The rising age of the Baby Boomer generation has made a significant impact on the workforce, leaving leadership gaps that Generation X is unable to fill. This leaves an opportunity for the Millennial generation to step up and use their strengths and skills to become stronger leaders of the business and sales industry.
To bridge the gap between the growing sales industry there is the ability to properly train Millennials so they are successful and stay within their roles longer. By attacking this problem from a university level by strengthening sales programs as well as having employers understand and respond to needs of the Millennial generation, this will create an overall successful Millennial salesperson that will stay with their employer long term.
Strengths and weaknesses of this generation are also important to understand. Millennials are known to be tech-savvy, open-minded, collaborative, and connected, resourceful networkers. They also carry weaknesses and stereotypes of being lazy, lacking communication skills, impatient, entitled, and demanding of feedback and work flexibility. From an employer, they expect a large salary as well as a good culture, manager feedback, a mentor, work-life integration, an employer with a social responsibility mindset, and a sense of purpose.
An analysis of 12 sales programs at various universities across the country helped to understand what is being taught and offered to students as well as commonalities and differences that make a strong sales program. Commonalities among these programs include, about 250+ students, high job placement, sales labs, hosting and competing in sales competitions, and a desire to expand and grow their programs. Unique aspects of various programs were partnerships with the sales industry, hosting fundraisers, student ambassadors for the sales program, CRM courses, and internships and competition requirements.
Primary research was conducted to understand various sales development programs from companies in the sales industry. The 12 companies that participated in this research were from Arizona State University’s Sales Advisory Board. These companies completed a survey that provided detailed information of their onboarding and training process as well as their opinions of Millennial employees.
From this research, recommendations were formed for employers,
• creating a collaborative and innovative culture
• A mentorship program
• work flexibility
• continuous learning
• sense of purpose
As for Arizona State’s Sales Program, recommendations include,
• a mentorship program between Sales Scholars and the Sales Advisory Board
• creating a sales lab
• implementing CRM curriculum in classes
• continued support from the Board and alumni of the sales program