B2B Millennials Place Value on Relationships: Survey

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

millennials-coffee-shop-850Think B2B Millennials don’t matter? Think again: a new survey from Heinz Marketing and SnapApp shows that Millennials are now influencing and making B2B purchasing decisions.

Thirteen percent of the Millennials surveyed said they were making B2B buying decisions, while another 28 percent said they were influencers. Overall, 82 percent of the Millennials surveyed said they were involved in the buying process in some way.

The survey of 503 professionals, conducted in June, looked at generation differences in B2B buying decisions. When asked where they first began researching new products and services, Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers all said social media was their first stop. Gen Xers showed a slight preference toward product review sites, while third-party/customer referrals were B2B Millennials next preferred source.

Across all demographics, downloadable content such as whitepapers and product demos were cited as respondents least favorite types of content in the early stages of the buying journey.

Gen Xers and Boomers were more likely to willingly engage a salesperson early in their decision making process, according to the report. Nearly 60 percent of B2B Millennial respondents said they didn’t talk to salespeople until the middle stage of the funnel; only nine percent said they engaged salespeople early in the game.

Company values, company community involvement were cited as the top factors B2B Millennials consider about vendors, followed by website/marketing materials, customer support, engaging content and training options. Product features scored last.

For all generations, relationships with individuals at vendors was the highest consideration factor, followed by third party references and case studies. Gen Xers placed the most weight on free trials and customer references, while Boomers looked the closest to data analysis.

When respondents were asked what they hated most about marketing and sales, cold calling and a lack of personalization in marketing materials ranked high on the list. Prospects also don’t enjoy being jumped on immediately after they download a whitepaper. “I’m information gathering and I’ll call you if I want to discuss,” said one respondent. “Just because I downloaded one piece of content doesn’t mean I’m in the buying process,” said another.

 

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Damon Swenson, Brand Activation Manager at Dr Pepper, on crafting a retail program using custom labels tied to Millennials’ passion points and lifestyle interests like fashion, music and pop-culture. He presented his case study at Marketing to Millennials 2017.

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