Millennials have arrived in the B2B world and they are changing the rules of the game for marketers. In fact, they would account for 50% of the work force by 2020. The old marketing tricks and tactics do not work anymore with them. In fact, if you keep using the same techniques, you might drive them away rather than be in their good books. Today’s B2B buying cycle includes people from three generations, with millennials either making the decisions or significantly influencing the final decision. Hence, for B2B marketers, it is important to cater to the specific needs of this segment.
Here are some of the top things you must invest in to gather more “likes” from the millennials at the B2B decision-making table:
The millennials are constantly online and do not shy away from using technology on the move. There is no single way to reach this audience and hence your marketing should have a mix of channels and mediums. Your content should be truly and seamlessly omnichannel. Responsive, user-friendly content that structures itself according to the medium is an absolute necessity considering the fact that most B2B vendor searches begin from mobile phones. Millennials are also avid consumers of video content. Videos have become a vital part of B2B marketer’s arsenal and they are using it for explaining product features and capabilities, introducing the business and the team, showcasing client feedback, solving specific customer challenges, and more. According to a survey by SnapApp and Heinz Marketing, 45% of millennials feel that interactive content is one of their most preferred content types.
Millennials prefer to engage with your company on their own terms. They do not wish to receive unsolicited and irrelevant communication from you. In fact, millennials involve the vendors quite late in the decision-making process and prefer to explore various options on their own.
According to the same survey, 28% millennials say that they would engage with sales in the middle of the purchase cycle when they have already done some research, while a whopping 56% say that they would engage sales at an even later stage when they know exactly what they want. They would rather dig for information themselves so that they can arrive at a decision.
As a marketer, your job is to make it possible for them to easily get access to all the information they might need without coming across gated content or long forms. Free product trials (without any loopholes), webinars, ROI calculators, comparison charts, checklists, detailed whitepapers, easy-to-consume video content, genuine reviews, community discussions, live chat, etc., will help them achieve their goal of gathering insights about your business.
Millennial consumers are difficult to please and any generic marketing effort would most likely end in trash. B2B marketers need to go to the deepest level of personalization and one-to-one communication while engaging with this segment. Do your research, find out as much as you can about the background and requirements before you begin your marketing. Leverage social references when you reach out to your millennial prospects.
Having an old website that uses stale stock images is an easy way to turn millennials against you. It is vital to keep changing with the times and use content, imagery and design techniques that are in-sync with the times.Millennials are looking for simple navigation, to-the-point content, and absence of distractions (like pop-ups). Click To Tweet
The old practice of having gated content so that you can build a database to reach out to, does not work with millennials. They want you to offer content, but they will contact you when they are ready. Stop trying to force them down a linear path, but offer different ways of providing information so that they can explore your services with ease.
Ease of doing business is the top priority for 35% of millennials when they are looking for a B2B vendor (according to this survey). Your flexibility to change, openness to work with new technologies, ability to customize and align your products/services will definitely turn the tables in your favor. They would research for feedback from your vendors and employees to find out if you are a suitable company to work with. Millennials look for your company values, personality, and how engaged are you with the community.
According to a survey conducted by IBM, 93% of millennials, read reviews before making a purchase. Millennials rely on social media influencers when they are researching for vendors.Getting hold of B2B influencers is a tough task, but is can deliver great results if done efficiently. Click To Tweet
Collaborating with industry thought leaders, showcasing feedback from your best clients, using appropriate hashtags, appearing in prominent publications visited by your target audience, answering to queries or reviews posted about your business on social media, participating in industry forums are all considered as positive traits by millennials. But, beware, they also do have an eye for identifying fake from the real ones, therefore, be genuine and portray your business transparently.
When they do decide to engage with you, millennials value how fast you can revert with accurate information and insights. So, instead of bombarding them with messages, take your time to be prepared with right content and information and when they contact you, send customized information that is relevant for their business context.