Are you thinking about how to segment and identify B2B market segments?
Segmentation caters to effective and precise targeting. The accurate the targeting greater will be the chances for conversions. For B2B professionals the market is fairly broad. Proper segmentation can only be done after understanding the basic categories of your buyers as per certain factors.
The target market is divided into particular groups grounded on distinct or similar purchase needs for given products or services. Each segment has different needs and buying behavior. Each audience segment must have the following features in order to be used effectively by the marketer.
- Identifiable: Easily recognizable group within a marketplace.
- Sustainability: The customer group must have profitability in size.
- Accessible: The customer group can be easily reached for marketing and sales communication.
- Responsiveness: The client group should respond to the marketing offers shared by the marketing and sales team.
- Actionable: The customer group can easily take actions upon the guidance shared by the marketing team. Actions like paying money for purchase or use of product or service in a particular manner.
B2B Market Segmentation
Generally when we speak of the market segmentation, B2C frame of market segmentation strikes the mind. However, B2B market segmentation is very narrow scoped as compare to B2C.
Quantifiable market size is classified according to income of company or entrepreneur
What is the size of company and income of the company? However education, family size etc rarely matters in B2B
Region (city or country or town etc)
Which country and regions we have economical buyers in?
Combination of geographic & demographic variables.
E.g. Non manufacturing countries like UAE can be good segment.
Lifestyle and personality
In this segment the marketer has to identify sensitive spot for relationship building with the client.
Need based benefit sought. (Other features of behavioral segmentation are rarely considered in B2B)
1. B2B segments are quality conscious, price conscious, time conscious (delivery). Generally quantity, quality, delivery and convenience as well as less risky payment modes are demanded.
2. The other part is you make separate customer and market profiles with respect to different products and services.
Contextual and situational
B2B clients are approached on different platforms
B2B clients are usually approached online on social media platforms, transaction exchange on whatsapp groups and so on.
In the light of above classification and B2B practices we can draw the following features of B2B market segmentation.
- B2B market segments are usually smaller than B2C target audience.
- The relationship building and personal relationship is critical to succeed in B2B markets. Especially for cross selling and B2B repeat purchase behavior.
- B2B clients are usually longer-term clients.
- When it comes to B2B segmentation there are fewer need-based segments and behavioral segments. Other important B2C segmentation factors are either rarely considered or totally avoided in B2B market.
- Generally B2B segments are based on company and revenue size plus purchasing strength of B2B client.
- It is hard to sustain competitive advantage for 5 years because B2B buyers seek low price and high quality as they opt for bulk purchasing. Therefore, upon finding similar quality products in lower price they switch supplier.
Factors shaping the B2B Segmentation
Generally the B2B market segments are not descriptive and wide scoped like B2C segments. Buyers who belong to B2C segmentation purchase for personal purposes rather than commercial means lower quantity and lower amount involved.
However in B2B markets usually purchase transactions are done on bulk quantities e.g. factories sell bulk quantities of fabric and clothes to wholesalers and distributors as well as importers.
Therefore in B2B market segments are classified with short names or description like:
Price Negotiators: The client who bargain on price where it is hard for the supplier to receive a reasonable profit margin.
Range Clients: The buyers who ask you to drop your MOQ to a certain level or ask you to sell as per their budget.
Delivery Buyers: The buyers who are concerned regarding timely delivery and safety of the products.
Quality Buyers: These buyers do not compromise on quality and will pay the price to the supplier for given quality. It’s an ideal segment for B2B marketers.
B2B buyers are very educated and well-informed about the B2B marketplace. They prefer a product or service that not only benefits in terms of ROI but also caters to their brand image. Lower price but cheap quality may cause them to lose existing customers let alone the new ones. Therefore, quality, quantity and price are the basic considerations of an average B2B buyer.
When it comes to segmentation the audience is classified into groups as per the extent of importance they give to each factor i.e. price and quality. Other than that segmentation based on geographic and demographic factors also plays a crucial role in precise targeting.
B2B marketing is certainly not a piece of cake whether you have just stepped in or spent years to create a pace in the industry. In both cases, advertising plays a crucial role in raising awareness and encouraging conversions, if done right.
