5 Myths About Working with Millennials in Sales (Debunked!)

Many people think that Millennials are not good at sales. But they can be very motivated and make connections with customers.

For years, we’ve all heard about what makes Millennials tick. We may have formed opinions and let them shift into stereotypes without much firsthand experience.

Stereotypes can lead to bias in the workplace, which affects sales teams.

By 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce. It’s time for sales leaders to look at them a different way and stop underestimating their strengths.

So how do you get the most out of Millennials on your sales team? Let’s start by debunking some myths that are often repeated about them.


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5 Myths About Millennials We Disagree With

  • Millennials are known to be job-hoppers, and even though they’re also good at sales jobs, they don’t stay long in any position.
  • Some millennials think that a fake rapport is the same as having a real relationship.
  • Millennials seem to have a different attitude about work than previous generations.
  • I think millennials have too many expectations. They need to be more realistic about what they’re going to get from a company.
  • Millennials are less willing to follow orders than previous generations.

Myth 1: Millennials want to change sales jobs quickly

When I first started my business, it was a commonly held belief that employees who were loyal would earn more and advance to higher positions.

When Boomers and Generation Xers look at Millennials, they see them as job-hoppers who are looking for shortcuts to success rather than working their way up the corporate ladder.

A lot of people don’t stay in sales for a long time. Some estimates say the turnover rate is as high as 34.7%.

The average tenure for a sales rep has been shortened to one and a half years, which includes ramp-up timeframes.

When it comes to job-hopping, Millennials are not any worse than other generations. There is no evidence that they stay in jobs less time than previous generations did at the same age.

Compared with the same age group, Millennials are staying in their jobs for a little longer.

Myth 2: Millennials are unable to distinguish between genuine and phony relationships.

There are some people who think that Millennials have a hard time being genuine. They don’t understand how they can connect with people through technology.

Millennials are comfortable with technology and use it in their everyday lives. Some people might think that using social media to build relationships is a bad idea, but they’re wrong.

The truth is that most leaders are focused on the wrong things when it comes to hiring Millennials. We hear about all of their downsides, but in sales they’re using tools like social media and other resources to find more potential buyers.

Millennials are more comfortable with sharing personal information and stories than older generations. This tendency to share helps them build relationships and close deals.

The Millennial generation is known for their strong social skills, and many of them work as salespeople.

Salespeople who are Millennials seem to have a leg up. They’re on the same level as their prospects when it comes to social media and they can reach more people.

Selling something to someone or getting a customer is more difficult than it once was. Once you get them, they’re often gone in the blink of an eye (and if not, then you need to work on keeping their attention).

Myth 3: Millennials are unwilling to work diligently.

Millennials are more likely to spend time on social media, work odd hours, and automate sales processes. This is a misinterpretation of their behavior by other generations who think that this means Millennials aren’t willing or able to work hard.

Some people think that millennials are lazy or don’t work hard. But in reality, they just might not know the best way to do it.

The truth is, I can’t really think of a successful Millennial salesperson. The only thing that comes to mind are my friend and colleague’s success as a pharmaceutical business executive. She told me it was “being lazy.”

She wasn’t being funny or self-deprecating the way she said that. What she meant was that, when it came to her work, she always found ways of working smarter instead of harder.

She knew what activities were generating revenue and which ones weren’t. She designed the sales process for her team so that it was filled with as much time dedicated to earning money as possible.

Millennials are more likely to use tools, resources and technology. They still do the hard work.

They integrate technology in many ways, they use it to their advantage, and they automate as much of the process as possible. They rely on data for making smarter decisions and optimize time spent on leads.

Despite the fact that Millennials might not look like they’re working, they are.

We have to recruit more people into sales, and this becomes easier when we are not just looking for a degree.

Myth 4: Millennials have unrealistic job progression expectations in sales.

Older generations think Millennials are entitled, and don’t need to work hard for promotions.

Other generations are used to waiting for opportunity. When Millennials demand things, it can come across as entitled or greedy.

Many of the first Millennials entered the workforce during a time when there were many layoffs from companies. They had firsthand experience with “last in, first out” firings as early as their careers.

I quickly learned that the unspoken social contract of hard work and patience being rewarded is not true anymore.

Companies are recognizing that Millennials want to be in control of their own careers, so they’re hiring them for sales positions. This gives the Millennial more flexibility and autonomy.

Millennials are looking for opportunities to grow in their careers, and sales teams can offer them this.

When an organization sets quotas, rewards and advancements for salespeople with shorter intervals of measurement to meet the expectations of Millennials.

Employers need to take into account these preferences when defining roles and career paths. Training programs that go beyond how to do your current job, but instead teach skills for future positions can help keep Millennials engaged in their work.

Myth 5: Millennials pose a threat to authority.

Boomers and Gen Xers might see Millennials as disrespectful for asking questions or offering input on things outside their job description.

I think the stereotype of millennials being pushy or conceited is also due to their tech skills and cultural preferences.

Millennials grew up in a world where they saw that credibility came from informal authority and expertise, not just formal titles. They also grew up with social media which encouraged them to share their opinions.

Millennials are more likely to question the status quo, research through technology and arrive at better solutions. This can be difficult for other generations to accept.

When it comes to feedback, sales managers should take this as a chance to be better. They need to listen and learn from the customer’s experience because they are in charge of their own success.

If you want to be more productive on your team, it’s important that you listen and learn from new employees.

The Dos and Don’ts of Sales Leadership with Millennials

Here are some tips for working with Millennials in sales: -Don’t expect to tell them what they should be doing. Expectations can lead to resentment and frustration.

Do: Embrace Flexibility

Millennials view productivity as the work they complete. They are so technologically proficient, that it doesn’t matter if they need to be in an office or not”work can happen anytime.

There are a lot of companies that have noticed how important it is to be able to communicate with clients in the way they want. 74% expect their employer, when hiring salespeople, to offer this type of flexibility.

Do: Give Clear Feedback”More Often

Millennials are usually more comfortable with feedback, so make sure to provide it regularly. Set incremental objectives and be prepared for frequent discussions about progress.

Get in contact with your potential employee through a variety of means, such as emailing them or calling.

Don’t: Disregard Their Technological Intelligence When Constructing Pipelines

Technology is a vital part of this generation, and they feel comfortable being themselves in both the workplace and their personal lives.

Millennials are their prospects and clients, too. This generation is attracted to authenticity in the workplace.

There are many technologies to help sell anywhere, anytime.

Don’t: Fail to Connect Meaning to Work

More than 90% of Millennials want to connect themselves with a cause. They don’t just care about their paycheck.

Employees who see their work as having a positive impact are three times more engaged and productive. They’re also more likely to give back, like volunteering for company-wide service days.

The Bottom Line

In a multigenerational workforce, everyone has their own perspective. It’s not always easy to celebrate these differences while still encouraging people to conform at times.

What are you learning from the Millennials on your team? What leadership style do they need to succeed in their workplace environment?


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.