Why Millennials Make Great Salespeople

Author: 
Mark Roberge

Let’s face it, millennials get a bad rap. In the past, we’ve been quick to dismiss this generation as lazy, narcissistic and self-concerned. But smart businesses know there’s two sides to every story, especially when it comes to building a 21st century sales organization.

Today’s buyers are empowered by the Internet and are demanding more personalized, more relevant, and more helpful interactions with salespeople as a result. Millennials are well positioned to deliver this promise. 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. Here are the top reasons I think millennials make naturally great salespeople:

They’re digital natives
Being native to digital tools like social media isn’t just a competitive edge for marketers anymore. Knowing how to leverage social platforms for selling sets top performers apart from the pack; consider that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their colleagues and peers. Channels like LinkedIn and Twitter create valuable platforms for listening, engaging, and building relationships with prospects. While social selling is a relatively new buzz term for the industry, it’s a sweet spot for millennial reps.

Being social media savvy isn’t the only bonus of having a “digital sixth sense.” Millennials adopt new technologies twice as quickly as the rest of the world so using tools like Salesforce, Google Drive and Evernote is second nature. Jumping at the chance to integrate digital tools into your day-to-day routine helps reps save time, streamline processes, and communicate internally. A win-win for everyone.

They live and breathe your product
Millennials and your customers have one vital thing in common: they’re drawn to a company’s mission first and foremost. As a result, younger reps don’t just sell your product, they believe in it. I’ve found that 20- and 30-somethings make persuasive salespeople not because they’re aggressive, but because they know everything prospects ever need to know about your product or service and then some.

It used to be that if your audience wanted to learn more about your company’s offering, their only real option was to get in touch with the gatekeepers of information: sales reps. But today, being an expert is more of challenge; 57 percent of the buyer’s purchase decision is made before they even talk to someone from sales. Luckily, millennials don’t skip a beat when it comes to gearing themselves with product knowledge and going above and beyond the FAQ page. Their commitment to your company creates valuable interactions for your prospects and business.

They’re entrepreneurial
One fundamental characteristic of the millennial generation that sets them apart is that they’ve got entrepreneurialism in their DNA; consider that over half of millennials surveyed hope to start their own business one day or already have. You could argue that this generation is lazy and narcissistic (and believe me, a lot of people do), but I believe their entrepreneurial nature makes them solution-oriented, creative, and hungry. Funnily, that description rings true for most top salespeople I know.

Whether they’re exploring unconventional discounts, replacing follow-up emails with clever memes, or building their own personal brand online, great sales reps aren’t afraid to think outside the box in order to help close a deal. Solution-oriented is the new aggressive when it comes to reaching prospects and building relationships and as a result, entrepreneurial reps are ahead of the game.

They’re data-driven
Back when I started out as a rep, we didn’t have all the tools and platforms we have today for measuring our performance and deciphering what worked and what didn’t when it came to building relationships with prospects. Thanks to their digital disposition, millennial salespeople are quick to dive into the metrics that determine key differences between a top performer’s efforts and everyone else’s.

Lucky for our business and our prospects, millennials approach selling as a science. I don’t want to hire reps who are going to write emails and make calls with no rhyme or reason behind them. What’s impressive to me is A/B testing emails to figure out which subject line, length, or time of day performs best, or determining how many calls they should be making each day to hit their quota for that month. This new generation of salespeople embraces data because it lets them see real results, learn from those results, and ultimately become even better reps.

Our prospects have already shifted their buying behavior and are taking it upon themselves to find information, collect product reviews, and decide when, where, and how they want to talk to your sales team. As a result, the criteria for hiring salespeople have changed dramatically over the past decade. I don’t look for salespeople that want to control the conversation anymore; I look for reps that data-driven, solution-oriented, and empathetic. It’s a tall order but in my experience, millennials bring this crucial set of skills to the table and to prospects.

Mark Roberge is the Chief Revenue Officer of Inbound Sales Products for HubSpot, the developer of an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads and close sales.