millennial b2b buyers

How to Sell to Millennial B2B Buyers

For years marketers have been obsessed with Millennials (and their wallets). I’ve read countless articles on what Millennials value, how they like to spend, what motivates their behaviors, etc. Then, when this generation started coming out of the malls and into the business world, the articles on “how best to work with Millennials” started making their way around the interwebs.

As a Millennial myself, I’ve found all of these studies, articles, and posts fascinating. My age group was born in time unlike any other in history, and the affect of the rapid development of technology has had on our generation is remarkable.

While the articles about how to sell to Millennials and how to cope with them in the workplace are interesting, I recently read Understanding the Millennial B2B Buyer Will Change How You Sell and it hit me hard. I never considered how our generation will inevitably impact the B2B arena, as well as B2C. Our generation is already making major purchasing decisions for companies and, as we start to make a larger presence in the workforce, that influence will only increase.

In fact, in my last position at a Fortune 500 company, I helped make a major purchasing decision about which software platform to use for lead generation. I was brought in on all the meetings while the sales reps pitched their products. Afterwards, I discussed the pros and cons of each company with the SVP of our department. If I brought up any red flags, we’d dismiss the option—just like that! Someone who started playing Nintendo at age five was making a decision that would deny a six-digit contract with just a few words to the SVP. Crazy, right?

So, if you find yourself sitting on the other side of the fence, trying to pitch your company’s products and services to another business, you’ll want to factor in some of these Millennial traits to make sure you’re hitting the mark with Millennial B2B buyers.

Transparency and authenticity is highly valued

Back to my example of the lead-generation software—once we signed the contract and purchased the product there were quite a few caveats not mentioned in the initial demo. It was a major issue, and it would have been nice to know what we were getting ourselves into upfront. This lack of transparency left a bad taste in my mouth, and I won’t recommend this company to any other businesses moving forward.

We will be checking (and writing) reviews—actively

Personally, I’m a Yelp fanatic—I read and write reviews all the time. From a B2B standpoint, I do the same with any software or service my company is considering purchasing. I’ll research the product to see what people are saying about it on the company site, on professional review sites, and then on message boards. These reviews will definitely help inform my decision. Plus, if I have a polarizing experience with the company, you can bet I will write a review.

TIP: If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start a customer testimonial blog strategy.

We build relationships (personal and professional) through social media

I’ve recommended a lawyer I knew to a friend via Facebook. I’ve found companies to work through the thought leaders I met on LinkedIn groups. Because Millennials blur the lines between work/life, we will think of all of our connections as friends and potential business partners.

We look for established thought-leadership via content

Since we were born into the information age, we LOVE information—sharing, writing it, learning it. It’s no wonder that content marketing has exploded in recent years. This generation actively consumes information and will share it with our networks if we find it relevant and interesting. If you’re looking to make a splash as a B2B partner, content is a great way to do so.

Have you worked with a Millennial in a B2B capacity before? What was your experience?

 

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