Hello again, readers. I hope you didn't miss me too much during my six month hiatus. I didn't think of you at all.
I have managed upwards of 300 bad-hire millennial sales professionals this decade. Of that group, roughly one-third have been newly-minted sales professionals. Totally green. Typically entering their first big boy job out of college. Our industry is notoriously tough (think Boiler Room in terms of day-to-day; Wall Street in terms of deal size, pressure, and stakes), and I've had plenty of conversations with frustrated colleagues on the trials and tribulations of hiring and retaining young sales talent. (Often referencing an article like this).
The Apex Predator's official stance on millennial sales pros: love 'em. Especially the ones I hire, who tend to work out now that I've learned how to spot a faux-badass during the interview process. How did I do it? Years of trial-and-error. I've had tons of phenomenal sales reps, and some spectacular flameouts. And the interesting thing about the flameouts - they tend to follow a very similar pattern, which I'm outlining below for your education and enjoyment.
Death of a Millennial Sales Professional
Cats had 9 lives. Doomed millennial sales hires have 9 phases in their lifecycle with your company. Ladies and gentlemen, grab your popcorn. This is the Death of a bad-hire millennial sales professional.
Phase 1. A Bad-Hire Millennial Sales Pro is Born
Notice the punchable face, premature sense of entitlement and cluelessness radiating from this young man. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the wrong-hire bad-hire millennial sales pro.
That's the face of a bad-hire millennial sales pro on Day 1. Brash, cocky and ready to start rolling in six-figures.
Phase 2. Welcome to the Machine
"Wait a minute ... I have to cold call?" Frowns. "Well, it can't be that bad."
The bad-hire millennial sales pro is shellshocked by the initial carnage of a call blitz. He wanders wounded through the last leg of it; appalled most of all at the sense of business-as-usual in the bullpen.
Phase 3. Panic Mode
The bad-hire millennial sales pro quickly senses that this hyper-aggressive, rejection-heavy day-to-day aligns poorly with the vision he has for his personal brand. Being an enterprising bad-hire millennial sales pro, he quietly diverts his attention to a new strategy.
Alas, kissing corporate ass backfires on the young bad-hire millennial sales pro. By its 3rd week of execution, his cohorts in the foxhole Chively hate his guts and reach a covert agreement to frag him in their 1:1's with the sales manager. (Who agrees that he sucks)
Phase 4. The First Close
The bad-hire millennial sales pro has had enough. Some salesmen aren't built for storming beaches. In fact, the bad-hire millennial sales pro has found his true calling - upper management. New goal. New strategy.
Using his most killer instinct, the bad-hire millennial sales pro targets the nicest high-performing senior rep he can find. The senior rep has seen this strategy a million times - she recognizes it instantly, but takes pity and loops bad-hire millennial sales pro in to help move a few deals down her pipeline.
Phase 5. The First Commission Check
Flush with cash, the bad-hire millennial sales pro celebrates in Befortian fashion for 24-48 consecutive hours after the check hits his bank account.*
*True bad-hire millennial sales pros with typically recruit their least fiscally-responsible friend(s) to hit the town.
Phase 6. Delusion
A natural-born leech, bad-hire millennial sales pro finds his groove - publicizing deal flow.
He diligently moves pipeline (Salesforce stage updates), updates his calendar (deleting scheduling conflicts with non-leeched prospects), CRM notes (self-serving fabrications) and - most importantly - the rest of the team.
Phase 7. Jordan Belfort Mode
Newfound confidence and affinity for the company credit card lead bad-hire millennial sales pro to justify his attendance at more dinners and happy hours with key accounts.
When people begin to question his attendance, the bad-hire millennial sales pro overindulges and loses his cool.
Phase 8. Total Implosion
Is where the bad-hire millennial sales pro inevitably seals his fate - once upper management calls a meeting to discuss his behavior with him.
Rather than keep his mouth shut and allow his senior leadership to think he's a terrible , the bad-hire millennial sales pro goes on the offensive for as long as it takes the executives to confirm he's a terrible and fire him with cause.
Phase 9. Execution
Rattled by his greatest kryptonite (any objection), bereft of any natural foresight, bad-hire millennial sales pro defaults to his go-to strategy - incoherent rambling.
Fortunately, the leadership team has been here before. Step 1. Look at the bad-hire millennial sales pro with the same expression - translates verbally: "Stop embarrassing yourself, you idiot." Step 2. Call security to escort the latest bad-hire millennial sales pro hire out of your building."
Moral of the Story
Millennial sales pros - don't be a bad-hire. Managers, watch out for bad-hire millennial sales pros.
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