We’ve all heard it before, sounding oddly familiar to the midnight ride of Paul Revere: “The Millennials are coming! The Millennials are coming!” It was true; we were coming. But now, we’re here. (How’s that for an intro?)
In 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce. In 2016, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation at over 75 million people (Pew Research Center). The Arketi Group conducted an online survey with B2B managers and executives that showed Millennials had the highest percentage of decision makers who reported they had budget and/or final sign-off authority in technology purchases or contracts worth $10,000 or more. Millennials are becoming organizations’ leaders and buyers. The generation continues to grow; it’s projected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 (Pew Research Center).
So, what do B2B organizations need to know about their new employees and buyers?
- We require transparency. I was born in ’92 (cue eye roll). Facebook was founded when I was 11. I’ve grown up, along with the rest of my cohort, able to see and read the intimate details of people’s lives in seconds. I did school projects on Google Docs looking at the edits of my peers in real-time when they weren’t even in the same building. When I came into the workforce I expected the same transparency between colleagues, departments, and the tools we use to help with our success. As a marketer, I’m in the middle; my job sits between the pricing and product teams and the sales team. The thought process from product to pricing to marketing to sales should be seamless. We should all be on the same page in regards to the value we are creating, capturing, and communicating to ensure our customers’ success.
- We need you to get to the point. Fast! According to Mitek Systems, 87% of Millennials say that their smartphone never leaves their side. Meaning, competition for Millennials’ attention is only a click away. CEB states, buyers are now as much as 57% of the way through the buying process before actually engaging with a seller. Which leads me to Fun Fact #3…
- We don’t want to waste your time, and we especially don’t want to waste our time. Long sales PowerPoint presentations focused on “About Us”, your product features and benefits lead Millennials to think, “If you’re just going to reiterate the information that’s on your website, why do you have a website at all?” *Scrolls through Instagram* Deal lost.
- We expect technology, and we get frustrated when you don’t use it. It’s no secret that Millennials are digitally savvy. We’re always thinking about a new way – stronger, better, faster – to approach an old thing. Think Uber and Airbnb. Usually, through a quick Google search, we find that our million-dollar idea is already taken. There’s some 26-year-old in California with the domain name and patent pending – shoot, back to the drawing board. If I’m your potential buyer or key recommender and you email me a whitepaper, get me on the phone to present a PowerPoint to me, share a video as follow-up, schedule another meeting to show me a spreadsheet proving your value, etc. I’m sitting there thinking, “This could be done better. Why isn’t this all in one place? Where the heck is their sales enablement tool?”
This change in the workforce can’t be ignored. B2B organizations need to become digitally savvy in order to keep up with our ever-changing environment. Adapt or fail; Millennials are here. (Dramatic ending for full circle effect. What? I’m young! I thrive on drama!)