As more millennials enter the workforce, it’s important to quickly get onboard with new sales trends if you want to attract them. Traditionally, the process of acquiring new customers has been managed by a sales team, but it’s time to move over sales—digital marketers are about to do your job for you! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you fire your entire sales team. In fact, it’s my hope that your marketing and sales teams become best friends. The truth is, with advancements in marketing automation technologies, your sales team will still be necessary, just not until MUCH later in the process.
So why do millennials shy away from traditional marketers? And how the heck do you get in front of them?! Here’s your hint: it’s not on the phone. Here are ten tips to help you acquire millennials (and many others) as sales qualified leads (SQL’s).
1. Kick Them to the Curb
Let’s start with some realistic expectations. There’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to lead nurturing. If a digital marketer tells you he can help you acquire new SQL’s in a matter of weeks, kick him to the curb! An effective lead nurturing campaign can take months to set up and tweak before you see results (Note - when you see them, they WILL be RESULTS!!).
2. Know Your Customers
I know it’s easy to get caught up in the nostalgia of the old days… when relationships were personal. But let’s be real. Millennials haven’t written off friendships or being authentic—they just DO NOT care to be best friends with their insurance salesman.
It’s more important than ever that you create marketing personas and know EXACTLY who your customer is. How do they consume information? Where do they consume it? What do they aspire toward? What are their pain points in life right now? If millennials recognize that your company understands their specific needs then they are going to respond and may even promote your company.
3. So Get Personal!
Now that you know who your persona is, it’s time to get personal. Not the kind of personal that invites someone out for drinks to talk about their children. The type of personal that takes place in a digital world, in the form of GREAT CONTENT.
Instead of going the route of traditional advertising, focus on writing valuable content. Content that is informative, actionable, and speaks directly to your marketing persona. If you provide millennials with content that helps them solve a problem, they’ll be much more likely to engage with your brand.
4. The Marketing Funnel is Your Best Friend
In order to get personal, you MUST make the marketing funnel your best friend.
So… it’s story time!! Just over 4 months ago, I began my hunt for a new car. If you haven’t already gathered, I am a millennial (a millennial who happens to hate social media and love authentic relationships... though I didn’t use either for my car hunt).
I had NO intention of ever speaking to a car salesman.
Over the course of several months, I meticulously researched types of cars, reviews, crash test ratings, and costs. I eventually found a car I loved and monitored it daily until it dropped into the range of my budget!
One test drive later, a quick approval from the bank, a couple of signatures, and I was out the door. That salesman’s day was MADE.
Although this scenario sounds like peaches and cream, the real potential is worth outlining. I digested information on dozens of websites! Imagine if you were the car company that had utilized its marketing funnel and a digital marketing strategy to attract me and then nurture me all the way through the funnel without ever leaving your site.
WABAM! There you go sales team. Sales qualified and ready for landing!
(Obviously, this is oversimplified, but I hope you get my drift... hehe, yes think Fast and Furious.)
5. Your Website is the Be-All-End-All to Millennials
Do not make your potential customer call you in order to get information about your product and services. Give them the information they need – in a personalized tone - to make a decision without talking to you…Trust that they will contact you when they’re ready.
And for the love of all things beautiful, be 100% positive that your website is responsive. If a millennial can’t view your website on a tablet or phone, you may not be worth their time. In fact, 73% of millennials report that they have made a purchase directly on their smartphone (Source: BazaarVoice).
6. Design Sells
If your website looks like it’s from the 90’s, you’re not fooling anyone. So don’t just give them the information—do it in compelling and interesting ways. Keep your website clean, simple, and to the point. Include lots of compelling materials: infographics, e-books, and videos, oh my.
7. Time to Entertain
I’m sure you didn’t think that running a business would involve becoming an entertainer, but unfortunately it’s a must. With everyone constantly on the hunt to capture the millennials’ attention, you must learn to entertain. Include video as much as possible, incorporate interactive content, maybe even consider developing a relevant App.
Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT create a single landing page, blog post, advance piece of content, etc., without a call-to-action. You’re missing out on one of the most valuable ways to capture a new marketing qualified lead and nurture them into a sales qualified lead. This is your conversion point and likely a focal point in your KPI’s!
9. Embrace the Negative
Stop trying to tuck your garbage under the rug—air it out for the world to see! Millennials respect honestly and transparency. Plus, if you don’t tell your customers, someone else likely will. 84% of millennials report that user-generated content has some influence on what they buy. This means that other customers’ comments, forums, blogs and reviews are playing a heavy role on their buying decisions. If a company only talks about how great their product is, millennials will smell the BS, but if you outline the pros and cons when considering your product it will build trust.
10. Inbound, Inbound, Inbound
In other words, rather than chasing after millennials, use a marketing strategy that gets them to chase after you. An Inbound marketing strategy to be precise. Never heard of inbound? This quote, from Hubspot, sums it up: “Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.”
Although the basic sales funnel—awareness, evaluation, purchase—might be fundamentally the same, the ways and means by which millennials go about purchasing differs from previous generations. This, however, is not a bad thing. Now companies can leverage technology to their advantage by adopting marketing tactics and software tools to both better qualify leads for their sales teams and then track the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts, all without making a single cold call.
Alyssa is a Hubspot certified senior marketing consultant at Aptera. She has a BA in visual communications from Ball State University. When not at work, you will likely find her geeking over a good book or painting by the lake.