force: Nightmare or Breath of Fresh Air?

You’ve probably heard it before: Millennials are entitled, allergic to hard work, and just plain annoying. But contrary to these popular beliefs, recent studies have concluded that Millennials are actually one of the most valuable assets to innovative companies across all industries.

In fact, over half the American workforce will be comprised of Millennials by the year 2020. Understanding why Millennials are an essential part of any sales team and how best to work with them is critical to achieving your sales goals.

Millennials, Who Needs ‘Em?

Short answer: well, you do. The long answer is a bit more complex. Without Millennials, your sales team would lack the necessary characteristics that are the driving force of today’s economy.

The defining traits of this generation take root in the rapid development of technology, recent economic uncertainty, and globalization. Millennials have a strikingly different set of values and expectations than those of their parents or grandparents as a result. And while their affinity for social media might be seen as shallow, their career motivations are anything but.

People born between the 1980’s and early 2000’s value autonomy and personal development opportunities over a paycheck. Not only that, but according to Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, 84% of Millennials say making a difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.

So here we have a generation of people whose main concerns include growing as individuals and using their work to have a positive impact on the world at large. This particular set of qualities is what defines Millennials and makes them an asset to any sales team. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like that?

Also, Millennials are excited about having a job in the sales industry. As Business Insider concluded, being a sales rep is rated as on of the top 5 happiest jobs in America. For us it’s pretty obvious why that is, but how would these whipper snappers know that?

As a whole this generation is particularly drawn to entrepreneurialism, a perfect match for any sales position. Sales is the perfect opportunity for them to operate as an individual while supporting a common goal. Their modus operandi, with habits like assessing strategies and setting personal milestones, are what make them excellently suited for such careers.

Even if you’re still on the fence about them, it will only be a few more years before your department is drowning in Millennials. As we mentioned before, this generation is set to make up the majority of the workforce in less than three years. Not only that, but 36% of companies looking to expand plan to increase sales hiring in the very recent future. So, out of sheer necessity, learning how best to work with Millennials is not only a key factor to any kind of success, it’s quickly becoming an essential skill.

Can’t Work With ‘Em, Can’t Work Without ‘Em

Now we understand why Millennials in the workplace should be celebrated (or at least tolerated). So what do you do about it? They don’t want to follow the systems you have in place. How are you supposed to work with these inflexible youths?!

The answer, my frustrated friend, is simple: agile sales management. Agile sales management is the perfect pairing for any sales manager looking to help their Millennial rep achieve their highest potential. The agile method is a great alternative to traditional project management because is forgoes strict, linear principles in favor of those that are flexible and more intuitive.

Like its Millennial counterpart, agile started in the early 90’s. The values and ideals reflected in this project management system go hand in hand with the priorities of those in their 20’s and 30’s. Not only that, but the agile method has proven to have a 64% success rate when compared to the traditional waterfall model, which only garners a 49% success rate.

Adapting projects to ever changing needs is a cornerstone of the agile method. This elastic approach to achieving goals gives your reps the most autonomy possible. The freedom to assess and adjust their own system is important for the Millennial employee. Giving them ownership and authority over their daily tasks is vital to their satisfaction in the workplace and, not so coincidentally, will prove to have an overall higher rate of achievement. It’s a win-win.

Another reason why agile sales management is so great for Millennials is that it focuses on smaller, more urgent goals. These goals include mini projects known as sprints. The objective is to work quickly while minimizing error to deliver better results. This is appealing for Millennials because they are given the opportunity to make a noticeable impact on each step of the sales process. Not unlike our expectations for technology, speed combined with accuracy and high performance is the backbone of success in the eyes of many Millennials.

The Right Tools For the Job

The best way to implement the agile sales method is to provide the appropriate tools to your employees. These tools should assist your reps with completing tasks in an efficient manner as well as aid them in the process of analyzing, assessing and adjusting their sales technique as they move forward. Millennials, having grown up with technology, appreciate the look and feel of quality software programs that do just that. When choosing your next sales program, make sure to select one that is both easy to use and provides a mobile solution.

Ease of use should be a no brainer. Not only have your Millennial employees come to expect this of any quality software they use but your older sales reps will be likely to adapt to the technology faster. Throw in some excellent design and you’ve got yourself a real winner.

Providing a mobile solution to sales technology is also key to implementing the agile sales management system. Look for a system that offers an intuitive app that is specifically tailored to the hand-held device experience. This is extremely helpful for field reps who want to update client information in real time between meetings or during taxi cab rides. Provide necessary tools to achieving the maximum potential of the agile management method and watch your employees, Millennials included, achieve more than you ever thought possible.

If you’d like to learn more about how to adapt and implement the agile management method, here are some helpful strategies to execute this transition. Download our free guide to key agile management principles and get started today!

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