Market segmentation for B2B

Market segmentation for B2B helps you find and target your potential customers. 

Without market segmentation, your risk treating everyone the same. You will have a much tougher job on your hands selling effectively with a one-size-fits-all approach.

If you’re looking for help with market segmentation for your B2B product or service, the B2B team at Acumen is the right place to start. Simply call us on 0161 234 9940 or contact us via our website to get started.

If you’d like to find out more about market segmentation for B2B – how it works and why it matters – read on.


The basics: What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a wide consumer or business market into sub-groups based on shared or common characteristics.

The ultimate aim is to identify segments that are most profitable or that have the most potential for growth. 

One of your business objectives will likely be targeting these segments for special attention. They will be known as your target market or target audience. 


B2B v B2C customer segmentation

Customer segmentation differs between B2B marketing and B2C marketing.

Business-to-business sellers might segment the market into different types of businesses or countries, company size, or similar-sized businesses in the same industry.

Meanwhile, business-to-consumer sellers might segment customers with common characteristics such as their lifestyle, behaviour, or household income.

This is known as demographic profiling and is explained in more detail below.


Why they buy: B2C v B2C customer needs


B2C businesses tend to focus on appealing to their customers using emotion. This is more successful in provoking their potential consumers to buy.

For example, people will find a product appealing if they think it will make them look good, feel great, and find happiness.


B2B customers are focused on saving time and money, and boosting revenue. 

So while B2B buyers may respond emotionally – we are all human, after all – the B2B group tends to weigh decisions towards their needs or pain points, and the impact on the business. 

Decisions will be made on data and figures and how it impacts the bottom line, rather than emotional appeal. 


Demographic data and buyer personas

Before proceeding, it’s worth explaining in more detail what demographic data and buyer personas are, as they play such a key role in customer segmentation.

Both are produced by statistical analysis and are used to build sales and marketing strategies.

Demographic segmentation

Demographics for segmenting customers for B2C marketing efforts might focus on gender, income, and ethnicity.

For B2B target customer segments, firmographics are the equivalent of a demographic profile. Using firmographic data, marketers create targeted strategies based on industry, decision-maker roles, or revenue.

Buyer personas

Personas based marketing uses demograpic data to create characters that represent the customer. For example, if you know your B2B product or service is purchased by decision makers in HR, you may segment customers by region, size of business they work for and their type of industry.

You would give each persona a name and ascribe characteristics to them. This makes it easier to relate to them on a personal level, both for you and your sales and marketing teams.

And it helps you understand their pain points so that you can actively try to solve them in your sales strategies and marketing messages.


Firmographic segmentation explained

Firmographic segmentation is to B2B market segmentation what demographic segmentation is to B2C market segmentation.

Firmographic data is used to categorise organisations, in the same way that B2C businesses categorise their potential and existing customers.

Company location, number of clients, type of organisation, industry, technologies used, key accounts and so on.

The data is used to segment organizations into meaningful categories.


How B2B market segmentation works

B2B marketing tends to focus on three key areas in any segmentation exercise. They focus on very different aspects of your potential customer, based on profiling and behavioral data.

Profiles data

Profiles are similar to B2C’s demographic data, but goes beyond to include firmographic data as well as business persona demographics such as job title, skills and seniority, for example.

Intent data

B2B marketing campaigns want to focus on companies with purchase intent for their product or service.

This data consists indicators that they are consuming content about your type of product or service, are reading reviews or doing internet searches.

Engagement data

This has parallels with B2C’s behavioral data, but includes the more B2B specific behaviors like sales meetings, trade show interest, and email queries.


Capturing data for B2B customer segmentation

The information above that gives you insights into your potential or most valuable customers can be provided by skilled B2B market research agencies such as Acumen.

Our B2B market research team has over 15 years’ combined experience in fieldwork, research methodology and data analysis.

We can help you understand your customer base better with qualitative data and quantitative data to create meaningful market segments.

Working with sophisticated customer data, your marketing teams will be able to create data driven strategies with huge potential value to your business.


Segmenting for sales and marketing strategies

Once you have done your customer segmentation, you can understand the customer journey better, have a reliable estimate of how much customers spend, and know what to do to cut customer acquisition costs.

And that’s just the start.

Focus on key accounts

You can break your market down into key segments and even create customer tiering so that your marketing strategy hones in on our most valuable customers.

Identifying target segments in this way brings you closer to key decision makers. This enables you to form personal relationships with these buyers.

Continuous improvement

You’ll be able to understand their customer needs and pain points even better, so that you can tailor your service or product to these key accounts. This can lead to increased sales and annual revenue.

The potential value of key accounts segmentation, of the type described above, is one that very few companies can afford to ignore.

Luckily, with Acumen’s B2B segmentation expertise, your marketing team can have all the data and insights it needs to widen your customer base or increase your market share.


Work with Acumen to segment customers

We welcome the chance to do segmentation-based market research for your business-to-business objectives.

Acumen is an award-winning B2B research agency with international reach. We works closely with our clients, forming lasting relationships that thrive because of our expertise, dedication and high-quality service.

If you’d like to discuss your B2B segmentation project and get a quote, contact us on 0161 234 9940 or get in touch with us via our website.