Here The Millennials are Coming How Generational Differences Impact B2B Buying Committees Today TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 Introduction 2 Methodology 2 Key Findings 3 2 Survey Results 4 Generation Profiles 4 Digging Into the Results 5 3 Conclusion 12 Best Practices for Marketing and Sales New Ways to Engage 12 Final Thoughts 13 4 About the Authors 14 That Millennials are bringing their consumer buying behaviors to their B2B work is not a surprise What is surprising is that B2B marketers across all generations havent woken up yet to the fact that the old B2B marketing playbook is dead or at the very least its in hospice Ann Handley MarketingProfs snapappcomgenerationresearch snapapp 21 INTRODUCTION Todays buying committees are diverse Millennials are already taking their seats among Generation X and Baby Boomers at the buying table making navigating the already complicated buying environment even harder thanks to their different preferences Though this shift might seem minor it greatly impacts how marketing teams operate sales teams engage and how purchase decisions are ultimately made For B2B marketing and sales teams to continue finding success they must be able to identify acknowledge and respond to the generational differences of todays new buying committees This report looks at the differences between the rising Millennial buyer their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts and how B2B marketing and sales strategies can address the gaps between them METHODOLOGY To understand and identify the generational differences and impact of those differences on the B2B sales process and buyers journey SnapApp and Heinz Marketing conducted a survey over two weeks in late June 2017 The responses came from 503 professionals with buying influence andor authority across B2C and B2B businesses in different functional areas and from organizations that range from SMB to large enterprise Respondents were prequalified for the survey with the question Are you involved in either influencing recommending or approving a purchase for your organization or client Those who answered No were excluded from the survey Respondent Breakdown out of 503 responses Generation B2B vs B2C Organization Role on Buying Committee 29 20 22 31 34 14 7 46 64 Millennial 1834 Gen X 3555 Baby Boomer Over 55 B2B B2C Both snapappcomgenerationresearch 7 26 Decision Maker Influencer Project Manager Researcher Other snapapp 2 INTRODUCTION KEY FINDINGS 1 The Millennials are here The Millennial buyers are no longer just coming they are here they are active members of todays buying committees 13 of Millennials are already making purchasing decisions while another 28 are influencing them B2B marketing and sales professionals who assume Millennials only impact the B2C world are mistaken 2 A new sales journey The Millennial buyer is introducing a new marketing and sales journey one thats more independent than Generation X or Baby Boomers The Millennial buyer conducts extensive research before making a decision and early sales engagement is a big turn off Unsurprisingly across generations no one really likes white papers as a research tool 3 The rise of the sales avoiders A more independent marketing and sales journey also means that Millennials reach out to sales much later in the process than their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts Nearly 60 of Millennials reported that they only engage sales in the middle of a purchase decision actively avoiding sales until only after theyve had a chance to do some research on their own 4 Whats in it for me A Millennials search usually starts for one of two reasons their boss asked them to do it or they have a specific problem that they are experiencing Out of the three cohorts surveyed Millennials were least likely to proactively seek solutions for their team This is in direct contrast to Baby Boomers who look for solutions to team problems first 5 Authenticity matters Authenticity and trust are the keys to winning the influence of the Millennial buyer Where Generation X and Baby Boomers rely on the guidance of a salesperson Millennials look to their peers experts in the field or other sources for insight Millennials also care more about company values vs product features when finding a solution With a more selfserve approach to finding solutions the Millennial buyer is impacting the entire buying journey and the old marketing and sales tactics wont work Our approach needs to change dramatically to address the building tension between these diverse stakeholders snapappcomgenerationresearch snapapp 3 SURVEY RESULTS GENERATION PROFILES Millennials Millennial buyers crave trust and respect from their peers They search for solutions that are helpful to them first not necessarily their team This individualistic mindset puts them at direct odds with the other two generations who are much more teamfocused problem solvers meaning that Generation X and Baby Boomers likely view Millennials more as selfcentered Millennials do not wait for traditional organizational processes to solve their own problems they just go solve