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How to Segment Data to Boost Response and Conversion

Your customers and prospects are as individually different as the colors in a rainbow. If you understand how to target and communicate to them based on those differences, your response rates will be just as beautiful. If you try to mix your messages for the masses, the colors will run together and you’ll have a less-than-beautiful muddy mess.

Last week I fired off a post suggestion that we should all be looking at data segmentation in our lists to improve response rates. I had some great feedback on the post from readers wanting more detail, including this email from a friend:

 I completely agree that segmentation will improve response rates. What do you suggest we look at as segments?

So here are some thoughts to get you going.


Here are some easy things to take a look at in segmentation that you can easily set up in your CRM system.

Relationship Types

There is a big difference in how you communicate to your prospects, partners, vendors and customers. I like to add some granularity to the prospect category as well. Usually I’ll do this by looking at what stage of the cycle they are in and also what part of your sales organization is engaging them the most. You should have a category for the prospects owned by marketing (e.g., Suspects), those owned by sales (e.g., Prospects) and those owned by your channel (e.g., Reseller Prospect).

Company Size

Some companies like to look at annual revenue to get a feel for budget capabilities or need for advanced functional fit. Others might look at numbers of employees. Others look at facility size. What size factors help you determine your best fit? The data is typically easy enough to get at, so you might just track it all.

Industry and Associations

At the very least, track their SIC or NAICS codes. It’s great to know who belongs to what trade association as well, especially if you’re attending a particular show. Better yet, can you define who their customers are and help them reach those customers? That’s powerful and attention getting stuff.

Job Title and Function

There’s a difference between title and function and it’s important to track both. Basically, a job title is what is on your business card. A job function includes the things you actually do for your company. Your title might be CFO, but in addition to finance duties, you also handle the IT decisions for the company. That would be good to know but isn’t reflected on the b-card. If you didn’t know that the CFO handled the IT decisions, you might be leaving her out of some important information.


This is obvious since it’s already in the address data. But I’m surprised how many people don’t think to include geography in their campaigns. As an example, people generally love or at least follow their local sports teams. An interesting way to build one-to-one engagement is to send an email to a geography that includes local references like sports, activities, news and more.


When you’ve got the basis covered, begin looking at the following.

Lead Score

We’ve been talking a lot about how Nurturama helps you determine which prospects should be engaged and when. How this works goes beyond the external factors above but also looks at their behavior. What links did they click? Which videos did they watch? How many interactions are they having with your team and your assets? Is that interaction increasing? This is a powerful way to segment the prospects that are most likely to buy before your competition gets there.

Interest Keys

What are your prospects interested in downloading, reading and more? Get them on automated nurturing tracks based on their interests and you will build engagement and trust. What products did they buy or demo? Reach out to them for up-sells on complimentary products, specials, new demos and more. One of the reasons I love to shop on Amazon is because they understand what I like based on what I buy and view. It makes it a lot easier for me to find products I might be interested in than if I were to enter a traditional retail shop and browse the shelves. Because they cater to my interests they get a bigger share of my wallet.

Survey Data and Loyalty

You need to survey your customers and prospects. Who are the most aligned and loyal? Treat them differently. Your company is not a democracy–better customers who are aligned with your goals deserve to be treated better than the rest. And by “better,” I mean “way better.” Take them on trips. Send them leads. Give them sneak previews. Make them feel like they are part of your inner circle and helping you guide your strategy and they will be with you for life. Make them feel like anyone else and they will treat you like any of the rest of your competitors. You’re in control of the relationship with your most loyal customers–the ball is in your court.

I could go on with 100 other areas, but this will give you a start. If you track these eight areas and design your communication plans to be targeted and unique to each segment in those areas, I promise you will increase your response rates dramatically.

Photo credit: Julian Burgess


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  1. When I look at all the miserable stuff in my own inbox, I wish the people who have my email in their database would read this post. And read your whole blog. I’m a 35 year old woman, why am I getting offers for mens’ shoes and senior citizen discounts?

  2. I learn something new from you every day. Great post.

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