How to Attract Gen Y to Your Sales Roles

Sales jobs have had a bad rep with Millennials due to the way that sales were always conducted in the past. Deals being done on the 19th hole of the golf club or backhand deals being struck are images that have been hard to shake off when it comes to finding the right millennials to work on your B2B Sales team. It often takes longer to fill a sales vacancy than it does for a non-sales role and this is an issue that businesses have to take seriously if they are to change this. Because of this perception, sales jobs are often not as attractive to the millennial generation as they should be.

The result? The amount of time that the vacancy is open is a series of missed opportunities and missed sales. Employers can’t afford this situation to carry on any longer. It is time to change the millennial view of a sales job and start attracting the right talent.

Changing image

Sales jobs are often mocked or sensationalised in the popular media. The characters presented on television and in the movies in sales jobs are comedic or way over the top. To add to this there are other common misconceptions about sales jobs. It is seen that the advent of the digital marketplace online is killing sales jobs, when in fact it is opening up further opportunities. Millennials seek regular praise so the idea of a sales job that offers regular rejection is anathema to the way they want to work and be rewarded. The average millennial also wants some stability and progression in their career. While sales can offer the latter, the chances of stability are less likely as their income will depend largely on the commission that they earn. This might attract those that have a natural gift for sales but won’t bring masses of millennials to the table.

Why do we need millennials?

As sales roles have been successfully filled by others in the past you may question the need for millennials in these roles. But the baby boomer generation is leaving the workplace in droves and these roles need to be filled in large numbers. The existing talent is retiring and moving away so recruiters have to look to fill these vacancies with another group of talented individuals. Millennials are the ideal candidates to fill these roles for a few reasons. People buy people. So, the perfect match to sell to a Millennial would be another Millennial. Also, Millennials have the skills to take this to the next level. Their ability to scale up the proposition of the company they work for is an ideal fit for a B2B sales organisation that wants to attract new customers and generate new sales.

Rewriting the job spec

The way that Millennials view a sales role does nothing to help recruitment so the industry needs to look at the way the roles are branded and communicated to the this generation if they are to gain more success. Sales roles have moved away from trying to get people to buy no matter what. Companies have a much broader range of products and services so the role is now more one of consultancy than selling. But, the message is not getting through. The solution is to change the way roles are entitled, described and advertised. Like many roles the reporting and analysis around what was a sales role has grown massively in the digital age. Connecting with others and using data to make smart decisions are all a large part of sales that would attract the Millennial generation. These are requirements that will perfectly match the skills that the this generation has to offer.

Purpose driven business

The Millennial generation want to work in roles that deliver a purpose and a satisfaction at the end of their working day. Sales roles have been seen as something that offers none of this but that image just doesn’t fit the reality. Companies that are able to communicate their purpose find it much easier to attract Millennial talent and as a consequence have a lower lag time when looking to fill vacancies. The fact is that helping another company to save money, deliver better services and in turn look after their own customers is an integral part of a B2B sales role. The overall purpose of the company rather than the individual purpose of the job role will also help the Millennial to understand what is at play here and be more likely to commit.

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