In 2014, Google reported that 46 percent of potential buyers researching B2B products were Millennials, up from 27 percent in 2012. Today, 83 percent of Millennial workers are involved in decisions to purchase products or services for their companies or their own business, and 34 percent are the sole decision-maker regarding purchases.
That includes a growing number of young land developers and commercial builders born between 1977 and 1994. These young men and women are loyal, seek value and help and are peer persuaded. Millennials will turn to their robust social networks to crowd-source decisions as well as recommend and refer business. Deliver exceptional value and social sharing shall be your reward.
If you are a factory owner, a GM, Sales Manager or a Sales Rep and over 50 years old, brace yourself because “You Probably Don’t Know Jack!”
Here are some key facts you need to understand to attract, nurture and keep a Millennial that has begun working in the housing arena as a developer, a residential builder or a commercial builder.
Sixty One percent of them say they're least likely to get along with someone from another generation.
Millennials communicate, shop, make decisions, and buy differently than previous generations. A firm understanding of the behavior and values of Millennials is the first step in establishing common ground with a next generation buyer.
You need to learn what they look for in products/services, how they prefer to communicate, what associations or social networks do they belong to and what would make your company more appealing to them.
You need to learn their demographics, motivations, what blogs they read, devices they use, podcasts, how they shop online, prefer to communicate with vendors, etc.
Millennials spend more than 3.5 times overall usage time in messaging apps than those over 50 years old, with older users defaulting to apps that replicate desktop functions, like email and web browsers.
Evolving technologies have created a tangled web of varying communication preferences.
The clashing of communication channels is at an all-time high in the workplace. Some folks want face-to-face like Zoom, others want a phone call, an email, a text, or message via the latest chat service. One thing is for certain, never leave a voicemail for a Millennial.
How factory sales reps want to communicate is less important than how Millennial builders want to communicate. Reps should defer to the builder's communication preferences which may be text, Slack, Skype, or some other innovative platform. Adjusting in real-time to various communication channels is the new norm when selling to Millennials.
On a positive note, the majority of B2B sales and inquiries is now done between Millennials. I was having a conversation with my son-in-law, a Millennial pharmaceutical sales rep, about how he communicates with his customers. One of his doctors and he talk while playing Call of Duty together.
Millennial builders also cited Internet search and factory websites as their two top means of researching factories, products and services.
Historically the sales process has been very linear--qualifying, educating, creating interest/need, and closing-- but the Millennial B2B builder prefers a different process.
The Millennial builder or developer will gather information up front by consuming information via social networks, videos, blogs, etc. As a result, sellers have to do much more work attracting vs prospecting.
What's the best way to attract a Millennial? Deliver valuable, compelling content where they are searching for that information. Learn what topics or questions they are searching for online and create content that fills the need of the potential builder. High-value content will also position you as an expert/authority that can be trusted.
Ensure your content is plentiful and as digitally native as Millennials are so that the Millennial builder or developer can easily beat a digital path to your front door.
Millennials grew up on the web searching forums, reading blogs, evaluating Yelp reviews, Googling everything, and tweeting at brands as if they were a personal friend. Millennials buying behavior is different from previous generations because of their high-social and hyper-connected upbringing.
Millennials will make decisions about you or your homes based on your digital presence or the lack thereof. Unlike previous generations, a face-to-face meeting is not needed to build trust and will only support the relationship or impression that they've already established online. Millennials place a high value on virtual.
Eighty-four percent of Millennials report that user-generated content on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy.
Once attracted, how do you move the Millennial builder along in the buying process?
Provide proof. For a generation that has been bombarded with ads their whole life, straight-forward and honest proof is what demonstrates the most trust with Millennials.
Create a compelling story with real images of other real builders getting real results.
Remember the good old days when many factories were hesitant to introduce their builders to each other. Millennial builders and especially developers want to be networked, in fact, demand it.
Millennials are massively persuaded by peers and will lean into their massive online networks to gather peer reviews, recommendations, and referrals. Ask one of your current Millennial builders, if you actually have any, to create proof-packed content.
Seventy percent of Millennials feel a responsibility to share feedback with companies after a good or bad experience. Nurture Millennial influencers to provide proof and help promote your company to other builders and developers.
Ninety-two percent of Millennials say mobile devices are important when researching new products and services.
On-demand info gathering and mobility throughout the sales cycle is a Millennial expectation. Millennials grew up in a response-rich, mobile environment and now expect prompt responses and mobile friendly communications at every crossroad.
Factory sales reps must rethink their sales communications through the lens of mobile in order to connect with the Millennial B2B builder.
The age of factory sales reps “bagging and tagging” builders is over. Now it’s the Millennial builder or developer that first 'tags' and then 'bags' a factory. You just need to learn how to get on their radar.