Millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) are currently the largest generation of workers in the U.S. workforce: 35% — or more than one in three — of labor force participants are Millennials. But according to Indeed and CNBC, Sales doesn’t even make the cut for job desirability among Millennials. One reason might be that Millennials are the most educated generation and are more likely to pursue specialized careers with their myriad degrees. 

But here’s the thing. Millennials are the ultimate consumers, which means they know what sells. Hyperconnectivity and the demand for quick and thorough, on-the-go information have reshaped how companies deliver customer service, interact in sales transactions, and win brand loyalty. So not only is this generation of digital natives driving what sells, but they are also finding new techniques — mostly drawn from newer technologies — to transform how to sell. And they’re really good at it. 

Millennials are low-key woke 

It’s no secret that Millennials are more tech-savvy, independent-thinking, and flexible with communication than their Boomer counterparts. And when it comes to company performance and success, tapping into these three defining traits is a very powerful strategy. 

  1. Millennials have grown up fluent in technology from consuming large amounts of information and adapting to new software, devices, and other technical developments, giving them an inherent edge in the field of sales.
  1. Stubborn, entrepreneurial, and overthrowing the hierarchy, these so-called “change-makers” or “movers and shakers” are more willing to pursue new ideas than to follow traditional models, which is extremely important for any company looking to keep up in a competitive industry.
  1. Millennials are labeled excessive texters and horrible communicators. But in reality, they rely on email, Slack, and other advanced technologies to communicate because of the speed, traceability, and candor that phone calls or in-person meetings don’t always allow.

Sales leaders value EQ

In addition to technology and communication, emotional Intelligence and having an emotional justification for purchasing is important to the modern generation. Social awareness, empathy, and having a clear idea of values have emerged as pillars to the average worker’s worldview and are fundamentally changing what it means to market or sell a product or service.

“Emotional drivers are actually more prominent in B2B decision-making than in B2C purchases,” suggests Howard Breindel, Co-CEO at leading DeSantis Breindel. Breindel says “Think about it: A B2B purchase is a considered one. An involved one. A relationship-driven one. The stakes are higher than most consumer purchases, and tapping into clients’ emotional drivers is critical to building the trust necessary to win their business.”

Furthermore, people don’t want to be “sold to.” According to Karleen Murphy, Education Account Executive at SAP Canada “Old-school selling is out. They’re looking for a knowledgeable resource that can provide them with the information and materials that they need to make an informed buying decision. Successful reps are therefore personable, organized, resourceful, good listeners, passionate, driven, and confident.

What does this mean for employers?

Millennials have all the essential traits that not only make them good salespeople but also might make them the best generation of salespeople we’ve ever seen. But the generational divide and clash of cultures have made it difficult for employers to attract young talent. And as we’re seeing with the current job market, there is still a significant skill gap among sales reps that makes managing and retaining talent even harder. In Part 2, we’ll look more closely at how your company can close that gap and give you the competitive edge that will help you drive sales success.