How Millennials Are Changing The B2B Buyer Profile

How Millennials Are Changing The B2B Buyer Profile

In a sector where sales are king, many B2B businesses are making
a key mistake by approaching the same ‘buyer’ from 10 or 20
years ago. The reality is that ‘digital native’ millennials are
changing the nature of B2B purchasing. According to
research by Merit
, up to 73% of B2B buyers are now
millennials.

This is an important distinction because
the millennial generation of buyers will expect the same kind of
intimacy, immediacy and coherency as their favorite B2C brands
.
Ignoring this reality can hurt B2B companies’ bottom line, while
more forward-thinking businesses have gained a competitive
advantage by adapting the processes that underpin their sales and
marketing strategy.

How can B2B companies be efficient when adapting their brand
marketing for a millennial audience? And what does this mean for

the future of B2B marketing
? Let’s take a closer look by
answering three key questions.

1. What Does The New Buyer Look Like?

Digital technology has mostly consigned the old stereotypes of
B2B buyers to history.

Millennials, who grew up with home Internet access, smartphones,
social media and online shopping, have stepped in. For starters,
the way they use technology to research purchases, qualify vendors
and make purchases has changed the game for marketers and product
managers.
They will primarily use digital channels in the initial phase of
any new procurement for products or services
, putting important
areas such as SEO, social media, content strategy and
sustainability under the spotlight.

Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are particularly important
channels for this new generation. Meanwhile, user-generated reviews
through channels like Glassdoor will also be used to assess and
engage with vendors.

All of that new information puts B2B sellers under more
scrutiny. But it’s important to remember that social media and
digital technology can be a two-way street. In return, businesses
can use their online channels to gather important hard data and
anecdotal knowledge about their target audience. This should be
used to build new ‘archetypes’ of the company’s target
audience.

2. How Can You Capture Their Attention?

With a rapid increase in the number of brands jostling for
position over a growing number of digital channels,
capturing the attention of a B2B target audience
is hard enough
– and this is more complicated if the business is targeting a
relatively niche demographic.


Value-adding content strategy is a key growth area
. With
detailed profiles of the target audience, you can start to tailor
specific pieces of content for each buyer and each phase of the
sales cycle.

This content doesn’t need to exclude older buyers – for
‘baby boomers’ you might provide white papers (with a
registration form for data capture) alongside video content for
millennials.

Speed of response is also vital, particularly on social media.
Buyers expect a rapid response – and in the near future consumers
of all kinds will expect a near-instantaneous response to their
inquiries.

Likewise, easy access to key information is a priority. Some
organizations also need to consider improving the design they use
to communicate detailed product information. Space is at a premium
– not just the small space afforded by a smartphone screen, but
also
the mental and emotional space that your brand requires
from
buyers to engage effectively.

Simple changes can quickly improve online engagement levels, for
example user journey adaptations for the website, improving
accessibility of content, changing color schemes to be easier on
the eye, removing any unnecessary registration forms and
introducing central hubs for key information like data sheets.

3. How Can You Keep This New Buyer Loyal?

The potential commercial value of a millennial B2B buyer can be
vast because they’re just starting out in their career and
therefore carry a high lifetime value.

This underscores the importance of brand loyalty, which has
continued to evolve in our digital first economy. In the B2B
sector, that means technical support, customer service and
long-term service support are more important than ever before.
These services also need to carry the same level of brand coherency
that the buyer experienced before their purchase. B2B buyers now
think far beyond the actual purchase – they want to feel
confident that your business will be there for them after the
sale.

In that sense, the brand should play an integral role by
communicating the values and principles that will bring reassurance
to the buyer about the availability and effectiveness of long-term
support. This includes the introduction of service design thinking
throughout the customer journey and user experience.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Michael Gentle,
VIM Group.

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Source: FS – HT – Brands
How Millennials Are Changing The B2B Buyer Profile