Beckway Insights: Understanding The New Customer

The traits of the modern industrial buyer are changing. Our work at Beckway has shown us that there is a growing disconnect between the current population of industrial sales reps and their target buyer at a customer. As buyer demographics shift to include a larger proportion of millennials, sales teams are struggling to connect with this group. At the same time, customers continue to centralize buying decisions to teams largely staffed by individuals with little domain expertise, short tenure, and low levels of engagement.

Research shows:

  • 75% of millennials are involved in some form of B2B buying decision.
  • 44% of B2B millennial buyers are the primary decision-maker at their company.
  • 91% of millennials expect to change job every 3 years and do not prioritize institutional knowledge.

This means B2B businesses must change their go-to-market initiatives to adapt to millennial buying preferences to see long term success. We observe that traditional lower and midmarket sales teams do not have the right tools and technology to serve this digital native cohort.


How to win in this new environment:

  • Update your buyer personas: Learn more about your new buyer and their needs and design your sales process around it. The new buyer is most likely making decisions by “googling” vast amounts of data rather than word of mouth, they are also willing to make high dollar purchases without interacting with an individual.
  • Invest in content: “Content is King” – With majority of millennial buyers starting their search for personal and business products online, companies with the most engaging content online are the first choice. Businesses have to communicate product use cases in simple to understand formats. If you are a business with complex SKUs, focus on building content that explains your core product lines. Static websites must give way to interactive videos, customer reviews, social media presence, SEO optimization, and similar tools.
  • Develop a streamlined digital buying experience: Millennial buyers expect vendors to offer a tailored, streamlined digital experience that expedites the decision-making process. They require solutions that mimic their B2C buying experience and are looking for self-service solutions that eliminate the sales rep for less complex purchases. While this may be expensive to implement, developing an achievable roadmap with technology partners minimizes risk.
  • Supercharge your CRM: Long term personal relationships with buyers at client locations will no longer be enough to assure stickiness to a particular product manufacturer or distributor. Millennial buyers tend to switch jobs more frequently and will probably not be at the same company before the next equipment replacement cycle. The CRM should no longer be viewed as a tool to log meetings and touchpoints, but an encyclopedic 360 view of the customers plants and business requirements.

Beckway’s Commercial and Growth practice has decades of experience working with organizations to redefine sales processes. We’re all about understanding customer behavior and executing smart and achievable transformations linked to business results. For more information, contact Beckway’s Commercial Growth and Strategy Senior Director, Nnamdi Ugwu.