How Millennials are Redefining Sales

As they overtake the workplace in the next three years, Millennials are redefining sales, according to Forbes.

Data-crazy, Millennials will soon make research and big-data analysis the centerpieces of B2B purchasing. Salespeople who aren't data-savvy will need to adapt—soon—or lose deals to their competitors.

Strong minded, Millennials will demand all suppliers act in socially responsible ways and be "more willing to pursue new ideas than to follow traditional models." Companies that aren't socially conscious and willing to customize their offerings will need to become so, to conform to Millennials' worldview.

Email-addicted, Millennials will communicate with suppliers solely by sending long and seemingly random chains of requests. Salespeople more comfortable gabbing and schmoozing will need to master this medium to stay effective.

In anticipation, companies are already:

  • Rewarding salespeople who use analytics to target the most relevant prospects;

  • Encouraging salespeople to be more fluid in their approach to prospects' situations and challenges; and

  • Forcing salespeople to use new tools that streamline communications with prospects.

  • "It's time for businesses to adopt new platforms that give more detailed data about their sales prospects, step up recruiting, and start welcoming new perspectives in data analysis, communication, and adaptability," Forbes says.

    "Not only will this enable businesses to attract better staff members to  their sales teams, they'll become forward-thinking sales leaders within their industries—and they'll close more deals because of it."

    Are you struggling to find a foothold in Millennials' brave new world?

    We can help.

    No other marketing discipline keeps tabs on Millennials' behavior like direct marketing. And that's our specialty!

    So send us an email at

    Let us know what problem you'd like to solve.

    Have You Handed Your Agency a "License to Bill?"

    If you ever get heartburn over your marketing agency's billable hours, you can blame lawyers.

    The practice of billing hourly began in Boston in the mid-1920s, when a Harvard grad instructed the attorneys on his staff to begin using timesheets to calculate the firm's fees.

    A Supreme Court ruling 50 years later made the billable hour the predominant means of compensating law firms; and marketing agencies followed suit.

    If you've ever wondered how an agency's billable hour breaks down, the answer's pretty straightforward: one-third of the hourly fee goes to the employee as salary; one-third covers agency overhead; and one-third goes into the owners' pockets.

    That last one-third is hardly the only source of profit for the owners (commissions on media and markups on purchases are two others); but it's almost always the largest.

    Clients know every billable agency hour isn't spent the same way, or worth the same amount of money.

    On Monday morning, for example, an art director spends two hours to creates a new logo the client may use for 15 years. That afternoon, the same art director spends two hours in a meeting with the account exec, discussing the client's deadlines.

    Same time. Same professional. Same client. Hardly the same value.

    When the work's good and produces results, you shouldn't worry about your agency's billable hours, as a rule.

    But you might give some thought to the one-third of every billable hour that's devoted to overhead.

    Is that money paying for lavish offices? Constant new-business pitches to other clients? A brigade of non-billable administrative minions? Or other forms of hidden waste, such as daily all-hands meetings, weekly company parties, and quarterly corporate retreats?

    One thing's for sure: you won't find those things at Bob & David James. We have a secret motto.

    We're proud, but we're cheap.

    The Fast and Easy Way to Personalize Your Next Event

    Way too many B2B events are run-of-the-mill affairs nowadays.

    Attendees show up, less for the content, and more for the face-time; but go home overloaded with the former, and underwhelmed by the latter.

    Most B2B events, in fact, are about as personal as a trip on the New York City subway.

    If you want to up the "personal" ante at your next event, take a page from niche-publishing event organizer Carl Landau, who includes a one-hour "speed dating" session at the start of his events.

    Carl's version of speed dating is simple: attendees gather in a huge room, grab a drink, and sit down on either side of a string of long banquet tables. The folks on one side remain stationery for 45 minutes; the folks on the other move one seat to their right, every three minutes.

    Each couple has just three minutes to break the ice, disclose a bit about themselves, and see what interests they share.

    I experienced Carl's brand of speed dating (also known to event planners as a "seat swap") at his Super Niche Media Event last month.

    It was nothing short of remarkable.

    In 45 minutes, I got acquainted with 15 other attendees. It gave me a solid sense for the issues people are wrestling with; the types of businesses that employ them; what in particular brought them to the conference; and their experiences with, and expectations of, live events like Super Niche Media Event.

    Don't think it'll work for you?

    Try it.

    Try it as a test with a select group. If it doesn't work, scrap it; if it does, scale it.

    One Super Niche Media Event attendee told me he was put off by the experience when one partner (a supplier) sat down and simply blurted out, "So, who buys your printing?"

    It's easy to prevent that sort of heavy-handedness. Here's how:

    1. Get two staff members to role-play the "wrong way" and the "right way" to handle an ice-breaking moment;

    2. Videotape them and upload the video to YouTube;

    3. Email all suppliers, the day before your event, a link to the 60-second video.

    Title your video Goofus and Gallant Go on a Speed Date. .

    When it comes to conversing, who doesn't need a little refresher?

    Why Chile Pepper Burns

    Bob James and Mary Boone co-authored the following post. Bob is President & Chief Storyteller, Bob & David James. Mary is CEO, Boone Associates, and an acknowledged expert in experiential and event design..


    For as long as I've been involved in event promotion—too long, by some lights—I've been stymied by the ubiquitous chili pepper brochure.

    From time immemorial, every event planner who's ever held an event of any size anywhere in the American Southwest, it seems, has illustrated the cover of her promotional brochure with a chili pepper.

    I understand why a B2C event planner might use the tactic.

    But why—when attendees are time-starved, budget-conscious and results-driven—do B2B event planners persist in the belief that destination matters? That destination influences prospective attendees' decision to attend a B2B event, or prefer one event over another?

    The answer: DMOs.

    Destination Marketing Organizations (in quainter times called "Convention and Visitors Bureaus") have brainwashed two generations of B2B event producers.

    And not for the better.

    In the drive to "put heads in beds," DMOs have propagated the myth that B2B events are just a form of tourism.

    Their sway over B2B event planners has cost the planners dearly—in attendance, income and career.

    That's why I insist chili pepper burns.


    I don’t think the answer to this situation is to dismantle DMOs. I think the answer is to raise awareness and educate.

    Imagine this. An event planner is putting together an event. She is trying to figure out, among a million other details, where to hold it.

    What if she knows the “Flo” (think Progressive insurance) of DMO professionals? She calls Flo. “Flo, I need to hold this event somewhere and I’m not sure where.”

    Flo: “Tell me more about the objectives of the event. What’s your organization trying to achieve? What type of environment is going to support those objectives? Tell me more about the culture of your organization…”

    Then, after a great conversation, Flo says, “You know, I’d love to be able to say that Chili Pepper, Texas, has the perfect venue for you, but this one time I have to admit that Vancouver, B.C., might be better.”

    Shock and awe. So this time Flo doesn’t get the business, but guess who our planner is going to call every time she needs help?

    If DMOs are educated to be consultative, client-centric, and business-focused in their interactions with planners, they can be deeply essential to the process of strategically selecting a location that matches the needs of both the event and the business.

    What's your opinion? Do you think chile pepper burns?