Understanding Your Audience
There are many differences between the generations, both in their values and expectations as well as in the lifestyles that they prefer to live. This can be a challenge when you are attempting to sell a product or service to a diverse audience. You may need to cater your sales and marketing message to many different generations at the same time, or you may realize that your sales team represents a different generation than the one(s) you are marketing to. These situations represent some of the challenges that organizations face when it comes to selling to a multigenerational customer base. However, by understanding what the different generational cohorts value, you can more effectively connect with your audience and improve sales.
Knowing your market and taking the time to understand how the different generations think and feel about your product, service or brand will give you crucial information that can be helpful to the improving the sales process. For example, do your product have a long standing history of being best in class and is well trusted? Traditionalists, will want to hear about this before the latest technology you are using. Does your service offering solve a problem for other influential clients? Your Baby Boomers will be interested in how you are helping other large clients as well. Each generation will response and connect with different parts of your sales messaging and process. By tailoring your approach you can best target your audience.
Selling to Gen Ys
Many organizations struggle with effectively marketing and selling to Gen Ys. There are a number of characteristics that Gen Ys possess that can impact how you sell to this generation.
For example, Gen Ys:
- Are loyal to their peer group and trust their opinions, therefore, testimonials and peer referrals are important
- Actively research products and services online before making a purchase, therefore being transparent about your features and benefits is critical
- Want to do business with organizations that have ethical values and show corporate responsibility, therefore promoting the good work you do in the community should be part of the sales conversation
- Seek transparency and honesty, therefore you must be open and honest with them around pricing, process and support provided.
- Want things quickly: from customer service to shipping, Gen Ys are used to a fast-paced lifestyle, therefore, long detailed sales processes will frustrate them.
Many Gen Ys ignore traditional advertising and marketing messages. They often see these efforts as “inauthentic” and would rather purchase a product or service from a company that they believe is honest and ‘real’. Instead of trusting what they see in ads, Gen Ys will conduct extensive research before making a purchase, both by searching for reviews online and by asking their peers. This allows them to quickly learn which organizations are telling the truth in their advertising messages and which are not.
Gen Ys also do research into the companies themselves before making a purchase. They want to buy from organizations that show corporate responsibility, such as companies that take steps to reduce their environmental impact. It’s important to communicate specific examples of corporate responsibility rather than just saying “We care.” Since Gen Ys are very loyal to their pack, they won’t purchase products or services from organizations that have treated their colleagues poorly, either as customers or as employees.
Gen Ys want quick and easy access to information about a company and expect to be able to contact the organization and receive a reply in a very short time frame. Having an informative website as well as being active on social media platforms can help. If it is too difficult or time-consuming to contact a company or to purchase a product or service, Gen Ys may look elsewhere.