Millennials Are Making Decisions in Your Accounts #Socialselling

Millennials Don’t Make the Decisions in My Accounts the C-Suite Do!

Hopefully if you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know that people have or are in the process of switching to digital and mobile. But many of us are wedded to the fact that the C-Suite make the decisions in our accounts and while (in our sales roles) we should always target them, as the world changes, there are other influences impacting in our accounts.

Many people say to me, “I don’t have time for Social“, “Social’s for kids“. Really? In my blog “ 22% of B2B Sales People will be Replaced by Search Engines by 2020 “, I talk about how the buyer process has changed. (Note I’m talking past tense here, not, it may change, it has changed.)

Forrester talk about 22% of B2B Salespeople being replaced by search engines and Youtube videos by 2020. In that blog I explain you have to “Move Up, Move down or Get Out” of your Sales role.

Using Google research I’m going to explain how decision making in your accounts has shifted.

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We all Start our buying process in Google

The number of people using Digital as a method of finding information and researching has increased from 71% in 2011 to 89% in 2014. Not sure about you, but if I’m going to buy pretty much anything I go to Google and type some words in, refining my search.

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The C-Suite Still Make the Decision, Right?

If you look at the research from Google, the C-Suite have Final Authority on 64% of decisions. But layer on Non C-Suite Decision making and you can see that non C-Suite can have influence on 81% of Purchase Decisions. How can that be?
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It maybe that the C-Suite have signed off an overall project budget, but the components of that project are passed / delegated down the organisation to “People in the Know”. For example, there might be an overall Customer Experience Transformation project, but the individual software components that make that up, are purchased lower down the organisation. Add to that in the new world of SaaS / Cloud, as software can be switched off as quickly as it’s switched on and short timeframes of implementation, there may not be need for traditional IT involvement.

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Based on Google’s research the “people in the know”, 48% of them are 18- 34 and 24% are 35 – 44. This is placing B2B Enterprise decisions in the hands of “Millennials”.

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In What Way are Millennials Involved in the Decision Making Process?

Using Google’s research Millennials are digital natives, their first computer was probably a mobile phone. They are confident using mobile, in fact probably prefer it, when they do research on potential suppliers it is self-directed. Google research also states that they are probably 57% of the way through a decision cycle before contacting suppliers. Google also state that a researcher will do 12 searches until that point of engagement with a supplier. Content that will be consumed includes video, blogs, customer comments etc.

Traffic to B2B websites has doubled in the last 2 years and this is because they have become a central point of research for potential customers.

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Zero Moment of Truth (ZMoT)

If we go back to our own purchasing habits such as looking for a local plumber. We might, search on the web, we also might seek references from friends, neighbours or relatives. As we are all busy people, having a short list of more than 2 or maybe 3 is going to cause us a lot of work. So while we might want to get “several quotes” that is a lot of time I need to invest, when I probably know which plumber I want to use from a short list of two.

Google found something similar for B2B purchases. 60% of customers only consider 2 brands, maybe your internal Purchasing department place on you the need to look at 3, for due diligence purposes. Many organisations have an supplier option on a short list that nobody intends to use, just to make up the 3.

In Google’s findings they found that people often search by Brand and not product or process. Note to self: It would be good to scoop these searches at the point of search on Google.

In 2011, Google came up with the term the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMoT). In the past, when people purchased B2B products, they would go to the supplier and get all of the information from them, they would then make a purchase (First moment of Truth) and experience that product and service (Second Moment of Truth). Now there is this new research phase, where people will do research on the product and service they intend to buy. They will then move to purchase, having consumed content, blogs, video etc. They may even have become pretty expert in the products or services they intend to buy.

I’ll leave you with one last fact from Google’s report – They reckon that in 75% of purchases a Millennial will make only one visit to your corporate website. So you had better make it easy for them to use

There’s a great two minute video on ZMoT from Google.