The majority of B2B buyers are millennials
As the baby boomers are retiring, the largest generation in the global workforce now consists of millennials, born between 1981 and 1996. According to a study of millennial buyers by Merit, 73% are heavily involved in making decisions about purchasing products or services in their company. One-third of them report they are the sole decision-maker for their department.
Millennials are digital natives
As a result of Millennials having grown up in the information age, they consume information quickly via digital channels. Their B2B expectations are shaped by their B2C shopping experiences. When a product or service is needed, 90% of businesses start their search with a generic search via laptop or smartphone, rather than calling a vendor and scheduling an appointment. Contacting a salesperson typically happens more than halfway through the buying process for 57% of the B2B buyers, and sometimes even never.
Online research matters
According to research by TrustRadius on millennial tech buyers, millennials are less likely to use analyst rankings and reports. Concerning trustworthiness and influence, free trials are preferred, followed by product demos and user reviews. The fact that eight out of 10 millennials never buy anything without reading a review first also confirms this, as Independent reports.
Vendors get little face time
Over half of millennials still use vendor or product websites to make decisions, TrustRadius states. However, vendors face a crisis of trust as vendor representatives and materials are considered the least trustworthy and influential. Gartner reports that single B2B sales representatives have only retained only 5% or 6% of a B2B customer buying journey time. B2B buyers spend in total only 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers. However, 27% of their time is spent on independent research online. In fact, according to TrustRadius, 29% of millennials prefer to self-serve the entire journey without ever speaking with a representative.