3 ways to inspire millennials in today’s sales environment

By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Nazma Qurban from Cognism shows us how to get the best from this distinctive group.

Back in June, we staged our second #SaasGrowth conference, at Here East in London’s Olympic Park. We had around 350 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 40 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you with our #SaaSGrowth2019 articles.

Nazma Qurban

Nazma Qurban is CRO at Cognism, prospecting and lead generation software helping businesses find and deliver new revenue, faster. Cognism have been with Sales Confidence from the very beginning and we’re proud that they are headline sponsors.

Cognism has seen massive growth in revenue and headcount since starting up in 2016. It’s a real success story. To achieve this success, it has relied on millennials. 95% of the staff at Cognism are millennials or Gen Z. In fact, I think it’s only James, the Founder, who isn’t! Plus, everyone stays. There is next to no employee churn at Cognism.

How has Cognism managed to create an environment where millennials, more known for moving quickly between jobs, are happy to stay and thrive?

According to Nazma, it’s all down to three things.

1 — Culture

Creating a culture that appeals to millennials is essential for productivity and retention. It all stems from how they were taught.

‘The education system that was in place for this generation was all about collaboration and teamwork. They are recognised and rewarded for it.’

At Cognism, Nazma was instrumental in creating a culture that tries to work in the same way. It led to ‘teamship rules’ where the team create their own rules of engagement for the company, around aspects such as timekeeping, communication and productivity.

Involving everyone in the creation of rules makes them feel like they own it. The result is a strong culture of inclusivity. It’s a far cry from the traditional, dictatorial style of management.

2 — Growth

Personal development, progress, growth; all of these things are essential for most millennials in the world of work. Millennials are ambitious; they want to develop and progress.

At Cognism, Nazma is sure to show everyone what they need to do to get where they want to go. Every single individual has a personal progression plan.

However, it’s more than that. You must take time to understand what drives each individual in your team.

‘Being a manager isn’t enough. You need to become a mentor. Connect with the professionally and personally. Drive them to get to the end result.’

3 — Creativity

Our final way to inspire, drive and retain millennials in today’s working environment is creativity.

When you hire exceptional millennials, as Cognism do, you don’t want to suppress what makes them exceptional. You have to give them room to use their intelligence and creativity, rather than get them working in the same old way.

‘I had some strong individuals in my team who were adamant that they wanted to try different ways of sourcing leads. We created a framework where they have 20% flexibility to get creative.’

When millennials feel they have the space to experiment, where they feel they are listened to and valued, they are more likely to succeed and stay.

Over to you

We’ve heard from Nazma. Now, we want to know what you think.

What initiatives have you tried at your company to attract, inspire and retain millennials? If you’re a millennial, what ideas appeal to you?

Let the Sales Confidence community know by leaving a comment below.

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