How Sales Leaders Can Motivate Younger Employees Through Purpose-Driven Incentives

Author: 
Leeatt Rothschild

Younger employees are committed to the issues they’re passionate about. Millennials are now the largest group in the workforce, and like their Generation Z coworkers, they care deeply about environmental and social causes.

They expect their employers to care, too. According to a survey from management consulting firm Korn Ferry, 63% of millennials said the primary purpose of businesses should be improving society instead of generating profit.

Perhaps especially while the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a temporary hold on popular incentives among this demographic like travel, sales leaders can improve their incentives programs for younger employees by embedding a sense of purpose into their sales outreach. 

Here’s how to inspire your millennial and Gen Z sales reps using mission-driven prospecting gifts and employee recognition.

Boost Sales Enablement with a Meaningful Prospecting Gift

A great mailer can spark delight and organic interest from a prospect. When you design a gift campaign with impact front and center, your younger team members will feel a heightened sense of purpose beyond hitting quotas.

Create a direct mailer or gift that ties a social or environmental cause into the message. Choose contents that align with both your brand’s mission and, for bonus points, your prospect’s.

One idea to consider is a gift rooted in the theme of sustainability, which will resonate with younger employees and prospects alike. While millennials’ concerns over global warming are at an all-time high, Generation Z fears climate change more than anyone else.

For this audience, you might put together a package full of sustainable goods, including a notebook made from 100% reclaimed paper and chocolates sourced from a cacao farm committed to rainforest preservation. In the note to your prospect, you might call out steps your company has taken to reduce everyday waste around the office.

Engage Both Your Employees and Your Prospects Through Gifting

Sometimes, the best incentive is the work itself. When your sales reps feel connected to their outreach, they’ll want to work even harder. 

Incorporating an impactful gift into your prospecting strategy will motivate your sales team in two ways:

  1. Inspire passion. If reps know they’re supporting a cause outside of the immediate sales exchange at hand, they’ll be excited to share that message.
  2. Build confidence. Your team members will have a higher morale in their sales outreach thanks to prospects’ increased receptiveness. Dozens of cold calls to uninterested leads a day can be demoralizing. When your reps are able to connect with prospects who are delighted with the gift package, on the other hand, they can have the meaningful conversations that forge business relationships.

An engaging gift will make your sales reps’ job easier, too. A recipient interested in your company’s mission will be more likely to refer your rep to the right colleague and more likely to give details on how to follow up.

Recognize Your Sales Team With Impact Opportunities

When it comes time to recognize your sales team members’ contributions, keep purpose top-of-mind.

Give your hardworking sales reps the chance to feel like they’re making a difference in a cause close to their hearts. Reward your reps with purpose-driven opportunities, like one of the following: 

  • Propose a volunteering outing for a non-profit. 
  • Let your employee make a donation to an organization of their choice.
  • Give your employee a voice in designing the mission behind your next prospecting campaign.  

Or consider giving a gift that does good, just like your prospecting tool. When your sales reps are enthusiastic about the gifts they send to prospects, they might enjoy a similar package and support the very cause that enriched their work. 

Purpose Is a Powerful Motivator

If you’re struggling to light a fire under younger team members using traditional incentives, try rousing their built-in sense of purpose instead. Young sales execs are no doubt a passionate bunch, and their commitment to the causes they care about can fuel their work.

Through meaningful gifting and impact rewards, connect your company’s sales outreach to a mission your young employees are excited about. Instilling a culture of purpose might just be a boon to your Millennial and Gen Z recruiting efforts, too.

Leeatt Rothschild has over 15 years of experience at the intersection of business, sustainability and brand purpose. In 2016, she founded Packed with Purpose, a corporate gifting company that embeds social impact into the everyday act of gift-giving, from empowering underserved women with job skills to supporting sustainability efforts.