B2B Database Segmentation: Why and How to Start

Segmenting your database is one of those tired topics that seems to come out whenever somebody mentions databases or email marketing. We need more and better segmentation.

However, segmentation can be actually really cool when applied in a useful way. When you segment your audience, you will naturally know what to do with them in order to generate more from your database.

Why segment?

The most common reason out there is the segmentation helps with performance by personalisation. The more personalised your messages to the receiver’s situation and interest, the better the result.

This includes elements such as:

  • Product interest
  • Company type or fit
  • Demographics
  • Behaviour
  • Funnel stage (see why below)
  • etc

HubSpot and Lyris Inc have provided a neat chart showing how segmentation can improve performance below:

5 Email Marketing Segmentation Strategies To Get You Started | by ...
Credit: https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/32848/why-list-segmentation-matters-in-email-marketing.aspx

Examples of this are sending information about products or services to people who are actually interested about them.

How to start segmenting?

A great place to start from my view is to start by segmenting by funnel stage.

Segmenting by funnel stage means categorising contacts based on where they are on the buyers journey.

A benefit of starting with segmentation by funnel stage is that it tells you what campaigns you should actually be doing.

With the funnel as a guide, planning your campaigns should be a little easier knowing that you can probably do at least one campaign each month to bring contacts further down the funnel.


  • If you have lots of general subscribers, you could be leveraging your webinars and sending email campaigns offering access in order to collect information about their interest in your services and the fitness with your organisation.
  • Not sure if your qualified contacts are ready to talk? Now you know the challenge and can apply campaigns that help gently drive folks closer to being ready for a sales interaction by providing content such as case studies or invitations to connect with your team.
  • Have lots of customers? Turn them into advocates. Manually or automatically invite them to leave reviews, provide testimonials or refer you to their pals.

Read more: My list of B2B email ideas by funnel stage

What about the other parameters?

With funnel stage in mind, I find that the other parameters should come to mind quite easily based on trying to move people through the stages.

It will make natural sense to split your audience by, say, industry to make sure the content you are sending is going to be effective in taking your contact through funnel.


If you have not previously segmented your database, clustering your audience by funnel stage and other parameters should give you some guidance on what to actually do with your audience.

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