In increasing numbers, technology providers are getting more advanced in their segmentation strategies. They are also using rich personas to define their target user (and sometimes their buyer). In their research note titled “Segment B2B Customers in Three Steps” (subscription or fee required), Gartner analysts Jennifer Beck and Richard Fouts described a deep segmentation model that went beyond demongraphics to include many sub-criteria around the business environment, psychographics, demand, and target buyers.
This level of segmentation is not easy, but it provides a wealth of information that can be used across the organization.
- Product Management and Developers can use to help plan product enhancements and develop their user personas
- Marketing (the typical home of segmentation) uses it to target awareness and lead generation campaigns
- Telesales and Sales can use it to enhance their qualificaiton efforts
This last point is important, because many people focus segmentation on defining a target market that can be used by marketing. But, if you segment deeper, then the level of detail is not something that marketing can easily use when customizing their internal lists or purchasing external ones. Therefore, the segmentation details really need to be leveraged by sales as described above–qualifying buyers across the more detailed criteria to help them (sales) evaluate the quality of the opportunity.
As we continue to move closer to Gartner’s Future of IT Sales special report, start considering your segmentation approaches in more detail. Are you aggressive enough in your segmentation to really define a market with shared needs and buying characteristics? Do you share the work with others to help them enhance their performance? Do people across your organization talk about your key segments (or the personas that represent them) whenever they are discussing marketing campaigns or product enhancements? And finally, and most critically, do you play lip service to segmentation or do you really invest as much time and energy in it as you should?