Beyond the impact on society, the Millennials also change how companies do business with the B2B sector. A global survey conducted by Heinz Marketing shows that in the B2B segment, 13% of the Millennials make purchasing decisions, 27% influence them, 17% are project managers, 38% are in purchase research, and 5% have other roles.
A new experience is required in B2B
As consumers, those born after 1980 want a different purchasing experience. This generation is doing research before contacting a potential vendor. The direct contact initiated by a potential vendor at the beginning of the purchase cycle removes most of the chances of doing business with those of that generation. Purchasers of the Y generation do not look at studies or analyzes, but search for information on their own, considering their own criteria.
Profiling those who avoid B2B vendors
When engaged in B2B transactions, 60% of the Millennials avoid contacting potential suppliers by the middle of the purchase process, because they need time to do their own research. The informational asymmetry between suppliers and buyers does not count anymore. The decision-making autonomy stimulates Millennials to find their own means of collecting information and making purchasing decisions.
As employees and project team members, 28% of them start their research for a purchase at the request of the boss, and 30% of them because they have a problem they want to solve. They are the least inclined to start the process proactively to solve a problem faced by the team I belong to. Only 25% have this approach, and 16% do it when they find something interesting. Millennials can work in teams, but everybody is looking for their own solution, which then compares with those of the other colleagues.
Authenticity and trust count for Millennials
When buying, Millennials looks at company values and product quality. They ask friends and acquaintances for advice, not sales consultants. Their affiliation to the social and professional networks makes it important to them to gain the respect and appreciation of friends and colleagues, that is why 45% start collecting information on potential suppliers via social media. So, on the one hand, buying is defined as an approach with a strong selfish component. On the other hand, Millennials want conscious, human, and authentic companies that work with integrity because they make business decisions based on their personal values, a decision process that privileges such companies.
B2B marketing tactics relevant to Millennials
Concerning the content consumption of this generation, 35% say they do not like the downloadable content, 32% do not appreciate product descriptions, 18% do not appreciate expert opinions and case studies, 15% do not look at recorded webinars, 12% do not watch live webinars, 10% do not get product brochures. Instead they like blog articles, infographics, short video content, and electronic books that can be downloaded freely.
At the juncture between marketing and sales, they do not like cold calling or cold emails, lack of personalization or a call from a vendor after they downloaded a PDF on that vendor’s website. Millennials value a company’s values and involvement in the community, the quality of the marketing materials, product specifications clearly mentioned on the website, interactive content, and chatbots.
Instead of conclusion ...
Each generation has its own individuality. It is the case of the generation of Millennials. Just the difference to other generations is greater. As employees, they want a work experience that highlights their talent for interacting with technology in companies that are genuinely involved in the community. As B2B buyers, they avoid suppliers up the advanced stages of the sales process because they want to research the market options themselves and make their own decisions on potential suppliers.
The B2B consumer habits of this generation could be summed up to "little and good" as an expression of a responsible lifestyle and environmental protection. Millennials are no better or worse than other generations. They're just different.
... and "to be continued"
Research is part of our DNA at Valoria. We study, interpret, publish, and put in practice what we say. That's why we have integrated the above-mentioned concepts in the course on "Marketing Strategy for IT Companies" – a course prepared together with Ionuţ Munteanu from Webdigital and Robert Zănescu from Zephyr Group. Course participants will develop the marketing skills needed by an IT professional marketer, adding to their repertoire knowledge of how the Millennials interpret information and make decisions in a field as dynamic as IT is. Learn more about this course here.