Unleash the Power of Gen Z as B2B Decision Makers

Posted on January 11, 2024 by Red Javelin 0 Comments

gen zMove over, Boomers and Xers, there's a new generation moving into the driver's seat for B2B purchasing decisions: Gen Z. These tech-savvy digital natives, born between the mid-1990s and 2012, are entering the workforce armed with smartphones, skepticism, and a thirst for purpose.

The oldest members of Gen Z are entering their mid-to-late twenties, and they are moving into roles with more responsibility and influence. Over the next several years, we can expect Gen Z professionals to move into roles involving purchasing decisions.

For B2B businesses, understanding Gen Z is essential. As Gen Z takes the reins in B2B, their unique perspectives on communication, relationships, and technology will transform the landscape. In this new era, expect to see shifts in how businesses connect, build trust, and leverage digital tools.

How is Gen Z Driving Changes in B2B Marketing?

Authenticity: Gen Z, the generation born into a digitally saturated world, craves more than just slick commercials and catchy jingles. Their digital fluency has bred a skepticism towards the inauthentic, a keen eye for greenwashing and empty promises. For them, brands are no longer just faceless entities selling products but potential allies sharing their values. This generation yearns for genuine connections, for stories that resonate with their core beliefs.

They seek brands that walk the talk, not just talk the walk. Transparency is paramount. Sharing not just successes but also vulnerabilities, challenges, and genuine efforts showcases a human side they can relate to. It's about forging a bond built on shared values, not simply pushing a product. 

Social responsibility: Businesses must move beyond the transaction and tell a story. A story that weaves their purpose into the narrative that showcases how their values translate into action. Whether it's highlighting ethical sourcing practices, promoting community initiatives, or celebrating diversity within the team, these stories become bridges connecting the brand to its audience. Showcase how your company contributes to a better future, whether it's through environmental initiatives, social impact programs, or employee wellbeing initiatives. They want to feel like their work has meaning; your brand should be part of that story. Businesses that can demonstrate how their products or services contribute to a greater good will resonate with Gen Z decision-makers.

Communication and Relationships: Gen Z values collaboration, open communication, and shared decision-making and trusts their peers more than authority figures. B2B interactions will move away from formal presentations and towards open dialogues, co-creation workshops, and interactive storytelling.

While Gen Z may be known for their digital fluency, they surprisingly prefer in-person communication within professional settings. This might seem counterintuitive for a generation seemingly glued to their phones. However, the constant digital connection with friends has actually amplified their desire for face-to-face interaction in the workplace.

Instead of relying on email, which can be prone to misinterpretations and lack of nuance, Gen Z favors the immediacy and clarity of video calls. This preference makes sense: video calls are faster than email, minimize the risk of misunderstandings, and foster stronger connections through both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Analyst firm Forrester recently reported that Gen Z is leaning on vendors — specifically product experts — far earlier in the buying process than previously thought to help guide their decision-making. They find personal interactions with product experts more meaningful than other activities. Why? Because product experts can cut through the noise and address the new buyer’s specific challenges.

Micro-interactions are on the rise.  Expect shorter, bite-sized communication via platforms like Slack and messaging apps.

Mobile-First, Always: Gen Z is accustomed to seamless, mobile-first experiences. B2B transactions will need to adapt by:

  • Simplifying and streamlining processes: Paperwork, complex negotiations, and lengthy sales cycles will be less tolerated. B2B platforms must offer intuitive interfaces, faster approvals, and on-demand information access.
  • Embracing automation and AI: Integrating AI-powered chatbots, personalized recommendations, and data-driven insights can improve efficiency and personalize the B2B buying journey.
  • Prioritizing mobile-first solutions: B2B platforms and transactions must be optimized for mobile devices, catering to Gen Z's always-on and multi-screen habits.

Modern technology represents a powerful work ally: Having grown up with the internet as their playground, Gen Z possesses an innate understanding of digital tools. They are skilled at searching for information, honing new skills online, and seeing technology as a powerful ally in both personal and professional pursuits. For them, utilizing and optimizing technology is an effortless, intuitive process.

Gen Z is not just entering the workforce; they are reshaping the very nature of B2B transactions. By understanding and adapting to their values, expectations, and digital preferences, businesses can build lasting relationships, drive innovation, and secure their place in the B2B landscape of tomorrow.

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Tags: B2B Marketing, B2B Brand Strategy