The Millennial generation is growing up and moving into positions of greater responsibility—which means that if your company sells products or services B2B, you’re going to be interacting with more Millennial buyers in the coming years. How do Millennial buyers’ needs and wants differ from those of Gen X or Baby Boomer buyers? A report by IBM polled Millennials (born 1980-1993), Gen X (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964) to learn what influences different generations when researching business products and services.
How they like to communicate: Millennials place a lot of importance on communication with vendors, but they’d rather not communicate face-to-face. Some 69 percent prefer to interact by email; just one-fourth prefer to meet in person. Rather surprisingly, 62 percent prefer to communicate by phone.
What they care about most: What vendor features influence different generations? Millennial buyers care about the ease of doing business with an organization and its willingness to work collaboratively. Gen X, on the other hand, cares most about whether the company can deliver its products or services to their satisfaction and whether the company has a reputation for quality. Finally, Baby Boomers care most about whether the company can respond quickly and whether it is committed to social or environmental responsibility.
Where they do their research: Millennnial buyers get most of their research information from vendors’ representatives, tradeshows and conferences, or colleagues in their company. In contrast, Gen X prefers to get their information from articles/papers/blogs by industry experts or analysts and by visiting websites or apps to read reviews and comparisons. Finally, Boomers split the difference, getting most of their information either from tradeshows and conferences, or from industry expert blogs/articles/papers.
What influences the decision: When Millennials are making a major B2B purchase decision, they are most in influenced by their company’s data analysis and, rather oddly, by recommendations from friends and family members outside the company. Gen X and Baby Boomer buyers, however, are most influenced by their personal experiences and impressions.