Why do millennials make great salespeople?

Millennial sales reps

Millennial sales reps

Many companies are now hiring millennials – a move that expands generational diversity of their sales teams. It also raises a couple of significant questions like: How do you engage millennial sales reps? We’ve addressed that question in several previous blogs.

But the question we haven’t discussed is: Why might millennials make great salespeople? Mark Roberge – Chief Revenue Officer of Inbound Sales Products for HubSpot – published an interesting article answering this question in the SMM Monitor. It’s definitely worth a read. Here are some highlights:

According to Roberge, “Today’s buyers are empowered by the Internet and are demanding more personalized, more relevant, and more helpful interactions with salespeople.  Millennials are well positioned to deliver on this expectation. This generation not only embraces the new playbook, they helped write it by leading the digital charge and tuning out old-school sales tactics from day one.”

He goes on to share the top reasons he thinks millennials will do well in today’s challenging sales environment:

  • They’re digital natives – It will become increasingly important to be digitally savvy and it’s a sweet spot for millennials.
  • They live and breathe your product – Young sales reps in general are drawn to a company’s mission which means they don’t just sell your product, they believe in it and that is transparent to customers.
  • They’re entrepreneurial – In today’s market bring a business mindset to the engagement is exactly what customer are expecting.
  • They’re data-driven – Millennial salespeople will approach selling as a science, embracing the tools and analytics that are increasingly becoming important as a foundation for success.

Roberge ends the article with this point: “The criteria for hiring salespeople have changed dramatically over the past decade. Customers don’t look for salespeople that want to control the conversation anymore; they look for reps that are data-driven, solution-oriented, and empathetic.”

Our sense is Roberge is correct.  Customers want trusted advisors not product facilitators.  They expect sales rep to bring fresh ideas for framing the problem and insights for generating creative solutions.  Our bet is millennials are free from some of the history that will prevent that from happening and some of the talents to make sure that it does.

The challenge for sales management is to develop the mindset and skills to leverage that potential.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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2 Responses to Why do millennials make great salespeople?

  1. Rebecca Sherrill says:

    Equally important to meeting this challenge is ensuring that we hire the right fit. In my previous position at SAP, we utilized a scientifically validated assessment tool to measure ‘sales DNA’ in recent grads with no sales experience. And yes, this generation comes into the customer conversation with out of the box ideas and approaches. When we provide ongoing infrastructure, knowledge/skill support, and mentoring we create a successful new generation of sales professionals. I hope you keep this conversational thread going because hiring managers and sales managers need to start thinking differently about the recruitment process for millennial sales talent or potential sales talent. Thanks!

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