Account Based Marketing has disrupted the marketing game, raising the stakes for both Marketing and Sales. Marketing can no longer live at the top of the funnel and focus on the generation of qualified leads alone. In order to drive growth, Marketing and Sales need to work together throughout the buyer’s journey. An Account Based Marketing strategy is an effective, proven strategy to engage customers throughout the lifecycle and manage complex sales opportunities.
In early 2018, Engagio conducted a comprehensive survey of more than 1,260 companies to assess trends in Account Based Marketing. After compiling and assessing the data, we released the ABM Outlook Survey 2018 report. In this blog post, we’ll examine three key takeaways and our interpretation of the data to help you draw insights and apply best practices for a successful ABM journey. To download all of the survey results, click here.
We asked, “How would you describe your company’s maturity with ABM?” 23.9% of companies reported having ABM programs that were well underway or advanced.
Many organizations are still getting started with ABM. In a separate survey by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance, 89% of respondents reported a higher return on investment (ROI) from ABM than traditional marketing initiatives if their ABM program was in place for more than two years. A vast majority (85%) of companies – even those that have NOT had an ABM program in place for two years – are still seeing better ROI with ABM. Many organizations will use a combination of ABM as well as demand generation. Figuring out the right balance for your organization will depend on the types of companies you market and sell to.
ABM takes time, but the results are substantial. Companies who got on board early are reaping the rewards: faster business acquisition, successful expansion into existing accounts, smarter marketing spend, and customers who feel understood.
The bottom line is if you’re in B2B doing large, complex deals but haven’t yet invested in ABM, you could be missing out on considerable business growth.
We asked “What percent of your total marketing budget do you plan to dedicate to ABM in 2018?” The average investment of the marketing budget that would be dedicated to ABM was 29%.
Per this survey, marketing teams reported a 45% increase in ABM budget from 2017 to 2018. In many cases, teams need to invest in ABM to drive the business outcomes they are responsible for (growth, retention, higher ASPs, cross-sell).
Furthermore, the previously mentioned study by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance supports this finding as well – 72% of companies surveyed increased their ABM budgets in 2018..
One question that remains is “where do you get the budget for ABM?” Here are a few ideas to try:
- Transfer dollars from lower performing marketing programs
- If you have some budget set aside for testing, use that to start a pilot program
- Partner with other teams to fund the program or pilot
- Bucket ABM under another initiative
We asked “What is the biggest risk to ABM failing at your company?” 25.5% of respondents told us the biggest risk to failing at ABM is “lack of ability to execute.”
The success of any strategy is dependent upon your team’s ability to execute on the strategy. Tools and technology do not make an ABM strategy successful – that task rests on the shoulders of the team. Here are some helpful tips outside of technology implementation:
- Define what winning looks like for your team (Figure 1)
- Have a revenue plan and make sure it is clear how different groups are responsible – when does Marketing act, when does Sales engage?
- Identify what you will measure and when – engagement is a new concept for many people – it is a good early stage indicator. Below is an example of what you can show. Keep in mind, engagement is NOT just website traffic. It should include Sales meetings, Marketing activities, etc. (Figure 2)
- Activate Sales – provide Sales with the information they can act on such as the accounts that are the most engaged
- Figure out a regular communication strategy (Ex: senior team, Sales, Marketing)
The ABM landscape is evolving rapidly. Some B2B organizations are falling behind while others are reaping the rewards. No matter where you are in your ABM journey, there’s always going to be new opportunities to learn and grow. Understanding the current state of ABM can help get you to the next level. Read the rest of the findings in our ABM Outlook Survey 2018 report here.