Using customer segmentation in your CRM tool (CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management) allows you to make more from your CRM database, and use the information you have on your contacts to get even more sales.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What customer segmentation in CRM is and examples of segment types

  • Tips for creating a CRM segmentation strategy

  • Which customer segmentation models are used by email marketers

  • Best practices for CRM segmentation (and why you should care about email list management)

What is CRM customer segmentation?

A CRM system provides you with a single picture of how a contact acts across multiple touchpoints. It provides a history of their behaviors, purchases, and details that define how they interact with your brand, such as demographic and geographic information. 

This helps you identify which customers are worth pursuing, and allows you to shape your marketing messages to provide a more personalized experience.

Segmentation is the way in which you categorize and organize your data collection, in order to create customer groups or ‘segments’. By doing this, you can split your marketing approach and tailor it to each group, giving a more personalized experience to the contact with your email marketing. We know it has a positive impact on sales, as it was reported that personalization generates a median ROI of 122%.

Mailchimp reports the benefits of segmentation:

Comparing open and click rate of segmented vs non-segmented emails

It shows that segmented email campaigns result in higher engagement metrics (more opens and clicks), and better deliverability (fewer hard bounces) when compared to non-segmented campaigns.

We created the ultimate email list management bundle for busy marketing leaders who want to make the most of their data

What customer segments should I use?

Segmenting your email list can be done in many ways depending on your marketing strategy. The number of segments you can create is only limited by the types of data that you collect. Here are the most commonly used segment types by email marketers:

  • Demographic

  • Geographic

  • Technographic

  • Psychographic

  • Behavioral

We’ll explain how you can use them to create customer segmentation models below.

Related post: CRM Data Cleansing: How to Clean Up Your Customer Database

Customer segmentation models

To create customer segmentation models for your email marketing using different segments, you need to organize and collect the data that falls within these segments within your CRM. 


Segments based on demographic data could divide up contacts by age, gender, income, education, marital status, and so on.

Example: in ecommerce, use gender or age to send product promotions specific to each group of people, for example ‘women aged 18-25’.


Geographic segments typically sort contacts into groups based on their continent, country, or city, but this could also determine the default language for communication for each contact.

Example: If your contact base is global you’ll need to set up multiple webinars sessions throughout the day, in order to provide reasonable times for people to join. Having your database segmented by location allows you to send emails promoting your webinars or online events that are relevant to each timezone.


Technographic data tells you what kind of technology is shaping the way your prospects and customers work. This is usually used to capture which tools and software they use, such as their CRM provider, or their marketing automation tool.

Firmographics are a similar category for segmentation, which focuses more on the company itself, such as size, location, and revenue.

Example: If you know your prospects are using a specific type of software, you can send personalized emails to them about that software, and how you can help them make the most of it along with your product or services.


Psychographic segmentation involves organizing your segments by your contacts’ interests and lifestyle. In other words, ‘what makes them tick’.

This could include hobbies, social status or class, religion, and opinions and attitudes.

Example: Knowing if a customer is undertaking a project or lifestyle change can help you write emails that appeal to them on a deeper level. For example, if you know a contact is trying to learn a specific skill, you can reach out to them with a personalized email relevant to their learning journey.


Behavioral data is collected when a contact interacts with a channel, such as your website, social media, or emails. This tells you when someone has downloaded content, viewed specific pages on your site, shared your content... whatever tells you what you need to know about a customer’s journey.

Example: If someone has downloaded something and viewed product pages and browsed your blog, you might assume they are interested. Using this type of segmentation means that you can track when they have not been in touch to find out more, allowing you to make the first move.

CRM segmentation strategy

When considering how to apply customer segmentation strategy to your email marketing, first consider your goals.

What elements are key to your marketing strategy?

Finding targets

Identify which contacts are interested and are likely to become profitable customers. 

Up-sell and cross-sell

Use purchasing and browsing data to make relevant and timely recommendations to your website visitors.

Predictive targeting

Use your data on sales cycles, budget calendars and purchase history to predict when a contact may choose to make a purchase, and anticipate it with related messaging and promotions.

When you are clear on your goals, you can plan how to use the data available to you to create segments for your email marketing.

CRM segmentation best practices

Effective customer segmentation can be described as seeing tangible results from your email marketing campaigns where you have used segmentation. If you see an uptick in engagement, website activity, or sales, you can consider your segmentation to have been an effective approach. 

How do you know if your customer segmentation worked? An uptick in engagement, website activity, or sales are tangible results and you can consider your segmentation to have been an effective approach. #EmailMarketing

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Here’s what we think results in an effective segmented email campaign:

1. Clean and enriched data. 
The key to success with customer segmentation is all about the customer data. Poor data quality affects 40% of the leads generated on average so email list hygiene should a top priority.

Creating and maintaining healthy lists means removing inactive email addresses, removing typos and errors and ensuring data entry follows rule sets and is organized. This allows you to make the most of the data you have, and put it to work with segmentation and personalization.

Depending on the size of your lists, you may require using a tool (like to clean your lists. We’ve put together a guide to data quality tools here.

If you still aren’t able to use segmentation to its full effect, you can use data enrichment tools and services to add information to your existing contact base, such as gender, or firmographics data.

2. A CRM that works for you. 
CRM software is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some systems work better for B2B than others, some will integrate with your existing set of marketing tools when others won’t.

Work out what’s important to you when looking for a CRM tool, and how you need to apply it to your marketing automation strategy. 

Check out our ultimate guide to email marketing automation and learn how to create an effective email automation strategy and to set up your first campaign.

3. Understanding your audience.
Creating segments is a great step, but if you don’t clearly understand what kind of marketing messaging will really resonate with each segment, you won’t see best results. 

Do your research and create an Ideal Client Profile (ICP) to ensure your audience is at the heart of your segmentation approach. Find out more about creating an ICP here.

Segmentation is an incredibly useful tactic in your email marketing approach. As we’ve covered here, it enables detailed and relevant personalization with marketing automation, allowing you to get the most out of your email marketing tools, and your existing dataset.

If your existing contact base is letting you down, we can help by cleaning and enriching your data to unlock more segmentation and personalization options.

Want to find out how we can help? Get in touch with us today.

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Markus Beck

Markus Beck - September 15, 2020

CEO with a passion for data relationships. Markus is half Finnish, half Austrian & fully committed to helping businesses keep bad data from ruining great relationships. Process Engineer by training, with digital marketing & project management skills from previous jobs.