B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM)

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Account Based Marketing vs Lead GenerationB2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) is about finding the companies that have the highest propensity to purchase before a marketing campaign is ever conceived.  Doing the homework upfront is an intelligent, systematic, logical, rational approach to determining who to connect with, how to connect with them and insight into what content to create for them that is meaningful and relevant.

Account based marketing is like anything else and it is being embraced at a rate that is similar to a technology adoption curve.  Innovators and early adopters have been practicing ABM as they have always been tightly aligned with sales.   In general, technology adoption curves require about 25 years before 80% of the market adopts – the early majority takes quite some time to catch on and the late majority even more time.

To use a Gartner term, Account based marketing is at the peak of inflated expectations.  So why are some marketers saying that ABM is old news while others are claiming it is the Holy Grail?  Those that believe ABM is old news have usually be in a situation where:

  • a sales person turns marketer
  • a marketing function is pulled from marketing and reports to sales
  • a sales leader understands marketing
  • a marketing leader has is a closet sales person

Once you introduce marketing into a sales paradigm, the traditional sales funnel is inverted.  The best sales reps don’t want to generate hundreds or thousands of marketing qualified leads, rank them, route them and nurture them.  The best-in-class sales reps look at their patch and identify the companies they believe they can sell to and create a strategic account plan to penetrate each account.  Strategic sales people strive to concentrate their efforts in a few accounts rather than spray and pray.


2019 ACCOUNT TE BASED BENCHMARK REPORT

Account based marketing strategies deliver business outcomes, not vanity metrics. Account based marketing is not a campaign or technology purchase. It is a strategic go-to-market decision delivering key board-level metrics. Respondents indicate that account based marketing improves:

  • customer lifetime value (80%)
  • win rates (86%)
  • delivers higher ROI (76%) than a traditional go-to-market approach

For every five accounts targeted, account based marketing organizations create a new sales opportunity. Compared to a traditional volume-based approach, an account based marketing strategy is extremely efficient at creating sales pipeline. This efficiency lets account based organizations focus on the most valuable portions of their addressable market and deliver critical business metrics at scale.

Account based marketing budgets are rapidly expanding, with companies increasing spend by 41% in 2019. Due to early successes, organizations are doubling down on 2019 account based marketing investments. Budgets are focused on expanding current programs and extending account based marketing into new segments.

Technology investments will increase to support scaling account based marketing efforts. Today’s programs often rely on manual or technology-enabled processes with limited scalability. As organizations move from pilots to repeatable, scalable programs, technology investments in account based marketing platforms, data sources, and account insights are required to achieve expanding expectations.

An account based marketing strategy requires dedicated leadership from program inception. More than two-thirds (69%) of top-performing account based organizations now have a dedicated account based leader. The market has caught on—70% of those who started their account based initiatives in the last six months have dedicated leaders. In contrast, only 58% of companies that missed their account based objectives have dedicated leadership.

Organizations with a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) achieve 68% higher account win rates. The ICP identifies the characteristics of accounts that are more likely to become valuable customers. The ICP is a critical element of an account based marketing strategy that separates top-performing account based marketing organizations from their peers. More than 80% of the most successful account based marketing organizations believe they have a strong ICP versus 42% of other organizations.

Organizations only pursue 38% of their target accounts at one time. The majority (78%) of leading account based marketing organizations have implemented intentional account selection processes in order to consistently select and prioritize accounts in a repeatable way. This is a critical process to master, particularly for organizations with more than 100 target accounts.

Successful account based marketing execution uses existing marketing and sales development tactics. One of the biggest barriers to launching account based marketing is the concern that a completely new set of tactics are required. In actuality, the majority of tactics are already used in most organizations. Respondents report that their top five account based marketing tactics are SDR outreach, digital advertising, direct mail, marketing email, and events. Coordinated execution—not the specific tactics used—is the key change required to develop and execute an account based marketing strategy.

