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Canadian Professional Sales Association

Sales Leadership and Motivating Millennial-Dominated Teams

What really motivates Millennials? In support of the upcoming release of the CPSA ebook called The Millennial Generation in Sales, here are some helpful insights from top leaders in and around the sales profession.

Sales Organizations are obsessed with understanding Millennials because they make up nearly 40 percent of the Canadian workforce. By 2020 they will comprise half of the workforce. This is the highest of the G7 countries. Of those, Millennials number 9.6 million and account for 27 percent of the total population - about the same size as the Boomer generation.

What are the motivators of tomorrow’s Millennial-dominated multi-generational salesforce? Read on to gain new insights from sales influencers, analysts and leaders.

Max Altschuler — Founder and CEO of Sales Hacker: "Rather than treating millennials as a problem, cultivate them as assets. For startups and emerging SMB companies still shaping their sales process, this is an opportunity to instill the right habits in millennial sales reps and mold them into all-star players."[1]

John Barrows, the founder of Sales from the Streets: “You need to give Millennial reps something to work with where they can apply their own personality, style, and approach to that structure.”

Dr. Greg Stebbins, internationally recognized authority on Sales Psychology and President of the Stebbins Consulting Group: "Smart managers that focus on developing Millennial's people savvy and who understand flexible work roles and effective virtual teams while leveraging technology will help them become a valuable asset sooner rather than later. Managers who meet the challenges of working with, not against, this generation will reap the rewards that come with shorter ramp times and more rapidly gaining some very valuable sales professionals."[3]

Fred Diamond, Director and Co-Founder of The Institute For Excellence in Sales:

“Millennials want to be challenged. They want to figure out ways to grow. They want to bring solutions. They want to get better. Are you providing a challenging environment to help your Millennials grow? ... The Millennials have a true intention on growing their careers. They want opportunities to be management, they want opportunities to grow as leaders. How are you supporting that? How are you providing value for them to take their careers to the next level?”[4]

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter "With the generational transition underway, I can’t emphasize enough the need for everyone in every company to have a mentor/mentee relationship. It’s difficult to teach people day-to-day skills of a business. Thing are simply too varied. The way day-to-day is learned is by doing it via a one-to-one mentor program. I’ve watched companies navigate the generational change smoothly and others fall apart. The biggest difference I’ve found is those having a strong mentor program imbedded into the company’s culture are the ones more likely to win."

Jamie Shanks, Founder of Sales For Life: "A 45-year-old takes the time to craft their personal brand online. They stop and truly think about what they want to accomplish, who they want to have in their network, and what kind of brand persona they want to have online. In contrast, Millennials, generally speaking, were born with social media in their hands. Social media has always been there for Millennials. While they may evolve their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts over time, they might not make a conscious effort to build their personal brand from scratch through careful planning of their social media presence. So when you’re choosing which sales reps to include in your social selling pilot program, don’t forget to include digital immigrants, who bring a lot of value to the table."[6]

Marc Wayshak, Sales Strategist and Author: “The idea of a 9-to-5 workday is not just foreign to most Millennials; it’s abhorrent. If left to their own devices, these young salespeople might head off to the gym at noon, but that doesn't mean they're not hardworking. They'll likely to stay late at work to finish what they have to do
So instead of setting a rigid work schedule, give your millennial sales team specific daily or weekly sales-activity goals: a certain number of calls, meetings to arrange or events to attend. Then let them work according to the schedule that enables them to be the most productive.[7]

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