Sales force composition is changing: as companies hire millennials (also know as Generation Y) the generational diversity inside your sales forces is expanding. This trend introduces several significant challenges – How do you engage millennials / Gen Y sales reps? How do you motivate them? And, how are their interests and needs alike and different than the rest of the sales team?
Our Pillar Partner, Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) interviewed 5,000 millennials – the findings were reported in strategy + business. In addition, EcSELL Institute held a webinar titled "Building a Sales Culture For Your Gen Y Sales Reps". This new study compliments what was shared during the webinar and adds some additional points for understanding how to manage millennials / Gen Yers:
- Millennials are more willing to defer to authority than either boomers or Gen Xers. This provides sales management with an opportunity to shape millennial’s behavior by ensuring they understand the organization’s culture and expectations. Millennials are more likely to thrive if they know up-front the ingredients for success in the workplace.
- Millennials have about the same level of organizational commitment as boomers. Millenials are not some group apart. As was the case with boomers, millennials want work they will actually enjoy and find meaningful. Like most people they understand that it’s not all going to be fascinating, but a reasonable portion of it can and should be.
Ensuring that Gen Y sales reps are engaged contributors in the workforce will be critical for your sales organization's long-term viability. Best advice: Rather than trying to figure out what particular incentive or behavioral gimmick is going to make millennials more committed and less likely to leave, instead focus on the fundamentals. Gen Y sales reps need coaching and direction more than any other generation in your workforce.
Center for Creative Leadership concludes their research study with this statement: Make sure millennials are fairly compensated; have interesting work to do; and have the opportunity to learn, develop, and advance. Leaders can best manage a multigenerational workplace if they understand and address the special interests and needs of each group but first and foremost focus on creating an organizational culture that supports these employees.