Account based marketing is more than just marketing. Successful account based strategy requires a coordinated effort across all customer-facing functions including marketing, sales development, and sales. When marketers ranked the most important tactics, they selected SDR outreach—not traditional marketing tactics—by a wide margin.


Where B2B Marketers Need Help With ABM

Where-B2B-Marketers-Need-Help-With-ABMTwo-thirds of account-based marketers report that their ABM accounts have achieved greater customer success with their solutions than other accounts, and two-thirds likewise say that their ABM accounts are more likely to provide positive references and advocacy than other accounts. That’s according to the recent 2018 ABM Benchmark Study [pdf] from ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance.

Given the report’s sponsors and authors, it’s probably not too surprising that respondents would have an enthusiastic outlook on their account-based marketing efforts. In fact, almost half (45%) said that they’re achieving at least twice the ROI from ABM than from traditional marketing. (See here for general B2B ROI estimates.) Notably, a recent study revealed that B2B marketers are increasingly integrating ABM and traditional demand generation, although that research found traditional demand generation to still be prioritized.

Despite this latest report’s spirited take on ABM, respondents still face numerous challenges. Chief among those is getting the data and reports needed to track results (a battle cited in other pieces of ABM research), followed closely by personalizing and tailoring marketing to key contacts at each account. Getting adequate budgets and developing campaign assets that are mass customizable to allow scale also are key hindrances, per the study.

Other results from the survey give reason for optimism, however. When asked to rate ABM marketers’ proficiency in various competencies, respondents gave one of the highest ratings (3.7 on a 5-point scale) to campaign planning and execution. That’s a heartening result given other survey findings indicating that the biggest risk to ABM efforts is lack of executional ability.

Likewise, it’s also encouraging that respondents to this latest survey said that sales and marketing collaboration and integration is one of their most highly-rated competencies. Sales and marketing alignment is considered to be the top success factor for ABM efforts, so maturity in this area is a key point. The ITSMA research suggests that collaboration is highest between marketing and sales teams when executing integrated sales and marketing campaigns (3.8 on a 5-point scale), as well as knowing what is driving the account, mapping and profiling stakeholders, and planning integrated sales and marketing campaigns (each at 3.7). However, there’s less collaboration between functions when developing targeted value propositions (3.4) and measuring success (3.5).

Technical issues also prove to be daunting. ABM marketers were given a below-average 2.9 score for their proficiency with data and analytics for ABM, the only competency for which they were closer to lack of proficiency than mastery. They also achieved only a middling 3.0 score for their proficiency with marketing technology for ABM accounts and programs.

Nonetheless, ABM marketers plan to forge ahead with their tech use. Notably, although fewer than half (41%) currently engage in website personalization, another 29% plan to add this to their toolkit in the next 12-18 months. Predictive analytics could also get a boost, as one-third plan to add this tool on top of the third currently using it.

Other marketing technology platforms that should see a sizable hike in usage relative to current levels include business intelligence/ABM data aggregators (to measure and track results by account) and orchestration for intelligence account plans across teams and channels.

Source: MarketingCharts

ABM Deliver a Higher ROI Than Traditional Demand Gen

  • According to a recent benchmark study by the ITSMA, 87% of companies reported that ABM delivers a higher ROI than any other type of marketing (August, 2017) and the Alterra Group states 97% of marketers surveyed said ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities.
  • However, historically, ABM has been hard to scale.
  • Organizations have used an ABM approach on a small set of target accounts of high value.
  • With new technology advancements, there is now the ability to apply this strategy at scale.

ABM Drives Growth

  • As a CMO, driving growth is essential. According to a study by the CMO Council and Deloitte LLP, two-thirds of surveyed CMOs believe senior executives and company board directors have a high level of expectation for Marketing to drive growth and create value for their companies.
  • ABM is a powerful strategy that can help with this important objective.
  • According to the CMO Council, the majority of CEOs today – nearly 70% – believe that CMOs should be leading revenue growth.

