New Ebook: Reaching the Millennial Decision Makers
Digital transformation has changed the rulebook for B2B marketing. Fueled by access to a wealth of information online, buyers now are typically more than 70 percent through their decision-making process before they ever engage a sales rep.
Importantly, this digital transformation is taking place in concert with another tectonic shift in the B2B landscape – the rise of the millennial decision maker. Like the digital evolution, this transition has substantial implications for sales and marketing teams. As with any generational shift, this group of up-and-coming business leaders exhibits traits and habits unique to those before them. It’s vital for any business that wants to survive to understand those characteristics and how to cater to them.
According to Pew Research, millennials – which are commonly categorized as those born between 1981 and 1996 – became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce in 2015, surpassing 53 million workers. The eldest of this group are now entering their upper 30s and increasingly finding themselves in managerial roles.
Despite this, many sales reps still cling to the stereotypical business decision maker as a grizzled veteran with greying hair and a landline telephone. One survey found almost half of marketing and sales teams assume they’re dealing with millennial buyers or influencers less than 20 percent of the time, while one-fifth believe they deal with millennial buyers/influencers only 21-40 percent of the time.
Reality, however, is much different. Millennials are, in fact, involved in 73 percent of B2B purchasing decisions! Fully one-third of the time millennials are the sole decision maker.
Influencing, if Not Making, Decisions
Already the largest portion of the workforce, millennials are expected to account for 44 percent of U.S. workers by 2025. Naturally, they will continue to increase their power and influence in their companies. But it isn’t just a factor of climbing the proverbial ladders. More than any generation before it, millennials exude an entrepreneurial spirit, and according to Payscale, are more than two times as likely as past generations to either start or own a company.
Another business trend is also driving millennial influence on buying decisions – the practice of group decision making. In one study, 59 percent of respondents said they now use formal buying groups or committees to review purchase decisions. Fifty-two percent of them said the number of group members is increasing. This is giving millennials additional opportunity to influence key buying decisions, even when they may not be the final authority.
An investigation by SnapApp and Heinz Marketing found the most common role for millennials in buying committees was that of researcher. This could be because they’re often perceived as the most tech savvy in the group. It’s likely also because of how much millennials tend to research all their purchases, including consumer shopping.
Businesses that don’t currently involve millennials in buying decisions may have cause to rethink that strategy. At least one study determined younger teams made business decisions with more positive outcomes. The research found teams with a median age below 35 years met or exceeded expectations about two-thirds of the time. This compared to only 44 percent of the time for teams with a median age over 45.
In other words, the concept of wisdom from experience doesn’t always translate to better business decisions, enticing businesses to lean ever more heavily on millennial influence, input and decision making.
To learn more, download MultiView’s newest e-book: The Next Generation of B2B: Reaching the Millennial Decision Makers.