Since specific information about your prospects and customers will affect what messaging they receive, it's important to get as detailed as possible when building your database. Focus on retrieving only the information you need to identify prospects and build targeted campaigns. Here are the different types of information you should use to group your data:
Firmographics includes how large the company is (employee size, sales volume, number of customers) as well as the industry the company is in (SIC code) and how long it has been around. It is also useful to know when the company's fiscal year ends. In addition, be sure to get basic information such as the company's location.
Where is this company in your sales cycle? Are they just a suspect or a qualified lead? Have they just made their first purchase from you? Or maybe they're a repeat customer, a past customer, or even a high-value long-term client.
Note the interactions prospects have had with you and your sales/marketing activities. This can include attending trade shows, signing up for one of your webinars, or even opening one of your emails.
Generally, firmographic information will help you determine whether or not a certain company is a viable prospect, while the sales cycle and behavioral information will help you determine which messages to send to which groups. Specific types of marketing content will appeal to prospects and customers in different stages of the sales cycle. Thought leadership and best practices work best during the awareness stage; comparisons, reviews, and pricing information will be helpful during the research stage; and information about your company is most effective in the purchasing stage.