ABM Needs to Focus on Renewals, Up-selling, Cross Selling & Expansion into New Departments and Business Units

  • The State of the Conversation Report surveyed 400 organizations which showed that 80% of companies spend more than 70% of their budget on demand generation messaging and content.
  • Less than 30% is spent on customer retention or up-sell/cross-sell activities at those companies.
  • In fact, 42% of companies invest less than 10% of their marketing budgets in renewal and up-sell/cross-sell efforts

ABM Delivers a Better Customer Experience

  • 86% of marketers say they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020, meaning that they will become responsible for the entire customer journey according to the Economist.
  • Due to the focus on accounts that ABM brings, teams inherently need to be more customer centric and understand customers needs by decision maker, approver, recommender and influencer at all stages of the journey.

ABM Supports the Brand Promise

  • ABM allows you to establish and cultivate trust with your customers, thereby building a strong brand over time.
  • With the traditional demand generation approach where volume and velocity was emphasized, there was an increasing pressure to do more and that resulted in generic offers and messages promoted to the masses (the list).
  • ABM allows you to take the time to utilize the core tenants of ABM, you can ensure all of your customer facing teams have the right information on accounts, can coordinate efforts, and scale personalized communications.

 


B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) Best Practices – Metrics

Roughly 2 in 5 (38%) respondents also reported having problems mapping leads to their corresponding accounts.

his is a fairly consistent challenge that doesn’t seem to be going away. Last year, an Engagio survey of companies listed mapping and acquiring contact data as one of their biggest anticipated challenges.

That same Engagio survey also listed measuring the impact of ABM and attribution as a top challenge.

At the same time, 46% of B2B marketers surveyed by Dun & Bradstreet cited measurement ability as one of the most critical factors in driving ABM success.

In this more recent survey, almost one-fifth (17%) of respondents said they were struggling to tie ABM initiatives to closed/won business and revenue.

What Are the Primary Metrics for Measuring ABM

B2B-Account-Based-Marketing-(ABM)-Best-Practices-Metrics

Source: Marketing Charts

Keys to a Successful ABM Strategy and Execution

Keys-to-a-Successful-ABM-Strategy-and-ExecutionSource: Topo

Challenges to a Successful ABM Strategy and Execution

Challenges-to-a-Successful-ABM-Strategy-and-ExecutionSource: Topo

ABM Best Practices – How Many Accounts to Target

ABM-Best-Practices-How-Many-Accounts-to-Target

Source: Topo

ABM Best Practices – How Many Contacts to Target in Each Account


ABM-Best-Practices-How-Many-Contacts-to-Target-in-Each-Account

Source: Topo

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) Best Practices – Most Effective ABM Tactics

Organizations executing account based strategies use many of the same tactics and channels as with a traditional GTM, but prioritize those tactics and channels much differently from a resource and budgeting perspective.

Most notably, SDR outbound is the most important tactic used by account based organizations, with 88% rating it as important.

Events, exec-to-exec outreach, and direct mail are also rated as extremely or very important by more than two-thirds of respondents.

Customized content development is seen as important by 63%, but is only used by 47% of organizations.

Most effective channels and ABM tactics

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) Best Practices - Most-Effective-ABM-TacticsSource: Engagio

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) Best Practices – Number of Contacts Per Account Targeted

Top-performing account based organizations target 33% more contacts in each account.

Not surprisingly, companies that close larger deals target more contacts per account on average. Interestingly, top performers across every deal-size tier target more contacts per account—33% more on average.

That percentage is even higher when they are pursuing the largest ACV opportunities ($250K+).

These organizations recognize the value of customizing content for individual stakeholders, creating distinct offers and messages for contacts in different roles.

Organizations piloting their first account based effort should develop distinct messaging for at least two contact roles.

How many contacts per account are actively targeted in your account based programs?

