Contributor article by Paul Black, CEO, sales-i
Millennials are a complex bunch. They’re highly individualistic, know exactly what they want, and can spot an inauthentic, desperate ploy for their money a mile off. This makes them an incredibly difficult demographic to sell to: according to Jon Miller, former VP of Marketo, they’re already between 60 and 90 percent done with the buying process before your sales team has even started engaging with them. They’re commercially savvy and tend to research their different options in-depth, so once they’ve made up their minds, it’s hard to convince them to consider an alternative.
What’s more, most millennials are desensitized to traditional forms of marketing. To see any real results, businesses must adapt how they communicate with this tricky, yet lucrative, target audience. The solution? In a word, technology, and, more specifically, predictive analytics. Sales intelligence technology has the power to better connect salespeople with millennials. Here’s how:
- It interprets big data
There’s a lot of big talk about big data and what it can potentially accomplish, but lots of unstructured customer information won’t get you far. A successful customer data strategy prioritizes quality over quantity and only uses the most relevant information. It’s a waste of resources to analyze reams of data that may not be useful. The results can misguide your marketing and selling efforts, leading you to pursue dead-ends rather than real business opportunities.
Predictive technologies put big data to better use by condensing the sheer quantity of data and translating it into actionable insights for the end-user. Customer analytics platforms, for example, track and recognize buying patterns that are influenced by a range of external factors, from seasonal peak in demand for certain products, to wider macro-economic trends. This intelligence enables salespeople to pre-empt the fast-moving millennial consumer and promote a well-timed offer or discount on products.
- It identifies cross- and upselling opportunities
Predictive technologies don’t just anticipate a consumer’s next move – they can reveal significant cross and up-selling opportunities too. Technique and timing are important here, but when both are used in conjunction with your big data insights, your sales efforts will hit home far more effectively.
If you can personalize your offer, make it compelling with useful content, and reach customers via the right communication channel (be it social media, phone, or email) at the right time, millennials are more likely to choose to buy from you. You could, at this point, tick that box and move onto the next target – or, you could push the deal a little further.
If, for example, your target has bought a pair of summer sandals, the right sales intelligence tool will alert you to the opportunity to upsell with a ‘two pairs for one’ special deal. Or, you could cross-sell some complementary seasonal accessories such as beach towels, sunglasses, or a picnic hamper. If your millennial consumer can get all they need from you, they won’t go looking elsewhere.
- It helps to inform a long-term campaign
Predictive technologies have forecasting capabilities that enable you to see the macro-level buying patterns of millennial consumers. They can provide you with the information you need to plan a long-term campaign, taking into account influential factors like a change in season or holiday shopping periods. This means you can adjust your sales strategy at critical moments of peak consumerism and always stay one step ahead of the millennial market.
Enjoy the real-world benefits of data
Companies that use predictive analytics can make sense of the data they have collected and convert it into tangible business opportunities. This could mean a well-informed, hyper-targeted, and on-trend marketing campaign, or a compelling sales offer that accurately reflects the customer’s interests and potential actions before they make a buying decision.
In essence, you have the power to outpace the millennial generation and give them the products they want, before they even know they want them.