5 Ways to Engage and Sell to Millennial B2B Buyers

Millennials increasingly influence B2B purchases. Here are five keys to successfully selling to them.

October 9, 2017

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Today, 73 percent of millennial workers influence purchase decisions for their companies or their own business. With millennials expected to make up the majority of the global workforce within a decade, this buying dynamic will only intensify. This makes it increasingly important for salespeople – especially those steeped in traditional tactics – to learn how to reach and successfully engage the newest generation of B2B buyers.

Here are five steps to win over millennial buyers.

1. Understand Millennials’ Buying Roles

According to The Millennials are Here! report by SnapApp, Millennials usually search for a solution because a boss requested it or to solve personal problems. Seems normal, right? But this contrasts with Gen-X and Baby Boomers who are more focused on solving a problem for the entire team.

The SnapApp report also found that 82 percent of millennials are involved in buying committees. Even when millennials don’t sign the dotted line, they can sway the outcome by spreading your message and introducing you to the right people. Millennials are also more likely to spearhead a solution search without rigidly following company protocol. When looking for allies among the buying committee, don’t ignore millennials – they may be your strongest advocates for change.

2. Study Millennial Habits and Mindsets

Millennials take pride in their love of technology, craving connections with friends, family, and peers. They value authentic interactions and see doing business with someone as a natural extension of a relationship. In other words, millennials are likely to buy from who they like – especially if peers have already given that product or service (or person) a thumbs-up.

3. Know How Millennials Prefer to Engage

In general, millennials avoid cold calls like the plague and won’t return voicemails left by unknown people. But millennials also love expanding their networks, so if you’ve established even a little familiarity, there’s a good chance your millennial buyer will be glad to connect on LinkedIn.

When it makes sense to talk, millennials still avoid the phone, preferring email, live messaging, and video conferencing apps. Don’t wait too long to respond on these channels as millennials are accustomed to on-demand answers.

Lastly, make every sales engagement personal. You can learn a lot about most millennials online, so ditch the canned email and craft a message that shows you took the time to understand the individual on the other end.  

4. Be Present and Discoverable Online

Millennials are pretty good at finding salespeople, and are more likely to reach out to those with a professional social media presence. This is where a strong LinkedIn profile works wonders. Just don’t pretend to be someone you’re not because millennials can read between the lines of online profiles – it’s how many of them found their significant other.

Shine up your profile but don’t stop there. Being active is what makes you discoverable. It’s one thing to have a profile that impresses the right people, it’s quite another to have a profile that impresses hordes of the right people.

5. Make It Easy to Buy

Millennials may want information, but that doesn’t mean they want to be bombarded with it. In lieu of data overload, lean on successes with similar customers since millennials are big on getting peer validation for any solution under consideration. Share videos featuring like-minded people who are happy they engaged with and purchased from you, for example.

When it comes to closing the deal, play it cool with negotiations. Formal negotiations feel foreign to most millennials, who understand contracts and T’s & C’s but prefer a more informal, natural approach to arriving at them. Whatever you can do to make buying easier, do it, because the next wave of decision makers wants business purchases to go as smoothly as personal ones. Interactions should be quick, easy, and digital.

If you feel at all intimidated or baffled by millennial buyers, remember that they are eager to connect and do business. Be genuine, aim to understand, and cater to the other party’s communication preferences and you’ll better engage audiences of all ages, not just millennials.

For more practical advice on how to engage modern buyers, download LinkedIn’s Definitive Guide to Smarter Social Engagement.