A Guest Post by Salesloft.com
How do you sell to a millennial B2B decision-maker? Be aware of what’s important to that individual – just as you would with any client.
You’ve heard the jesting description: Millennials are narcissists, attention-seeking, spoiled clingers still living in their parents’ house, buried under a ton of student debt. They studiously avoid the business of adulting and all that it entails. They don’t stick in jobs, believing a year is plenty of service to a company. They work, gain some experience and move on.
This could lead you to believe, if you’re selling your product or service to a millennial decision-maker, that a little flattery and consistent attention combined with some numbers and a few benefit statements will make the sale for you. And if you’re not successful with the first millennial buyer, another one will be along within a year.
Those aren’t good assumptions and that’s not a good plan. Millennials are flooding the workforce.
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials have surpassed Generation Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force with 54 million individuals. In fact, this year, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers. The Department of Labor predicts that by 2025, the workforce will grow to include 74 million millennials. As their career trajectories lengthen, they’ll move into more powerful decision-making roles and you need to be ready.
According to research done by the B2B marketing agency Sacunas, 53 percent of millennials are already involved in B2B buying decisions at their companies. Ignoring the unique priorities of millennial decision-makers is not good business.
So how do you sell to the millennial decision-maker? What prompts a millennial to make a B2B buying decision.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BEING CONNECTED
Millennials are connected. They’re the first generation to be completely wired and they’re more likely to turn to technology to do research when they are making a buying decision for their company. And they research diligently.
According to the Sacunas research, they use Facebook and YouTube to connect with humans who have engaged the services of a vendor. They look at the vendor’s social media feeds to assess customer service. They visit Glassdoor to examine company reviews to determine if the vendor is someone they want to do business with.
They ask friends and colleagues, via social media, if they would recommend a company’s product or services. They value the opinions of other people.
This makes it imperative that your company monitor its reputation on social media, swiftly address concerns and provide outstanding customer service.
VIDEO IS KING
Millennials like video content. They particularly like it if it provides relevant, informative content, such as product demos, training and news about the company or marketplace. Practical information that they see as readily applicable to their specific buying need resonates with millennial buyers. They’re gathering data for the group of decision-makers; if it’s good, they look good. If it’s video, they’re even happier.
Make it visual and valuable and you’re capturing the attention of a millennial buyer.
THEY NEED PROOF
Depending on where they are on their career trajectory, accurate data is important to the millennial buyer. They’re gathering research for a decision-making group – it’s rare for one person to be the decision-maker on a corporate buy today – so the better the data, the happier they are. It solidifies their reputation with the team as someone who does the homework necessary to make a smart decision.
If they’re buying automated revenue analysis software from you, how effective and accurate has it been in similar industries? Do you have numbers? If they’re buying an email tracking program, what kinds of data does it collect and how do they apply it to their business? If they’re looking at your customer relationship management service in the cloud, what kinds of reporting can it generate to help them identify growth channels and leads?
If you can provide that information, you’re arming the millennial buyer with the powerful tools he needs to make the recommendation you want.
THEY WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE
Relationships are important to millennials. There’s no arguing that texting and emailing are viable forms of communication, but millennials like personal contact, even if it’s a meeting by Skype or Facetime. A direct connection with a real human (which is why they turn to social media for confirmation of their thoughts) is critical at an early stage in the sales cycle.
ARE YOU A GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN?
The Marketing Scope reports that millennials feel good about working with vendors who demonstrate a commitment to a cause, who are philanthropic, who give back to the community they serve. Millennials connect with companies that have clear environmental policies. Social, environmental and philanthropic values have a direct impact on a millennial’s decision to work with a specific vendor.
We know you’re going to treat every buyer with respect. Millennials may have specific triggers that are important to them, like the environment and social causes, looking professional to their bosses, demonstrating excellent levels of due diligence, so it’s important to be aware of that. But it’s just good business to do a thoughtful needs analysis and find a true and worthy solution to your buyer’s pain.