3 Ways to Sell to the Millennial CEO
I get it: You’re sick of reading articles about Millennials. How to retain them, engage them, hire them ... the list goes on. Aren’t we all? And the answer to all those questions is so obvious. Three words: Peruvian pour-over coffees.
Boom! Problem solved. Now you can change the subject of your next LinkedIn Pulse piece to something that really matters, like what Netflix’s “Ozark” can teach us about business.
Speaking of business, let’s get back to it. Admittedly, this is an article dedicated to helping you do something related to Millennials — in this case, how to sell to Millennial CEOs. Is this a gross oversimplification? Possibly. Am I making generalizations about a group of incredibly diverse people? Yes. Isn’t this just like all the other horrible Millennial advice articles out there? Probably not.
This article is about sales and sales tactics. Therefore, if you and your team adopt the recommendations I’ve listed below, you’ll likely be able to measure the impact pretty quickly. And given the new technology available to coach sales teams and tie certain words and themes to results — such as Chorus.ai — it’ll be easy to tell early on whether I’m just talking to hear myself talk or actually offering decent advice.
Now, on to the strategies. Here are three things to keep in mind when selling to Millennial CEOs:
1. They are constantly thinking about things “at scale.”
Millennial CEOs, by and large, are looking for a very specific quantitative objective — think revenue, monthly average users, or monthly unique visitors — to be achieved over a very specific period. These goals are often defined by management teams to attract investors or by investors themselves. The metrics foreshadow a company that has grown to a size significantly larger than its current state.
As a result, you need to sell to the CEO of the company today as well as of the company in the future. This requires thoughtful discovery questions focused on the company as it is now, the company’s growth objectives, and its overall vision. You probably already know that a big part of the growth and metrics discussion involves acronyms like MAU, CAC, and LTV — but do you know what they are? If not, learn them now. You have to be able to talk the talk, because Millennial CEOs will be instantly skeptical if you prove ignorant about metrics important to them.
2. They are hack-obsessed.
Millennial CEOs — and, more broadly, innovative companies — are always looking for hacks. They want to find simple, inexpensive, or free ways to achieve their goals. Look no further than this site’s traffic for proof that I’m telling the truth. Being able to “hack” something that costs others a lot of money or time can be seen as a badge of honor. It’s fun to talk about while drinking monk fruit extract and eating chia pudding.
Take advantage of this trend. Know the hacks available to your prospects, and acknowledge them upfront — not when a CEO asks about it, but before he has the opportunity to bring it up. Asymmetry of information doesn’t exist anymore, so there’s no chance your Millennial CEO prospect won’t find a cheaper alternative when he kicks around with his team the idea of buying your products or services. It’s your responsibility to bring up a possible hack, acknowledge that it’s a real solution, even compliment it if it’s effective, and show CEOs how you’re different.
3. They might not ask the tough questions.
Kimberly Fries wrote in a June article in Forbes, “Millennials in general are non-confrontational, which can translate to even more problems when they’re leaders.” Now, do I necessarily agree with this? No. But it does raise an interesting point worth keeping in mind. If Fries is right, it stands to reason that sales calls might end more positively with your Millennial CEO prospects, leading you to have a false sense of hope about a deal closing. In fact, Gong.io’s data shows that “tire kickers use more positive language than buyers.”
So if a buyer seems a little too positive, that might be the right time to ask some tougher questions. Unsure where to start? Try something like, “What reservations do you have about moving to the next phase with our company?” Make sure you’re drawing out a CEO’s real objections, not just a few thoughts meant to end the conversation quickly. Don’t let a Millennial CEO averse to confrontation stop you from crossing the finish line.
Before heading into your next meeting with a Millennial buyer, remember these strategies that will help you nail your presentation and begin a new partnership.
Jeff Winters is founder and CEO of Sapper Consulting, which replaces cold calling for its clients. It’s cooler than it sounds.
3 Ways to Sell to the Millennial CEO