How to Motivate Millennials in Today’s Experience Economy

ITA Group
ITA Group

Group of millennial employees

Millennials. By now you know they think differently. They work differently. They spend differently. And they’re most certainly motivated differently. 

And that matters to sales leaders everywhere, because it’s up to you to find a way to successfully motivate this demographic—the segment now comprising more than a third of today’s multigenerational workforce—in order to give your organization the competitive edge it needs to beat out the competition.

One sure way to do that? Adapting to the influence of the Experience Economy. After all, millennials practically coined the movement.

How Millennials Have Shaped the Experience Economy

The shift created by millennials to prioritize spend on experiences like motor-scooting through some of the world’s most intricate cities or jet-setting to the trendiest global music festivals makes it more relevant than ever for brands to offer remarkable experiences that capture their audience.

According to a recent Eventbrite survey, 69% of millennials believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.

Knowing this, how can you successfully encourage your sales team’s less tenured generations to strive for more?

5 Considerations for Motivating Millennials in Today’s Experience Economy

  1. Younger generations are increasingly motivated by experiences rather than things. Experiences help shape identity and create lifelong memories. Eight in ten millennials say that some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they’ve attended or participated in. Therefore, incentivize your salespeople with experiential rewards to empower them with the experiences and opportunities that matter to them. Your top performers probably won’t remember that you catered in Jimmy John’s, but they’ll never forget you created the trip of a lifetime to the Coliseum in Rome, or delivered a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl experience where their kids got to meet their lifelong NFL heroes.
  2. The majority of millennials would rather take a job that makes them happy over a higher salary; 25-35-year-olds said they would sacrifice (on average) $7,600 in pay for things like better work-life balance or career development. Millennials are happier when their money is spent on living, rather than having. Ensuring your organization is focused on the five tenets of employee wellbeing—performance, career, wellness, social and community—boosts sales team engagement and retention. And that creates an overall boost for your bottom line.
  3. Over-connected millennials often feel a need for escape. They want to decompress from technology overload, have time for self-focus, and immerse themselves in new cultures. Offering travel incentives for a job well done creates the break they want to avoid burnout and the inspiration they need to come back to the office re-energized and ready to sell.

    Related: Check out a host of experiential adventure travel hotspots that would exhilarate your sales force.


  1. Delivering a flawless customer experience has become a top strategic objective for many organizations in today’s millennial-influenced economy. That applies to your own team members, too. Aligning your sales strategy with your corporate culture and ensuring a positive employee experience not only improves your team’s satisfaction with their roles, it also provides these sales performance benefits: 
    • A collaborative, cooperative atmosphere
    • Optimized, efficient decision-making processes
    • Facilitation of open communication
    • A sense of identity and community
    • Shared understanding
    • Increased brand value
    • Increased employee retention
    • Increased productivity and elevated sales performance
  2. Events create prime opportunities to collectively inspire and engage your millennial audience and any group of individuals. Update and energize long, monotonous sales meetings by taking your agenda offsite, and create an atmosphere where your sales force can take in an experience that engages and creates a stronger, more emotional connection with your brand. A strategic event also sends attendees away inspired to share their takeaways with potential clients.

Challenge Your Sales Team to Get Results

When it comes to motivation, one size does not fit all. It's no different with your sales force. To inspire multiple generations of sales team members to maximize their potential, create a sales incentive program that promotes opportunities to earn the variety of rewards and experiences they crave—and that will move the needle on your sales success.