How to Motivate Millennial Women in Sales

 

This is a guest post by Mary Cooney from Creativia. If you would like to write an article for our blog, read our guest posting guidelines.

So, really—what motivates Millennial women sales representatives?

Short answer: Not the same things that motivate the Gen X or Boomer sales rep.

How do I know? I taught Millennials in college before they entered the workforce. I know first-hand the shock a Baby Boomer has when first challenged by this highly intelligent and passion-driven generation. I‘ve also seen the amazing, innovative strengths they bring to our challenging world.

Boomer (born 1943-62) and Gen-X (born 1963-78) Sales Managers, these dynamic Millennials are our daughters. We raised them to be critical thinkers and women of strong values. When you think about it, it is only natural they encounter the world differently than we do. Our worldview is largely determined by the context in which we grew up. Here’s a quick snapshot:

Boomers/Gen-Xers…  

...like a good contest.

…strive to be #1.

…like individual recognition.

…believe money is a measure of our worth.

...believe financial success equals security, happiness and status.

There is no shame in these motivators. They served us well.

Millennials* (Born 1979-98)…

…are not motivated by competing against colleagues.

…thrive on collaboration and seek group wins over individual spotlight.

…do not equate monetary gain with happiness, security or status.

…choose to work for companies in sync with their values and purpose.

…expect to make a good living, but it is not a primary life goal.

Goal Shift

According to Forbes magazine’s Ajit Nawlkha, “…for the first time in over 100 years, young people are prioritizing passion over money and other benefits when it comes to work.”

So, if making money is not a primary motivator for Millennials, what on earth will motivate them to sell a product or service?

Short answer: The intrinsic value of the service or product and its ability to improve the quality of the customer’s life, or better yet, help make the world a better place to live.

With that in mind, let me suggest three ways you can ignite the passion of your Millennial sales force:

  1. Emphasize WHY you do what you do. Remind your Millennials why the company was created, why it is needed today and how you are making a difference in your customer’s lives. Reinforce this message in meetings, conversations and office signage.  

Example: “Every time we close a sale, we are serving the client and providing our company with the fuel it needs to keep making a difference.”

2. Use a Team-Wins approach. This generation loves to help each other win. Group recognition is valued more than individual spotlight. When properly juiced up about the outcome, Millennials will work harder and longer than any other employees you have. Because work/life integration matters, provide incentives that include time to enjoy life.

3. Social Responsibility is the number one passion-motivator you can offer a Millennial. If your company is not yet up to par on this front, your team can be the catalyst for establishing a great way to give back. Experiment with the option of donating a percentage of commissions or bonuses to the cause and then watch the uptick in sales.

BTW: Millennial customers LOVE knowing that a percentage of their purchase is going toward a good cause.

Once I learned to adapt to my Millennial students’ passion for learning instead of waiting for them to adapt my traditions, their outcomes surpassed my wildest dreams. I have followed these Millennials into the workplace so I can help you achieve the same success.

*Gen Z (Born 1999 +) is presenting some very different characteristics—good topic for further discussion.

 
 
 Mary Cooney , PhD, is founder and CEO of  Creativia , a company that helps businesses drive success through cross generational engagement. She spent a large part of her career as a university professor preparing millennials for the workforce. She is originally from Seattle where she learned creative techniques that build skills and confidence simultaneously Her cornerstone is “generational diversity” that respects – and requires- the exuberance of youth and the experience of age.

Mary Cooney, PhD, is founder and CEO of Creativia, a company that helps businesses drive success through cross generational engagement. She spent a large part of her career as a university professor preparing millennials for the workforce. She is originally from Seattle where she learned creative techniques that build skills and confidence simultaneously Her cornerstone is “generational diversity” that respects – and requires- the exuberance of youth and the experience of age.