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Leverage Your Values to Win Millennial Buyers

blogpost culture customer behavior marketing Mar 04, 2020

The first step in attracting Millennial buyers is to leverage your values. Here’s why and how every business owner should focus on their values—not their sales pitch.

You’re probably familiar with the traditional process of a B2B sale:

Identify a potential customer, make contact, and give your best sales pitch about why they should buy from you…

But here’s the real question: is this process actually working for you? Or are you in the dilemma a lot of small B2B owners are in, which is that your sales pitches aren’t working like they used to?

recent study from Merit reports that 73% of today’s B2B buyers are Millennials.  A new generation of business owners has become the decision-makers, and you need to catch up with how they make their decisions.

To Millennials, what matters is the way you do business—the way you engage with your clients, your community, your employees, even the environment. Therefore, to get more Millennial buyers, you need to put your values front and center.

Here’s why and how you need to leverage your values to win more Millennial B2B buyers.

Why You Need to Leverage Your Values

Values show why you’re unique in an increasingly commoditized market.

What makes your buyers want to buy from you? Global competitors can easily undercut your low prices. And the market may catch up with your fresh innovations in a few years. Your values are what differentiate you in your market.

Your values should convey the unique qualities of how you do your business. In a speech at Stanford in 2014, AirBnB founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, said “Integrity, honesty—those aren’t core values. Those are values that everyone should have. But there have to be three, five, six things that are unique to you.” Take a look at these 10 companies that highlight their unique values.

Values make your price worth it.

Today, Millennials put a premium on buying from companies with shared values. A recent Merit study reports “80% of Millennials indicated that social, environmental, or philanthropic efforts of companies are important to their purchase decisions.” Let me illustrate this point.

My daughter-in-law (a Millennial) buys her dish soap from Cleancult, a company that sells sustainable plastic-free cleaning products. She’s willing to pay more than 3x the price of conventional dish soap. Why? Because she values reducing her use of plastic. When she buys soap, she’s not just looking for a soap that will get the job done. She wants soap that upholds her values—and she’s willing to pay extra for it. 

Values build brand loyalty.

Michael Gentle of Branding Strategy Insider says “The potential commercial value of a millennial B2B buyer can be vast because they’re just starting out in their career and therefore carry a high lifetime value.”

Sell, sell, sell is no longer the motto. Now, it’s connect, connect, connect

It’s important that we build lasting relationships with our customers, and speak to them on a meaningful level about who we are as a company, what they want for their company, and what we can accomplish together. So, it’s not the pitch that matters. It’s the person. We have to understand the person we are selling to, in order to understand how best to make that connection. When we do, they’re more likely to come back again and again.

How to Leverage Your Values

Define your unique values.

Go beyond the expected values of your industry. What sets you apart? For example, take a look at Zappos. They take “customer service” to the next level with this value:

Deliver WOW Through Service – To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means doing something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver. We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don’t want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver WOW.

Align with Millennial values.

There is, of course, huge diversity in what individuals value. But there are some broad trends that can be observed in Millennial values. In general, they are:

  • More skeptical than other generations, and therefore value transparency.
  • Digital natives, and therefore value accessibility of information.
  • Identify with their political beliefs, and are more likely to value things like diversity.

Of course, what really matters is meeting your customer’s values. The best thing you can do is ask for feedback. Discover their values and work on ways you can genuinely adopt them. Then you can connect as you leverage your values.

Be crystal clear on your values in your messaging online and in-person.

It’s not enough to have a poster in the board room with “Our Values”. Leverage your values by making them crystal clear, front, and center. State them clearly on your website and packaging. Make them the forward thrust of your sales pitches.

Did you know 92% of B2B buyers use social media to engage with sales industry thought leaders? Keep your company active online. Engage them in the ways they like to communicate. And make sure your website looks good on mobile…

Make sure you’re actually living out your values.

Nothing turns off a Millennial B2B buyer like misaligned values. Remember the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad debacle? Challenge yourself and your leadership team to find new ways to uphold your values. How can you bring your values into your buying experience, messaging, or product packaging? How might your company engage in charity work?

What to Consider:

  • Are your values clear and unique?
  • Do your values align with Millennial buyers?
  • Are your values an integral part of your product & pitch?