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In B2B, segmentation is undoubtedly one of the most complex topics. But it’s also one of the most important.
With the advent of data and new automation tools, you have all the material you need to build ultra-creative segmentation strategies.
What is a segmentation strategy? What are the keys to a good segmentation strategy? What are the best segmentation strategies currently?
In this article, I’ll explain how to create a smart segmentation strategy. As a bonus, I’ll give you my top 5 most creative and effective strategies for segmentation at the moment.
What is a segmentation strategy?
As a reminder, segmentation refers to the approach used by businesses to divide their target market into smaller, more actionable sub-groups, called segments.
These segments group together prospects who share certain characteristics or similar needs.
As I explained in the introduction, there are as many strategies as your imagination allows.
Because when we talk about a “strategy” of segmentation, we’re really talking about a technique, a pattern, or a method that will allow us to achieve our ends, namely to generate intelligent segments.
What is the interest of a segmentation strategy?
Using a proven strategy for segmentation work means several benefits:
- Time-saving: If you are already sure that your strategy is effective, there’s no need to rack your brains to create a new one. You just have to apply it like a good student, and the results will be there. In other words, wrack your brain once, to be at ease all the other times!
- Efficiency gain: Rather than starting with a shaky segmentation, the segmentation strategy has the advantage of offering you a framework, a logic, that works. It’s a guarantee that things will be done well.
The underlying advantage of these two benefits is hyper-personalization: the more squared your strategy is, the more refined and precise your segments will be.
How to create a good segmentation strategy?
So, now that you’re convinced, how do you create a segmentation strategy worthy of the name?
Well, you will need to follow several steps:
- Define your Persona & ICP: A crucial step in the segmentation work! Before thinking about a strategy, you need to know who you want to sell to. For this, there is a methodology that we explain in our guide “How to build your personas?“.
- Identification of Segmentation Criteria: you will need to choose what elements to segment the market. This may include demographic criteria (age, gender, income), geographic (location), psychographic (lifestyle, values), behavioral (buying habits, brand loyalty), or a combination of these criteria. More information is in our article on segmentation criteria.
- Choose your tools: To segment, you will have to go through a platform, a tool, and a database. For B2B, it’s usually LinkedIn that is chosen, in its paid version Sales Navigator. The filtering possibility it offers you is just perfect for segmenting.
- Analysis and Profiling of Segments: Once your personas, your criteria, and the tools are defined, do a first test to see what your segments look like. Are they satisfactory? Are they too broad, or too narrow? Do they match your personas?
Iterate again and again until you find the methodology that suits you and allows you to fall back on segments that make sense for you. Then, your segmentation strategy is ready to be used, and reused 🥳
5+1 Segmentation Strategies To Choose From:
Now that you have an idea of the steps you need to take in order to build your segmentation strategy, I have prepared for you X examples to give you some inspiration!
These strategies have been vetted and used by our clients and even by our team over and over again so you know they’re top-notch:
- Segmentation by attributes.
- Segmentation by interest signals.
- Segmentation by tool stack.
- Segmentation by competition.
- Bonus: Create ambassadors for your brand!
Let’s see each one in detail 👇
Segmentation Strategy 1- Attributes:
Alright, let’s kick things off right.
This strategy is all about figuring out who your potential customers are based on certain common characteristics.
You’ve got a basic idea of who your typical customers are, or at least who you want them to be. You group them based on these shared traits, and then you dig into databases that can help you find people with these characteristics:
What exactly are you looking for here? Well, you want to have a clear picture of your personas. This includes things like:
- Lead’s company size.
- How many people work there
- Their industry.
- Where they’re based,
Say your target is usually sales teams like we have here at La Growth Machine. You’d want to look at how many salespeople a company has.
We’ve found that companies with about 5 to 10 salespeople are cutting it close. If they’re any bigger, they usually have their own set ways and tools, and it’s harder to get them to switch.
So, we tend to focus on younger companies. Ones we can grow with, rather than try to overhaul what’s already there.
But it’s not just about the size of the company, is it?
You also need to focus on the individuals inside these companies:
- Which department are they in?
- Their job role
- How long they’ve been in the industry.
- Their level of seniority.
You’re your own detective here, doing a bit of investigating work to understand your personas. Think of using tools like LinkedIn filters to get a handle on who these people are and what makes them tick.
Segmentation Strategy 2- Interest signals:
The first strategy is great and all, and it’s one of the most famous segmentation diagrams out there… for a reason! 😉
But here’s the kicker: This approach doesn’t automatically prioritize these leads in terms of who you should reach out to first. That’s why it’s smart to layer on some extra segmentation, to figure out which of these personas are more likely to be responsive right now.
Enter interest signals!
What are these interest signals? 🤔
It’s kind of self-explanatory. Think about the actions that show that someone is interested in your topic.
This could be anything! And it should be defined by you!
So let me clarify/help you out with a couple of examples:
- For us at LGM, it’s a big deal when someone comments on a post about “Optimizing email open rates”. That’s a direct signal they’re into what we do.
- Imagine someone participating in a webinar on sales prospecting with GetAccept. You notice they’re a GetAccept client and are digging into prospecting topics. That’s your cue to ask, “Got any tools for that?” This isn’t about chasing everyone; it’s about identifying those showing genuine interest.
