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Selling to millennials: understanding what Generation Y wants

Phil Jones looks at selling what, where and how to Y.

In business, relationships are crucial. You need to know your customer inside out. What drives them? What keeps them awake at night? What solutions can you bring to the table?

When you’re selling to millennials, who will make up more than 50% of the global workforce by 2020, this deeper understanding is more important than ever. They have grown up with a smartphone or tablet in their hand, are used to getting information at the touch or swipe of a screen and services on demand, typically work from multiple places across multiple channels and have big expectations.

Here’s three things I’ve learnt about how millennials want to work:

1. They want to be able to do their job anywhere, any time

Mobile working has become a standard part of working life – for many millennials, it’s all they have ever known.

They naturally work more digitally, using around 50% less paper than the generation before. This means that digitising the workspace will be high on their agenda, which presents a good opportunity for companies who can provide products and services that help that process. For example, both desktop and portable scanners are ideal for converting paper into digital workflows, making documents more accessible and creating more opportunities for collaboration, in the office and on the go.

Millenials will expect employers to enable mobile working  If you asked a mobile worker to empty the contents of their case on your desk, you’d be amazed at how many items like power adaptors, device battery boosters, cables, cases and portable printers are required to work effectively. All these create opportunity for added accessory sales and incremental revenues.

2. They’re using online meetings to be more efficient

Meetings are moving out of the boardroom as more lean businesses start to operate in smaller, more flexible office spaces – from hot-desks, tech incubators and even home working.

Web conferencing services help teams keep in contact and collaborate from wherever they’re based. They won’t ever replace the impact of a face-to-face meeting, but can be hugely beneficial when used for commodity meetings – saving time and money.

Web conferencing is a must in modern business BYOD is popular among millennials, and so web conferencing software needs to operate across a range of devices – whether it’s an iPad at home, a smartphone in Starbucks, or a TV screen in a meeting room.

Also think about what information this group will want at their fingertips for a meeting. They work across multiple channels and will need a service that allows them to share and collaborate on everything from video to presentations and websites – without connection issues.

3. They want to know about your green credentials

Millennials represent the generation which takes corporate social responsibility seriously. A report has said 45% of them would take a 15% pay cut for a job that makes a positive social or environmental impact.

Ultimately, they connect with why you are in business, rather than just what you do. You need to make your organisation’s purpose clear, re-think your communications and be more conversational in your materials to guarantee cut through.

You might sign up to more philanthropic activity, or get serious about developing product portfolios with credentials that show environmental benefits. For example, at Brother we offer a free consumables recycling service and support Cool Earth, which helps protect trees in the Amazon rainforest. We also work with the Greater Manchester Community Foundation – Forever Manchester – to support communities near to our office.

I think the most important thing to remember is that you need to be adaptable. The very nature of agile working means that millennials can quickly change their working habits and work spaces, having an impact on the type of technology they need. Our tips on flexible working might help you get into your customers’ mindset and secure those all important sales.

If you’ve got your own advice about selling to or getting the best from millennials in the workplace, share them with us on Twitter @Brother_UK

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