The Vendor To Buyer Power Shift

May 30, 2024

When technology is new and scarce, the vendors hold the power.

When technology is commoditized and abundant, the buyers hold the power.

The first generation of SaaS was rare and unique solutions to big problems.

If you wanted our solution you had to pay high prices, sign long contracts, deal with slow implementations, and accept product bugs and missing features.

That’s what it’s like when vendors hold the power.

Once commoditized, it becomes about optimizing for the customer because they have the luxury of options, i.e. free market competition doing what it does best.

The last few years B2B SaaS has been transitioning its power from the vendor to the buyer.

Because of this, sales culture has adopted a mindset of helping, assisting, and guiding, rather than pressuring or manipulating their way into revenue.

But modern customers demand more.

Millennials have grown fond of digital communications.

Gen Z grew up without talking to strangers on the phone or shopping in stores at all.

They came up on Uber, Amazon, and eBay.

They don’t want to answer our cold calls.

They don’t want to join a live demo.

They don’t want to implement the product manually.

They don’t want to negotiate contracts and billing terms every year.

33% of today's buyers prefer not to interact with a salesperson.

Here's the breakdown:

  • 20% of Baby Boomers prefer not to interact with a salesperson
  • 28% of Gen X prefer not to interact with a salesperson
  • 44% of Millennials prefer not to interact with a salesperson

Imagine where Gen Z will be (I predict over 90%)

That's a drastic change in buyer behavior to be prepared for.

They want simplicity.

That’s what they’ve been conditioned for.

That’s the profile of the modern buyer.

Which makes simple and self-serve PLG the driving force of the next generation of B2B SaaS (B2C already mastered this craft).

So if you notice your email or cold call response rates gradually declining YoY, it’s likely in part because more of your target market’s decision makers are being replaced by Millennials and some Gen Z.

Pay attention to the generation of your buyers.

It’s an inevitable change that will creep its way into every business over the next few years.

It’s significant with Millennials but it will be drastic with Gen Z who never lived without the internet.

Having the best solution to the problem is no longer enough.

You need to also have a customer acquisition process that aligns with the wants and needs of the next generation buyer.

I choose to focus on the bright side…

There’s lots of opportunity to innovate.

Which is why LinkedIn launched a short-format video feed.

They're preparing for how the next generation will conduct business.

But there's also lots of opportunity to get leapfrogged.

Don’t sleep on this data.

One thing we can’t stop is generational evolution.

Get after it.

Or better yet, get ahead of it.

For those who want to dive deeper into the research and my history speaking on the subject these are the 3 resources to check out:

1. Gartner’s 2019 Future of Sales Report
2. The SaaS Buying Experience
3. SDR Model is Broken w/ Aaron Ross
4. The Modern Outbound System

If you need help building and scaling your sales and revenue organization book a coaching session and let's get started.

Happy Selling,

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