ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING is still a relatively new practice for many B2B organizations, but SiriusDecisions has already been tracking the category and advising leading firms on best practices for successful adoption.
The Wilton, CT-based company recently released its 2016 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study, which surveyed more than 200 B2B companies. The new data provides an interesting look at the factors that are driving the short- and long-term success of ABM.
SiriusDecisions’ VP of Research Megan Heuer pointed out that seven common factors are emerging in driving success with ABM:
As for confidence in ABM, Heuer shared that the data is trending positively, with 87% of companies saying ABM is “extremely” or “very important” to overall marketing efforts; and 71% of companies saying they have staff fully or partially dedicated to ABM.
In looking at the budget companies are putting toward ABM, the research found that 27% of companies are investing between 11% and 30% of their marketing budget on ABM, up from 19% of companies in 2015. Similarly, 73% of the companies surveyed revealed they’re investing more this year than they did in the past 12 months.
While ABM is still a relatively new discipline for many companies, the research found any skills gap is quickly shrinking: 62% of companies said their marketers have the skills they need to be successful with ABM, up from 53% in 2015.
THE ABM INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO
The survey also offers a deep dive into the specific types of technology companies are investing in to deliver and scale ABM. Almost all categories saw a significant increase in planned investment in 2016 versus 2015.
The survey also found 58% of companies plan to invest in services to enhance their ABM efforts in 2016, with the top areas of support including:
- 44% in custom third-party account/con- tact info sources (up from 32% in 2015);
- 37% in agencies for ABM support, including content and messaging (up from 23% in 2015); and
- 30% in predictive analytics services (no 2015 data).
CONCERN AROUND COMMITMENT ISSUES
While the majority of the survey contained positive trend data regarding ABM, Heuer pointed to some red flags in the areas of strategy, commitment and teamwork. Some of the areas of concern included:
- The number of companies who have had ABM in place for less than six months remained consistent from the prior year at 42%;
- Only 20% of companies have had a full ABM program in place for more than a year, which remained at from the year prior; and
- The percentage of marketers who say they work with sales to define account goals and plans declined to 68% in 2016, from 73% in 2015.
In emphasizing how important sales alignment is for ABM success, Heuer also expressed concern that the number of companies who said the two departments were “tightly aligned” actually dropped significantly, from 34% in 2015 to 22% in 2016.