research swipe file account-based marketing

Research Swipe File: Account-Based Marketing

research swipe file account-based marketing

As account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives become more widely used across businesses of different sizes and industries, marketers have had a chance to evolve and optimize their approach. But what are the strategies and tactics behind account-based initiatives today?

To help answer this question, Ascend2 and our Research Partners fielded the Account-Based Marketing Initiatives Survey. We thank the 293 marketers who responded to this survey between May 17, 2021 and May 25, 2021.

Research highlights:

  • One-in-five marketers are finding great success with ABM. Marketers paint an encouraging picture when it comes to the success of their ABM programs, but there is still room for improvement.
  • ABM might be new to some organizations…but it is likely the case that most marketers are already executing many activities that resemble ABM initiatives.
  • Where is ABM most likely to be managed within a business? 28% reported that a digital marketing department or role has taken on the management of ABM.

View the research report.

What are marketers trying to achieve with ABM?

Ultimately, an account-based marketing program should make it as streamlined and efficient as possible for sales to close deals. Over half (53%) of marketers agree that creating new opportunities for sales is a top priority for their ABM strategy to achieve. Another main focus is generating more revenue from existing customers according to 42% of those marketing professionals surveyed.

How do marketers rate the success of their ABM strategy?

When asked to describe how successful an account-based program is at achieving strategic objectives, marketers paint an encouraging picture, but there is still room for improvement. While one-in-five (20%) marketers are finding best-in-class success with their ABM strategy, nearly three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed report experiencing just some success from their efforts. 

What challenges marketers the most when executing ABM?

Marketers are faced with a myriad of barriers to overcome when executing ABM initiatives. Identifying target accounts is a particularly challenging task for 36% of marketers. Coordinating marketing and sales efforts as well as reaching specific contacts also prove to be difficult elements of an overall strategy to execute according to 33% and 29% of marketing professionals, respectively.

Which marketing activities are marketers currently executing?

Account-based marketing as a strategic approach might be new to some organizations, but it is likely the case that most marketers are already executing many activities that resemble ABM initiatives. Interestingly, targeted email campaigns is second only to social media on this list with 46% of marketers currently executing this activity. Another account-based activity that nearly one-third (31%) of marketers are taking part in is specific account targeting. Many who may not have a well-developed ABM strategy in place could still be taking part in activities reflective of an ABM approach.

Who manages account-based marketing initiatives?

ABM strategies typically involve a number of departments including marketing and sales. So where are account-based efforts being managed and executed within an organization? 28% say ABM programs are managed by the marketing department with another 19% reporting that these initiatives are overseen by a sales department or role. Another 15% have defined an ABM-specific role to take on the task.

Which metrics work best for measuring ABM performance?

Measuring the success of an ABM strategy is critical to optimizing for success. Marketers are using revenue generated from target accounts as a key metric for measurement according to 56% of those surveyed. Target account engagement, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and win rate are also meaningful indicators used by 36%, 34% and 28% of marketers, respectively.

How is the ABM budget changing?

Nearly half (48%) of marketers report expecting a moderate increase in budget dedicated to account-based initiatives in the year ahead but only 11% say they are going all in with a significant increase. While 37% of marketers report that their ABM budgets will remain the same in the coming months, only a mere 4% of those surveyed report a decrease to some extent.

Where are marketers investing the most for their ABM efforts?

An account-based strategy can span many channels and areas of marketing, but which paid digital channels are marketers dedicating the most resources and budget to? Paid social media is a clear priority here as nearly two-thirds (64%) of marketers list this as a top investment channel. There is also a focus on paid search and email newsletter sponsorship according to 32% and 23% of marketers, respectively.

View the research report.

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