Millennials in Sales (Part 2): How to attract and hire them
In part 1, we broke down the character traits and skills that give Millennials an inherent advantage in the field of Sales. Familiarity with digital technologies, an opportunistic mindset, and ease of communication are all important capabilities that can produce major results when undertaken by sales reps. And with today’s hiring landscape, there is an excess of untapped talent that companies need but don’t know how to capture, let alone retain. Part 2 will explain how to more effectively attract and hire Millennials to your sales organization.
What they want
Millennials are disrupting retail, hospitality, real estate and housing, transportation, entertainment and travel, higher education, and — most notably — the workplace. They change jobs at a higher rate than any other generation and more than half are currently looking for a new job. So if you’re wondering “Are Millennials really that different?” the answer is yes. Here’s why.
How to attract them
Recruiting tactics have become as diverse as the candidates they’re hoping to attract. Some of the most successful companies like Oracle, Facebook, and Google, have shifted their strategies to provide Millennials an opportunity to learn and grow, both intellectually and financially. All-inclusive campuses with luxury housing and on-site fitness facilities promise recent grads a fun environment and safe bubble where they can nurture friendships and professional development.
If a strategy of that magnitude isn’t feasible, keep in mind that what you’re going for is loyalty. Planting that seed can start with campus recruitment programs (Bumble is notorious for their university and early-career ambassadorships) that can help solidify your service with the next generation. Early career rotational programs are another fantastic way to expose young talent to different sides of your organization. When it comes time for hiring, those primped and ready twenty-somethings will closely align with your company’s values, and most importantly, be eager to stay.
How to retain them
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that hiring new talent is more costly than retaining employees. So once you’ve assembled your army of star performers, it’s critical to have a bullet-proof retention strategy in place. Here are a few of the most important things to focus on:
- Offer ongoing training (but not the traditional kind)
An excellent onboarding curriculum and resources like conferences and onsite training are important, but they’re not necessarily the cutting-edge of career growth. Ultimately, Millennials are executors and learn by doing. So instead, focus on finding more opportunities to involve your young employees and offer continuous constructive feedback with a clear path for career growth.
- Develop “hard skills”
The workforce has only become more competitive, and individuals with hard skills like computer programming, writing, mathematics, and law tend to be more successful in their careers. But education doesn’t have to begin and end with a degree.
As a sales rep, you might find yourself in a complex technology vertical or highly specialized industry like healthcare. Learning about your clients’ product offerings is crucial to forming a compelling sales pitch and winning their trust. So focus on offering knowledge — even certifications or licenses — on software, accounting, project management, and marketing, among others job-specific skills.
- Provide perks that matter
Companies have to keep up with a changing corporate landscape where long-term employee engagement and retention mean everything. In order to do so, leadership must be willing to invest in their employees’ well-being. But we’re not talking free lunch, or even baseline medical benefits. Some companies are attracting their talent by offering tuition credit benefits and student loan repayment. Then, of course, you could also be like Microsoft and dish out pet insurance…
- Foster a culture of positive competition
Salespeople love a little friendly competition, and one way to drive performance on your younger sales team is by setting goals that can be reached through various games, matchups, and contests. But be sure to offer the right incentives. Daily-use team performance app, Surprise, offers individual and group games (that are actually fun) and keeps track of your score in a Success Index. When the score goes up, you win Surprises! Cold call blitzes, bracket-style competitions, and other buzzy contests can help mix things up and fire up your team.
Recruiters are continuously looking to Millennials for new sales talent. But knowing what will attract them to your organization now and how to keep them engaged and loyal down the road are important factors to consider. The bottom line is: Millennials want to grow, and they want to grow with you. So making sure your company’s offering package and resources list is in line with their values from the start will make your team more successful for years to come.