The Marketing Strategist:
New Report Shows ABM is Driving Greater Customer Success
Findings Show B2B Marketers Achieving Better Results as They Get More Sophisticated in their ABM Strategies
SAN FRANCISCO, CA and LEXINGTON, MA – November 28, 2018 – ITSMA, the B2B marketing leadership community that pioneered Account-Based Marketing (ABM) in the early 2000s, and ABM leader Demandbase, released today, in collaboration with the ABM Leadership Alliance (ABMLA), a research study titled ‘2018 ABM Benchmark Study’. The study found that 77 percent of B2B marketers believe ABM has driven greater success for their target accounts. ABM programs now account for more than a quarter of total marketing budgets, and ABM principles are influencing the way B2B firms go to market overall.
B2B marketers are deploying more sophisticated ABM strategies, as 46 percent target accounts across multiple tiers, up from 35 percent in 2017. These tiers include One-to-One, One-to-Few, and One-to-Many. However, the research also indicates that ABM is still relatively new to most marketers, as 52 percent of respondents have implemented ABM for less than a year.
ITSMA and Demandbase in collaboration with the ABMLA announce the 2018 ABM Benchmark Study, which highlights marketers’ success with ROI & customer success.
According to the research, ABM is fast becoming business as usual for B2B marketing organizations such as SAS, DXC Technology, and Fujitsu, with marketers reporting their ABM programs now account for 28 percent of their overall marketing budget. Investment in ABM is being driven by the value companies are receiving from their programs for revenue and beyond.
Marketers cite substantially greater ROI from their ABM programs compared to traditional marketing, which increases as companies gain experience. Overall, the study found that 99 percent of marketers get a greater ROI from their ABM programs than all other types of marketing programs. 45 percent of respondents with less than three years of ABM experience in their organizations are seeing at least double the ROI from ABM. That number skyrockets to 80 percent of companies with three years or more ABM experience.
Companies also experience higher levels of customer advocacy and innovation. Specifically, 66 percent of marketers said their ABM accounts are more likely to provide positive references and advocate for them than other accounts.
It doesn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that many marketers cited the backing of their C-suite to invest in ABM. However, while marketing and business leaders clearly believe the potential of ABM, understanding how best to implement and expand programs remains a challenge for many marketers.
Respondents listed their top five challenges in getting started with the strategy as:
- Getting the data and reports needed to track results (35 percent)
- Personalizing and tailoring marketing to the key contacts at each account (34 percent)
- Developing campaign assets that are mass customizable (30 percent)
- Getting adequate budget to support programs and resources (30 percent)
- Educating sales on the process and value of ABM (26 percent)
“As the ABM category continues to explode, this research confirms the same trends that we are seeing in the market – that more and more companies are adopting ABM, and getting more sophisticated in their ABM strategies,” said Peter Isaacson, CMO, Demandbase. “But it’s important to remember we’re still in the early days of ABM expansion, and there is a lot more potential for marketers to drive their business results.”
As companies look toward 2019, the study highlights eight specific initiatives marketers should consider implementing to increase ABM impact and further elevate their programs as key contributors to corporate growth:
- Leveraging technology to support account-based approaches
- Increasing impact within each of the three types of ABM: One-to-One, One-to-Few, and One-to-Many
- Moving to a blended strategy with more than one type of ABM to scale programs, optimize investment and achieve greater key business outcomes
- Balancing coverage of new and existing accounts to use ABM for all of your accounts
- Getting the metrics right to focus on quality and prove success
- Investing in teams to ensure across a set of marketing resources the team has mastered the full complement of required skills to fulfill this different way of marketing
- Mastering storytelling to create relevant, compelling messaging and content at scale
- Orchestrating across different departments within the organization including continuing to strengthen the essential partnership with sales
“It’s encouraging to see so many marketers investing in ABM and beginning to reap substantial rewards,” said Rob Leavitt, SVP at ITSMA. “The focus is now shifting from why companies should implement an account-based approach to how marketing, sales, and business leaders can collaborate to ensure maximum benefit from this strategic discipline. Our hope is that B2B companies of all industries and sizes will look carefully at how they can further optimize their ABM programs in 2019 and beyond.”
The ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance Account-Based Marketing Benchmarking Survey questioned 207 B2B marketers at 190 ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance member companies via a web-based survey and qualitative interviews.
As a follow up to the joint research, Demandbase will host a joint ITSMA and ABMLA webinar titled ‘Believe the Hype: How to Win with Account-Based Marketing’ on Wednesday 5 December at 11.00am PT / 2.00pm ET, which will discuss the full survey report. For more information sign up for the webinar and download the full report.
For more than 20 years, ITSMA has led the way in defining, building, and inspiring B2B marketing excellence. With a dedicated focus on services and solutions for the connected economy, we provide our member community with insight, advice, and hands-on help to strengthen reputation, increase revenue, and deepen customer relationships. ITSMA pioneered Account-Based Marketing in 2003 and today offers a broad portfolio of ABM research, events, consulting, training, and coaching services. In 2017, ITSMA leaders Bev Burgess and Dave Munn co-authored the book, A Practitioner’s Guide to Account-Based Marketing. Learn more at www.itsma.com or follow the company on Twitter @ITSMA_B2B.
The ABM Leadership Alliance unites industry-leading technology partners to educate B2B marketers about how developing and deploying an ABM strategy can help them improve their reputation, strengthen relationships, close bigger deals with target accounts, and increase pipeline velocity. Members include Demandbase, Bizible, Certain, Engagio, PathFactory, Optimizely, Radius, Salesforce, Sigstr, PFL, and ON24.
Demandbase is a leader in Account-Based Marketing (ABM). The company offers the only Artificial Intelligence-enabled, comprehensive ABM platform that spans Advertising, Marketing, Sales and Analytics. Enterprise leaders and high-growth companies such as Accenture, Adobe, DocuSign, GE, Salesforce and others use Demandbase to drive their ABM strategy and maximize their marketing performance. The company was named a Gartner Cool Vendor for Tech Go-To Market in 2016. For more information, please visit www.demandbase.com or follow the company on Twitter @Demandbase.
Meg Rahner, SHIFT Communications