When it comes to display advertising, many B2B marketers were left with a bad taste in mouth and for a significant amount of time ‘display ads’ were claimed as untrustworthy. However, the ineffectiveness of display advertising is associated with lack of context and value of ads.
Today, display advertising is back with a bang. Thanks to niche targeting that allows for the placement of ads on a huge range of websites and target customers as per their unique browsing behavior. On the other hand, for most B2B marketers display advertising is no less than a ‘blanket tool’ – a way to advertise their special offer or products and raise brand awareness to a fairly broad audience.
In a B2B context, marketing standards are required to meet certain standards like the audience has to be accurately targeted and the message must be exact and direct. For both the conditions, display advertising is extremely relevant for determined conversion rates.
The Power Of Display Advertising
Among many B2B marketing trends for 2018, display advertising is marked important due to the fact that it strongly supports the idea of result oriented marketing.
It is reported in a whitepaper by Bizo, when a leading B2B marketing software company was asked to inform about their top 3 marketing initiatives, display advertising was marked as most important, even more than Search engine optimization.
In addition, up to 90% B2B marketers report that display advertising more crucial now to their marketing mix as it was last year and 49% are planning on to invest in display ads more than they did the previous year.
Brand Awareness via Display Ads
If B2B display ads are put to work cleverly in conjunction with accurate retargeting then the audience that perfectly complies with segmentation requirements or the website visitors, can easily be approached and engaged in a consistent manner.
Accurate targeting and relevant ads makes the firm appear as a largely professional entity in terms of branding thus raising awareness among people and other companies.
A successful B2B marketer is the one that is interacting with the right audience at right places on the right time and specific targeting combined with buying mechanisms is the key to achieve such ideal marketing goals. Here display ads play a crucial role by effectively persuading the target audience and leave a lasting impact with clever and catchy images.
Those who have even a little experience with display advertising know that it’s no less than an opportunity for expansive reach and precise targeting at the same time. This also means that not a single dollar is wasted on segments that are less likely to take interest and respond.
A study reports that display advertising modifies the buying behavior from the very first exposure to brand to after the sale is made.
According to comScore, paid search only reaches 8% of the audience that matters to the marketers and email marketing is usually triggered by the size and value of the leads or email list.
On comparing multiple marketing initiatives with display advertising it’s pretty clear that display ads are the only way to successfully maintain precision and scale at the same time.
Every marketing initiative is grounded on a specific purpose and same is the case with display advertising but the motive behind has no certain limits. For instance, display ads are not only meant for promotion these can be used for any phase of the customer’s buying cycle.
Display Ads can be designed to raise brand awareness, educate prospects, enhance engagement in certain target segments and to close a deal as well. On the other hand, display advertising allows the brand to stay on top of the mind by keeping the current customers updated with new offers, services or products.
For every marketing tactic there must be a way to track progress. For display advertising deep insights can be obtained via full-funnel reporting and analytics that help analyze the direct impact of display ads on company’s objectives and other programs. Here the sales force also gets an advantage to understand customers better with having insights on their buying journey.
How Display Advertising Impacts the B2B Customer Experience
For a successful marketing approach and desired results B2B marketers need to emphasize on full-funnel marketing strategies. A marketing funnel refers to the entire buying process that initiates with prospects becoming aware of the brand, moves forward when they engage with the products or services and reaches the final phase with prospects ending up as customers.
A common mistake that most marketers make is that they solely emphasize on bottom of the funnel in order to generate maximum leads. On the other hand, full funnel display advertising influences the entire buying process by raising awareness, educating prospects before they engage to sales and attracting new leads.
Display Advertising – The Flip Side
There are few facts that do not fall in favor of display advertising and one may get confused with the idea of investing in display ads after knowing about them. Like for instance, a study conducted back in 2014, reported that peopled aged between 18-34 years are more likely to ignore ads that appear on search engines, social media or banner ads as compared to those on TV, radio and newspaper.
