How to properly segment customers and account?

Coming up with the right B2B marketing strategy has never been more complicated. It’s difficult to gain an understanding of what your ideal customers need and their preferred sources of content to properly segment customers and account. The buyer’s journey is not always linear, and most companies cater to multiple groups of clients. To effectively engage with more customer segments, you need to consider new methods of Internet lead generation and tailoring your content marketing to meet buyers’ needs.

Although technology has given B2B firms new ways to reach customers, it has also empowered buyers more than ever before. This has enabled leads to spend more time researching on their own and come close to a decision before they even talk to a sales representative. Your company needs to proactively manage the buying cycle, according to an article for Customer Think written by Louis Foong. Your sales team needs to gain an in-depth understanding of the buyer’s journey so you can create relevant content for each stage of the process. Buyers who are just starting the process of finding a new business product won’t want to read the same types of content as leads who are close to reaching a decision.

Even though the sales cycle has actually lengthened in the past few years, buyers are more pressed for time than before. While they still do a great deal of research before making a decision, people are starting to prefer more digestible sources of content marketing. Because decision-makers like to inform their own choices with independent research, they are more wary of sales pitches or overly aggressive reps. An integrated marketing platform can help you improve lead nurturing to cut through some of the complexity.

How B2B companies can be more effective

Consumer-facing brands have been quicker to implement new marketing technology than many B2B companies. Much has been made about how B2B and B2C marketing are gradually turning into the same discipline, but this is not really the case, Shari Johnston wrote for Venture Beat. While B2B sales teams can benefit from adding a human element to their marketing campaigns and leaving out industry jargon, they shouldn’t go overboard with borrowing from B2C.

One of the biggest mistakes B2B companies make when taking cues from B2C is trying to appeal to everyone. Consumer businesses can attract nearly anyone as a customer. While it may seem intuitive to try to reach a wider audience, many B2B brands cater to a niche audience and their products aren’t applicable outside this arena. Additionally, business products, such as equipment or software, are costly investments that can affect a company’s future success if they make the wrong choice, which is one of the reasons for the lengthy sales cycle. One of the main differences between these two forms of marketing is B2C centers around a high volume of low-value transactions, while most B2B companies deal with fewer high-value sales.

Additionally, B2C companies tend to have a stronger offline following. Most B2B buyers find firms online, which highlights the need for you to have a strong Internet presence.

Use well-developed customer segments for best results

Buyer personas can help you reach out to various decision-makers at different firms, but your marketing efforts need to go beyond this. B2B brands need to consider accounts rather than individuals. In most cases, multiple decision-makers are involved in the process, from executives to end users. According to Johnston, most deals involve an average of seven stakeholders. Even though targeting based on job title can help you create more relevant content, better visibility into the sales process can help you reach stakeholders you may have been missing.

You can’t just go after CFOs anymore, especially because mid-level employees may be the ones doing all the preliminary research. An integrated marketing environment can help you gain a better sense of your true target audience and initiate better lead-nurturing campaigns. Developing buyer personas can give you an initial idea of how to further personalize marketing materials. Although Johnston makes the point that B2B should remain separate from B2C, buyers are also consumers. Customer-facing companies have implemented a high degree of personalization, and leads are coming to expect this from B2B as well.

An integrated marketing environment can help you more accurately divide your target audience into customer segments, according to an article for CMSWire written by Michael Coren. You need to account for more data points than just job title, company revenue, location and buyer demographics, but it’s challenging to collect and analyze this data without the right tools in place. Making the most out of this information can lead to a whole new understanding of your customers. An integrated marketing platform ensures you don’t miss any of this crucial data. Accurate buyer personas allow your sales team to approach prospects more effectively.

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