Some key ABM Trends for B2B Marketers as we head towards 2020
- According to Forrester, 86% of the marketers surveyed believe that predictive analytics is responsible mainly for the success of account based marketing.
- A study from Sirius Decisions, 92% of B2B marketers cite ABM as extremely important to their overall marketing efforts.
B2B organizations adopting and taking an interest in Account Based Marketing, because the strategy is based on many key pillars of effective marketing today such as personalization, organizational alignment, and focus on high value customers. Knowing the state of ABM and being able to know where it’s heading is a critical scenario for any B2B marketing people today.
The fourth annual ABM benchmark study based on Demand Gen Report, which surveyed more than 100 B2B business executives from various industries, that varies across several roles, serves to confirm and reinforce a number of trends we’re seeing in the world of account-based marketing.
Based on the data shared in the newly released 2019 ABM Benchmark Survey Report, here are the basic five trends to focus on as we head towards 2020.
1. Alignment of Sales and Marketing
With a leading 46% of survey respondents citing sales and marketing alignment as the biggest ABM related challenge, most companies report being in the initial stages of ABM maturity, think it as a common barrier to progress. This struggle is not new to account-based marketing, but ABM is uniquely positioned to help solve these problems.
A strategic and advanced ABM program is built on organized account selection, overextended, and subsistence processes. These strategies overall tend to measure success based on overall results rather than getting erased down in credit attribution, helping to reduce friction and internal conflict.
Better sophisticated alignment between sales and marketing can contribute to a successful ABM program. Successfully achieving the sales and marketing alignment has been a major challenge for brands for ages but better marketing is a service provider to sales who is our customer and it is necessary to empower them and enable them to solve problems. Overall, it’s so effective that 80% of marketers with an ABM program believe that they are “somewhat to tightly” aligned with the sales.
2. ABM is B2B Marketing
According to Demand Gen Report of 2016, only 6% of respondents in the survey said they are not doing ABM yet in any form, while 50% said they’ve had their ABM initiatives in place for more than a year and another 25% had started using ABM in the past six to 12 months and only 47% of respondents said they had an ABM strategy and the practice has grown substantially in a span of 3 years.
Ultimately, this growth not only clarifies that B2B brands are increasingly in creating content and experiences for specific buying audiences and customers, but the efforts are focused beyond a singular buyer. After all, the major area of ABM is acknowledging that different people with different viewpoints form up a buying committee, something that every B2B marketer needs to focus on to move ahead.
3. Sales Teams Are Driving Account Selection
About the building and formulating the targeted account lists for ABM, according to Demand Gen Report of 2016, 80% of said this directive is led by the sales team. As per the responses, 68% are currently using Firmographics and 22% plan to use it in near future, 35% currently using technographics and 40% plan to use, 55% are currently using Behavioral/Intent Signals while 13% plan to use and 26% are currently using predictive while 39% plan to use it in coming future.
It does make sense for sales to be highly involved with account selection who know firsthand types of accounts are easiest to work with and most likely to convert easily but there is a clear opportunity for marketing to have a bigger role here, mainly by taking charge with some of the other methods listed. Technographics that is the analysis of potential accounts based on its current technology seems to be viewed as most promising one among all.
4. B2B Influencers not yet being extensively integrated
B2B influencers and Account Based Marketing are a powerful combination. The focused version of account based strategies results itself well to collaborate with subject matter experts who are mainly visible to, and are trusted by the prospects you most want to engage. When you tend to know specifically who you’re you generally trying to reach, you can confidently identify niche influencers that your audience is likely to recognize and listen to.
Research shows that people are generally more likely to trust the technical experts and friends in their field rather than brand driven messaging. Seeing this types of opportunity, business tend to be excited for their team at Top Rank Marketing to keep expanding their world-class influencer capabilities in the ABM platform specifically.
5. Quantity: Fundamental Measurement target for ABM
It’s a big query regarding how B2B marketing executives are measuring the success of their ABM programs? Here’s how the responses as per Demand Gen Report suggests that the net new accounts engaged is 60%, number of qualified accounts is 52%, contribution to pipeline revenue is 50%, win rate is 50%, pipeline velocity is 46% and account engagement score is 41%.
It is not a matter of surprise that bottom line numbers are being given more emphasis over rather than relative rate metrics. Business leaders want to see the end results, and considering that 69% of respondents in the survey report that their account based efforts are either meeting or exceeding the expectations.
6. Full adoption of account-based marketing
For the past few years, account-based marketing (ABM) has been a hot topic in B2B marketing and it even grabbed lot of attention in 2019. Research shows that 92% of firms noticed the value of ABM, calling it a B2B marketing that is must to have. Specifically, for the business to business models with complex sales process that often involve many stakeholders and transactions, ABM represents a more effective way to generate new business than relying on “inbound” methods to lead generation.
Moreover, ABM is no longer just a buzzword and many businesses are yet to fully implement ABM programs. In fact, a recent study from Terminus found out that 45% of B2B companies have some level of ABM program in place, while only 9% classify their ABM program as advanced or “fully adopted.”
In 2020, B2B firms will look to advance their adoption of ABM in both philosophy and practice and move to a more of account centric model across sales, marketing, and client success.