On the other hand, the significant proportion of people avoids responding to display ads. Here’s how:
Up to 50% clicks on display ads that appear on apps are accidental.
Banner ads are avoided by around 54% of people because they find it untrustworthy.
For 30% of people display ads are not only uninteresting but completely intolerable.
How to do it Right Preventing the Downside
As mentioned earlier, display advertising has moved up the ladder since its inception. Still, it’s reported by Unbounce that up to 98% percent of marketers seem to waste money on display ads, then where the problem persists?
The core reason behind the failure is lack of understanding on how to leverage display ads in a way that make sense for the business’s goals and how to operate the software in order to do so.
Effective display advertising no longer prevails in face of banners skyscraper ad units instead it has worked its way up to Facebook newsfeed and also found alongside the updates from LinkedIn connections.
Initially Display Advertising somehow failed to deliver the expected customer turnout maybe because the expectations outweighed the input. However, over the time few tweaks in display ads worked for marketers and it began to gain popularity. Today, it’s one of the most effective way to modify the marketing funnel in order to obtain desired results.
Believe it or not, 80% of B2B marketers report that all their efforts geared towards lead generation are effective to some extent only. Enormous amount of work has been done to develop strategies but very little attention is given to why most of them fail to work.
Marketing team and sales representatives are not always on the same page. And lead quality is not the only thing that’s questioned. According to a research by IDC, up to 40% of marketing material is not utilized by sales representatives. The prime reason behind it is that the sales team is usually not able to either locate or access the marketing material when needed.
It can be concluded from the research that access over useful marketing tools can help generate qualified prospects in greater numbers and close more deals successfully.
But there are thousands of marketing tools at your sales team disposal, how are you going to figure out which ones are best for your business?
Although every business has its own unique nature and needs that demand different sales programs, here’s a list of 5 most optimal tools that can work for any business and sales professionals must be utilizing them.
For B2B sales professionals LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media platform and constant activity on your LinkedIn network can help you stand out among your competitors. According to a study, up to 50% of buyers use LinkedIn when making purchase decisions.
The opportunity is quite clear that LinkedIn offers and not considering it isn’t intuitive by any means. After creating a strong LinkedIn profile that is compatible to industry thought leaders, here’s the tool you need:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
In a world full of business software solutions, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has successfully cornered a critical market with no match. Sales Navigator is a key to largest buyer database where you get spectacular options like targeting, list building and certain integrations that will make your job easier like never before. In addition, when the tool is combined with a high-end CRM you get and organized, easy to access and never ending supply of qualified prospects.
Among all the trending marketing tools Autopilot comes with unique functionality and use cases. It allows you to have full control over how prospects are directed towards the sales funnel. You are able to personalize, automate and integrate the tool with other apps. Autopilot can keep track of complex paths with unique outreach methods, for instance, SMS and auto-updates to sales force many other data sources.
Nudge happens to be one of the most favorite tools among high-end B2B sales professionals. According to a study, 80% of respondents have faith in marketing tools that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) because it triggers work performance and create jobs.
Nudge uses AI to keep the sales force updated with actionable insights on targeted prospects. With access over this tool you will be notified when the prospects are mentioned anywhere on social media, news or elsewhere.
Having a tool that helps to trigger sales and build customer relationship means a major proportion of time that was consumed for prospecting can now be invested in selling.
A tool that makes execution and organization of commands and tasks easier is a cherry on top of all the sales software oriented tools. IFTTT is abbreviation for “if This Then That” and it’s a web-based free tool that works as a helping hand when it comes to posting same content on several social platforms.
Other than that, IFTTT can automate many other web application tasks and boast a number of features of commands and tasks that can be done on various services or apps that are majorly used by prospects.
Salesloft is a sales engagement platform but not a casual one, this is going to be a powerful addition to the sales team collection. Some huge names are using this tool including Facebook, Dell, Cisco and Namely.
The tool caters to customized sales communication and comes a few tweaks like a trendy email touch that integrates with Outlook & Gmail. Other key features include one-click calling that helps you connect with more buyers and data driven reports.
