For Innovative Sales Strategies, Look to Gen Z: The Sales Industry and How Gen Z Get It Right
Sales has never been an easy role and as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, modern consumers will expect even more from their salespeople. I’ve heard it time and time again: consumers are savvier, coming to the negotiating table with research already in hand, and they want authentic relationships, not sales pitches.
With more and more Generation Z employees entering the salesforce, (Generation Z includes individuals born between 1997-2012). How do they fit into the equation? What do they do well, and where do they have room to grow in this modern sales landscape? Thinking back to the beginning of my own sales career, there were some skills I already had and others I had to learn along the way to achieve success.
In this new era of selling post-pandemic, here are three ways young sellers are already ahead of the curve:
Next-gen sellers have come of age with access to the internet, social media, and smartphones, with the information they need at the tips of their fingers for most, if not all, of their lives. 97% of Gen Zs own a smartphone and 94% own a laptop across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Staying current on products, companies, trends, and issues is one of the keys to building a successful sales career. Gen Zers may consume information differently than their older colleagues, but they have a built-in advantage here. I remember struggling to educate my target market of professional Black physicians and attorneys on the benefits of financial planning. I checked out a dozen books on adult learning principles from my local library and sat at my dining room table to create a PowerPoint presentation that would resonate with and engage them, while also ensuring learning transfer. I would spend hours in the bookstore or at the library reading Value Line to discover industry trends and information about my clients. For this new generation of salespeople, the information they need to connect with their clients is available digitally 24/7, allowing them to fast-track most of the research and knowledge development needed to connect with their clients.
Members of Gen Z are innovative and creative problem-solvers—just look at the proliferation of start-up companies in the last decade. 44% of Gen Zs, if given the chance, would submit ideas for product designs. This next generation of sales professionals is not inhibited by traditional or conventional norms. They understand that there are no lifelong careers with the same company. Three years is the average job tenure of Generation Z. They leverage social media, their peers, and thought leaders to gather knowledge and data, and then digest and analyze that data to achieve their goals. Companies previously developed this skill set in their salespeople, but the next generation of sellers are already approaching the workforce with this mindset.
The key to a successful career and sales mastery is authentic connection. Leveraging lived experience enables better connections and the ability to be more authentic with clients. Greater authenticity leads to stronger relationships. Stronger relationships lead to account retention, shortened sales cycles, and increased deal size. Technology has allowed Gen Zers to share their experiences more broadly, form more varied relationships, and understand others, perhaps with less judgment. 70% of Gen Zers believe racial equality is a defining issue of their generation. Consumers don’t buy just a product and they don’t buy from a company. People buy from people; they buy based on a trusted relationship.
Whether you are considering a career in sales, a sales professional newbie, or a sales manager with Gen Z sellers on your team, know that the next generation of sellers have what it takes to succeed in a career in sales. As digital natives, with their expansive perspectives and views and commitment to learning, growth, and diversity, the next generation will thrive in sales.
Stay tuned for Part II of this blog to learn what I wish I had known earlier in my sales career.
Here’s to Sales Mastery,
Blog originally posted on LinkedIn’s Modern Selling – April 14, 2021