By Chris Kemp, CEO
When I was younger, phoning a mate could be a tricky task. You’d call their parents’ number, and their mum or dad would answer then invariably engage you in conversation. It was enough to deter most teenagers from ringing again.
Today’s youth has no such problem. Parents have been removed from the equation by technology. From the age of ten, when most kids have a smartphone, they can text, message and FaceTime each other to their hearts’ content.
Translate that into the world of business development where much has also changed. Whereas the gift of the gab was the sales rep’s prerequisite, the role today is more about having golden content than a silver tongue. Some 70% of people buying services from other businesses have already chosen suppliers before they decide to speak to a salesperson, thanks to relevant content. Moreover, three-quarters admit to relying on content more than they did only a year ago.
What do we mean by content? It’s the sales literature, emails or even intelligent conversation that will make your target audience pay attention. Why are younger salespeople – dare I say Millennials – good with content? Because they have learned to decipher what’s useful from the mountains of material they read in print, on social media and other digital channels. That means they have the best grounding to research what people want to know and how to tell them about it.
In an equally unique and useful manner, Millennials can sift through vast amounts of information. This has afforded them an instinct for how to get to the point and grab someone’s attention fast; critical in today’s rapid sales arena. Their day-to-day experience of skimming, digesting and summarising content means they know how to catch the attention of a potential client who may receive upwards of 500 emails each day.
Millennials are also becoming the people we need to engage with compelling content. Technology is enabling younger business owners and decision-makers, and those who know best how to sell to them will be the people in their age group.
The days are gone when business development meant following a call sheet and clocking up a quota of conversations in an allotted timeframe. Back then, it was a great way to learn sales techniques. But understanding how to use today’s myriad communications channels requires a more strategic, tailored approach.
If Millennials are at a disadvantage, it’s that they don’t always possess the life skills that are crucial to doing business: a professional manner, winning face-to-face techniques and appropriate tone of voice. In my experience, though, they are hungry and quick learners. They need to be, because they’re exposed to senior decision-makers early in their careers.
This adaptable nature works particularly well in our area of lead generation, selling creative services on behalf of our clients. You’re never offering the same thing twice because marketers’ requirements differ so much. It’s a massive opportunity to learn if you stick around for a couple of years.
If you’re thinking of entering a career in sales, you’ll be pleased to hear how varied it is. If you’ve recently joined the industry, bide your time, there’s still a huge amount to glean from more experienced team members. And if you’re pondering the benefits of a Millennial sales team, go for it – you’ll be taught different tricks, too.
Like him or loathe him, even Donald Trump at the ripe age of 70 was smart enough to realise that selling his vision to people involved mastering social media. Millennials have lots to pass on to their elders, from the genius of social listening to communicating in 140 characters rather than a breathless sales pitch.
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