Hiring a strong sales staff has always been a top priority for sales organizations, regardless of the impacts technology and changing consumer behaviors have brought to the field. What has impacted the hiring process the most recently is the type of candidate you’re looking to hire – Millennials. As I’m sure you already know, trends point towards a tough battle to recruit and retain their talents. Here are 5 tips for how to leverage or engage a Millennial sales staff.
Hire for Development
Hiring for sales comes with some of the same hurdles to hiring in fields like insurance, finance and accounting: it’s not exactly sexy at first glance. Millennials aren’t likely to understand the benefits of building a sales background immediately, so focus your hiring efforts on candidates who want development. Better yet, hire those you can develop at your organization! There are plenty of Millennials who will jump at the opportunity for real-world experience, learning a new transferrable skill and the opportunity to control their destiny. Organizations need to focus on hiring towards development versus looking at specific skills.
Don’t Hire for the Long-Run
Wait. Are you saying hire someone who will leave for another job in 6-months? Yes and no. Too often organizations hire or don’t hire based on how long they can keep the person with them. After all, repeatedly hiring is costly and tiresome.
The point is your hiring shouldn’t be focused on finding someone who will stay with you for 10 years. Why? Because it’s not their job to convince you that they’ll stay for 10 years; it’s your job to convince them that they want to make a career with you. That’s all in how you onboard, train and support your existing staff. You’ll have some talented people who leave after a year, just like every other business does. That’s OK – and perfectly normal for a Millennial workforce gaining experience. If you hire good talent, regardless of their tenure, your company will benefit and may even attract new talent off the networking and goodwill of past sales members.
Personalize the Rewards
Sales incentive packages work, but more important for a Millennial workforce is how those incentives or perks can be personalized. In some cases, these personalized incentives can come with little to no financial cost. An impromptu day-off, lunch with the boss, or quick recognition amongst peers for a job well-done goes a long way with this crowd. You don’t have to revamp your entire incentive package. Merely sit down with the sales team and get a better understanding of what motivates them personally and tailor your approach.
Don’t Make All Incentives a Competition
Sales incentives (Top Salesperson, unit bonuses, etc.) are typically structured for group competition. While competition is healthy, most Millennials won’t have the experience to hang with a seasoned sales-team. So while the competitions will push them to learn more and grow, make sure your leadership team is also incentivizing the individual based on their personal growth and improvements. Those efforts will keep the group engaged while they take aim at the sales leaderboard.
Support a Networking-Sales Mindset
Sales are still conducted frequently in person or on the phone, but consumers are shopping online and engaging in a digital environment. Make sure your sales practices don’t confine or box your sales team to a specific mode of communication! Organizations which encourage their sales team to network in the community, at events and online – and even provide avenues within the workday to do so – are the ones winning sales when it comes time for an informed consumer to purchase. Millennials are a great way to tap into this networking economy and they’ll appreciate the flexibility and support from a company willing to think outside the box.
Putting these practices into place is a surefire way to hire more of the right candidates and activate the sales talents within your team.