Millennials in Sales Force Misunderstood

June 5, 2009 ( - A new Sibson survey indicates that Millennials (those born in 1978 or later) are not as needy and unfocused as employers may think.

According to a press release, the survey of large corporate sales forces around the country found that Millennials:

  • Are more productive and work more efficiently than initially perceived by employers,
  • Are highly motivated and strive for success,
  • Are very goal oriented and ever-critical of their own performance,
  • Are interested in a career in sales,
  • Strive in an environment where team goals are infused with individual performance linkages, and
  • Achieve sales performance equal to or greater than that of other generations.

Specifically, the press release said 92% of employers reported that attainment of sales goals by Millennials was just as good or better than by non-Millennials, while only 79% of Millennials thought their sales performance was as good or better than the others. Forty-seven percent of employers indicated Millennials are below average in their willingness to put in long hours, but only 15% of Millennials perceive themselves in the same way.

Sixty-three percent of employers believe turnover is the same for Millennials and non-Millennials, but nearly 80% of Millennials indicated turnover in their generation is higher than in the rest of their sales forces. Almost half of employers and nearly 90% of Millennials said Millennials are more likely to leave their companies than other generations, with ambition the top reason cited by Millennials, and lack of advancement opportunities and no loyalty most often cited by employers.

As customized, digital communication is important to Millennials, communication between employers and Millennials is clearly a problem. One tool that Millennials all use is text messaging, Sibson contends, but relatively few employers reported they are texting with their employees.

A report of the survey results is here .