I’ve spent my career selling to companies of all sizes and as a buyer at very small and very large companies. This has helped me develop perspective on how the selling process works within companies of all types.

Understanding the common ways that businesses of certain size or stage operate is helpful in thinking about how you may approach multiple aspects of the customer lifecycle process. To that end, I’ve developed the prospect segmentation matrix below which splits the US business population into six distinct segments:

  • Pro: individuals buying for a business purpose.
  • Solo: the “one person shop”.
  • Sustenance: focused on revenue maintenance rather than growth.
  • Growth: actively investing in business growth.
  • Industry Scale: the largest and most successful businesses relative to industry peers.
  • Global Scale: the largest, most successful businesses in the world.

For each segment I’ve tried to capture:

  • How large this population is in the US.
  • The range of employees and revenues.
  • How they fund purchases.
  • How they buy.
  • Post purchase expectations and risks.

There are a few ways I think this matrix could be useful for entrepreneurs, marketers and sellers. Most importantly, I think it shows that there are critical factors to consider about how your customers buy when building a new product, customer acquisition program or direct sales initiative. Without further ado, here is the full prospect segmentation matrix:

Click the image or here to see a  super sized version.


Click the image or here to see a  super sized version.

In the spirit of full transparency, there isn’t a whole lot of science here. The values are all based on my first-hand, or very close second-hand, experience. So, I’d suggest that this is an informed view but not the definitive view of the factors that set these different segments apart.

How companies buy and sell is an area of great intellectual interest to me. I’ll continue to explore this topic in further posts. In the meantime, I hope that this prospect segmentation matrix contains some helpful insights.