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10 Stats to Know About the State of Account-Based Marketing

  • 25 July 2017
  • Dean Schmid

Account-based marketing was once the domain of large companies that could spend millions targeting corporate whales with direct harpoons of strategies. It requires a lot of data, coordination, and manpower, or at least it did.

Like the rest of marketing, ABM has been automated and streamlined, by technology, and we now have scalable account-based marketing tool sold SaaS-style and used by startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. It’s a strategy, not a technology, but it requires a lot of tools, and it’s these tools that are now available to everyone.

Account-based marketing is all about targeting specific accounts. Rather than throw wide nets of content, ABM is spear fishing – I know, one too many analogies about killing marine life.

Marketers have found that sending an email, and a bottle of wine, directly to the accountant, on the third floor, is better than hoping they chance upon a display advertisement, for new accounting software.

But, before the wine and email, accounts need to be qualified, and this is done with content.

Content is the essence of ABM. Align content with specific personas to target specific accounts. Hey, presto! You have an ABM strategy.

Considering an account based marketing campaign? Take a look at these ten stats to learn about the state of account-based marketing.

1. Almost 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach.

“Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash,” Pink Floyd. Money justifies the marketer’s existence and ABM delivers great returns. Image result for account-based marketing

85% of surveyed marketers in an ITSMA report said that ABM delivered higher returns than other approaches; what’s more, half of the respondents said that the returns were significantly greater. Another report by Demand Metric found that 60% of marketers said ABM increased revenue by at least 10%.

I think we have established that ABM done right can increase revenue and from a bottom-line perspective that’s far more important than keeping up with an industry trend.

2. Marketers doing ABM are about 40% more likely to report alignment with their sales team compared to marketers not doing ABM.

Misalignment of marketing and sales is one of the few things covered in university that is relevant in the real world. Coordinating campaigns, communicating information, and agreeing on metrics of success is very difficult in even a modestly sized company.

A survey from Bizible found that account based marketing forces marketing and sales departments to work together. I think the reason is targeting specific accounts gives sales and marketing similar goals and methodology.

From a pool of qualified leads, marketing and sales agree on a strategy to identify and expand on high-value targets. Coordinating the qualification, handoff, and nurture together builds greater cooperation than the occasional report passed back and forward.

3. 27% of survey respondents said they were devoting between 11% and 30% of their total marketing budget to ABM.

In light of the statistics, we have covered so far it is hardly surprising that companies are doubling down on their ABM efforts. It works, and it makes money. But, revenue isn’t the only reason ABM is such a revered strategy. “This report from Bizible and TOPO found “ABM outperforms a traditional marketing approach across a number of categories, including sales and marketing alignment, overall customer LTV, contract value, close rate, and ROI,” Terminus.

Image result for 27% of survey respondents said they were devoting between 11% and 30% of their total marketing budget to ABM.

ABM will continue to grow in both the B2B space and the B2C space as technological innovations make a B2C account-based marketing scalable.

4. 86% of marketers surveyed believe that predictive analytics is central to account-based marketing success.

This stat from Forrester points out the near unanimous belief among marketers that predictive analytics are going to make ABM huge. I agree, that once we have predictive analytics down pat it is going to blow this whole thing wide open. If we can qualify leads at the top of the funnel, then we can reach out to them sooner and show them specific content. There are plenty of startups hard at work trying to perfect Identifying leads earlier using behavioral marketing techniques and complicated algorithms.

“Buyers can be as much as 90% of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a salesperson. This change to the buyer’s journey has made nurturing even more important,” Venture Beat. The statistics have been spoken the decision to buy is being made in the top of the funnel. Mastering the research driven customer journey is all about showing leads the right information at the right time, streamlining their experience, and nurturing them to a purchase. None of this can be done if we don’t know who our leads are until they start exhibiting obvious buying signals.

5. 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.

