A baby boomer, a Gen Xer and a Millennial click into a Zoom meeting. No, this is not the set up for a joke, it’s happening in businesses every day.
Each generation has its own working style fostered by the times they grew up in. Often, these styles can clash. Millennials have received their fair share of criticism, but it’s time to start taking them seriously as a force in B2B purchasing. According to Forrester, Millennials represent more than a third of the global workforce, and more than 70% of Millennials are involved in making B2B buying decisions. Organizations that understand what drives the Millennial mindset—and adapt their sales and marketing strategies — will be positioned to outperform their competition in the years to come.
Millennials are digital natives. The literally grew up connecting to people via technology. Now they are bringing their online lifestyle and habits to the B2B world. Millennial B2B buyers are more comfortable—and in fact prefer—to do most of their research online, relying on sources such as testimonials and online reviews. They are typically more than halfway through the purchasing journey before they reach out to a sales rep.
As digital natives, Millennials are used to a constant flow of information right at their fingertips. But this Information must be easy to access, easy to understand and interesting enough (engaging, meaningful, insightful) to pique their curiosity in a world where your competition is just a click or a swipe away.
So, what does this mean for supply chain relationships, specifically, between manufacturers and wholesalers/distributors? Here are a few things to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself:
- Authenticity - They see through slick sales tactics and insincere corporate fluff. Millennials are drawn to authentic brands and are more likely than previous generations to value corporate responsibility. Nielsen’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that 73 percent of millennial respondents are willing to pay extra for more sustainable brands. In addition, 81 percent of millennials expect companies to make public declarations of corporate responsibility. What does your company stand for? How transparent and authentic are you in your business relationships? (Our commitment: https://www.vistex.com/social-responsibility/ )
- Technology – This is often a weakness for manufacturing companies. Have you been slow to adapt to high-tech ways of doing business? This could exclude the Millennial buyer. Making sure your website is current, easy to navigate and optimized for mobile are the first steps. What can you do to optimize your digital presence to attract Millennial buyers?
- Word-of-mouth – Millennials are more active and engaged on social media and generally have a large network of connections and influencers. If they have a positive experience with your company, they are significantly more likely to share it. And since they tend to have higher visibility online, each satisfied client is likely to influence many potential customers. What are you doing to generate positive word of mouth?
- Data & CX centric – Last, but not least, Millennials have a high-level of comfort with data while also expecting a user-friendly, easily consumable presentation of information. How can you better gather, present, and provide data-driven insights?
Whether you are a manufacturer or distributor, now is a good time to assess your business approach — especially the processes that support your business. Are they optimized to support the Millennial B2B professional? At Vistex, we help manufacturers and distributors like you get more visibility and transparency around the incentives data you receive or offer. We create solutions to ensure that rebates, chargebacks, pricing, etc. add up to more bottom-line revenue for you.