Millennials are B2B’s future - so give them a hand (not an avocado)

Robert Green, marketing director at OLIVER Group explains why we should be embracing B2B millenials

“At your age, I was already married, had kids, and had bought a house."

"You live with your head in your phone."

“Something about an avocado.”

You’ve heard all this before. Laugh all you want, but millennials are taking over every aspect of the world we know. And yes, that includes B2B. It’s not something traditional marketers can fight. It’s not going to go away if we just keep ignoring it.

Millennials are B2B’s future, so get onboard.

This might seem like I’m telling you to concurrently suck an egg, count to ten and name the months of the year, but many traditional agency models seem genuinely resistant to this inevitable change. They don’t want to hand over the keys.

And that’s a problem. To solve that problem, you’ve got to future-proof your business. Not just throw out some buzzwords and dial up your social media engagement.

Future-proof in the truest sense of the word, setting it up as an inheritance of sorts, in a way that gives the next generation a foundation from which to build and make your legacy their own. 

Get to grips with your stakeholders...

Again, this might seem painfully obvious. But a lot of B2B providers are using the same methods they’ve been employing for years. That makes no sense at all - it’s the B2B equivalent of travelling around by horse and cart.

It transpires that 73% of millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions, and as you’d expect, they’re much more accustomed to buying through a website than a sales rep.

Don’t skimp on your online presence - it’s more important now than ever.

The key is making everything as convenient as possible. If they’re making informed decisions without a rep, then they need all your key information to hand. It needs to be accessible, both in terms of content and presentation. If it’s a visual hodge-podge, they won’t investigate any further - no matter how good your offering may be.

If it looks dated, you’re dated.

Keep up.

But don’t roll over completely...

Sure, millennials and generation z are less likely to respond to cold-calls. Initially, anyway. They’re not used to them. It’s not what they grew up with, just like I didn’t grow up with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and so on. But I grew to love and adopt those platforms because I saw the benefits they lend business.

The same can be said for that personal, ‘real’ interaction element. Once you’ve established contact and there’s genuine interest, offer a phone call. A Skype call. Whatever.

Have these options available on your website, but really hammer it home in your follow-ups - you don’t have to be pushy, but giving that option while still communicating digitally shows that you’ve got all bases covered.

Personalisation is a massive plus in B2B marketing - what’s more personal than a phone call?

Don’t give in to competitor pressure...

CD sales were doing all right, then P2P happened. Blockbuster was doing ok, then Netflix came along. The learning? Analyse customers’ data and work from that - build roadmaps based on their likes, dislikes, their click-through rates and so on.

But above all, use some common sense.

B2B still revolves around the customer experience, despite all the newfangled technology.

There are so many different ways to interact with potential customers nowadays - when you’re looking at millennials, you have to give them a steer. Not because they’re fickle, not because they’re after a smooth ride and nothing else. None of those things.

Millennials are B2B’s future, and they’re already making a massive dent in what we do. Work with them - accommodate their preferences, but don’t settle.

B2B Marketing Spring 2018

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B2B Marketing Spring 2018