A continual flow of new leads is the life blood of any sales pipeline. Decision makers
today prefer to research for themselves before a company can engage with them in
person, so how do you ensure you work your data for best practice when setting up
any marketing campaign to gather in those leads?
Let’s consider for a moment how the buying cycle has changed in recent times. Decision
makers now have access to a tsunami of information to gather and analyse before they reach
the point where they are ready to negotiate with confidence to find the best deal. Research tells
us that by 2015, over 90% of executive decision makers will be using their mobile ‘phones to
check out deals before agreeing to a purchase. The ability to easily source this information has
meant that the B2B buyers are now more aligned to B2C than ever.
In order to be truly customer centric, and therefore increase the opportunity to sell by providing
timely and information rich content to the right audience, B2B marketers need to consider the
following key points before rolling out any campaign and follow up with strong analytics and
1. Messaging – Reaching the Audience: Be laser guided not canon fire
All customers are different, but market segmentation models are enabling business-to-
business marketers to develop better strategies for identifying and reaching high-value
clients. Whether it is prospecting, sales territory mapping or collateral messaging, segmentation
models help a business to locate high-value customers and target them effectively B2B
marketers are under increasing pressure to better target customers and prospects, segmentation
can be a powerful tool for strategic and tactical applications. Marketing segmentation systems
have total acceptance in the consumer world but B2B segmentation systems have lagged behind
due to the limited availability of accurate data, inconsistency in developing high quality leads and
poorly differentiated marketing activity.
2. Segmentation solutions
The challenge for B2B marketers has always been the same: know your customer. But with
limited information on most companies—especially small- and mid-sized firms—marketers
traditionally have concentrated their efforts in mass campaigns with little focus or coordinated
In B2B getting to know the end-buyers is not so simple as accurate information about
businesses-or firmographic data such as addresses, financials or staff titles—has been harder
to come by due to the number of business start-ups, closures and unpublished information for
private firms. More comprehensive databases now exist and they give marketers access to
generally more accurate and current data within a consistent framework millions of business
establishments— it includes critical information such as a company’s total headcount and
industry classification. By appending these data to its own CRM system, a company can create
a robust business segmentation approach to guide prospecting, sales territory mapping,
advertising and target marketing.
3. Classifying info
In a typical segmentation analysis, business customers are sorted into categories based
on company size and industry, though other defining characteristics should also be added.
Using CRM data good analysts can calculate sales per role within each business, estimate
a person or role’s market potential value, and rank it against all other customers and prospects.
This form of detailed segmentation can then more easily drive the marketing communications
and advertising strategies. Instead of relying on the ‘finger in air hunch’ and using the same
tired channels and dull messages that have been around for decades—marketers must
develop initiatives based on hard data that address the needs of their customer’s business
and engage them in a dialogue that is engaging, enriching and consistent.
4. Valuing prospects and doing the work up front
Marketers need to classify business customers into segments and determine the
opportunity of each segment. They can then divide the companies into buckets based on
size and further segmented into various industry segments using SIC codes. Add to this
information on preferred products and revenue associated with each business and you can
determine the potential demand within each segment—and the sales potential per contact
in that segment.
By doing this marketers can prioritize all the prospects for every business segment, taking
into account the estimated value and prior success. The segmentation analysis can then
drive the marketing strategy, determining the number and type of sales contacts from direct
mail, EDM, telemarketing and even to F2F meetings. Smart marketers will tailor messages,
product offerings and delivery method by industry segment.
5. Principles to achieving success
• Leverage the value of two pieces of basic company information: size and industry classification.
• Make sure your segmentation model classifies customers into segments of similar businesses—
so the science drives the strategy. A business database can help compare customer files to a
known universe to calculate market penetration by size and industry segment.
• Use data on existing business customers to score profit potential, prioritize acquisition, retention
and cross-selling initiatives.
• Measure the effectiveness of segmentation-based sales and marketing programs using
metrics like quarter-over-quarter sales, cost to convert prospects into customers and marketing
response rates. Then fine-tune marketing based on these metrics.
Just as innovative applications drove the acceptance of segmentation systems in consumer
marketing, successful B2B programmes will lead more marketers to explore how information
products can help them gain an edge in an increasingly competitive world.
The data is out there, and your business customers are waiting.