7 Things Sales Managers Need to Know About Millennials

Millennial and sales managers
In December, Forbes said that millennials (80s/90s babies) will be making “major changes in corporations over the next decade” and that some may be ill-prepared for the forthcoming generational sea-change. By next year, 36% of the American workforce will be millennials, and by 2025 that number will rise toward 75%.

So, what do they want? What’s their ransom?

If you’re a sales manager, you work to get the most of your team and knowing what strings to pull is half the battle. While you’ve no doubt noticed the influx of these fresh-faced and sometimes cocky (which I can say, since I am one) game changers, here are some things that you should know. Learning how to get the most out of this swarming mob of twenty-somethings can really be a difference-making asset to an organization:


1. Millennials can’t be bought.

Everyone works for money, but enterprising young millennials are optimistic that they can gain wealth through diverse means. Largely gone are the days of the “company man” — the one who would make a career out of staying at one place and patiently working his way up the ladder. Millennials will work, but they’re keenly aware of what they’re working for. The dollar isn’t as almighty for millennials as it used to be, but what is almighty? Strange you should ask…


2. They’ll work hard for a purpose.

Don’t think millennials will push themselves for your dream, per se. 75% of millennials see themselves as “authentic” and are unwilling to compromise personal values, and 61% feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. As a result, you’ll get the most out of millennials if you can help make your dream, their dream too. The best way to do that? Show them the purpose behind it. Strengthening a city? Helping to better your clients’ lives? Make sure your millennials understand that.


3. Millennials want flexibility.

Millennials respond favorably to a flexible work environment, and 69% say that physically “going to work” is not all together necessary. Millennials that are afforded flexibility in their work environment will often reward a company with hard work and loyalty as a result.


4. They want to be recognized when they do well.

Millennials want to feel accomplished and satisfied with their work and are likely to lose motivation otherwise. This is one of the reasons sales leaderboards are effective in driving favorable behaviors; they naturally promote leader-to-employee and peer-to-peer recognition.


5. Millennials are versatile and quick learners.

This was the first generation to grow up fully immersed in the internet age, surfing information super-highways (or whatever they used to say) by the time they learned how to read and write. In their short lives, millennials have experienced more innovation and been bombarded with more technology than any group of humans in history. Because of this they’re comparatively adaptable than older generations and usually thrive from pushing their boundaries.

motivating millennials - sales manager

6. They’re social and collaborative.

This is true both in terms of how they think and work. Show me a millennial that is more than an arm’s length away from a social network at this moment, and I’ll show you someone who’s lying about their age. Millennials work effectively in groups and are receptive to the ideas of others, so if you can harness the energy of the team as a whole, you’ll often see great results.

7. They expect work to be enjoyable, even entertaining.

Growing up with so much technological stimuli has resulted in shorter attention spans and the need for instant gratification. Concepts like sales gamification, motivation, acceleration (or whatever you want to call it), are in some ways rooted in this actuality, in seeking to focus workers with engaging methods. [But they’re definitely not just for younger generations. More on that here.] Embracing the realities of the modern world and deploying forward-thinking tools as a result is the best way to get the most out of this crowd.


Millennials may march to the beat of a slightly different drum than some people are used to, but to a savvy, forward-thinking sales leader this generation represents a potentially tremendous and valuable asset. Consider these tips as you coach them, and you’ll be ready to realize it.

Oh, and if you don’t know who this is, you still have some work to do!

(Kelly Kapowski, Goddess of the Millennials)

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