Managing a Millennial Sales Team

Millennials are native to online, so it should be no surprise that Inside/Online Sales teams, comprised of Sales Development Reps (SDR), Account Executives (AE), and Customer Success Managers (CSM), are increasingly staffed with Millennials.

However, some sales leaders struggle to manage these higher power sales teams.  I like to share insights with you that I gained recruiting, onboarding and coaching online/inside sales teams for Bay Area startups in the SaaS/B2B space.

Picture by to Manage A Millennial Inside Online Sales Team

Share the Mission

Millennials aspire to change a company, to become part of something big. They need to be inspired.  Consistently, I hear that Millennials love to hear the founder(s) share what inspired them to start the company, and what BIG mission the founder(s) have set for themselves, and the company.  Once Millennials are involved you are unleashing a powerful force.

Move them with Experiences

Millennials are not the kind of sales professionals that brag about how much money they made, or what car they drive. Do not misunderstand me, like anyone they do care about fair compensation.  But they also care about having a great time, So what do they like to brag about on social media?  A selfie with the coolest DJ in town, having In-N-Out Burger, competing in a team triathlon on the weekend, etcetera.  So consider investing in experiences they can brag about on social media.  It is well worth it.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 9.32.10 AM

Celebrate success with a fun Friday lunch with In-N-Out and RocketFizz at AgilOne

Measure Meetings in Minutes 

Millennials have no interest in boring, one hour long, meetings.  Instead, consider a daily stand-up, round robin style, where each member on the team shares the experience of the day.  Aim to keep it under fifteen minutes, and if needed, add another stand-up later on.

Daily stand-up meeting at Unify

Daily stand-up meeting by Paul and his (remote) team at Unify using the Circuit service

A 90 Day Career Deverlopment Plan 

Millennials are raised in the Gaming Era, where you don’t start at beginner level, They expect to level up, every 90 days.  This means that annual performance reviews, and promotions, are not going to cut it.  Instead, consider a career development program with three month increments, that can be achieved by hitting set milestones.

Career Development Chart

An example of a 90 day SDR/AE career development plan based on milestones and skills

Enable Peer-to-Peer training

Millennials look at a sales coach the same way they look at a teacher, outdated insights, authoritative approach, and a boring delivery. Can they really help?  Instead millennials prefer peer-to-peer coaching.  So instead of letting them suffer through a three day training off-site – once a year – develop a self learning sales organization, powered by a platform like SalesHood, where they help each other. Every day!

WBD on Saleshood platform V2

SalesHood platform as the perfect SDR to SDR, and AE to AE coaching platform

Perform as Individuals, act as a Group

Much unlike a traditional sales organization that often is based on individual performance, a Millennial sales team accelerate its performance by acting as a group.  Next time, an SDR comes to you with a sales related question, address the entire group with it, and ask them to answer.  Then create a shared document with best practices, keep adding to this every day.  Before you know it, you will have a playbook full of customer centric plays that the entire team can be proud of.  This playbook can be used to train the new SDRs and AEs.

WBD Playbook Picture

A “living” playbook where top SDRs and AEs contribute best practices EVERY WEEK/DAY

The Sales Operations Center  

A traditional field sales force operates in a layered organization consisting of sales managers, directors and VPs that are distributed across a continent.  However, I consistently see inside sales teams excel in a central Sales Operations Center, with a very flat organizational model.  In this approach team leaders are used and act like the captain of a soccer squad.  The team leader role differs from a sales director role, in that it is not burdened with Human Resource functions such as doing reviews, overseeing compensation plans etcetera. Instead, they focus on proper use of tools, hold daily stand-ups etc.


Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 9.41.36 AM

Modern Sales Operation Center, Flat in organizational structure

Tools as a Force Multiplier

Don’t just arm your team with Nerf guns or let them have an xBox station.  Do you really want to see the magic happen?  Create a force multiplier by arming your inside sales team with an arsenal of state-of-the-art online sales tools, such as, ToutApp, Salesloft, Inside Sales, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and many other tools.

Expect the Unexpected

Many companies, as expected, experience a rapid growth through the (proper) use of an inside sales team.  An unexpected result that many of the companies experienced, was the cultural impact of a Millennial Team.  Three month career development plans enable the flow of top performers into many parts of the organization, and with it spread the lessons of a customer centric and self learning organization.

Your turn

I hope that these insights help you manage your Millennial Sales team.  Call, comment, e-mail, tweet or reach out via LinkedIn with your findings.  I love to hear from you.


Passionate about all things social, sales, marketing and business development.

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Posted in Methodology, Organization, Tools, Training

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