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B2B marketing and segmentation driving new business leads

Nigel Wright Group arranges discussion forums for commercial leaders to share best practice and build their networks. Our UK forum in November enabled Sales and Commercial Directors working in industrial sectors to hear from Emma Greenwood, Marketing Director at Sterling Pharma Solutions. Emma explained how marketing is targeting market sectors and attracting new business and provided valuable insights for the subsequent discussion.

When lockdown hit, sales people were unable to travel freely to visit prospects and customers. Trade shows and exhibitions ceased, cutting off other proven sources of lead generation and work winning opportunities. To counter this, Marketing and Sales teams needed to work together differently to identify market opportunities. Marketing should be a growth catalyst to enable this.

Market segmentation

LinkedIn can be a useful geographic market mapping tool for businesses of any size. Contacts and companies identified can be easy copied into Excel or CRM systems. In sectors such as pharmaceuticals, separate market research can identify funding sources, product development pipelines, clinical trial activity, etc. which can be coupled with the contacts identified with LinkedIn to prioritise their targeting.

Using online tools such as Cognism can save time by being programmed to search and pre-populate CRM contacts by trawling LinkedIn. This saves considerable time and is cost effective when used regularly.

Segmenting any targeting from this analysis should involve tailored content. By assigning each prospect/customer contact to a stage within the sales funnel, relevant targeted content can be sent as they progress through each stage or exit. 

Sales funnel communications and resources

Sales teams are in the ideal position to be responsible for disseminating the database between their teams. The process works best when Sales teams also work with Marketing at the earlier market mapping stage. Sales people use their specialist backgrounds and market knowledge that adds value to the process – certainly more value than the hours/days they used to spend driving between appointments.

By structuring target groups at stages in the sales funnel, companies can assess what prospects are trying to decide at each stage and what they need to know about your company to meet their needs.  Numerous touchpoints are typically needed to motivate someone to engage with a company’s brand.  

Whilst this approach assumes multiple communications timed towards individuals with different methods, companies need to be present at important decision stages without being intrusive.

Different content also needs to be prepared to suit different channels. For example, a B2B company’s sales messages are rarely appropriate for Facebook. Whereas someone from the same company posting about their community involvement is far more acceptable.

Targeted LinkedIn campaigns

Whilst LinkedIn often features as the source of data for individual contact at prospective companies, the platform enables Marketing teams to advertise to these people too. LinkedIn can target named people or selected job titles geographically. Different messages can be communicated to people in different sectors and at each section of the sales funnel. Themes of content can also be developed for each month depending on market trends. 


Campaigns can be reinforced by sending similarly targeted communications via emarketing, other social media platforms, pay-per-click search engine adverts, etc. Key differentiators are used throughout to reinforce why customers should use your business, as opposed to your competitors.

This approach is particularly effective when sales people approach targets after they have been marketed to online.

Site visits with virtual tours

Few companies want avoidable on-site visits from potential suppliers currently. Whereas, in certain sectors on site visits are a necessary aspect of being in business. The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and auditing is necessary by customers and regulatory authorities.

Emma Greenwood explained that Sterling Pharma Solutions adapted to the new Covid-19 environment by filming their manufacturing processes to demonstrate transparency.  Virtual 360o tours of their facilities were filmed from the building’s entrance through to all areas that customers are interested in.

This is considered good value for money at a cost of £5,000 per building to film and edit. An agency managed the process, using a floor plan to plan the walk-through whilst filming all rooms, laboratories, walkways, etc. during one visit. The filming was edited during the following week, to produce a timely result.

The company can now talk prospective customers through their manufacturing process relating to how it would be managed on their premises. This works equally well for one-on-one virtual meetings as it does for communicating to larger audiences. 

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