The Millennial Mindset and Its Impact on MSPs
It’s not surprising that a recent Forbes Magazine article called 2016 “The Year of the Millennial Consumer." Those between the ages of 17 and 34 fall into this group, which has come to account for roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population. Millennials are growing both in size and economic power: Starting this year, they’re projected to spend a collective $200 billion annually. That’s one big reason MSPs need to start paying attention to this important target market, with a focus not only on how to market and sell to them, but also how to hire and work with them.
How can you help your clients make the shift to a millennial mindset, and at the same time learn how to adapt your business? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Retail Opportunity: For MSPs serving the retail vertical, mobile point-of-sale and payment strategies are imperative. A big percentage of today’s mobile shoppers are millennials, and merchant customers need to change the way they do business in order to better serve this growing population. It’s also important to know that this tech-savvy market expects a retailer’s technology to work — simply, quickly and intelligently.
What does this mean for MSPs? Retailers are, by and large, behind the curve when it comes to implementing mobile commerce services. They need help with mobile app development, mobile devices for in-store use and with adopting technology that will give them a consolidated view of shopper profiles. An opportunity exists for MSPs to step in and fill these gaps.
2. The Customer Experience: SMBs also need MSP support with CRM and other solutions designed to provide a more personalized and memorable buyer experience. As customers, millennials demand – and expect – a personal touch, more so than other age groups. They also want self-service options. In fact, no matter what line of business your clients may be in, a greater share of the buying experience now happens online, which means SMBs need to be ready to sell for the changing market.
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As trusted advisers, MSPs are in position to help their SMB customers find the solutions they need, whether it’s CRM or other tools, to address these demands, while using technology to build customer trust and brand loyalty.
3. Find Out What Matters to Millennials: Researchers say that millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce within 10 years. For successful hiring practices, MSPs now have a mandate to put effort into learning what matters to this group. The reality is, many businesses are already failing at this. A recent Deloitte study reported that 44 percent of millennials were ready to leave their jobs within two years, and two-thirds planned to do so by 2020.
MSPs should make note that millennials are more focused on people, products and purpose — and less focused on profits. A few tips to consider when hiring this age group:
- Don’t Overthink: Every generation appears on the surface to be different from the last, but in truth there are more commonalities than you would expect. For example, the 1960s-era hippies became the Wall Street wizards of the 1980s. The grunge generation of the 1990s eventually morphed into experts in the Internet economy.
- Mind Work Preferences: Millennials like change and want to avoid stagnation. To retain them for the long term, keep them engaged through new-skills training and new career-development opportunities. Millennials also value work-life balance. Figure out how to keep hours flexible and allow employees to telecommute. Don’t force them to fit into a traditional schedule if at all possible.
- Communicate: Millennials were raised with smartphones and tablets, so be sure to take advantage of their technology skills. And while they use email, it’s not their first choice; text messaging is their go-to channel. So consider all of the alternatives when it comes to best communicating with them. Also, they believe in social media and will use it for buying, selling, crowdsourcing and, of course, socializing. Always set boundaries as an employer regarding social media use on the job, but keep an open mind. Chances are you will learn from their expertise and perspectives.
The bottom line is if you’re to succeed as a business, millennials will play a role in that success. They continue to make up a greater share of the buying market, and a greater percentage of your new recruits. It’s important for MSPs to put some thought into how to best sell to them, serve them and address their needs as valued employees.
As vice president of Marketing-MSP for SolarWinds, Stacy West brings over 25 years of experience to her current role — leading and managing all aspects of SolarWinds MSP’s marketing efforts. These include revenue marketing, product marketing, PR, customer engagement, loyalty and retention, and field marketing.
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