The success of ABM is dependent on the personalization of the customer experience. There is endless research out there that substantiates this study by Forrester which found that most people will pay more for a personalized experience. “74% of consumers are frustrated when a website is not personalized, according to Infosys,” B2B Community.

Image result for 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience

The modern consumer demands we compete on the experience we provide for our users and account-based marketing is a strategy to structure that personalization.

Identify your leads with content marketing and then show them content that’s only relevant to them. This personalization doesn’t need to be online, in fact, it is probably best if most of it isn’t. Do what you can with your website and content, but I think that the easiest way to personalize and experience is to meet with a person.

6. Nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers identified engaging key decision makers as their top challenge.

Getting your message heard by the stakeholder and decision makers of a company is no small feat. Then you have to convince them to make a decision. The advantage of ABM, as I see it, is that you are contacting or at least targeting decision makers directly. If they are having the information relayed to them, you have no control over how your service is being pitched to them.

Forrester Research found that nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers identified engaging key decision makers as their top challenge. And account-based marketing strategy can help marketers remedy this by identifying multiple stakeholders and reaching out to the accounts systematically. This ensures that all decision makers have the information that they need to make a decision.

It’s also important that your content is targeting higher-ups in the organization. Creating content that addresses their problems, pain points, and creates value from their point of view.

7. 84% believe that ABM provides significant benefits for retaining and expanding current client relationships.

Client relationships are at the core of any good B2B strategy. It is an often-ignored aspect of account-based marketing, but it’s an effective strategy for building and maintaining expanding client relationships. How much of your business comes from repeat customers? exactly, in B2C we marketers pipe on about customer advocacy all day but in B2B it isn’t about a revenue hike. It is what keeps the lights on.

Image result for 84% believe that ABM provides significant benefits for retaining and expanding current client relationships.

“Sixty-one percent of SMBs report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new business,” BIAKelsey

A study by Sirius Decision found that a large majority of marketers valued ABM as strategy for nurturing these client relationships and encouraging that repeat business.

8. 41% of B2B marketers worldwide plan to increase spending on ABM.

If you value staying on top of marketing trends, account-based marketing is one of the fastest growing strategies in the space. According to eMarketer, just over 40% of B2B marketers are going to invest more in the technology. The same report found that the adoption of ABM was surprisingly slow of B2B marketers. “While just 20% of respondents reported having a full ABM program in place for a year, 26% had one for less than a year.”

Image result for 41% of B2B marketers worldwide plan to increase spending on ABM.

This tells us that while the companies with ABM strategies are prepared to spend a lot more money perfecting them, the adoption isn’t as far-reaching as other emerging marketing trends. Only 8% of respondents said that they were going to decrease spending, so it is definitely growing.

9. Companies are 67% better at closing deals when sales and marketing teams are in sync.

Research by leading marketing software provider Marketo reiterates the importance of having a marketing and sales team on the same page. “According to MarketingSherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified”

Image result for Companies are 67% better at closing deals when sales and marketing teams are in sync

Marketo recommends implementing an MQL (marketing qualified lead) scoring system and using strict criteria to only send qualified leads to the sales team. This ensures that resources aren’t being wasted following up on people that have no intention of making a purchase.

An account based marketing strategy can bring sales and marketing into line and make marketing accountable for dead-end leads they offload onto sales.

10. B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, or $100 million for a billion-dollar company.

Expanding on the last point, research from IDC tells us that B2B companies waste millions of dollars due to their inability to align sales and marketing. Like I discussed earlier, this is due to wasted resources, inability to close high-value accounts, and problems targeting high-level decision makers. It all adds up and companies are hit right in the revenue.

Image result for align sales and marketing teams

“According to SiriusDecisions, cross-functional alignment among sales, marketing, and product organizations can help companies achieve up to 19 percent faster revenue growth and 15 percent higher profitability,” Highspot

Account-based marketing is used by companies to remedy this misalignment. If your sales are all account based why shouldn’t you marketing follow suite.

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