Blog Insight

Millennials: Your New B2B Audience

It’s personal—and it’s not about you.

Today, B2B purchase decision makers have different expectations and behaviors. And as millennials join the ranks of these decision makers, they’re bringing new buying habits you need to understand if you want to connect

To Know, Know, Know Them

Segmentation is vital to prioritizing marketing spend and increasing profitability, but it doesn’t get to the emotional reality of purchasing. Complex purchasing with multiple stakeholders involves reputational risk. And it’s not your reputation that’s top of mind for buyers; it’s theirs. Developing detailed personas of the members of the decision-making team is vital if you want to understand their needs, motivations, perceived risks, and roles in the purchasing process.

Also, don’t overlook the emotions involved in how people negotiate with other stakeholders in the process. Addressing the emotional aspects of purchasing decisions will help you build internal champions and neutralize the most powerful competitor you face: the option to do nothing.

Arm your sales team with sales enablement tools that reflect the needs of different personas within targeted organizations, and be sure your communications resonate emotionally.

See how GLG helped Philips Healthcare create powerful sales tools >

Hunters and Gatherers of Content

Millennials approach research like the savvy B2C consumers they already are. Seeking information from multiple sources, including reviews, peers, videos, and forums, is second nature to them. And it goes beyond millennials. A recent Google study showed that B2B researchers do an average of 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand's site.*

See why marketing to millennials requires a special touch >

Millennials Are Mobile. Really Mobile.

Google research indicates that 42 percent of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process, and that mobile use among millennials compared to other age cohorts is highest.(1) They seek information whenever their curiosity is piqued, a need is identified, or a problem is posed. Rather than identifying problems for others to solve, millennials tend to take the initiative and offer up solutions to their coworkers, without being bound by hierarchy. And their mobile phones, their search tools of choice, are always at hand.

Make sure campaigns and tactics include mobile components. From using location technology at tradeshows to geofence and target visitors, to building fully responsive websites, landing pages, and email campaigns, think mobile first for B2B as well as B2C customers.

See why you should always think "mobile first" > 

Be Personal as Well as In-Person.

Before the dominance of digital channels, one-to-one marketing was mostly in the hands of sales professionals (think door-to-door). But as customers perform more of their own research and requirements gathering, salespeople today often don’t get involved until much later in the decision-making process.

Personal marketing is more important than ever, especially when trying to reach millennials who have grown up telling their life stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today, personal marketing is fulfilled by a brand’s digital presence and its ability to provide a consistent and compelling customer experience both online and in person. Take tradeshows, for example. They still command a sizable portion of B2B marketing budgets, so it’s important to leverage these events with on-demand webinars, lead nurturing, and community building so you can merge personalized digital delivery with in-person traditional tactics.

Combining traditional and digital marketing with customer interaction analytics enables a higher level of sales integration and arms your sales force with important insights to personalize the experience.

Getting Ready for the Millennial Shift

More and more, millennials are your B2B decision makers. If you want to reach them, you have to ask the right questions, like: How do they make decisions? What makes them tick? What platforms are they using? What digital and in-person channels should you use to reach them? Focus on the customer—and take the mystery out of B2B loyalty.

1. Kelsey Snyder and Pashmeena Hilal, “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing,” Think with Google,, March 2015.