ABM-Best-Practices-Number-of-Contacts-per-Account-TargetedSource: Engagio

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) Best Practices

  • Account based strategies deliver business outcomes, not vanity metrics.
  • Account based is not a campaign or technology purchase.
  • ABM improves, compared to than a traditional go-to-market approach:
    • Customer lifetime value (80%),
    • Win rates (86%)
    • Delivers higher ROI (76%)
  • For every five accounts targeted, account based organizations create a new sales opportunity.
  • ABM budgets are rapidly expanding, with companies increasing spend by 41% in 2019.
  • An ABM strategy requires dedicated leadership from program inception. More than two-thirds (69%) of top-performing account based organizations now have a dedicated account based leader.
  • Organizations with a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) achieve 68% higher account win rates.
  • More than 80% of the most successful ABM organizations believe they have a strong ICP versus 42% of other organizations.
  • Organizations only pursue 38% of their target accounts at one time.
  • The majority (78%) of leading account based organizations have implemented intentional account selection processes in order to consistently select and prioritize accounts in a repeatable way.
  • The top five ABM tactics are SDR outreach, digital advertising, direct mail, marketing email, and events.
Source: Engagio

ABM Best Practices – ABM Performance Compared to Traditional Demand Generation

Comparing ABM to a traditional go-to-market (GTM) approach, respondents overwhelmingly indicated an ABM approach is more effective.

ABM-Benchmark-Research
Source: Engagio

ABM Best Practices – Amount of Marketing Budget Allocated to ABM

ABM spend represents more than 20% of marketing budget across all segments

ABM-Best-Practices-ABM-As-A-Percentage-Of-the-Marketing-Budget
Source: Engagio

ABM Best Practices – ABM Performance Compared to Traditional Demand Generation

Account based spend is expected to increase by 41% – organizations of all sizes are seeing positive results from account based efforts overall.

Companies with target account ACVs above $75K are expecting to increase account based investments by 42% in the next year.

Annual-ABM-Spend-Per-Account
Source: Engagio

ABM Best Practices – ABM Spend Per Account

Organizations invest between 0.5%-2% of expected ACV for each ABM target account

Account based spend represents more than 20% of marketing budget across all segments
Source: Engagio

ABM Best Practices – ABM For CMOs

According to a recent benchmark study by the ITSMA, 87% of companies reported that ABM delivers a higher ROI than any other type of marketing (August, 2017).

The Alterra Group states 97% of marketers surveyed said ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities.

According to the CMO Council, the majority of CEOs today – nearly 70% – believe that CMOs should be leading revenue growth.

ABM-Best-Practices-ABM-For-CMOs


Account Based Marketing Can Synchronize Sales & Marketing


B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) – Research

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) AdoptionIn August of 2016, eMarketer reported that more than 50% of B2B marketers had an ABM strategy in place for less than one year.

25% of B2B marketers communicated that they have had in ABM strategy in place for more than 2 years.

Note: the MarTech is changing so quickly that even if a company has an ABM strategy in place, there is almost always an opportunity to convert a manual or point solution to a more holistic solution.

Source: eMarketer

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) – Top Priorities

  • 74% – Working with sales to define account goals and plans
  • 67% – gathering account and/or contact data and intelligence
  • 62% – Executing ABM plans for targeted accounts
  • 59% – Selecting accounts for inclusion in ABM
  • 59% – Building plans for all or a segment of targeted accounts
  • 56% – Creating online engagement strategies for targeted accounts
  • 56% – Creating content for ABM programs
  • 52% – Building ABM plans for large, individual targeted accounts
  • 46% – Working with other marketing teams to support ABM programs
  • 38% – Working with outside agencies or service providers on ABM programs
Source: CMS Connected

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) – Stats

Account based spending is expanding rapidly, increasing by 41% in 2019

Account based spend represents more than 20% of marketing budget across all segments

New customer acquisition is the primary focus for account based

Top-performing account based organizations have a strong ICP

Top-performing organizations are 33% more likely to have a dedicated account based leader

