Young CPG Salesforce? Try These 4 Unconventional Forms of Motivation

If you’ve got a young CPG salesforce, trying to use old methods of motivating them is about as effective as looking for the gas tank on a Tesla. This generation is wired differently. Not completely differently, of course, we’re all human, but different enough that you have to learn different ways of helping them get the best from themselves. Everybody loves bonuses, but there are a lot of other creative ideas such as:

Got A Sense of Meaning?

Millennial and Plural employees have brought the desire for meaningful work to public awareness for everyone. It’s not that other generations didn’t want meaningful work, it’s just that Millennials insist on it. And they believe business is meaningful.  A 2017 Millennial study by Deloitte showed that 77 percent of Millennials believe business can have a positive impact on the world. But they need to know that your business has a positive impact on the world. You need to focus on cultivating a mission employees can see, connect to and promote. For example, helping consumers eat in a way that’s healthier or more sustainable, or serving families. Make it part of the culture and part of the training that they’re solving a problem for someone or making people’s lives better, not just pushing product.

Compensation Strategies That Work

A lot of organizations are effectively recruiting and motivating Millennials and Plurals by offering programs that help them pay down their student loans. The Pew Research Foundation discovered that 40 percent of people aged 18-to-29 have student loan debt looming over their future success. Being sensitive to that and helping them tackle it is one way to inspire top-notch performance in the field. But that’s not the only thing Millennials are concerned about. Research shows Millennials also want both security and freedom. Coming up with compensation strategies that address young people’s specific needs—like 401Ks, vacation bonuses, and extra time off are options for inspiring the internal motivations of younger people. The important thing is to talk to, or survey them, and find out what their key goals are, rather than making assumptions.

Provide Cutting Edge Technology

The generation that grew up with technology is used to having the latest and fastest tech. No young person wants to work in a company that’s going the way of the dinosaur. So if your technology is dated or your in-store execution sales app has a sloppy interface, the impression they’ll get is that your business may have had its heyday, but it isn’t staying current with the times and looking forward into the future. So it won’t be able to help them succeed. There are many reasons to invest in updated hardware and the latest software. That means apps that are easy to connect to, easy to use and facilitate collaboration and group communication.

Eliminate Repetitive Admin Work

Meaningful work is work that requires a human with some intelligence and decision making power. Repetitive admin work—work that could easily be done with a software program if only the company would invest in it—is not meaningful work. So tracking sales data in excel, preparing sell sheets in powerpoint, adding that cup of coffee receipt to your expense reports and other replicable data sources should be the province of a cutting-edge software on the latest hardware and take minutes rather than hours. That leaves sales reps to hone their skills at connecting with customers and solving their problems.

A motivated sales force is key to organizational success and understanding that motivation isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation is key to salesforce success. The first step is talking to younger sales reps about what really moves them and putting those measures in place wherever you can.

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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.