Digital transformation is when companies include technology in their everyday operations, long-term strategizing, or both. In other words, it’s business as usual. Every modern-day company relies on digital transformation to automate and accelerate its progress in one way or another.
Automation is standard in all fields of business, including marketing, but let’s be more specific.
Marketing techniques vary across sectors and industries; even competing companies have different approaches to attracting potential customers. So, how do you know which method to choose? What informs marketing strategies and makes them effective?
It’s the target audience, of course.
Marketing is only as effective as it aims at the right audience. If you miss the target, you lose.
Successful B2B businesses hit the mark thanks to the practice called firmographic target market segmentation. In short, it allows them to focus on companies that are most likely to become loyal customers. It also helps boost brand awareness, the leading goal of B2Bs in the US.
Must we mention that you can’t achieve this goal without the right tech?
In terms of digital transformation, here’s what you need to get started with B2B segmentation.
Automated data collection
Let’s go over a few terms before we start.
Marketing segmentation refers to defining your target audience and dividing that group into subgroups based on mutual characteristics. These are usually parameters like customer behavior, demographics, geographical location, and personality traits, including lifestyle choices.
In the case of B2B marketing segmentation, there’s one more parameter to consider. The complete list of four data types for marketing segmentation in B2B looks like this:
- Behavioral, which describes customers’ buying habits;
- Demographic, including basic categories such as age and gender;
- Contextual, or how customers interact with your brand;
- Firmographic, which is data about the company you’re targeting.
When collecting data for B2B marketing segmentation, you need insight into the person behind the company and the company as a whole. Arguably, the latter is more important. Employees come and go, but the company culture, which dictates procurement behavior, stays the same.
That means that firmographic target market segmentation is priority number one.
For all B2B companies, firmographic data includes:
- Sector and industry;
- Type of business;
- Ownership and legal status;
- Company size and number of employees;
- Geographical location;
- Annual revenue.
Of course, that is only for starters. The more you get to know the target company, the better. Additional data should include procurement history and buying behavior, among other information.
Building an internal infrastructure to collect and store all this data is costly and time-consuming. As an alternative, savvy B2B companies choose third-party sources with public information – not exactly a tool, but an automation practice. Public records make more sense in the long run.
Analysis and insight
Obtaining firmographic data from a third-party collector requires an internal approach to data analysis. The best public records sell neatly organized data in multiple formats, thus facilitating integration with analysis tools. That is a vital step, ensuring that you’re buying clean data.
Ideally, you should be able to add this data to your existing market analysis system.
Most B2B companies use staple segmentation tools for that purpose.
If you don’t have a segmentation tool, we recommend getting one. Manual data analysis is a tedious task, and it’s also prone to human errors. Besides, these tools are designed to help you access and examine data through graphs, charts, and other visualization aids.
There are many perks of embracing these tools, but automation and precision trump all others.
The benefits of firmographic data for target market segmentation are countless, but the most notable include:
- More efficient and profitable advertising;
- Personalized and account-based marketing;
- Precise lead gen and shorter buying process;
- Discovering and retaining loyal customers;
- Increased ROI and exponential growth;
- Informed product and service development;
- Data-based forecasting and trend analysis.
B2B sales are notoriously complicated. The nature of business-to-business relations makes selling to another company more difficult than selling to an individual. People in charge of procuring products and services for their organizations are in that position for a reason.
However, even if we look past that, we’re still faced with a long decision and approval process. That process involves many people within a company and just as many quality assurance protocols.
Firmographic target market segmentation facilitates and shortens this process by helping you target only the most qualified leads and approach them in the most convincing way possible. Data provides a holistic view of the customer and allows you to personalize the entire buyer’s journey – and that’s not just marketing talk.
The more you get to know John from procurement, his company’s needs and bottlenecks, and his affinities and weak spots, the more likely you’ll convince him to convert into a paying customer. Firmographic data allows you to adjust your retention strategy from that point on.
The truth is that high-quality leads and satisfied customers are the keys to success.
Tracking and retention
After you finish celebrating, it’s time to go back to your segmentation tool and track your progress. By revealing patterns in how different segments interact with your brand, innovative technology can help you finetune your approach. That should increase your conversion and retention rates.
Here’s what you can do with an insightful tool:
- Identify segments with the highest number of converted leads;
- Discover conversion touchpoints for each product or service;
- Follow how many of them decide to stop paying for your offer;
- Learn what affects your customer dissatisfaction and churn rate;
- Track competitors to compare your pricing, strategies, and more.
You can see all this by reading quality firmographic data.
Data collection, analysis, and monitoring should be continual efforts. Firmographic target market segmentation and data are powerful enough to drive exponential growth across different sales funnel stages, boosting everything from lead gen to retention.
In B2B and elsewhere, market segmentation is impossible without reliable tools. We cannot overstate the importance of automation and precision in data collection and analysis. Deploy the right tech, even if it implies costly investment, and it will transform the way you do business.
That is especially true when cheap marketing tricks don’t work on your target audience.
You can’t leave anything to chance when you’re selling to another business. You can’t assume anything about your target company. You can’t get to know their professional needs and pain points by looking at their social media page either – most modern organizations are more clever than that.
B2B segmentation means digging deeper for data, and for that, you need a proper tool.