The buying patterns of millennials developed in a time where authenticity, transparency and connectivity ruled the world. The last thing they want you to do is sell to them, they need you to completely re-imagine your selling practices and I’m about to tell you how.
Change the conversation
Technology and the internet built a generation of consumers that are accustomed to having information at their fingertips, consumers who are highly selective about what they buy and who they buy from. With a phone in their pocket and a mountain of customer reviews at their fingertips, they conduct their own micro-consumer research faster and more frequently than any previous generation.
Millennials also choose to control the information they receive, and while they may have grown up with a barrage of commercials on their televisions, traditional advertising has long been tuned out with the arrival of streamed entertainment and ad-blocking software.
In response, savvy brands shifted their ad messaging. They switched to an emphasis on storytelling and native advertising that was an intelligent, creative fit to the platform. Any millennial intuitively knows that when the camera pulls back during their favorite HBO series to show the entire front end of a car, it’s product placement. But if it blends naturally and isn’t screaming to grab their attention, they’ll let it pass.
"When it comes to brand loyalty, millennials are attracted to brands who think and act like they do"
Brad Szollose – Author of Liquid Leadership
Selling to millennials starts with acknowledging they are educated consumers with a ton of buying choices. To connect with them, we have to shed the idea that they are a demographic and understand that this is a generation of conversationalists, who leverage technology to their advantage. And why wouldn’t they? They question constantly, honing their writing skills in the public forums of Reddit and the micro-blogging platforms of Twitter and Facebook. They prefer to consume information in bite-sized chunks and seek authenticity and engagement at all times.
The world of social media has taught them that if they aren’t clear or compelling in their message, they risk ridicule or worse still, receiving no reaction at all. It’s this same lens they use to assess your carefully crafted sales pitch, your email marketing campaigns and your webinars. Millennials understand that you collect their information, in an effort to send them “relevant” content. Their expectation is that you will use the data you’ve collected to speak to them in a way that doesn’t insult their intelligence or diminish their individuality.
Use the technology
To sell to millennials, you have to play on their field. I’m not suggesting you rush out and sign-up for Tinder, but you need to understand the nature of the technology landscape they inhabit and how it draws them in. If someone suggested 10 years ago that more than 100 million people a day would be using an app which causes the content to disappear after 10 seconds, you would have laughed in their face. According to Snapchat, their user community (the vast majority of whom are under 24) drive higher in-store sales for 92% of the consumer packaged ads they promote.
So how do you actually capture, understand and use this data to change the conversation with the Millennials? Full disclosure, I work with SalesLoft, a technology based company in the sales arena, so it’s no great surprise that I’m a strong advocate for the use of technology to help improve and refine this conversation. We have some great tools that allow a trackable sales exchange that can be personalised to skillfully connect to the millennial market. Feel free to drop by and check us out, but above all else ...
Never underestimate millennials
Tap into the perspectives of your own company’s Generation Y. Ask your digital natives what resonates with them, and what grabs their attention. The media is quick to write millennials off, suggesting that the majority suffer from attention deficit, but that’s a fallacy. If you can watch an entire box-set of ‘The Wire’ back-to-back in a single day, you don’t lack attention! The reality is that the messages being put forward and the mediums being used simply aren’t engaging enough to create cut through and that’s where the opportunity exists.
This guest post was originally published on the Trinity Perspectives website and written by Jonathan Allen, SaaS strategist and SalesLoft content specialist. Jonathan has extensive experience in sales development and B2B strategy, and most important of all, he's a millennial.