Approximately three-quarters of participants in a Gartner research study rated their last corporate purchase as “complex.” Company buyers reported spending nearly half their time researching and evaluating items on their own before signing deals. Without a doubt, this added responsibility makes their job harder.
When implemented correctly, your company’s marketing can make their lives a lot less hectic. In other words, there’s an opportunity to gain an edge here if you’re selling in the B2B or B2C marketplace. The simpler you can make the buying journey for your prospects, the more likely you’ll win sales and hit quarterly revenue goals.
One proven method for fueling sales success is to segment your audience.
Audience segmentation isn’t a new idea, yet some marketing and sales departments don’t take advantage of the inherent value of dividing potential customers into “buckets.” And many wonder how audience segmentation can truly help move the needle to meet your sales goals.
Here are five key benefits associated with subdividing your target personas by psychographic, geographic, social, and behavioral characteristics.
One common marketing tactic is creating mass audience messages sent at various points during the sales funnel. The problem with this strategy is that it misses the opportunity to speak more directly to smaller audiences.
Chunk your sales prospects into smaller groups to tweak and tone the content you send. In turn, your content sounds fresher, more authentic, and helps foster long-term trust and loyalty. It takes an upfront investment of resources to construct custom messages for every segment. However, once you have strong messages in place, you can automate their release for maximum efficiency.
Imagine that your business is exhibiting at a traditional trade show. If you try to appeal to every attendee, you know that you’ll struggle. After all, everyone’s needs are unique to their circumstances and what works for one prospect fizzles for another.
On the other hand, if you create several trade show participant groups, you could more easily divide and conquer because differentiated messaging sends a signal to varied demographics that you clearly understand their needs.
The same principle holds when you segment your audience. You’ll see your prospects in a different light. And your sales and marketing teams will learn some valuable insights once you begin the segmentation process.
Nearly every marketing professional has access to a wealth of data, but data by itself doesn’t tell the entire story. For example, if you looked at the habits of 1,000 buyers, you might come up with certain expectations based on averages and percentages, but they might miss the mark on an individual basis.
Looking deeper can also prevent misinterpretation. For example, raw data might seem to indicate an upsurge in battery sales. Your company might respond to this trend by sending a message up the supply chain to increase production. But a closer look at the data reveals that the uptick was geographically related to a power outage. Analyzing customer data across multiple metrics is the quickest way to answer all kinds of “Why?” and “What if?” questions.
Once you have your data segments, investigate where each audience group “hangs out” in the digital realm. Your results could show whether an audience is more likely to be moved by Google ads or a social media campaign. Though you’ll likely still want to use both channels for your marketing, you may need to prioritize one over another. It all depends on the preferences of that particular audience bucket.
Remember that messages come in all forms and can be sent over many channels. Narrow down the right messaging vehicle for every prospect cohort. Some potential clients may like to receive texts while others prefer email. Knowing the right channel to reach every segment improves viewership.
Increased engagement is empowering and doesn’t stop you from occasionally relying on a widespread omnichannel approach. It just directs content to your prospects where they’re most likely to accept it.
Every sales member on your team has a unique background. With audience segmentation, you can identify which group each sales member should focus on.
How does this work in practice? Let’s say your product or service appeals to restaurants and hotels. Using segmented marketing, you’ll be sending different messages to each group. Consequently, if a team member previously worked in the restaurant industry, connect that person with all restaurant leads. If you have a former hotelier, do likewise. Deliberately dividing up leads by sales staff strengths can improve everyone’s conversions.
You can use the same principle with frontline staff, those who have direct contact with customers. By assigning specific response mechanisms—QR codes, email addresses, phone extensions, etc.—to highly segmented marketing campaigns, you can leverage unique areas of expertise already on board. For example, your company might target a specific campaign to women under 30. Customers responding to that campaign could automatically be routed to staff who are more immediately relatable to that demographic.
Personalizing sales pitches is the incoming wave. Your sales team will either surf it or miss it entirely. It’s past time to start segmenting your marketing audience into smaller chunks. And once you do, you’ll make selling much less of a guessing game. At the same time, you’ll encourage potential buyers to make wiser decisions. That’s a winning strategy.
To learn more, check out Oracle’s Essential Strategies for Audience Segmentation.
Watch this brief demo to see how Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform brings together data from all sources and applies intelligence to help you create segments, compare metrics, and meet your marketing goals.
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #3 on the Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and a blogging expert by Forbes.