As a millennial myself, an article titled Bridging the Generational Gap of B2B Procurement contained points that resonated and reinforced some facts I already knew:
- Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997) now represent the largest population in America.
- Millennials account for 35% of the workforce. This means we’re making serious purchasing decisions in the B2B digital commerce field.
- 73% of millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions. Companies must keep up with new and different buyer demands, especially in the realm of E-commerce.
With older generations retiring and millennials stake in the workforce growing rapidly, how is your business evolving to meet their procurement needs and ways of doing things?
Millennials Embrace Team Consensus Approach
As a B2B procurement professional who falls in the middle of the millennial timeline, I related to the author’s take on the importance of team consensus during the purchasing process.
I’ve found that millennials like myself prefer to make group decisions, not only to ensure a more well-rounded decision but also to alleviate the personal risk associated with being the decision-maker.
While previous generations may have viewed a consensus approach as redundant, progressive companies see the value in aligning stakeholders from the beginning. This team consensus approach to B2B procurement creates fewer issues downstream during implementation and execution.
Just the Facts Please
The article discusses how data is a key factor in the decision-making process of millenials. Our generation expects supporting information…and fast. After all, our mobile devices are poised to give us information instantaneously. Why should we have to wait?
As a millennial, I’m in search of fact-based B2B procurement value. I find that a company “has it together” when they get back to me with accurate, concise responses. If I don’t find it, I move on.
Face-to-Face Still Matters
Here’s a surprising observation from this article: during the research phase of B2B procurement, face-to-face communication goes a long way. So while we millenials value cold, hard (and immediate) facts, in-person meetings still matter. This means that tradeshows or supplier visits continue to be a meaningful method prior to making a decision.
We also value the opinions of others. So if there’s a product that’s working well for other companies and the facts clearly support why, that testimonial carries more weight during the early phases of the B2B procurement process than something new and untested.
So yes, we millennials rely on facts and data, but peer recommendations still make it easier to take the plunge.
Not surprisingly, once we millenials have made a decision, we no longer need that kind of personal handholding. We embrace the efficiency of opening an app to move the purchase forward.
Communicating via text is best
Again, no surprise here: unlike other generations, millennials think that communicating via text and chat is a perfectly acceptable method to maintain our B2B relationships. We’re okay with not talking on the phone or in-person if it’s not necessary–in fact, we prefer it.
So while millenials maintain their reputation of being cold and factual, we also embrace in-person meetings and meaningful testimonials. We might not want to chat on the phone…but that’s because we’re busy saving money.