by Dustin Grosse
Understanding Millennials (Generation Y) is critical to future success in any business; this group of 80 million Echo Boomers will make up 50 percent of the US workforce by 2020. They were raised on technology and are constantly socially connected, multitasking, and self-educating. Their expectations and preferred methods for engaging are changing how sellers, marketers, and their leaders must operate. Modern sales methods and technologies that generate rapid insights and credibility are critical to succeeding with this group.
How is selling to Millennials different? Here are four key ways Gen Y is changing sales:
- They’re all about mobility.In today’s connected world, people expect service anytime and from any location. Millennials grew up with mobile technology in their hands and are wedded to its convenience. This is true of both buyers and sellers.Today’s modern sellers must productively work from anywhere, because Millennial customers expect instantaneous interaction. This doesn’t mean merely responding to customer emails from mobile devices; it also means sending customer proposals and sales content even when sellers are on the road. In our mobile-connected world, leveraging the best mobile sales solutions will earn you more opportunities to attract, retain, and develop customers.
- Millennial buyers educate themselves about potential vendors and products before first meetings.In the modern sales world, first impressions are made before your first meeting. According to advisory company CEB, roughly 57 percent of most buying-decision processes are completed before customers even talk to suppliers. Salespeople must quickly understand perceptions held by prospects and offer real-time insights to influence them and earn their business. Old methods of controlling the sale through rigid, linear discovery processes are dead.Successful salespeople use solutions that help demonstrate their confidence in flowing with whatever motivates prospects. They leverage technology to predict and gain real-time insights to focus on customer value – nothing more, nothing less. They know what content captures interest and what’s being overlooked. They track online where proposals are being circulated to better understand who has influence in our increasingly consensus-driven purchasing processes.
- To sell to Millennials, you must be able to anticipate customer needs before customers articulate them.Because Millennials are so comfortable with multitasking, they’re often accused of having short attention spans. They have higher expectations of what sellers will bring beyond what they can learn from the Web on their own. Delivering a standard sales presentation isn’t enough. Millennials expect content to be tailored to capture their attention and involvement, outreach to happen when they’re interested, and follow-up to be nearly immediate.Salespeople will be far more successful reaching out immediately following signals of interest, such as a prospect’s opening an email or viewing content. Sales reps who use technology for alerts and to find out which parts of the content prospects have viewed can respond at the right moment with tailored messaging that breaks through. This approach helps customers feel their time is valued, not wasted, and that their salesperson is acting like a thoughtful business partner.
- Social selling is more the norm than the exception.Millennials trust their peers and tremendously value their constant connections via social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, rating sites, and online communication. They believe these communities provide more accurate and timely answers than slick sales- and marketing-focused vendor Websites.Social selling is not a fad; it’s the modern source for sales clout, much like country clubs were in prior decades. Modern sales platforms that provide online connections to amplify content through these channels provide sellers with new sources of trusted relevance.
Millennials are the future of buying and selling. Connecting with them is the key to success in our online global economy. Leveraging sales and marketing technology that engages Millennials is no longer nice to have, it’s a necessity.
What’s your game plan to sell to Millennial buyers? Register now to join Dustin Grosse at the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on April 27–28, 2015, and learn more from his presentation, “Modern Selling with Insights Is the Key to Success with Millennials.”
[Image via Flickr / Nguyen Hung Vu]