Why a Collaborative CRM is the Key to Managing Millennials

Date: Jun 16, 2014 8:30:00 AM
Millennial adults—those ranging in age from 18 to 33—are entering the workforce in droves. They've been getting a lot of bad press as well, with folks complaini

ng about their laziness, sense of entitlement, and need for constant praise.

Of course, older generations are notorious for griping about the new kids on the block, so we're willing to bet that Millennials are no better or worse than their predecessors...they're just different.

However, if you're managing Millennials and want a sure-fire way of doing so effectively, consider using a collaborative CRM. Here's why.

1. Millennials grew up with technology, and they understand how to engage with it.

As Pew Research reports in a study from earlier this year, these digital natives have "taken the lead in seizing on the new platforms of the digital era—the internet, mobile technology, social media—to construct personalized networks of friends, colleagues and affinity groups." (Yep, we bolded the word "colleagues.")

How this is relevant to collaborative CRMs. Millennials aren't interested in rolodexes, paper calendars, or Day-Timers. They're used to living in a digitized world, so using something other than web-based software to manage customer relationships would be foreign to them. 

The problem is not all CRM software is created equal. A collaborative CRM—one that fosters an inclusive atmosphere where people can easily enter and exit conversations and customize their settings to fit their individual preferences—is the type of CRM that will make the most sense to Millennials since they're used to having this type of control with other platforms, like Gmail, Facebook, and so forth.

2. Millennials love social media and enjoy interacting online.

As Nielsen reports in "Millennials: Technology=Social Connection," the question isn't whether Millennials use social media. The question is when they don't use it. For example, the article says 40 percent of Millennials between the ages of 18 and 24 check into social media from—of all—places the bathroom.

The article goes on to say, "Access to technology and devices is fueling Millennials' ability to stay social 24/7. Younger Millennials access social media sites more on their laptops than mobile devices, while Older Millennials log in more on mobile apps. Regardless of device, both groups are checking in socially between 20 and 21 hours each month."

How this is relevant to collaborative CRMs. Millennials are used to being social with friends and family online. It makes sense that they would want to interact with work colleagues and customers in the same fashion and would appreciate features that mimic the ones they love already know and love. For example, Pew Research reports that 81% of Millennial adults are on Facebook, so a feature that's similar to the Facebook newsfeed would help foster this social, collaborative atmosphere.

These online interactions aren't about wasting time, procrastinating, or playing Words with Friends, either. An article from The Wall Street Journal called "A Survival Guide to Working with Millennials" states, "Informal and brief interactions are the norm for younger employees. Just because there is not a rectangular table with you sitting at the head does not mean that work isn't being done. Brief, frequent and efficient interactions are becoming the communications norm in today's workplace."

It's important to note, however, that Millennials still appreciate—and crave—in-person interactions and collaboration. This article in USA Today points out that Millennials use technology, like CRMs, to enhance their interactions with friends, family, and colleagues, not to replace it.

3. Millennials crave flexible work environments.

As PwC reports in "How to manage the millennials," these workers want flexibility: "Give them the freedom to have a flexible work schedule. Does it matter if they work from home or a coffee shop or wherever if that's where they are most productive?"

How this is a relevant to collaborative CRMs: Nothing provides more flexibility than tools based in the cloud—tools that can be accessed anytime, anywhere as long as there's an Internet connection.

As you can see, successfully managing Millennials is possible, especially when you have the right tools, like collaborative CRMs. So don’t believe the negative press about this newest generation of workers. Embrace and engage them and expect great things.


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