Another milestone achieved! We’re excited to announce Espresso B2B Marketing merging with eMa.
Another milestone achieved! We’re excited to announce Espresso B2B Marketing merging with eMa.

B2B Data Segmentation in Four Easy Steps

Data Segmentation in Four Easy Steps: How B2B Marketers Can Garner More Leads

Every marketer dreads the Unsubscribe. The best way to avoid it is to provide your audience with relevant content. But if you’re like most B2B marketers, you have different audiences. That’s where data segmentation comes into play.

The key to maintaining a relevant conversion is by dividing your audiences into more targeted categories or groups. This way, you can offer each group the most relevant content and keep them interested in your business.

We have helped dozens of companies ramp up their B2B marketing. Even some of the most sophisticated marketing teams we’ve worked with haven’t completely segmented their data. This is true even among companies that have many thousands of records in Hubspot or Marketo. They’ve loaded in all those contact records, but they haven’t taken the time to populate all the fields of each contact.

What are some common list segments that many B2B companies need?

  • Current customers
  • Past customers
  • Prospects
  • Prospect by industry
  • Prospects by role (or job title or persona)
  • Prospects by geography

Often, you’ll need a segment with a combination of the above, such as CEOs at consumer products manufacturing companies in the US.

Why does this matter? Because when you want to send an email to, say, project managers at cloud technology companies, you might only find 50 records that fit that description—even though you know there must be thousands of these contacts in your database. But most of the contact records have blanks for industry and role. Let’s say you send the email to those 50 people anyway. Even with a solid clickthrough rate of 20 percent, that amounts to….ten clicks. It’s hardly worth the effort. But if you go ahead and send the email to your entire list, you end up with poor engagement because the email wasn’t relevant to many of the recipients.

We’re assuming you want better results from your marketing efforts. So here’s a reliable five-step process for achieving better data segmentation without hiring an entire data entry team.

  1. Decide on the segments that you need. Keep it simple. There’s no need to create segments that you’ll never use.
  2. Export data from your CRM. This is the easy part. Gather all the customer and prospect data you have and get ready to work with it.
  3. Run your data through a list enrichment platform or service. Some popular services include ZoomInfo, Clearbit and UpLead. There are dozens of companies that offer this service. After scanning your list, these services will populate multiple columns such as Industry, Job Title, and Location. In just minutes, you can dramatically increase the completeness and overall value of your marketing lists.
    There’s just one catch: this isn’t a “click once and forget it” exercise—you’ll need to go through your enriched lists and make some decisions to ensure each of your contacts is properly segmented. The list enrichment program will have given you a good start, but it doesn’t understand your market as well as you do. For example, only you will be able to look at your data and determine who is a customer, past customer, or prospect.
  4. Map SIC (industry) codes and job titles to YOUR segments. When you get your list back from your list enrichment service, you’ll probably find that it contains hundreds of Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes and hundreds of similar-but-slightly-different job titles. So you’ll need to map these codes and titles to the shortlist you developed in the previous step. Doing so will help ensure you’re maintaining a manageable list of target industries and job titles—rather than trying to market to the entire universe. Once you’ve mapped your contacts to these specific industries and titles, you’ll have clean, focused lists in hand for sending out messages.
  5. Create automations to streamline these tasks. As we’ve explained, data segmentation isn’t a “set it and forget it” task. It does require considerable input from your team. But once you’ve done it for a while, you can set up workflow automations in your marketing automation system that will assign new prospects and customers to the right shortlist in the future. For example, if you target finance roles, you could create an automation that would assign anyone with the words “finance” or “accounting” to “finance” and store that value in a simplified role field.

Once you’ve followed these steps and put in the effort that data segmentation requires, you’ll see a payback on every campaign you run in the future. What we’ve said here applies best to email marketing. But keep in mind that once you’ve created your lists, you may also find them useful in areas such as online advertising (as audiences).

Want to chat about your next data segmentation project—and the successful campaigns it will help you run? Espresso would love to hear from you. We’ve spent over a decade helping companies like yours get better results from your marketing data. Schedule a discovery call.

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