them Generation X Millennial BUYER Age 1835 Typical role Researcher or influencer Key behaviors Seeks solutions for their own issues vendor values are important avoids sales at all costs GENERATION X BUYER The buying habits of Generation X fall between Millennials and Baby Boomers creating even more uncertainty within the buying committee Unlike Millennials however Generation X is more likely to reach out to sales at the beginning of the decisionmaking process which aligns closely to the actions of Baby Boomers In fact Generation X and Baby Boomers share more commonalities than differences Age 3655 Typical role Influencer or decision maker Key behaviors Focuses on features engages sales early relies on salesperson for insight on solutions Baby Boomers Baby Boomers differ the most from Millennials in their actions as buyers and the ways they engage with sales teams Unlike Millennials they like to reach out to sales at the beginning of their journey a difference that could paint Millennials as less proactive Baby Boomers are also very teamfocused in contention with the individualistic attitude of Millennials These differences may make Baby Boomers perceive Millennials as lacking initiative snapappcomgenerationresearch snapapp Baby Boomer buyer Age Over 55 Typical role Decision maker Key behaviors Seeks solutions for team skeptical of free trials relies on experts 4 SURVEY RESULTS DIGGING INTO THE RESULTS Role of millennials on the buying committee Millennial influence on the buying committee is growing 5 The buying committee today is diverse and large with anywhere from three to 10 stakeholders when looking at companies with over 100 employees nearly half 45 have a minimum of six stakeholders Isolating companies with more than 1000 employees the number jumps to 10 or more 13 27 38 17 The power and influence of Millennials on these committees is growing and fast Today 13 of Millennials are already making buying decisions an additional 28 more are influencing decisions A total of 82 of Millennials are involved in the buying committee in some way Researcher Influencer Other Decision Maker Project Manager How many stakeholders are on your buying committee of employees Over 1000 5011000 101500 11100 110 0 5 10 Over 10 people snapappcomgenerationresearch 15 6 to 10 3 to 5 snapapp 20 25 1 to 2 5 SURVEY RESULTS 13 of Millennials said they are decision makers 28 more influence the decisions How buyers find solutions Among the three generations Millennials are more likely to proactively initiate research if they themselves are struggling with an issue vs a team issue This individual focus is in contrast to the other generations Generation X and Baby Boomers are more likely to elevate team problems as well as their own Of the three generations Millennials are the least likely to proactively research new products for team issues on their own accord In contrast Baby Boomers are much more likely to start looking for a solution to a team problem Millennials are not surprisingly most likely to begin the buying process when they are asked to do so by a superior When do you start seeking solutions to problems at work My team is struggling so I proactively research Im struggling so I proactively research solutions My boss asked me to find a solution for a problem I stumble across solutions even when I dont need them My boss asked me to research a few specific solutions 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Millennial Gen X Baby Boomer My sense is that while most B2B buyers have pretty sensitive BS meters Millennials can sniff out not only BS but inauthenticity a mile away And theyre less forgiving of it so good luck trying to win them back Douglas Burdett Artillery Marketing snapappcomgenerationresearch snapapp 6 SURVEY RESULTS So what happens once buyers decide or are told they need to solve a problem Where is the first place they start looking 45 Nearly of those surveyed start research with social media Turns out its social media and its generation agnostic Company social media sites were the most frequently referenced across all three generations as a channel for researching solutions Whats the most common way you Start Researching Solutions frequency out of 503 responses Company social media Personalbusiness social networks Product review sites 3rdpartycustomer reference Company contentwebsite 0 20 40 Millennial Gen X 60 80 100 120 140 Baby Boomer However there are clear differences between the generations among other sources they rely on for input Millennials skew towards the more relational channels using their personal social networks of friends and business contacts Generation X and Baby Boomers were more likely to seek out customer reviews and thirdparty input Millennials want to feel acknowledged and included This is an interesting aspect of influencer marketing isnt it By connecting to trusted influencers we may also tap into the audien
Learn How Generational Differences Impact B2B Buying Committees
Generational Buyer Differences
On-Demand Webinar Recording
Learn about today's different buyers, their roles, preferences, and more.
© Copyright SnapApp