Segmentation in marketing is not a new concept – technology has just changed the game at a rapid rate.
While consumer brands have always had plenty of data to work with, most businesses must rely on a couple of hundred customers at best.
Tech advancement has made the job easier but it’s still a struggle. You wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t.
Nielsen reported back in 2009 that B2Bs had “discovered” segmentation. Ten years on, 80% of businesses still fail to implement successful personalization strategies.
Let’s break down the basics on how to segment B2B customers and getting your B2B “demographics” in order.
Your B2B Segmentation Strategy Should Start with Clean Data
Not only do consumer brands have larger datasets, but their data also tends to have a longer shelf-life. A retail brand can reasonably assume that a parent is still going to need children’s clothes for the foreseeable future.
B2Bs don’t have that luxury.
A quarter of all B2B databases contain critical errors and 62% of all businesses are working with data that’s up to 40% wrong.
Data in B2B quickly go stale: People change jobs, companies change names and grow, and phone numbers change.
It’s critical to start with a clean database. The results of your B2B segmentation strategy will drive the personalized content you create so it’s crucial that you’re working with accurate intel.
At Hushly, we recommend getting rid of lead magnet forms and using human lead verification. Lead verification systems will ensure that you’re only collecting high-quality data from real people.
Personalization isn’t only for converting new leads. You need it to maintain the customers you already have, too.
65% of businesses say they’ll consider switching vendors if a company doesn’t make any effort to personalize communications (think blog posts, email campaigns, social media adverts). An effective segmentation strategy is vital.
How to Segment B2B Customers
Once your data is cleaned up and ready to go, you can start creating an effective B2B segmentation strategy based on your current customer base and leads.
B2B “Demographic” Segmentation
B2B demographic segmentation looks a little different than B2C. In B2B, demographic segmentation is called “firmographics.”
The firmographics you choose to segment will depend on your target audience, current customers, and business goals. Here are some of the most common B2B demographics.
- Job title
- Job role
- Buying power
Those are all useful B2B demographics for account-based marketing. You can also segment based on company details.
- Company size (employees and locations)
- Company revenue
- Market share
- Public/private status
- Profit trends
- Years in business
Each one of these groups has unique problems and concerns. See why understanding how to segment B2B customers is so important for building loyalty AND attracting leads?
B2B Segmentation Strategy by Tier or Intent
Remember the days of Myspace and choosing your top-8 friends? We tended to pick our friends who were most similar to us, right?
Tiering your audience is kind of similar. Think of tier segmentation as the lite version of account-based marketing.
You’ll break your audience into groups based on factors like
- How closely they resemble your ideal customer
- Lifetime customer revenue potential
- The lead’s intent behind visiting your website
Using intent data can help you maximize your tier-based segmentation strategy.
B2B Segmentation Strategy by Content Type
Since you’ll be using your segments as a foundation for content planning, it’s wise to break your customers up based on which type of content they like to consume.
- Authority blogs
- Thought leadership
- Email newsletters
Research shows that 49% of B2B buyers watch videos during the buying journey which a whopping 91% value webinars – but buyers at which level in the company? With about seven people involved in every B2B transaction, nailing down your content segments is critical for creating the most relevant content.
Needs-Based Segmentation in B2B
Firmographics and content are important, but they don’t paint an accurate picture on their own. Instead, use behavioral data to implement needs-based segmentation in B2B buyers.
Use information based on where a lead signed up or which blog posts a customer read on your site to get an idea of their general needs.
You can also just come out and ask with surveys, but behavioral data tends to be more accurate.
Will Your B2B Segmentation Strategy Work?
Numbers and statistics mean nothing if your strategy doesn’t actually do what it’s supposed to do. Once you create a few meaningful segments, ask yourself the following questions before you start investing in content, email campaigns, or paid adverts.
Does the Segment Stand Out in a Meaningful Way?
Make sure each segment is totally unique.
Remember that you’ll be assigning future leads to each segment as well so you need to have some concrete personas figured out here either for entire teams or specific roles if you’re planning on using your B2B segmentation strategy for account-based marketing.
How Many Companies/Accounts are in Each Segment?
Of course, this will depend on your company size as well. As a general rule of thumb, however, your segments shouldn’t include just one or two companies/accounts.
It’s not cost-effective or wise to spend your time and money creating content for just two or three accounts (unless you really believe it’s worth the risk in the case of account-based marketing).
Does Each Company/Account Fit into a Single Segment?
Each company or type of account should clearly fit into a single segment. Don’t worry, your segment can have several attributes that we’ve mentioned above (ex: end-users at mid-size companies who need efficient software and consume podcasts).
The reality is that it may take you some trial and error to get the system right. Just try to make wise decisions before investing your time and energy.
Level-Up Your B2B Segmentation Strategy
Hushly makes it easy to create the personalized landing pages your leads expect. With real-time personalization features like adaptive content hubs, content bingeing, and exit intent popups, you can take your segmentation strategy to the next level with high-quality behavioral data and more!
See how Hushly works to get started!