Millennial and Gen Z Buyers: What B2B Sellers Must Know

BY Jessica Helinski
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Millennial and Gen Z buyers are increasingly holding positions of purchasing power. Sellers need to recognize and respond to this new crop of decision-​makers. “As of last year, millennials are the largest B2B tech buyer group by age group,” writes Paula Chiocchi for Business 2 Community. “Gen Z is joining the ranks too… the generation makes up about 25% of workers today.” 

Millennial and Gen Z are now decision-makers

In addition to these professionals getting older, this trend is also driven by the growing rate of retiring baby boomers. And, shifting buying habits have an impact as well. 

Even as many people continue to work from home, more purchases are being made by buying groups or committees, rather than individual decision-​makers,” Ciocchi explains. “This increases the likelihood that recent grads and new hires are part of the buying process, even if they don’t hold the ultimate decision-​making power yet.”

Smart sellers will be proactive by acknowledging this trend and adjusting how they carry out their sales processes. Chiocchi shares some insights that can guide reps in how they approach these valuable potential prospects.

They aren’t like their predecessors

This group of buyers will be wielding some large purchasing power. But, sellers shouldn’t expect to woo them the way they’ve done with buyers of the past. Here are some of Ciocchi’s top traits of these buyers to consider:

Tech-​savvy and seeking seamless experiences

These buyers have grown up with technology and their internet has been a major part of most of their lives. “Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) have grown up learning new technology as it is released, while Gen Z (those born after 1996) is the first digitally-​native generation—they were born into it,” she explains. For sellers, this means that use of these tools is not optional; it’s a must-​do. These buyers expect partners to have knowledge and experience with technology and use it to make their client experiences seamless. 

Place peers’ opinions over brands

Branded content doesn't easily sway Millennial and Gen Z buyers as it did those of the past. Instead, they place more trust on peers' opinions, using their insights when researching a product or service. Rather than tell these buyers that what you’re selling is the best, reach them through testimonials and reviews. Encourage current and past clients to leave reviews, give testimonials and other forms of social feedback. Their words will have a bigger impact on these wary buyers. And when you do share content with them, make sure it's personalized and relevant to them. 

Dislike old-​school tactics

This group is not a fan of traditional aggressive selling tactics. Salespeople must approach them differently, focusing on providing value and showing how they can help. Old-​school techniques that are impersonal only cause skepticism in millennial and Gen Z buyers. Also, keep in mind that they typically enter the buying process later than those in the past. This group engages in their own research first, so being hyper-​aggressive early on won’t be appreciated.

Transparency, honesty and other needs

These are only highlights from Chiocchi’s article. She goes on to discuss other relevant traits including these buyers’ desire for transparency and authenticity. Salespeople can learn a lot from her about how to target millennial and Gen Z buyers. This age group is only going to grow as purchase decision-​makers. By adapting strategies and processes, salespeople can boost their chances of successful sales to these age groups. As Chiocchi notes, “Understanding generational differences can impact how you reach younger groups, communicate with them, and, ultimately, win them over as customers. As millennials rise through the ranks and Gen Z continues to enter the workforce and demand a voice, their power and influence will only continue to grow.”