Top-performing account based programs have account based SDRs

Organizations only pursue 38% of their target account list at one time

Leading account based organizations use orchestrated account based plays across every stage of the funnel

SDR outbound is the most critical account based tactic 

Top-performing account based organizations target 33% more contacts in each account

Organizations invest between 0.5%-2% of expected ACV for each target account


Key ABM Stats

  • CMOs will outspend CIOs by 2017 – Gartner
  • 80% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments – ITSMA
  • 89.5% of B2B sales are still completed by a person – Forrester
  • On average, a B2B customer will regularly use 6 different interaction channels throughout the decision journey – McKinsey
  • On average, more than 5 people have to formally sign off on each purchase – CEB
  • 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase – Forrester
  • Only 0.75% of leads generated become closed revenue – Forrester
  • Almost 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach; half of those marketers cite significantly higher returns – ITSMA
  • 80% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments.
  • 84% of marketers said that ABM had significant benefits to retaining and expanding existing client relationships.
  • 27% of CMOs were concerned with staying ahead and taking advantage of digital technology trends, such as the marketing technology stack. – Korn Ferry
  • In 2016, more than 70% of B2B companies had staff dedicated to ABM programs
  • In 2015, 20% of B2B companies had staff dedicated to ABM programs
  • 97% of B2B marketers believe ABM delivers higher return than other marketing initiatives
  • 67% of CMOs communicate that they have trouble proving the ROI of their marketing efforts

Account based strategies deliver business outcomes.

  • Respondents to a TOPO survey indicate that account based improves customer lifetime value (80%), improves win rates (86%), and delivers higher ROI (76%) than a traditional go-to-market approach.
  • For every five accounts targeted, account based organizations create a new sales opportunity.

Account based budgets are rapidly expanding, with companies increasing spend by 41% in 2019.

  • Due to early successes, organizations are doubling down on 2019 account based investments.
  • Budgets are focused on expanding current programs and extending account based into new segments.

An account based strategy requires dedicated leadership from program inception.

  • More than two-thirds (69%) of top-performing account based organizations now have a dedicated account based leader.
  • The market has caught on—70% of those who started their account based initiatives in the last six months have dedicated leaders. In contrast, only 58% of companies that missed their account based objectives have dedicated leadership.

Organizations with a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) achieve 68% higher account win rates.

  • The ICP identifies the characteristics of accounts that are more likely to become valuable customers.
  • The ICP is a critical element of an account based strategy that separates top-performing account based organizations from their peers.
  • More than 80% of the most successful account based organizations believe they have a strong ICP versus 42% of other organizations.

Organizations only pursue 38% of their target accounts at one time.

  • The majority (78%) of leading account based organizations have implemented intentional account selection processes in order to consistently select and prioritize accounts in a repeatable way.

Successful account based execution uses existing marketing and sales development tactics.

  • Respondents to a TOPO survey report that their top five account based tactics are SDR outreach, digital advertising, direct mail, marketing email, and events.
  • Coordinated execution—not the specific tactics used—is the key change required to develop and execute an account based strategy.

Calculate conversion at each point in the funnel

  • Engaged Accounts – The number of target accounts that have reached a meaningful level of engagement, as defined by the engagement score. (Engaged Account Rate)
  • Opportunity Accounts – The number of accounts with one or more new opportunities. (Opportunity Rate)
  • Closed-Won Accounts – The number of target accounts with a new closed-won opportunity. (Account Win rate)

Account Based Marketing (ABM)- A Self-Assessment


Additional B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) Resources

Three B2B Predictive Marketing Use Cases >>

B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) – Sales & Marketing >>

Demand Generation Plan: The Process – Part 1 >>


Download the ABM – Account Intelligence Brief Now >>


ABM Benchmark Research >>

ABM Best Practices (SlideShare) >>

Go to Market IT Spending Research >>

Go to Market Charts for Marketers >>

Download FREE Go to Market Templates >>


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