But wait, it’s not just about picking up on these signals. You also bring in the lessons from Strategy 1. If you have a bunch of people attending your webinar – you don’t just reach out to all of them. You filter through, applying your understanding of your persona.
This particular strategy helps you prioritize your targeting efforts, identifying who’s really a hot lead. These are not only a match for your persona, but they’re also showing real interest.
This approach is a goldmine because it taps into a variety of data sources, giving you a wealth of signals to work with.
Segmentation Strategy 3- The toolstack approach:
The first strategy was about understanding who you’re talking to; your personas, and using available tools to find them. The second added an extra layer of preciseness to target hot leads who’ve expressed interest in your brand/ offering.
But that’s just Marketing 101, right? Let’s take things up a notch!
This approach isn’t just about knowing that your leads work in the [SaaS] industry, have fewer than 5 salespeople under them, and are new to their job.
This information is handy, sure. But what if you knew the tools they use? And how well those tools play with yours? That would be even better!
This works mostly for SaaS companies, but you can apply it to other industries!
Think about it, your focus isn’t just on the person or the company. It’s on the technology stack they’re using. And if there’s a match with what you offer, that’s a green light for a potentially great partnership.
If we find out that someone’s using HubSpot, we’ve got a winner! Why? Because our product works amazingly well with HubSpot.
Something as simple as: Hey, we integrate perfectly with this tool, so why not join forces?
Segmentation Strategy 4- Turning competition into opportunity:
Competition is not just about keeping up, it’s about strategic targeting.
Imagine you’re selling a product that rivals Intercom. The trick isn’t just to find everyone using Intercom; it’s about finding those who fit your ideal customer profile within that group.
But again, we go back to basics -you’re not chasing every Intercom user, only those who align with your specific persona.
Let’s throw Waalaxy into the mix, a direct competitor to LGM.
Sure, we could reach out to all their clients, but that’s casting the net too wide. Not all Waalaxy users are an ideal catch.
The most obvious example I could think of is that lawyers in France have been known to use Waalaxy to look for new clients. This partiular profile couldn’t be further from the people we are tyrying to target here at LGM!
It’s a blend of identifying a gap and fitting perfectly into it – targeting those who’ve already shown interest in a similar service, but for whom you know you can do a thousand times better.
Segmentation Strategy 5- Co-Marketing
This may not be strictly a segmentation strategy, think of it more as a savvy approach. 😉
Co-marketing is about teaming up with companies that have a similar customer base to yours. You both cater to similar clients, why not help each other out? 🤝
Just like we know our product syncs well with HubSpot users, we would approach a company and propose a mutual push. The idea is to share a number of prospects or clients with them, and they do the same.
Take LGM and GetAccept, for example. We’re already doing webinars together – that’s marketing. But why not take it a step further?
Our clients are very similar; they’re all into prospecting. So, we could strike a deal: we’ll select clients with long sales cycles -perfect for GetAccept. And they pick out clients who are heavy into prospecting.
We exchange and drive each other forward.
It might sound unconventional, but why not? It’s about leveraging each other’s databases to find qualified leads. The approach is direct, straightforward, and best of all, you’re leaning on the leads’ trust in the partner company!
Wouldn’t this feel off for clients? 🤨
Literally a question I had when I first heard about co-marketing, and I’ll share with you the answer I got:
Not at all! It’s a complementary approach. The customer should be happy, because you’re thinking of what’s best for them. In essence, co-marketing is about creating symbiotic relationships where everyone benefits. It’s a win-win-win:
- You get quality leads that trust you’re good for them -so they’re hot as fire. 🔥
- The other company enjoys the same treatment.
- The leads/ customers in question are doing great, they’ve been recommended a tool that’ll optimize their work even more! You can even offer them a sort of discount to lock them in. 💵
So it’s not just sharing leads, but leveraging the trust they have with their customers to secure a call. It only works if the other company is willing to send the message for me, and vice versa – it’s give-and-take.
BONUS Segmentation Strategy- Creating Brand Ambassadors:
Lastly, if we really wanna push these segmentation strategies far, we can talk about one more strategy that’s often overlooked but extremely effective!
It’s along the same line as co-marketing, wherein you rely on your current customers to do the segmentation for you.
How does it work? 🤔
You simply reach out to your satisfied clients and ask if they can recommend three companies off the top of their head that would be a good fit for your services:
Your client basically does the segmentation for you. 🤝
But here’s the trick; It HAS to be a phone call. Email won’t cut it. When you call, you explain that you’re preparing for your prospection and want to work with ambassadors or referrals. If you send them an email, they will forget. If they’re not ready to provide three names now, they won’t be later.
If they can quickly name three companies, that’s all you need. If they can’t, that’s fine! You won’t hold it against them.
You do this on 50 clients, you got 150 new ones right away! And the best part? You got the social proof behind it because you’re being recommended by someone they trust.
This approach relies on having satisfied clients who are willing to play along.
Don’t underestimate their power. They can serve as valuable ambassadors and a source of high-quality referrals.
Well there you go! 6 segmentation strategies that’ll get you where you need when it comes to qualified leads.
Whichever strategy you choose, you have to go through the first one first -segmentation by attributes.
It’s the foundation upon which all other segmentation methods are built. Your personas define the target, and the rest of the strategies add layers of precision.
With this knowledge in hand, you can effectively implement the additional strategies to refine your targeting and drive success in your marketing efforts.