Why Segmentation is Key for SaaS Email Marketing

Oct 20, 2022

Collin Stewart

Subscriber segmentation is one of the most effective email marketing strategies, but most B2B sales organizations aren’t using their full potential. Our recent podcast guest explains how and why we should use segmentation in our outbound sales sequences.

Jane Portman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Userlist, an email automation platform that specializes in understanding customer data. Jane joined the Predictable Revenue podcast to discuss why segmentation is key for email marketing, particularly for SaaS companies.

How to choose segmentation criteria

When B2B sales organizations practice list segmentation, it tends to be based on demographics or lead scoring. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but it can quickly become complicated for companies with longer sales cycles–especially SaaS and subscription-based models, where the customer relationship continues long after the deal is closed.

Instead, Jane recommends segmenting your emails based on where the prospect is in their customer journey. Each segment then has a unique conversion goal based on the lifecycle stage (ie., lead, active lead, canceled user, free trial, paying customer).

Applying segmentation to outbound sales

The same concept can be applied to sales development outreach, where most prospects are cold leads. Segment customers based on where they are on their journey and tailor your messaging accordingly. 

For example, warm leads can be put into an evergreen sales campaign, then an onboarding sequence once they convert, before finally being transferred to customer success. Each segment should focus on one specific goal, and when a prospect converts to the next stage, they are moved into a new sequence.

Canceled users should also have their own sequence. They can provide valuable information about why they left, and with the right campaign, you may even be able to entice them to come back.

Tips for writing a high-converting email sequence 

To be successful in sales development, you need to know what makes your target audience buy. What problems are they facing, and how can you increase their

 problem awareness? 

If the prospect is in the early stages of their customer journey, your sequence should help them diagnose the problem before introducing your solution. 

It will take multiple emails to help the prospect understand how your solution works, what the benefits are, and why they should choose you over your competitors. To help them on this journey, you can provide case studies and tips to help solve their problem.

Applying marketing strategies to sales development

A common marketing strategy is to show prospects the “transformation” your product or service provides. Use your email sequences to paint a picture of what the prospect’s life looks like now, compared to what it could look like with your solution.

Another segmentation strategy is to tailor your messaging based on the prospect’s previous actions. For example, if they downloaded a pricing guide lead magnet, then they’re already close to making a decision. Userlist can help you sync this customer behavior data to various email sequences.

Getting started with segmentation

There are two key components you need to master before diving into segmentation. First, you need to have a strong understanding of the customer journey because each stage of this cycle will represent a different segment.

Second, you need to be clear on your messaging. Find the right words to describe what you do and niche down as much as possible. Customer interviews can help with this, as can speaking to ideal customers who didn’t buy from your company. If you need help with messaging or sequence design, click here to book a free discovery call with our outbound sales experts.

As your messaging evolves, keep the conversation going with your customers. Listen to their suggestions. 

Jane shares an example from Userlist when they realized their marketing as a customer messaging platform didn’t resonate with their customers, who were describing the product as an email marketing platform. This new title is much clearer, and they’ve stuck with it ever since.

Final tips for outbound sales emails

As email deliverability rates continue to drop, it’s more important than ever to send highly relevant and personalized emails. 

Segmentation can help tailor your messaging to each phase of the customer journey so that no matter where a lead is in the pipeline, they always receive emails relevant to them. Start small with two or three key segments, then build from there.

If you want to learn more about email segmentation for sales development, visit Userlist.com.

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