The last decade has seen a shift in the basic assumption of what to expect from a digital experience. This is now true in B2B sales, with many buyers bringing their personal purchasing habits to their work.And who is the new B2B buyer? Pew Research found that digitally native Millennials now outnumber GenXers as the largest generation in the US workforce, and they’re not just taking orders — they’re placing them. A report by marketing consultancy Merit found that 73% of Millenials make purchasing decisions for their companies, a third of whom are the sole decision makers.
With great power comes great responsibility, and these decisions are not being made lightly. But they are increasingly self-driven, and more often than not, today’s B2B buyer begins their purchasing journey in a search engine.More than ever, it’s the personal search driving the momentum of a purchase, as evidenced by Merit, which points out that a quarter of millennial buyers begin business buying decisions in search, a higher number than those who start at a vendor website, peer review, or salesperson interaction.And while more personal research is being done, it’s combined with a more skeptical eye towards marketing material that isn’t trusted or viewed as transparent. Salesforce’s 2019 Connected Consumer Report reflects that trend, with 54% of respondents admitting it’s harder than ever for companies to earn their trust and 73% claiming trustworthiness matters more than a year ago.To top it off, consumer’s today simply expect more. Influenced by the customized experiences available on Spotify, Amazon, and Netflix, for example, results in a higher bar to satisfy potential customers. A traditional sales funnel stocked with stodgy, non-personal digital content won’t get the job done in 2020.