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.

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.

Source: Engagio

ABM Best Practices – Amount of Marketing Budget Allocated to ABM

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

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.

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.


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

  • 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 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 >>

Go to Market - Market Planning Templates