One of the challenges of account-based marketing (ABM) is learning that, as the number of decision-makers increases, so does the generational diversity of those you target. That means that often, there will be people from the ages of 25 to 65 on the teams that you target: Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers.
These are the generations you need to influence with your offering.
According to this 2018 survey, as many as 13% of Millennials are making B2B buying decisions, and 28% are influencing that decision making. That means that 1 in 10 Millennials is making a decision about buying at their organization, and 3 in 10 influence what offering will be purchased.
While involvement in a third of purchase decisions may not seem massive, it will only continue to grow as Boomers age, and Gen Xers leave the workforce, and Millennials step up to fill their roles.
It’s old news at this point. Everyone knows that back in 2015, Millennials passed Boomers as the largest generation in the workforce. But Boomers still hold a lot of sway in the workforce and still make a large chunk of today’s business decisions.
How do we make sure to create a forward-thinking ABM strategy that appeals to multi-generational teams?
Know the Journey of the Modern B2B Buyer
Did you know that 86% of Millennials prefer not to engage with sales until the middle of their buying process or later? Or that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally?
That means Millennials are relying on your content and your website to determine whether they want to talk to your sales rep. Other generations might want that option much earlier on.
If a Millennial opens your email or downloads your asset, don’t call them straight away. Millennials want to stay behind a screen as long as possible, it’s part of the way they came of age. Calling will only make them feel pressured and pushed, which will likely put them off your brand.
Instead of pressing a millennial into a call (or calling them without their direct consent), continue to send nurture messages to newer Millennial leads, educating them on anything and everything they might like to know about your industry and your offering.
Ensure you don’t pressure Millennials into anything, it’s a sure-fire way to make them “ghost” as the generation puts it. That said, give Gen Xers and Boomers the option to speak with an expert about your offering. It might make or break the sale.
Know Where They Get Information
Millennials use a lot less traditional B2B information sources. B2B researchers determine that this is because Millennials haven’t made a ton of B2B purchases yet.
When asked what information sources B2B buyers used, Millennials pointed to industry analysts (38%), vendor face-to-face meetings (36%), and the vendor website (33%).
Gen X said that they used the vendor website (40%), industry analysts and trade shows (38%), and face-to-face meetings with vendors (37%).
The Boomers said they relied on industry analysts (50%), colleagues in the organization (49%), and vendor face-to-face meetings (38%).
While Boomers have made more decisions in general, all three generations highlighted industry analysts as a huge part of B2B purchase. Wielding this type of content, which gives your brand third-party validation, makes leads trust you more.
Never forget the value of face-to-face encounters, which drive all three of the generations. Trade shows and in-person vendor pitches are the backbone of B2B and show that while digital marketing is a great way to start the conversation, in-person meetings are the best way to seal the deal.
And while Boomers didn’t rank websites in the top three, they still used websites to gather research like the younger generations (46% say they’ve used it). Make sure your website is dressed to impress, or buyers of all ages will not take you seriously.
Additionally, be sure to segment content creation and distribution to your audience based on what you see working for each age group. Determine what they like through A/B testing and optimization, then send those generational demographics different stuff based on your findings.
A 25-year-old decision-maker is going to like different stuff than your 62-year-old executive. Plan for those differences and segment accordingly.
Everybody Loves a Bargain
Every adult today has lived through some great recession or depression. The 2008 recession is still embedded deep in the minds of Millennials and Boomers, and every generation in between.
Maybe that’s why 48% of Millennials used online coupons, compared to 39% of Gen Xers and 32% of Baby Boomers in 2016.
This is true even in B2B. Everyone loves a good bargain, even when the budget isn’t ours personally. Send out coupons for your offering to everyone at the brand. Everyone feels better when saving money, and it will be a key argument for getting Millennials to convert.
While it’s easy to get lost focusing on just Boomers and Millennials because of their sheer size and spending power, don’t forget Gen X. They are often the ones inheriting the roles of the Boomers in business and will overtake Boomers in terms of living population by the year 2028.
Remember, when conducting an ABM strategy, be sure to account for generational differences and know when to treat younger leads differently and when to treat leads of all ages the same. This will result in multi-generational stakeholders all advocating for your brand.