Your B2B website exists to connect you with buyers, but is it getting the job done? What has worked for customer engagement in the past doesn’t resonate with many of today’s B2B decision-makers. With millennials in the driver’s seat, customer experience must come first. Struggling to capture this pivotal audience? Read on to see how you can not only impress this new wave of decision-makers but improve your website’s overall performance.
B2B buyer demographics are changing
Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are coming to the forefront of B2B buying. A 2019 TrustRadius study found that 59% of all B2B buyers are millennials, and close to 30% of them are lead buyers for their organization. If you want to engage these buyers, you need to understand how their behavior and preferences are reshaping the B2B buying process.
Millennials grew up alongside smartphones and social media, so it comes as no surprise that when compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, they are far more inclined to use those technologies. Similarly, the B2B market tends to lag behind B2C in the adoption of technology. Marketers have started paying close attention to millennial buying habits are shaping the B2C landscape, finding that millennial consumers expect:
- Convenient product research and purchasing processes that save time
- Easy to find information from other customers, such as reviews, testimonials, unboxing videos and other forms of peer-to-peer social proof.
What’s important for B2B businesses to understand is that these expectations and tendencies carry over into the buying process of millennial B2B buyers. Practices that previous generations of buyers tolerated, such as forcing customers to contact a vendor rep for product pricing and a demo, will not only frustrate today’s buyers, but drive them to seek alternative options.
Trustworthiness wins B2B buyer loyalty
Some things never change. As with older generations, first and foremost, millennial B2B buyers want to know they can trust the vendors they do business with. 96% of the B2B customers surveyed by Salesforce for a consumer behavior report said they’re more likely to reward companies they trust with loyalty.
It’s how you earn that trust that has changed. For millennials, seeing is believing. Merely saying that your customers can trust you is white noise to a millennial decision-maker. A more effective method is providing information that inspires trust. A trustworthy website will include:
A clear explanation of the pros and cons of your products. More than 75% of B2B buyers say they need to know the potential downsides of a product before they can make a good purchasing decision. If your site only talks about the benefits of your offerings, consider adding balance.
For example, you might include situations or business types that aren’t the best fit for a product. That allows customers to quickly see if what you offer will work for them or not.
Customer reviews. Most millennials check online reviews before they make consumer purchases and they expect to see reviews for B2B products, too. More than half of B2B buyers consider user reviews during the purchasing decision process.
Even if you already have customer case studies on your site, adding reviews to your site will make you more trustworthy to your prospects. On-site reviews can also keep your site visitors from leaving to look for reviews elsewhere.
Customer experience wins B2B loyalty, too
B2C customer experience (CX) sets the standard that B2B needs to match. Simply put, B2C puts the customer first. Salesforce found that 67% of all B2B buyers have switched to vendors who provide a “more consumer-like experience.” Among millennials, the expectations are even higher. 74% have dropped a vendor in favor of another with a more B2C-like CX.
What can your website do to ensure a great CX? One important element is making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for—fast.
For example, forcing customers to look at a PDF list of products leads to a poor CX. A better option includes easy to navigate product pages, with logical categories and an on-site search tool, like Episerver’s Product Recommendations. Other customer-forward technologies include live chat or a natural language chatbot tool to help buyers immediately pinpoint what they’re looking for.
When your customers find what they’re searching for, let them see for themselves how it works. Product demos are the most significant decision-making tool for B2B buyers. If your site doesn’t offer a free trial or live demo, you’re not providing the most sought-after pre-purchase CX.
Easy to find demos that give customers firsthand experience with your products are vital elements of good B2B customer experience. The same can be said about personalization.
More than half of all buyers and 80% of millennial buyers say they expect personalized engagement from the vendors they buy from. Millennials want to feel that their needs and wants are known and that the vendor makes them a priority. Creating a personalized experience is easier than you think. Check out the recap video of our B2B Personalization, Simplified webinar to get started.
How will you know you’re delivering what your millennial customers want? One way is to look at the data. Start by benchmarking your current KPIs for customer engagement with your website and customer loyalty. As you make your B2B site more attuned to millennial preferences, A/B test your changes to see which options perform best. And continuously monitor your KPIs as your tested changes take effect to make sure you’re on the right track.
When your B2B website offers B2C-like customer experience and features comprehensive product details that include pros and cons and, your website will be doing the heavy lifting to attract and earn the loyalty of millennial B2B customers.