How millennials are changing sales

Charisma alone doesn’t cut it anymore.

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Glengarry Glen Ross was released in 1992. The movie, based on a play of the same name, painted a drab picture of the pushy, bag-carrying sales rep, and popularized a new mantra for sales floors everywhere:

“Always be closing.”

With purchasing departments now dominated by millennials in a digital world that differs widely from the one depicted in the film, the nature of sales has changed, per The Wall Street Journal.

Changed how?

Two broad trends have led to a shift in the day-to-day workflow of the modern sales rep:

  • Buyers are finding products on their own, which is one reason sales reps are making fewer cold calls and embracing more intimate communication channels like text and direct messages on social platforms.
  • Sales cycles are taking longer, and instead of pushing a sale on a single decision-maker, sales reps are spending more time mapping out organizations and building value with various stakeholders.

These shifts mean the modern sales professional looks more like a product consultant, needing strategic thinking more than charisma.

This has caused challenges for recruiters…

… who say younger workers still associate the job with old stereotypes, including high-pressure tactics. Further, while the skills required to succeed in sales have changed, one thing remains the same — sales is stressful:

  • A 2021 survey from Gartner found ~90% of sales professionals suffer from burnout.

There is one downside to the shift in selling — a consultative approach isn’t quite as cinematic as the extroverted huckster.

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Psst

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In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

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