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3 tips to win over millennial B2B buyers

Today 73% of Millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions. But most sales teams are not ready for this change. Here are 3 tips on how to engage and sell to millennial B2B buyers.

1. Digital Selling

Many millennials are members of one or more social networking channels. So, for your company, this means that it’s important to be present online as well. Social media provides valuable insights that can help your salesforce better understand customers and what they are looking for. Millennial B2B buyers expect your digital services to be user-friendly, intelligent and easy to use.

Millennials avoid making phone calls and prefer e-mail, live messaging and video conferencing 1. They find face to face meetings a waste of time and prefer to go online to search for what they need on your company’s website or social media pages. If they know what they need, they might contact you and it will open the door to new opportunities.

According to Driggs & Hergesell (Ernst & Young LLC, 2017) companies that excel in creating a seamless omnichannel experience reap the rewards. They not only gain access to broader revenue streams but also can use the data that digital channels generate to create a much more detailed and useful view of their customers2.

2. Peer group and third-party validation

Nearly all millennials say they have purchased products that someone close to them recommended, but when millennials are in the buying process they prefer feedback from strangers over recommendations from friends and family. Millennials are 3 times as likely than baby boomers to turn to social to get opinions on products to buy3.

On the other hand, they think that companies only care about how customer reviews make them look to other shoppers instead of taking the feedback seriously. To overcome this, you need to show them that you do care as a company. But how to do this? Easy, respond directly to their questions, take relevant actions based on their input and show results of the implemented actions. When they find out you care about them and their opinion, they will come back to you with more feedback and reviews so you can start the circle all over again. Make sure that your organisation has the resources which enable you to act as recommended.

3. Socially responsible

Millennials care about the world they are living in. Therefore it is important for you as a B2B company to explain to your buyers why you do what you do. Most millennials will prefer socially responsible companies over others. Howard Breindel4 says that a recent study by Sacunas found that 80% of millennial business buyers say that the environmental, social and philanthropic efforts of potential vendors are key factors in their buying process.

According to Henrichs5 the perception of being environmentally friendly is a key factor in attracting the interest of the Millennials. According to his study, ‘green’ has a broad meaning. Respondents consider the term ‘green’ as encompassing environmental issues, but also social responsibility and the ethical treatment of animals. The study also found that compared to men, women consider how ‘green’ a brand is more important in their purchase decisions. Interestingly, younger students were less interested in ‘green’ than older students. It is therefore important for you as a B2B company to take this into consideration whilst developing new products.

As a result, we can state that doing business with millennials is somewhat different than you as B2B are used to. It is key to have an online presence, and not only via your website but make sure you also make use of the existing social media channels. On these channels it is key to include customer reviews so potential buyers can read positive information about your brand and as a result are more willing to get in touch with you when they are further in their buying process. And if possible, make sure you know and explain why you are doing what you are doing.

References:

  1. 5 Ways to Engage and Sell to Millennial B2B Buyers
    Alex Hisaka – October 2017
    https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/blog/sales-reps/2017/10/5-ways-to-engage-and-sell-to-millennial-b2b-buyers-
  2. Digital selling: reinventing sales to stay relevant to changing B2B buyers
    Woody Driggs & Chris Hergesell – 2017 Ernst & Young LLP.
    http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-reinventing-sales-to-stay-relevant-to-b2b-buyers/$FILE/ey-reinventing-sales-to-stay-relevant-to-b2b-buyers.pdf
  1. Talking to Strangers: Millennials Trust People over Brands
    BazaarVoice – January 2012
    http://media2.bazaarvoice.com/documents/Bazaarvoice_WP_Talking-to-Strangers.pdf
  2. Millennials Are Buying For Businesses. What Does This Mean For Your B2B Brand?
    Howard Breindel – June 28, 2017
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/06/28/millennials-are-buying-for-businesses-what-does-this-mean-for-your-b2b-brand/#56906985c00a
  3. An examination of marketing techniques that influence Millennials’ perceptions of whether a product is environmentally friendly.
    Katherine T. Smith – June 2010
    http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ludwig.lub.lu.se/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=9&sid=9406f1aa-8035-4244-bea7-2b52ac0f7c8b@sessionmgr120
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