Creating data-driven campaigns that generate sales and incite customer loyalty is the mandate of every B2B marketer. One of the variables that has a major impact on how well your campaigns perform is how well you have segmented your market. Naturally, the ultimate goal for most marketers is to reap the rewards of account-based marketing (ABM) by distilling their macro segments into micros ones. If you are currently in pursuit of the results that only ABM campaigns can deliver — as in 91% of B2Bs achieve a higher average deal size using ABM — then, you will definitely want to fine-tune your segments. To help you get started, we’ve created a short list of the four steps we’ve found to be the most effective.

1. Get Creative With Your Segments

In part two of our blog, “6 Steps to a Stellar B2B Segmentation Strategy,” we shared the six most popular forms of B2B segments: firmographics, demographics, geographics, psychographics, customer needs and customer behaviors. Assuming you have already identified the top 20 percent of your customers (your biggest and most loyal spenders), it’s time to use your customer data platform (CDP) to take a closer look at how you can create segments based on the commonalities you see within your top 20.

Many B2B marketers will create segments based on firmographics (i.e. industry, company size, annual revenue, etc.) and call it a day. However, adding variables from other data sets will not only help you develop a more vivid view of your ideal customer, it can produce more rewarding results. If you’ve been relying solely on firmographics, choose two other types of data sets to further define your segments, such as geography (city, region, country) and referrals (customer behavior). Doing so will create the type of customer experience that makes customers feel personally understood, heard and recognized. If you’re worried about how you will scale this level of personalization, there are automated content personalization tools out there that you can integrate with your CDP and everything else in your martech stack to make magic happen.

2. Outline the Buyer Journey of Each Segment and Create Content for Each Step

Much has been written on the dramatic evolution of the B2B buyer journey that has transpired over the last 10 years. Below, we’ve gathered some stats that chronicle four of the important changes to the B2B buyer journey. You will want to keep these in mind as you outline the path your prospects take on the way to becoming customers. We also share a few content suggestions for each stat that you can use to keep their journey engaging and productive.

61% of B2B buyers rely on peers, current users, and reviews when evaluating a purchase

Like consumers, the B2B buyer wants to hear from third parties, who have experienced your products and services firsthand. Once you have honed in on your segments, make sure they can “see themselves” in the content you create. For example, if your ideal customers are mid-size companies (firmographics) in the southwest (geography) that are referrals (customer behavior), your case studies, customer quotes and campaigns should reflect those attributes — in both words and pictures.

This stat also tells us that the majority of your customers are talking to others about you before talking to you. Make sure you are poised to take advantage of this fact by having a referral rewards program in place for current customers. A dynamic customer relationship-builder, rewards programs help you inspire customer advocacy and 78% of B2Bs report that referrals generate excellent leads.

75% of B2B purchases involve people from a wide variety of roles, teams, and locations.

As you map your customer journey, make a list of everyone who is involved in the buying process. Next, consider the different needs each one has and make sure your campaigns are speaking to those needs. For example, the CEO may be excited by the potential results of your offering, whereas the CFO is concerned with costs; and the CTO with security or user adoption, etc. Sending each an email, SMS or direct mail piece that speaks to their unique concerns, needs and desires will help you to win each of the decision-makers over.  

80% of B2B buyers use mobile phones throughout their customer journey.

Like consumers, B2B buyers expect to be able to switch back and forth between their phone and their computers and tablets. This means every part of your site needs to be optimized for mobile. It also means that SMS should be playing a significant role in all of your campaigns. When you consider that text messages have an open rate of 95 percent and are typically opened within 90 seconds, the lure of instant gratification it provides for both you and your customers becomes impossible to ignore. To discover over a dozen ways you can produce results by incorporating SMS, check out our latest webinar: Channeling Success With SMS.

27% of B2B buyers research online; 18% research offline and 22% meet with their buying group before meeting with potential suppliers.

Your website should make it easy for prospects to do their homework. One way to do this efficiently and effectively is to create landing pages for your segments that address their pain points. Once they see you understand their problem, then you can send them to an individual solution page that highlights the features and benefits and ensures they grasp your competitive differentiator(s). In addition to personalized landing pages, you can help them help you close the deal by equipping them with downloadable and sharable content such as ebooks, white papers, case studies, videos, etc. Lastly, don’t dismiss the power of direct mail and printed pieces in convincing “offline researchers” that your offering is the one they are looking for.

3. Scale Personalized Communications By Automating Content

According to the Harvard Business Review, “Individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t.” ABM has a reputation for being something every marketer wants, but not something everyone is able to do. If the thought of creating personalized campaigns for every one of your segments makes you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. The good news is there are user-friendly tools available today that make sending personalized campaigns to everyone in your segments a significantly less complex affair.

As we shared earlier, a content automation tool can help you bridge the gap between wanting to do ABM and doing it. Once you plug one of these dynamos into your stack, it will sort through the content available from connected sources and pull relevant content for your personalized campaigns. Moreover, they can be set up to run on autopilot, sending the right content to the right prospect at the right time – automatically.

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