How millennial B2B buyers changed sales
We’re working in an exciting time for business, where we welcome an influx of millennial buyers. With 73% of B2B sales transactions involving millennial decision-makers, there’s no doubt the world of B2B sales is evolving to meet these buyers’ interests, needs and preferences.
Millennials change how we prospect and discover new leads, they change how we build product value and how we contact them; to see continued B2B sales success, your sales team needs to adapt to the millennial audience soon or you may be left behind.
The social media surge
Many of us know why incorporating social media is important to business success, as 57% of B2B buyers use social media to research vendors.
When discussing millennials, this is even more prominent; 80% of millennial B2B buyers say social media influences their purchasing decisions, so if you’re not yet incorporating a social selling strategy as part of your B2B sales approach, now’s the time to start!
As 90% of C-level executives confessed to rejecting many conventional marketing communications, the process of connecting and engaging decision makers on social media platforms began. Social media helps salespeople create a personal and individual connection with each millennial prospect in a way the buyer finds convenient and non-intrusive of their busy timetable.
Social media allows for much more than sales messaging, it helps build a relationship with group sharing and commenting, enabling sales teams to understand what topics and interests their buyers engage with, and what pain points concern them.
A social selling strategy has proven success for many B2B sales teams, as they adapt to the preferences of the ever-growing millennial audience. Those conducting social selling tactics are not only 40% more likely to see success in their ventures, but also have a sales pipeline 18% bigger, moving 28% faster than those who don’t.
Having a strong online presence is vital to your millennial buyer. Did you know 94% of buyer journeys start online? We look to the internet far more than we realize, for almost everything. The average person conducts seven different Google searches per day!
This number has grown in recent years, as the internet becomes ever more accessible across a multitude of devices, and those at the forefront of this technology are - you guessed it - millennials. So what does this mean for B2B sales teams? It points to two key things…
Firstly it means your leads and prospects will be far better educated. They’ll have looked your business up online and read plenty of reviews, researched your competitors and come prepared with questions and intentions.
Don’t expect to launch into a pre-rehearsed sales script; your millennial buyers know what they want from the call, so be ready to answer their questions and offer them details surrounding pricing and contract conditions.
And secondly, this changes how millennials identify the value your product can offer their business. In the past, this was a key element of the sales pitch, helping prospects understand how your product can offer the prospect a return.
For a millennial audience, many prefer to gain this information online between your communications, so be sure to send them plenty of engaging content and assets they can view, or point them in the direction of your blog. This way, you can turn their online reliance into an advantage, reigning in some control over what they read.
Email, email, email
Knowing how much stock a millennial audience puts into their internet research it may come as little surprise to know that the phone call is not their favored method of contact… 86% of business professionals prefer email communications above all others, and this number is undoubtedly influenced by the millennial audience.
The surge of technology helping connect us through texting, messaging and social platforms, for a modern audience, there is little need for many to speak on the phone.
Whilst many decision makers are happy to take sales calls when organized, for outreach or short, “check-in” communications, avoiding the phone where possible may be the best move.
This doesn’t mean your sales team are restricted to just email communications, there’s still plenty of room for them to get creative. Think about what the email offers- it can be accessed remotely, at any time, anywhere and doesn’t involve any direct human interaction.
What other forms of communication share similar characteristics, attracting to your millennial audience? It’s predicted that by 2020, 3 billion active email addresses will be in use; a reluctance to embrace a sales email approach could lead to a large loss of new business opportunity, as you fail to meet millennial preferences.
This increase in online activity has led to another key shift in how millennials look to make purchases. Recent years have seen an enormous increase in e-commerce, as we make consumer purchases comfortably through online retailers, many millennials expect a similar process when making business purchases.
The rise of e-commerce predicts that 1 million B2B sales jobs will be lost over the next few years, unless sales processes adapt and change to meet modern buyer needs.
We’re not saying you need to only sell online; for some products and solutions, this just isn’t possible. But is there something you offer that could have a process similar to an online “checkout”?
If you offer a product demonstration for example, can this be booked via your website, similar to an online transaction? This feeds the millennial preference to purchase online and doesn’t hinder your sales approach or those working for your sales team.
The older generation have always been very focused on business benefit and gain, asking what more you can do for their business. However, millennials bring a shift in this mind-set.
They have other priorities, and are interested in elements of your business that have until now seemed less impactful on sales. A whopping 80% of millennials in a recent survey said that a company’s environmental, social and philanthropic efforts impact purchasing decisions when considering them as vendors.
This seems like a possible red flag to your sales teams, but it actually offers them a secret weapon. It offers your team more to discuss with their sales prospects, using a less traditional approach to make a memorable impression on a younger, modern audience.
To properly target a modern buyer, you need a modern sales software to match. Discover Lead Forensics, the ultimate B2B sales tool, identifying the businesses visiting your website and providing contact details for key decision makers.
With a full breakdown of their online journey, your team gains a bounty of fresh new business opportunities, and all the data they need to conduct an impactful, effective follow-up. Find out more - visit Lead Forensics at DTX Europe on Stand IR34.Read the full blog post on Lead Forensics’ website.