5 Tips To Attract Millennials to Your Franchise Sales Team
Millennials live in a world that is increasingly virtual. They text, Snapchat, and tweet instead picking up the phone and calling one another, and they Skype instead of going out for coffee. That is part of the reason companies are having a hard time filling a growing number of open sales positions: sales is a profession that requires a great deal of personal, face-to-face connections.
A recent study from Harvard Business School's U.S. Competitiveness Project found that employers spend an average of 41 days trying to fill technical sales jobs, versus 33 days for jobs in other professions. The same study cited a cloud-based software company that would have had $2 million more in revenue if it had met its hiring goals for sales reps. A big reason these jobs have been so hard to fill is because Millennials have not been taking them.
There are myriad reasons it is difficult to get today's best and brightest Millennials into sales. This generation lived through the financial crisis and are the first American generation worse off than their parents financially. As a result, they have less confidence in the economy and favor stability in their salary as opposed to the volatility that comes with sales commissions. They are also known as the "trophy generation" because they received positive recognition even when they didn't win, and therefore have reservations about a profession that bases their value solely on how many actual wins they have.
The problem for employers is that Generation Y, with 83 million members, now makes up the largest sector of the U.S. population, and by 2025 will make up 75 percent of the workforce. If executives can't convince a generation that many perceive as lazy, tech-savvy, narcissistic, social media brats to help sell their products and services, they will not be able to compete in today's global economy. Ready or not, here are five tips for hiring Millennials.
- Rethink compensation packages. Young people want a financial safety net. They favor a higher base pay with a lower proportion of riskier commission pay. The Wall Street Journal reported that the base pay in sales has increased 11.7 percent from 2010 through 2014 while the variable amount has remained steady. While this demonstrates that businesses are trying to evolve to appeal to Millennials, it is critical for them to double down on this and create compensation packages that suit the sales reps of today and tomorrow.
- Sales is not 9-to-5, they can be mobile. Being chained to a desk is the worst fear for many Millennials. They are global, mobile, social, and always on the go. Sales positions offer the opportunity to wine and dine clients, attend networking events, and meet new people in new places. Furthermore, Millennials despise the corporate America practice of sitting around late just to "show face." Sales is a great profession because those who meet their numbers will rarely, if ever, be questioned about why they aren't at their desk.
- Their friends have $1.3 trillion per year to spend. According to The New York Times, Millennials possess $1.3 trillion in annual buying power; this means they can quickly tap into their vast social network to drive sales from day one.
- They like control, and in sales you control your own destiny. Based on a poll of 5,800 participants in 10 countries, media agency network ZenithOptimedia said global consumers aged 18 to 34 have a "fundamentally different approach" to achieving happiness compared with previous generations. As opposed to the "free spirit" attitudes of the Baby Boomer generation, Millennials seek to gain much more control over their lives to obtain happiness. Therefore, sales represents the perfect profession since it offers reps the ability to control their own destiny, paycheck, and in many cases their hours.
- Engage in college recruiting. Universities are recognizing the viability of careers in sales. In fact, a recent DePaul University survey found that 101 U.S. colleges offered sales curricula in 2011, up from 44 in 2007. With a renewed academic focus on sales, companies now have a real opportunity to work with universities to build a sustainable talent pipeline.
Eliot Burdett is the CEO and co-founder of Peak Sales Recruiting, a B2B sales recruiting company specializing in finding sales professionals in the technology, professional services, telecom, manufacturing, and industrial sectors. He also co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0 - How To Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast (free download). Learn more at peaksalesrecruiting.com or 800-964-0946.
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