B2B Email List Segmentation Tips


When it comes to B2B email list segmentation, firmographics is the place to start.

Firmographics are sets of characteristics to segment prospect organizations. What demographics are to people, firmographics are to organizations.

What industry does the business operate in? (For more on this, check out the SIC Codes by Industry.)

The size of the organization – and this is typically defined by revenue and number of employees.

Geographic location.

Another popular factor is referred to as ‘status and structure’ which typically addresses the legal status of the organization. For example, is the organization a [ex] stand-alone entity, or a corporate headquarters, a branch office or even a franchise.

Working with Data Firms

The best way to get started is to work with a data source such as Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers.com, Experian, Salesgenie, InfoUSA because they have this information, it’s verified for accuracy and they guarantee the accuracy. Working with one of these sources helps you get started ASAP and with a high level of accuracy so you can immediately begin to see [ex] the similarities in your best clients.

Other key segmentation factors can include location in the sales cycle – inquiry, qualified lead, sales ready lead, product demo/trial, quote, new customer, etc.

Product/service of interest is the last factor I will mention today – for example, an accounting firm might segment by personal taxes, financial planning, corporate taxes.

Buyer Personas: A Step Beyond Firmographics

Understanding firmographics is a great start but the step beyond firmographics is buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a detailed description of the people involved in the buying process and decision within a business. And since the business buying process tends to be complex, involving many different people, you are going to want to focus on the following roles:

  • User
  • Information Gatherer
  • Decision-maker
  • Buyer

Obviously, the decision-maker is the key because they have the budget and authority to spend the budget – so let’s focus on the buyer for now.

Here are the question you will want to ask and answer so you can deveop your B2B Buyer Persona for segmentation,

  • What is the buyer’s role in the company?
  • What type of company does the buyer work for?
  • What level of education has the buyer achieved?
  • What does the buyer like to do for fun?
  • What is the buyer’s gender?
  • What is the buyer’s age?
  • What is the buyer’s household income?
  • Who lives with the buyer at home?
  • Does the buyer live in an urban, suburban or rural environment?
  • How does the buyer spend his/her day?
  • What does the buyer read for fun?
  • How tech savvy is the buyer?
  • Which social networks does the buyer prefer?
  • What are the buyer’s biggest challenges at work?
  • How does the buyer define success in the workplace?
  • What are the buyer’s career goals?
  • What are the buyer’s biggest fears?
  • What are the buyer’s most common objections?
  • How can you help solve the buyer’s challenges?
  • How does the buyer prefer to communicate?

Obviously, gathering this information is going to require some time and effort. And it will probably require some incentives to motivate buyers to share this information with you.

Also, keep in mind that you are going to use the data to develop buyer personas – so with questions like “what are the buyer’s biggest career goals” or “biggest fears”, have some choices in mind so that the data is easier to compare and contrast. Think ‘multiple choice’ more than ‘open-ended’ questions.

From all this information, you will identify a couple of buyer personas that represent your best clients – and ideally those that you don’t want as clients (these are called ‘negative personas’) because they help focus your limited resources on the ‘ideal customer’ during the qualification and sales processes.

At this point, you develop marketing messages and your ‘elevator pitch’ for each persona. And you do this for each stage of the persona’s buying process based on your understanding of their wants, needs, motivations, fears and challenges.

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