I’ve read a number of interesting articles lately on the topic of millennials in the sales and marketing world.

Some Reading

Earlier this year I read a great article from Xactly’s Jordan Scott on the topic of motivation.  Recently I read SiriusDecisions’ Alan Gonsenhauser piece on Tips for CMOs to get the most out of millennials.
Some seem to disagree on if Millennials are a burden or an opportunity. Revegy‘s Michelle Valdez wrote on how to give Tough Love for Millennials. Others have writtenScreen Shot 2016-09-06 at 18.10.15 about why Millennials make excellent sales people including Hubspot’s Mark Roberge‘s article in June. Salesloft’s Greg Klingshirn put together an excellent infographic around Mark’s article.
It all makes for interesting reading. However, the reality is that by 2020, millennials will constitute more than 50 percent of the workforce, and more than 75 percent in the following decade.

Now What?

I’ve decided to take a bit of a different tact and instead of talk about how to ‘manage’ or ‘deal with’ millennials, I wanted to talk about how sales operations can leverage millennials to be a powerful change agent for their entire sales organisations.
  • Millennials have been shown to adopt technology twice as faster as older age groups. As such they are the perfect group to be early adopters or beta testers and provide feedback for tools to enhance sales productivity. The best people to evangelise new technology are actual sales users. Sales listen to sales. Get your beta group on board and make them a key part of your rollout plan.
  • Millennials are great with social media. A study by Magisto shows that a larger percentage of millennials are using social media. Working with your millennials to guide their professional social media presence will soon start generating results. It won’t take long till others take notice. 78% of those using social media outsell their colleagues.
  • Millennials are highly educated. They have the skills and demand career progression. As such, this is a great opportunity to evaluate your sales career structure and ensure you have a robust and enticing growth path for everyone in your sales organisation. It might also be a chance to provide more training to your management community to ensure they are strong mentors and role models.
  • To move ahead, millennials are keen to learn and engage in training. If your company is not providing robust training offerings, they will find somewhere that will. Look into mobile training solutions that can be digested in small bit. This can be useful not only for millennials and their attention span, but also for baby boomers juggling a busy life. Learning from the appeal of video games and Candy Crush, introducing gamification as part of training can also be a powerful motivator.
  • Millennials hate to be told what to do. However, they can be extremely creative thinking of other ways to do things. Use this to your advantage. If you have a new go-to-market plan, a new product, or even a new market segment, put together some focus groups. Millennials like to work in teams. Engage millennials alongside more seasoned professionals. You will get some great feedback and also critically engage this audience.

Hopefully I’ve provided some ideas on how to leverage millennials to help improve and transform your sales organisation.

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