The Rise of the Millennials! Challenges and Opportunities for the Sales Industry

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Rise of the MillennialsBy 2025, 75% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials. This poses a lot of challenges and opportunities for us in the sales industry.

We’re at a really interesting time in human history right now. There is an entire generation of people who can’t remember life without the internet. This means that the act of staying connected and consuming information from a fire hose is baked into their DNA. These folks are entering the work force en masse with very different ideas on how to do things and they’re not afraid to let you know, the way we’ve been doing things isn’t working for them.

If you haven’t read Shama Kabani’s article in Forbes What You Need to Know About Millennials, you should check it out. The Millennials is the generation that is full of hope, courage and excitement. Although they get a bad rap for being the generation of entitlement, they are the future. It’s up to all of us to nurture their creativity.

Jill Rowley recently told me that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials. This poses a lot of challenges and opportunities for us in the sales industry.

The Challenge

Plainly and bluntly speaking, the biggest challenge is not going to be the millennials; it’s going to be us. We are going to have to change the way we think about the mechanics of sales. The underlying foundation will the same, but our approach will have to change.

Because we’ve insisted on doing things the “good old way”, we’re turning them off. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve heard stories of millennials getting fired for being unorthodox. We also get e-mails like this:
Millennials Emails
This generation wants to be a part of something that has a mission. If you’re not able to paint a picture of doing something for the great good, you’ve pretty much lost them before you’ve started. As the Forbes article says above, they want more than just a paycheck. Life has to be about something greater with more meaning.

The Opportunity

I believe that there are organizations that are going about this the correct way. I recently had a chance to spend some time with our client Connect First and their COO Dan Candee. It was remarkable to see how they encourage the entire team to get involved and contribute ideas for the greater good. While most companies simply use that as a PR line, Dan’s team actually lives and breathes this stuff.

It starts with the basics of asking your team their thoughts and collecting input at all times. How can we create more teams like this?

Most importantly, because buyers have fundamentally changed the way they gather information and research products/services, we need millennials in our companies more than ever to meet this new reality. If you can’t add millennials to your company, then you have to be able to teach your team to mimic their qualities. Ultimately, this comes down to your bottom line.

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The Bottom Line

While most corporate executives today know that the number of millennials are increasing in the workforce, there aren’t many changes to help them acclimate in their cultures. Ultimately, do you view them “just another employee” or do you have a strategy on how to take advantage of what they bring to the table?

If you’re serious about increasing sales and supporting your buyer throughout their buying journey, then millennials will help (not hinder) in this.

Amar Sheth


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