The latest data from Forrester’s annual Buyers’ Journey Survey — the largest and most comprehensive business buying study in the world, with more than 20,000 respondents across 14 countries — reveals a few surprising insights about the latest business buying behaviors.

Younger generations of business buyers (born after 1980) are having their say and now represent the majority of business buyers globally at a whopping 64%. Our findings indicate that Millennials and Gen Zers approach the buying process differently than older generations. Specifically, these younger buyers carry three key new demands and expectations that providers need to contemplate as they approach go-to-market planning and execution.

Routes To Market Are Diversifying

While buying directly from the vendor continues to be the most common channel, younger buyers are pushing vendors to a variety of self-serve transaction channels, including external marketplaces, app stores, vendor websites, and even through existing products (often referred to as product-led growth). As self-service transactions rise in popularity, providers must understand the behaviors of their target buyers to create seamless experiences that are easy to find, easy to use, and align to their preferences.

Everything Is Not Moving To “Digital”

“Digital” can be a confusing term and means different things to different organizations. We avoid using this term in our survey and instead rely on “interactions” that are personal (involving another human being) and self-guided.

While there are many similarities in the way B2B buyers gather information across all age cohorts, younger buyers use a wider variety of sources than older buyers. All generations still prefer a near-even blend of personal and self-guided interactions. But a major difference between age groups is that younger buyers most value interactions that are outside of the provider’s control, including technology information websites, forums/message boards, and industry websites. This is a wake-up call for providers to contemplate how their demand, customer engagement, and reputation programs for earned media coverage aligns to how and where buyers look for information.

Younger Buyers Are Less Satisfied With The Buying Experience

Perhaps the most noteworthy generational finding is how frequently younger buyers express dissatisfaction with the buying experience. When asked about dissatisfaction with their chosen vendor, younger buyers appear to be more demanding and forthcoming, with 90% citing dissatisfaction with the vendor in at least one area, compared to 71% of older buyers. Buyer-facing roles must understand the holistic experience from the buyer’s perspective.

We dig into these three areas and more in our new report, Younger Buyers Have Changed The Business Buying Landscape (client access only).

If you’re a Forrester client and want to discuss the impact that these new buying behaviors may have on your business, schedule a guidance session with a portfolio marketing analyst.