Your contact database is one of the most essential assets of your business.
The contact database serves as the record of all your customer relationships – plus all of the relationships that are still in the process of developing. That’s especially vital for B2B.
Inbound marketing and inbound sales techniques work together to help B2B firms overcome the long sales cycle and produce more consistent profit. To do it, you need to keep track of contacts.
To ensure the company contact database is fresh, many teams are moving toward full-scale Customer Relationship Management suites. This is definitely the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way to keep an eye on your contacts ... no matter how many you have or what industry you’re in.
Still, not every brand will have a fancy new CRM. And even if you do have one, it’s a good idea to understand the underlying logic behind customer segmentation in your contact database.
Why Customer Segmentation Matters
Customer segmentation helps you with one of the biggest issues facing marketing and sales content: List attrition caused by sending people messages and offers that simply aren’t relevant to them.
After joining a list, most prospects will give it the benefit of the doubt for at least a while. It takes a noticeable discordant note to shake them out of it and get them to unsubscribe.
Although it’s impossible to know for sure, it’s a fair bet that much of your list attrition will come from users deciding that what you have to say simply isn’t relevant to them anymore.
On the flip side, a well-segmented contact database helps you find the right message at the right time and communicate it to contacts in just the right way.
That makes it more likely they’ll take action and ultimately convert into paying customers.
Segmenting Your Contact Database the Smart Way
1. Start with Buyer Persona
When it comes to digital marketing, everything starts with your buyer personas. These serve as a convenient shorthand so you can understand major details that certain contacts hold in common. The main one is simply their “use case,” or how your solutions relate to their business goals.
Ideally, your website already has content directed to each buyer persona. This builds a strong foundation for you to communicate with specific types of buyers and develop other initiatives – like segmenting your contact database. Use your existing personas as a guideline to get started.
2. Add in Buyers Journey Information
Once you’ve narrowed down the buyer persona for each contact, it’s time to figure out where they are on their voyage to become a paying customer. If each step in the journey is already associated with specific offers and content, this turns into another fairly simple matter.
Contacts who are closer to the end of the buyers journey should naturally get a bit more attention than those at early stages. Still, the velocity with which a contact is moving through the process is also a valuable clue. That’s why you need ...
3. Then Include Length of Relationship ...
... the length of the relationship. Segmenting your contacts by the first time they landed on your radar will provide you with some great insights on exactly how you should approach them.
For example, it’ll tell you:
- Which contacts have been stuck in mid-journey and could use a helping hand.
- Which contacts have been moving through steps fast and might consider a buy urgent.
- Which contacts have been around for a long time, inspiring you with loyalty programs.
- Which new contacts might benefit from personalized onboarding or other outreach.
4. ... and Last Contact
Of course, knowing how long a contact has been around doesn’t tell you much without the other half of the equation: The last time they were active.
This is a situation where a modern CRM makes a big difference. When software can mediate between your contact database and your analytics suite, you can find out if a contact has been poking around your website even if he or she hasn’t reached out recently.
Naturally, whether or not someone is still keeping tabs on your website will go a long way to revealing their motives and what kind of response, if any, might get them closer to the sale.
5. Sprinkle in Company Data
The power of Big Data makes it possible to catch on to trends that might otherwise be invisible. When it comes to segmenting your contact database, you should also strive to uncover details that will help you become more efficient – if not now, then in the future.
That’s why you should always include basic business metrics for your contacts like revenue, industry, and total employees, even if you serve many different markets.
Once you’ve got dozens of entries to trawl through, you might just uncover patterns that give you the inside scoop when a contact is ripe to make a purchase.
Over time, your whole team and even the enterprise as a whole can benefit.
Discoveries like a year-over-year increase in sales value within a certain industry, for example, can have strategic repercussions that even the C-suite will be interested in. Start gathering – and archiving – that information right on the front lines.
There you have it: A deep dive technique for segmenting your contact database that’s both useful and practical. Sure, it may add a few minutes of data entry to your day, but you might save weeks or even months by homing in precisely on contacts who are truly ready to move forward.
Instead of a trackless jungle, your contact database can be a well-kept path to the sale!