Your sales team is aimed towards generating qualified lead in significant amount and closing most of them successfully. Luckily marketing tools can make the task a lot easier when used right. All these tools have the potential to meet your versatile business requirements by enhancing multiple sales aspects like brand visibility, B2B lead generation, outreach and customer relationship.
The B2B industry is never going to stop growing; same is the case with pioneers of the industry who know how to maintain a benchmark in such competitive niche. Use of digital techniques and technologies is rapidly increasing to keep online customers engaged and everyone in the industry is aware of it, but B2B digital leaders go much further. They know how to superficially get involved with B2B marketing innovations and dramatically transform the organization’s marketing functions.
To take advantage of an explosion of B2B Marketing techniques and deliver personalization at scale the leaders of B2B digital world are seen emphasizing on predictive analytics, content and market automation and retooling of existing marketing strategies along with keeping a consistent customer experience maintained.
Attention to Consistent Offline and Online Experience
Consistency in customer experience can be maintained better after understanding the buying behavior of customers. Stats by Mckinsey suggest that B2B buyers are most likely to spend more when they interact with multiple channels like ecommerce store, field sales etc as compared to those who engage with one channel only. This triggers the need of cross channel integration but that also makes the entire process complicated. The fact that average B2B buyer uses six different channels during the decision making journey make B2B companies struggle with disjointed selling models.
In addition, mobile devices are most used by the buyers during their decision process. Study suggests that 90% of B2B buyers use mobile phone at least once during decision making. On the flip side, less than 10% of B2B organizations observe a compelling mobile strategy. Such difference means being ineffective in terms of providing buyers with easy access to functions over mobile devices ultimately pushes you three times backward from the top performing organizations.
B2B leaders are taking things to a whole another level. For instance, corporate clients that belong to leading B2B organizations have a single point access to features like personalized reporting and real-time account overviews along with the ability to hedge transaction and make payment from anywhere across the globe. They stepped forward and overhauled their customer data processes so that the information and solutions can be automatically updated across all channels.
Emphasizing on Data Collection
The secret behind successful targeting of top performing B2B companies is advanced analytics tool that cater to enhanced insight generation. After these tools are put to work the sales force get a clear picture of what kind of content, services and offers will hit the right notes. Moreover, they can easily keep track of the customer’s decision making journey and respond prospects with tailored offers and advice.
Introducing a Culture grounded on Innovation and Execution
Research reports that one-third of B2B companies move from the idea of a digital initiative to its implementation in one year span but only 15% consider methods that shortens the learning process and cater to prototyping at a faster pace. Cutting the learning curve short required for innovation and customer satisfaction accelerates the implementation of an effective digital initiative and in no time you move to a whole another level before anyone else gets there. For instance, to deploy agile development practices in short time leading B2B companies take advantage of digital hackathons – a social coding event where diverse programmers gather to improve an existing software program or build a new one.
Transforming the Organizational Structure
Increased awareness and a transformed buying behavior of B2B customers grounded on research and purchase through digital channels has expanded the role of marketing. Effective marketing strategies are responsible to shape the customers buying journey and lead them towards a successful solution. Digital B2B leaders never refrain from reworking their marketing budget and spending mix and strongly adhere to shift more resources towards digital channels, to stay ahead of their peers.
Retooling Existing Capabilities
Reviving existing digital capabilities must never go out of the picture to ensure the lead. These are some basic marketing practices that require transformation with passing time.
Brand – Branding can be further enhanced by opting for methods other than traditional options like TV and print ads. For example, brand story telling is not just innovative but also known to leave a lasting impression.
Events – General B2B events are one of the most important elements of marketing and makes up to 20% of marketing budget. Fusing in digital technology can maximize the impact. For instance, participation from people outside the convention hall makes a difference and that can be done be encouraged through digital and social channels. Webinars can also be used reduce costs and increase audience engagement.
Digital Presence - Introducing mobile apps influences the ease of use by catering to personalization and engagement
Overall, the key to generate revenue and is transformation as it is the major approach of leading digital B2B leaders. The consistently changing face of B2B marketing clearly indicates that for any organization to lead, a journey through faced processes is required to be made to revive and evolve.