b2b customer segmentation

The digital transformation of business has finally given enterprises the power to deliver on the potential of B2B customer segmentation. While most of us associate the digital leap to subscription and third-party software services with customer empowerment, those same tech advances make it easier than ever to provide personalized care in a targeted, scalable manner.

Organizations need to segment customers based on how world events such as COVID-19 affect them. Here are 6 B2B customer segmentation best practices to help make that happen:

  • Stay Goal-Focused
  • Get as Granular as You Need
  • Balance Segmentation
  • Establish Early Warning Systems
  • Be Ready to Act
  • Share Your Problems and Solutions

You need a comprehensive software base for proper customer segmentation, but the digital tools are now available to provide every customer with the level of care they require.

What is B2B Customer Segmentation?

Customer segmentation is a way of grouping customers who have specific things in common. This lets you provide those customers with a more personalized experience. All customer success efforts are based on the pursuit of additional and unexpected product value that leads to mutually beneficial growth for you and your customer. Employing customer segmentation makes that pursuit easier by dividing your portfolio into accounts of similar standing that will benefit from targeted attention.

You can group together customers of similar size, relative value, industry, region, product awareness, or license evaluation. Right now, many organizations are focused on usage and other indicators of account health, like which customers have adopted specific features, which are at-risk, etc.

Your customer success team can then use your digital engagement plan to create specific messaging and support for all customers with multiple branch offices and all customer tiers.

A single customer success team member within your enterprise can remain in close contact with thousands of customers, and keep their engagements relevant and beneficial to the customer. Similarly, enterprises are now starting to use dynamic assignment to place the right customer with the right expert at the right time, another digital revolution advantage!

To maximize the benefits of B2B customer segmentation, follow these best practices.

The Top B2B Customer Segmentation Best Practices

The best practices outlined below will help you optimize your segmentation schemes, so you provide a superior customer experience while prioritizing your resources.

1. Stay Goal-Focused

Segmentation makes it easier to service your customers by allowing you to align your goals with your customers’, and to help ensure they experience continual value. When you notice a trend toward or away from an optimal customer experience, you can act at scale to influence the situation. What’s important is that your actions are driven by direct customer information and in anticipation of practical future need. Remember to stay up to date with your customer’s goals since many are changing during these times.

2. Get as Granular as You Need

Don’t be afraid to extend your customer segmentation variables beyond preliminary divisions. The more specific and unique you can be in grouping your customers the more likely your messaging and engagements will have impact in their daily workflows. These more complex traits could include customers with international offices, those who have completed at least one renewal cycle, those with a record of multiple escalations, or businesses with an offline sales model.

Note: Eventually granularity requires more maintenance from admins or the Customer Success team. Make sure to tie granular segmentations to valuable business objectives.

3. Balance Segmentation

You need to be able to act quickly and effectively in response to customer information, and if your Customer Success team is spread too thin, or left micromanaging accounts, you’ll drain your resources. If an introduced variable accounts for only 10% of an existing segment, there may be little benefit in reserving it for special attention (depending on how many customers are involved). Every segment is something else to manage, so it is crucial you balance the time invested against the reward achieved.

4. Establish Early Warning Systems

Your customer success team members should be able to get a visible snapshot of the health of every account under their control within a regular morning routine. You should be able to benchmark customer behaviors and progress with metrics known to influence business success, and then automatically follow real-time performance. With an early warning system in place you’ll be able to react to changes in the customer experience proactively and quickly enough to capitalize on renewal and upsell opportunities, or to reinvigorate customers in danger of churn.

5. Be Ready to Act

Customer segmentation should allow you to intimately observe the product usage and progress of your customers. That possibility is only as important as the actions you are prepared to initiate when opportunity or danger arises. You should have standardized processes, workflows, responses, campaigns, and communication materials ready to go so that you can turn your information into proactive and profound results.

6. Share Your Problems and Solutions

The customer experience is the responsibility of every member of your enterprise. By sharing the information gathered in customer segmentation, you can equip every team member to provide a rapid, informed, and proactive response during any customer engagement. Your Customer Success team should also work directly with other internal stakeholders to create the best possible solutions.

Once you arrive at a solution that works for a customer segment, try to incorporate it into your communications with other, potentially related accounts. Right now a lot of customers are forced to start cutting costs. Are you able to offer a downgrade so that you can still retain your customers or offer other supporting resources?

Deliver at Scale for your Segments

It’s important right now to use a solution that has built-in best practices and allows you to scale rapidly. Your platform must be able to gather information from a range of sources, disperse it across your enterprise, and apply leading business metrics to the raw data in order to be worthwhile. Once it is in operation you’ll get access to information vital to your customer segmentation scheme.

Organizations can run digital engagement across their different segments. Right now it’s important for many businesses to be able to do more with less. They can’t all hire staff rapidly and bring them up to speed. They may be looking to reduce costs and operate with a lean model.

You can combine a range of business metrics to create an evolving customer health score that gives you a highly visible understanding of your customer’s current likelihood to renew or churn. By tying this information to an early warning system, you can remain ever-ready to act the moment customer behavior demands action.

B2B Customer Segmentation Maximizes Impact

Customer segmentation allows you to personalize customer engagements in a targeted and scalable way. It allows you to amplify your customer success efforts by communicating with your customers in a mutually beneficial manner. Your customers receive timely and relevant value to their daily working lives, while your enterprise is able to reap all the benefits of an expanding revenue base without having to increase the headcount.

Provided you have a comprehensive customer success platform beneath you and you adhere to the B2B customer segmentation best practices outlined above, you’ll be able to create a streamlined, efficient customer experience that belongs among the best examples of the digital marketplace.

Totango’s comprehensive customer success platform helps you maximize the impact of your customer engagements and update your segments as needed. You don’t have to wait to get started. Download our COVID-19 Toolkit and get started today.

Read more: B2B Customer Service: Always Leave Them with a Good Memory