Lessons From Forrester, Pt. 1 – Segmentation by Motivation 


In this three-part series, we condense some of the main themes from Forrester’s enlightening B2B Summit into bite-size motifs to strive for as your organization plans its strategic martech roadmap. Part One focuses on audience segmentation. 

Organizations are complex networks of business. That complexity becomes most apparent when it comes to segmentation and organization of audiences. While there are countless ways to group organizations into segments, there are only a finite number of methods that will drive the most value, and many sales cycles are spent trying to determine the ideal account segmentation for a company’s outreach. At Forrester’s B2B Summit, however, another route was posited: too much time is spent segmenting on an account level. And while it’s true that the best way to boost customer acquisition is through honing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to determine the best-fit accounts, more needs to be done when it comes to customer retention.  

Retention should be where all eyes are turning, as it was stated that 73% of revenue comes from existing customers. Customer retention is best achieved when individual customers within an organization feel that their own needs are being met and their role is personally being treated with the appropriate amount of value at the correct times. This is why Forrester devoted so much emphasis to the importance of the Buying Group. 

The reality is that, especially for B2B, even on an account level your sales and marketing teams are never touching just one person. According to Forrester, 92% of B2B buying decisions are made by groups of 2 or more people. That’s a startling statistic. This includes many different individuals and roles, each with different criteria in mind for what constitutes the perfect decision; from Finance to Sales, Product to Customer Service. The silver lining is that many of these buying groups are structured with similar roles and motivators, which becomes even more aligned when narrowed down to your ICP accounts. 

So, what does this mean, and what is the best B2B targeting strategy for today’s digital marketers? The key takeaway is that for customer retention, work should be done to identify individual personas within your target accounts’ buying groups, and their key motivators (whether that be price-consciousness, efficiency/speed to market, ROI, quality, etc.). This can be done first-hand by conducting interviews with your current customer base and your sales and services teams, or even indirectly by examining things like order history, and customer service logs. 

You should then aim to translate those qualities into representative data that can be used by your marketing automation systems or CDPs to segment your contacts into value driving audiences. For example, a cost-conscious member of the buying team may be identified by purchases or sort/browse behavior that trends towards a specific product line or brand. Quality-minded buying group members may gravitate towards product reviews and ancillary product content such as specifications and features/functions. 

From there, your sales and marketing teams have an at-a-glance view of the key product and service value points that will make your brand matter and demonstrate your organization truly understands your customer’s needs, down to the micro level. With segmentation, this can also be automated in ways such as prompting your sales team to promote key aspects of product lines over others or displaying dynamic content and copy within marketing emails based on the interests of buying group users. 

If any of the above seems like an insurmountable task, Smith is here to help. With our newly formed Martech and Personalization Center of Excellence, we have the knowledge and expertise to get you where you want to be, in the right ways.