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April 24, 2024

Alexis Pastrana


Senior Digital Content Manager

Group of Gen Zers sitting on a couch.

Generation Z is entering the workforce at a rapid speed and is likely to comprise more than a quarter of the global workforce by next year. Alongside them, they are ushering in a new era of business operations far removed from the ideals of baby boomers, a generation increasingly aging out of the workplace. In fact, this year there will be more Gen Z’s than Baby Boomers in the full-time workforce.

Born 1997-2012, Gen Zers are redefining what work culture is and should be, focusing on work-life balance and clearly defining job expectations. Sometimes referred to as the iGeneration, this cohort grew up in an age of agility and innovation. Because of this, they often question and challenge the status quo–even their expectations for B2B brand experiences and purchases.

Gen Z’s role in B2B buying

Gen Z hasn’t known a world without technology. Even when they were in utero their parents were creating digital footprints for them. Gen Zers are comfortable and often leading the charge of digital transformation, and therefore, invaluable to B2B buying cycles. In fact, millennials and Gen Zers now make up 64% of business buyers.

Gen Z is often the early adopter and end user of software and solutions, with older generations turning to these tech-savvy colleagues for technology research and vetting support. They might not hold the purchasing power of an organizational leader, but they do hold a valued influence. Therefore, it’s imperative to make them champions of your B2B brand. But to reach these buyers, you first have to understand the way they navigate B2B purchases.

How Gen Z seeks information

Gen Z is used to having information at the click of a button–as a result, they are likely to conduct more thorough research when entering the buyer’s journey compared to other generations. Their extensive search process requires more touchpoints with brands throughout the buyer’s journey before they feel comfortable making a purchase decision. 

To no surprise, a key element in Gen Z’s search process is social media. According to SurveyMonkey, Gen Zers (61%) are more likely to use social media to seek product inspiration, research solutions, and connect with trusted brands than older consumers (34%). And if they follow a brand on social media, 43% of Gen Zers are more likely to purchase from said brand. It’s also worth noting the power social media influencers hold on this generation, with 58% of Gen Zers having made a purchase based on a recommendation from an influencer or content creator.

What Gen Z considers a make or break in the buyer’s journey

Despite Gen Z needing more touchpoints along their journey, they are less likely to respond to additional sales conversations, cold emails, or other traditional sales tactics. Gen Z doesn’t want to be sold a product, but to hear about the positive experience of others. Younger buyers trust third-party resources over vendor resources to validate decisions, making influencers, review sites, and peer recommendations necessary components in any B2B strategy.

Gen Z also wants to see firsthand how a product works before committing to a purchase through demos and free trials. Gen Z values authenticity, so the more personal a brand can be, the more likely it is to resonate with these buyers. They want to be able to trust your brand while also finding value in your product. To do so, brands should provide them with a good experience from first touchpoint, to purchase and beyond. 

Appealing to Gen Z with a positive user experience

With a plethora of options, Gen Z can be quick to abandon the buying process with a company due to a bad buying or user experience. Looking to B2C brands for inspiration, Gen Z appreciates the five key pillars these types of brands stand on: authenticity, transparency, sustainability, convenience, and access. Consider the wants and needs of Gen Z and these four ways your brand can tailor marketing and sales for a greater experience:

  1. Self-serve discovery experiences with readily available information can help Gen Z easily validate their options. Consider adding must-know product information such as pricing at the forefront of your site and materials.

  2. The use of external marketplaces, app stores, and your website can make it easy for this generation to make purchase decisions independent of traditional sales expectations.

  3. Gen Z trusts their peers with 41% saying review sites are the first step in their buying journey and most influential in narrowing their search (TrustRadius). Take the time to build connections with your users to create strong brand champions with experiences that resonate with future buyers.

  4. Speaking of building relationships, while Gen Z may not connect with a sales representative until late into their journey, or not at all, companies can directly connect with prospects using other owned channels. Consider the power of your social media strategy, what channels you are on, and how you respond and connect with users to build virtual connections with buyers.

Taking a page out of the B2C playbook, which typically appeals more to a younger audience, B2B agencies need to put the experience of the end-user and buyer at the forefront of their product, marketing strategy, and sales efforts in order to be successful. Because every little detail counts, learn how we can help your brand connect with users by creating experiences that inspire.