The B2B Institute and GWI recently published a research report that provides a wealth of important insights regarding the attitudes, behaviors, and working lifestyles of millennial B2B decision makers.
Work in BETA: The Rising B2B Decision Makers ("Work in BETA") is based on surveys of over 17,000 business professionals between the ages of 21 and 64. The report focuses primarily on the attitudes and behaviors of business professionals between the ages of 21 and 40, and it refers to this subset of survey respondents as "BETAs." The surveys were fielded last year and included respondents from ten countries.
Numerous earlier studies have documented that millennials are playing increasingly important roles in B2B purchase decisions. In the Work in BETA surveys, 40% or more of the BETAs said they have influence at each stage of the buying process, including identifying the business need (57%), researching potential vendors (41%), evaluating vendors (40%), and approving the final purchase (47%).
Work in BETA provides a fresh look at the attitudes and behaviors of millennial B2B buyers, and I recommend that you read the full report. In this post, I'll review some of the high-level findings from the research, and I'll discuss what the research findings mean for B2B marketers in future posts.
The Work in BETA report organizes the research findings around four major themes.
The boundaries between work life and home life have become blurred for BETAs. They use many of the same tools and services for both professional and personal purposes. Their smartphone is their go-to device for both professional and personal communications and information consumption.
- Two thirds of BETAs said they are working from home.
- More than 80% of BETAs said they regularly work late, work overtime, and check emails outside of normal work hours.
- Over half of BETAs use their personal smartphone for work-related purposes, and over 70% said their smartphone is the most important device in their daily life.
- Over half of BETAs said they use many online services for both professional and personal purposes.
- About 4 in 5 BETAs participate in online learning to acquire or improve job skills, increase industry knowledge, or obtain professional qualifications.
- About 75% of BETAs said they like to try new products, and about two thirds said that having the latest technological products is important.
- But . . . about 30% of BETAs said they will only buy from a provider they've heard of before.
- Most BETAs also seek expert opinions when researching products or services. Half or more said that recommendations from experts in my network and recommendations from industry analysts are very influential when researching potential purchases.
- BETAs primarily use websites (40%), social media (36%), and email/newsletters (32%) to keep up with industry news.
- But . . . industry conferences and trade shows are (or were) important for BETAs - 4 in 10 said they were regularly attending them.
- 71% of BETAs said they use a smartphone for work.
- About 70% of BETAs said they use collaboration tools (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc.) at least once a day for work. And over 60% said they use social media and video calls at least once a day for work.