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Originally published on medium.com, where I write about my professional life as a content marketer, sales strategist, and technology/startup enthusiast.

Today, millennials make up over 50% of the American workforce. They’re connected and connectors, already known for driving technology and innovation. Over the next five years, they’ll step into leadership roles where they can effect even greater organizational change.

How are these relative new kids on the blog going to impact your sales team? Let’s look at three millennial qualities that Gen Y and Boomer sales leaders can leverage for their team’s advantage.

They are quick thinkers and quick learners. They demand career growth and are always driving toward an idea of how things “could be.” As sales reps, they thrived on opportunities to build and innovate and as leaders they’ll create those opportunities within their teams.

Gut and golf” isn’t going to cut it anymore. In fact, it’s already not enough. According to a 2015 sales execution report released by Qvidian, 46% of organizations reported sales teams not reaching their quotas due to lack of knowledge around their customer buying process. Expect to see this statistic shrink as millennial sales leaders demand better analytics, instead of relying on traditional lead scoring, “standard” reporting, and limited CRM entries.

They are team-oriented and collaborative. They use success as a group as their metric for individual success. As leaders they are consciously choosing to lead rather than individually contribute; their success remains the team’s success.

This idea of collaborative success extends to technology. Millennials see their smartphones as digital assistants and other technology solutions as contributing team members. We ask you… does your Salesforce instance give back value that is equal to or greater than that of the time you spend entering data? We don’t think so.

They are transparent and motivated by purpose. Gone are the days where sales reps chased nothing but the holy commission. Today’s sales reps (and tomorrow’s sales leaders) are looking for a shared sense of purpose to motivate their actions, and they truly believe in their role as a client’s trusted advisor.

These new leaders aren’t interested in the “standard” reporting and rapidly disengage from tasks that seem done by rote. Connect with them through the “why” of your work, and understand that “because it’s procedure” is never a good enough reason. Embrace the challenge to sell smarter, and simpler.

So, what does this all mean? How do you leverage these qualities into a sales team that’s successful today, and ready for tomorrow?

  • Get hip to data. Be ready with the depth of analytics that a new generation of sales leaders will demand. (And don’t forget to master those tools yourself!)
  • Keep it simple. Ditch complicated tools that create work without delivering value.
  • Maximize the maximum. Don’t waste your time forecasting without core relationship data (think email and texts).
  • Connect and be connected. Align sales goals to organizational purpose to foster self-motivating teams (and leaders).
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