Millennials. We’re entitled, self-centered, and lazy (or so we’ve been told). With such a damaging disposition I can see why it may terrify sales hiring managers everywhere to know the ugly truth: you’re going to need us sooner or later.
It’s estimated that by 2020 roughly half of the US workforce will be Millennials. Lee Caraher, the San Francisco-based author of the book Millennials & Management comments, “A business without Millennials is a business without a future.”
Before you close down shop, let’s take a look at the numbers. Is there any data to back up these awful allegations about Millennials? Good news—it doesn’t look like it.
Actually, in many cases with Millennial stereotypes, the opposite is actually true. Lazy? Two-thirds (64%) of us are willing to work longer hours for the opportunities to be leaders. Job Hopping? No more than our parents did in the ‘80s. What about needing constant praise? When asked whether every member of a successful team deserves a reward, 64% of Gen X employees agreed compared with 55% of Millennials. Hey, maybe we’re not so bad after all!
Interestingly, when it comes to sales specifically, the traditional markings of a Millennial make us a great fit for the profession.
Here are the top three reasons we want to join your sales team and why you should give us a chance.
1. We Want to Change the World (While Selling Your Product)
We are the first generation to believe that business can affect greater change than government. For that reason, find us a product we believe in and we will sell it all day long. When choosing an employer, 95% of Millennials say that a company’s reputation matters to them. What concerns really get us going?
The four issues most often cited as important to Millennials are reducing unemployment, reversing resource scarcity, protecting the environment, and addressing inequality of incomes and wealth.
If we’re working for a company with a mission statement that resembles our own, it’s easy for us to find, pitch and close prospects. Having grown up in the word-of-mouth generation, we understand the value of referrals and truly want to solve the prospect’s problem. We were solution selling before solution selling was cool.
In addition, sales positions are a combination of some of our favorite things! Featuring job satisfaction, work/life balance, autonomy, merit-based rewards and the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. At the end of the day, we’re all working towards the same goal: workplace happiness and sales is rated as the 5th happiest job in America. Cherry on top: salespeople who are happier at work sell more.
2. We’re Texting at Work (While Closing Deals)
I know you hate to see us texting at work, but it turns out we’re actually nurturing our social selling profiles and warming the pipeline. We’ve grown up attached to our phones (90% of us sleep with them) but that’s not such a bad thing. We’re digital natives and can adopt new technologies and methodologies twice as quickly as the general population. We’re also more than willing to teach these new tips to our co-workers (just ask!) and peers.
We leverage all levels of social media to listen and learn our customers’ needs and wants. We can even help you find customers where you don’t think to look – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, webinars, gorilla marketing. All we need is a little bit of leeway and a vote of confidence. Help us help you.
Our communication channels may not fit the old cold-calling mold but rest assured we’re not all playing Angry Birds all day. We’re reaching out to prospects via chat, texts, and emails; we’re engaging with future customers on their blogs, Quora, reddit, and social media channels. Still skeptical? Research shows that all of this social selling pays off. 46% of social sellers hit quota compared to 38% of sales reps who don’t leverage social selling.
3. We’re Data-Driven and Want to Learn (Really!)
We grew up being able to Google anything, any time. How old is Beyonce? Will it rain tomorrow? What subject line results in the highest click-through rate? Having grown up with these resources at our fingertips, we’re used to digging for the data that we need. We’re more likely to approach sales as a science than an art.
A/B testing our subject lines, recording our open-rates and religiously updating our CRM, we’re happy to track our performance. We’re open-minded and willing to try new tools to help us reach (and exceed) quota.
We’re also on course to become the most educated generation in North American history. Among 18 to 24 year olds – a record share, 41% – were enrolled in college as of 2012, according to the most recent census data. And the learning doesn’t stop there, we want to learn in the workplace too! 39% of us would opt to attend a third-party sponsored conference, 37% would attend classroom training and 36% would work with a mentor to learn on the job.
Millennials can make an invaluable addition to any sales team that’s willing to adapt to today’s Selling 2.0 Ecosystem. Social sellers by default, we’re eager to join your team and close your deals.
Will you give us a shot?