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3 Strategies for Winning Over B2B Millennial Buyers

January 28th, 2022 19 min read
Rowan Tonkin, CMO at Planful, and Vinay Bhagat, Founder and CEO of TrustRadius, sat down to discuss how vendors can engage and adapt to the way B2B millennial buyers are researching products and making purchase decisions.

ICYMI – Ascent’s Spotlight on Marketing

At Ascent’s Spotlight on Marketing, TrustRadius Founder and CEO Vinay Bhagat presented alongside Rowan Tonkin, CMO at Planful, presented a session titled, “How B2B Marketers are Reaching and Influencing the Millennial Buyer.” 

The 2022 Spotlight on Marketing was a virtual gathering of the nation’s top marketing leaders in SaaS. With 150+ CMOs and VPs of marketing present, it was a full day of keynote speakers, fireside chats, and networking opportunities. TrustRadius was proud to be a participating sponsor of this event.

What do we know about B2B millennial buyers?

From our recent B2B Buying Disconnect report, we found that millennials (age 25-39) make up 60% of all B2B tech buyers, and the majority of them are already making decisions before ever engaging with a vendor. In fact, 87% want to self-serve part or all of their buying journey. So if millennial buyers are doing their own research and not speaking to your sales reps, how do you reach and influence them? 

When we asked B2B millennial buyers how they research products, we found previous experience, free trials, product demos, and user reviews were trusted over all other sources (including engaging with the vendor themselves). What’s more, millennials are twice as likely to discover new products by searching online compared to previous generations.

Vendors are in the dark for half of the buying journey

This data proves there is a major shift in the way millennial buyers are learning about new products and engaging with B2B vendors. Rowan Tonkin, CMO at Planful, and Vinay Bhagat, Founder and CEO of TrustRadius, sat down to discuss how vendors can engage and adapt to the way B2B millennial buyers are researching products and making purchase decisions. It all comes down to improving your discoverability and leveraging the customer voice in your marketing strategy.

planful

“[Customer voice] is hugely important to our strategy, and I think it should be to most people’s strategies. It’s classic social proof—people want to buy from people they like, that represent them, feel and look like them, and are in a similar position.” Rowan Tonkin, CMO at Planful

“The data is unequivocal. You need to have a centralized strategy focused on activating the voice of your customer in a world where word of mouth is so critical across the buyer’s journey, but particularly in those first phases of discovery and evaluation.” Vinay Bhagat, Founder and CEO at TrustRadius

b2b buyers journey

Start winning over B2B millennial buyers today

If you watched our recent webinar, “How B2B Marketers are Reaching and Influencing the Millennial Buyer,” then you know the three most successful ways to engage today’s B2B millennial buyers are:

  1. Activate your customers to build your presence on multiple review platforms.
  2. Build social proof into your own marketing channels to improve SEO and conversions.
  3. Use downstream intent data to discover in-market buyers.
planful

1. Activate your customers to build your presence on multiple review platforms.

You can activate the voice of your customer in several ways, whether it be through peer networking, review platforms, podcasts, or simply initiating conversations. 

“…it’s very clear that the world of buying and B2B has transformed; the buyer is clearly in control, they’re educated, and they’re doing their own research. They don’t want to be sold to…” Vinay Bhagat

While different review platforms serve different purposes, a big reason for working with more than one platform is audience reach. TrustRadius serves 1.2 million technology buyers a month, but there’s only a 20% audience overlap with reviewers on G2, 14% with Capterra, 10% with Gartner Peer Insights, and only 5% with IT Central Station.

It’s great that customers can review products in several places, but inconsistent customer feedback across multiple review platforms can create doubt. Since you can’t control where customers talk about your product, it’s important for B2B vendors to engage with their customers and garner reviews across multiple platforms.

“The reality is, as a marketer, you have to embrace this reality that your buyers are going to be using different sites. Maybe it’s not four in all instances, maybe it’s two or three, but you’re going to have to pick more than one platform on which to spend your energy.” Vinay Bhagat

2. Build social proof into your own marketing channels to improve SEO and conversions.

Once you give your customers a platform to review your products, you can use this trusted feedback to tell a narrative to your target audience in your own channels. 

TrustRadius helps you get your customers on record with detailed, high-quality reviews that can do the selling for you. Syndicate review content with the TrustRadius widget to your website to boost performance, improving organic traffic yield and conversion of traffic to form-fills. Boosting organic traffic and optimizing conversion has material economic impact—far more than adding another referred lead source. Review content can also be used in static reports like PDFs, decks, etc. Our Chrome Quote Finder extension is also available for the sales team to quickly find quotes within your library to add social proof to their outreach.

planful

3. Use downstream intent data to discover in-market buyers.

“In a world where you are in the dark for a good portion of the buyer’s journey, having methods to identify who those sources are, produces phenomenal results.” Vinay Bhagat

The biggest mistake marketers make is treating third-party intent data as purchase-ready accounts. Instead, marketers can use downstream intent data to reach in-market buyers closer to a purchase. You can drive more prospects to purchase by providing them with solution-aware and product-aware content like promotional offers and demos.

Planful shifted away from generic, awareness-driven ads. Instead, they leveraged downstream intent data within 6sense, their ABM platform, and created ads with user quotes, TrustRadius award badges, and a down-funnel offer specialized for their audience. Their ad campaigns led viewers to the right solution pages on Planful’s website where contextual user quotes lived, resulting in 15% of overall customers increasing their buying stage.

planful

I’m a B2B marketer, what are the next steps?

The first thing you can do if you haven’t already is claim your free profile on TrustRadius.com. 

Once your product receives ten reviews, you’ll be in the running to win a Top Rated Award in your category and show up on TrustMaps. Products included on a TrustMap get, on average, 15x more traffic within their category than products that are not included.

trustradius

When you create a premium profile, you’ll be able to: 

    • Get in front of over one million buyers
    • Build your product profile
    • Add screenshots
    • Add video
    • Add integrations
    • Add pricing
    • Let us drive reviews for you
    • Shape the narrative with custom questions
    • Drive conversion by syndicating content
    • Boost SEO to landing pages
    • Use downstream intent data
    • Take advantage of our customer quote and reference library
    • Use product and positioning insights
    • Access Salesforce intent integration
    • Utilize the Chrome Quote Finder extension

 

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