List Segmentation for Outbound Marketing

Here’s a fact: Just as people have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, outbound marketing call center operations also have distinct strengths and weaknesses.
outbound marketing

By Nathan Teahon, Vice President of Operations

Here’s a fact: Just as people have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, outbound marketing call center operations also have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Here’s another fact: the customers that we call via outbound marketing also have distinct characteristics that differentiate them. Based on this fact, why do so many outbound marketing campaigns treat customers the same? I believe that failing to segment an outbound marketing list is a huge missed opportunity.

When I am looking at an outbound marketing list, I know that I want to have as much control as I possibly can by segmenting it. This will also ensure the highest probability of maximizing the list’s value. If I have a subset of customers that regularly order every year and spend top dollar, I am going to treat those customers very differently from the ones that ordered once two years ago and didn’t spend much, so having all of those leads together in same outbound marketing list limits effectiveness. The reality is that I am going to want my very best agents to call the top-spending customers who order with the highest frequency. I want to make sure that these customers get the best attention to ensure that their customer satisfaction level is through the roof, which will in turn maximize the return on the sale.

You might have many ways that make sense to segment your list, and what makes sense could vary based on the type of customer you have and the type of product/service you are selling. Two of the most common ways to segment your lists go hand in hand with my previous example: order frequency and dollar spend; but those are really just the tip of the iceberg. You might find that certain SIC codes sell better than other SIC codes. Perhaps one company is a better target for Product X and another type of company is a better target for Product Y. Better yet, any customer that bought Product X is a great candidate to also purchase Product Z.

The right mix is going to be slightly different for each outbound marketing team and for each customer base. Figuring out the proper mix is the fun part. The proof is always in the numbers, and by testing various segments you can find that proper mix for your customers. I will offer the cautionary caveat that there is absolutely such a thing as too much list segmentation. If you become aware that your supervisors are suddenly spending all of their time moving agents in and out of lists rather than spending the proper time coaching, they have probably gone too far.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that employees, outbound marketing teams, and in this case customers are not created the same, and therefore should not be treated that way. If you critically look at the data segments you have at your disposal, you will find intelligent ways to segment that data in ways that will end up being beneficial for you, whether it comes from reassigning which agents call which leads or what the purpose/pitch is for each segment or a combination of both. Finding and testing those segments and seeing the gains is the fun part.

Nathan Teahon is the Vice President of Operations for Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. As a highly competitive person, Nathan brings his “A” game to work every day, ensuring that each of his clients wins on a daily basis. Nathan carefully balances the operations resources and client goals to ensure his clients receive the highest possible results at the lowest cost. Nathan is a true, born and bred telemarketer. He grew up in the business and intimately knows (and has played) every position on the field, including supervisor, quality assurance, call center manager, program management, account management, and call center psychologist. Nathan can be reached at or 516-656-5133.


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