The term millennial is thrown around a lot. It’s as if we all know it’s something important, but we’re not exactly sure why. What makes these millennials, or people born between 1980 and 1995, so important in the workforce? Specifically, what makes millennial sales reps such a hot commodity?
It’s predicted that by 2020, almost half of the US workforce will be comprised of millennials. That makes this generation quite important to ALL industries. When looking at sales organizations specifically, the millennial generation has particular qualities and tendencies that make them both attracted to, and a good fit for sales roles.
As millennials get closer and closer to taking over a majority of the workforce, your organization should be strategizing on how to best attract top millennial talent, and make them a successful part of your organization. If you aren’t planning on getting smart about millennials, keep in mind that other companies will.
Use the following tips as a guide to attract, manage and retain millennial sales reps.
1. Use Your Office to Attract Millennials.
Incorporating some of those qualities important to millennials into your current space can go a long way as far as attracting top millennial sales talent.
Millennials love a technology focused or startup office vibe. Think ping pong tables and maybe a kegerator or two. While some millennial talent might see these as surface level distractions, a lot of them will enjoy the fun, modern atmosphere.
Office space may seem silly, but it’s not for millennials. Try some of these tips to attract millennial talent to your location:
- Have an open concept office. Most millennials prefer a modern workspace with an open floor concept that allows for improved communication and interaction. Having up-to-date technology integrated into the office helps too.
- Incorporate fun. Whether your lunch space has a ping pong table or foosball, having fun interactive components in your office will help attract millennials.
- Allow for flexibility. Especially if you are looking to attract millennial sales reps, allow for flexibility in their work schedule. Hotel desk spaces help sales reps easily move in and out of the office.
- Add some perks. It’s safe to say most everyone loves office perks, but millennials definitely have them on their radar. Consider having a complimentary snack section or providing lunch once a week.
2. Adjust Your Company Culture for Millennial Tendencies.
In addition to attracting millennials through your office space, it’s important to consider company culture differences that are important when attracting this particular generation.
If culture is your focus, these are some great tips to get started incorporating millennial preferences to your program:
- Encourage learning. Millennials love the idea of continuing to invest in themselves, especially if their employer is footing the bill. Provide an annual education stipend to each of your sales rep employees and encourage them to further their education through seminars or certifications.
- Embrace technology trends. BYOD programs give millennial employees the chance to purchase the technology of their choice.
- Be transparent. Millennials want to work for companies with a culture that values transparency. There are several ways to go about this, including regular company updates and focusing on certain management styles.
- Have more fun. Not only do your potential millennials look for fun office space components, they like to have fun as a group too. Schedule more company outings or happy hours to keep this social generation happy.
3. Consider Specific Millennial Sales Reps Management Needs.
Once you’ve successfully attracted new millennial sales talent to your organization, the next step is managing and retaining them. Just like what they look for in office space and culture, millennials have certain tendencies that may be new for your sales managers.
Since one of the most important factors when considering employee retention is management, we’ve compiled the following millennial-specific management tips:
- Incorporate technology into your process. While it may seem obvious, millennials love technology, and they excel at it too. You may get recommendations on new technologies or softwares for your sales team to experiment with from your millennial employees. Try to keep an open mind.
- Increase your feedback momentum. Millennials love feedback. If your current process only involves one or two annual check-ins, you may want to pause and rethink. Keep in mind, you don’t need to have the exact same process with all employees.
- Offer flexibility. Use flexibility as an added incentive. Reward your sales reps with the opportunity to work from home if they hit certain quotas, or if they book a certain number of client appointments.
- Embrace pushback. Just like millennials love to hear feedback, they are much more open about giving it too. Millennials are likely to ask lots of questions, which might seem confrontational at first. As a manager it’s important to understand this isn’t coming from a negative place. One tip for heading off pushback is to give more context and information upfront.
- Encourage collaboration and group work. Consider millennials the social butterflies of your sales organization. They love working in groups and collaborating together. Incorporating group work into training or coaching programs can be an effective way to respond to this need.
- Provide incentives. Millennials are motivated to earn, especially those millennials seeking out sales roles. Have great incentive and commission plans in place that reward results, and provide them with tools to monitor and track their progress.
While each of these tactics may not work for every person, the majority of these ideas should put you on the path for millennial success.
If catering parts of your business to a specific generation seems absolutely crazy, remember that leveraging a talent pool that will soon make up around half of the US workforce will become important faster than you think. Even if you start with just a few of the suggestions above for attracting, managing and retaining millennial sales reps, you’ll be better off than where you started.
Have other great tips for attracting and keeping millennial sales reps happy? We’d love to hear about them.