Although account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the strategies B2B marketers are most interested in exploring this year, many marketers lack confidence in their ability to perform ABM at scale. In a new report from Campaign Stars, Folloze and Terminus in partnership with Canam Research, a larger share of sales professionals and marketers expressed a low degree than a high degree of confidence in their ability to execute ABM at scale.
In a survey of more than 270 senior-level sales and marketers, the report shows that implementation of ABM is high, with more than half of respondents reporting they either have a full ABM program (25.2%) or are in the middle of implementing one (27.3%). Another 16.8% say they are doing ABM ad hoc or without a tool.
Not only that, but most respondents are also rather confident that ABM is the right strategy for their business. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = not confident, 5 = very confident), 26.1% rated their confidence at 5, while 27.8% rated it at 4.
That said, when asked to rate their level of confidence in their ability to execute ABM programs at scale, their confidence dropped, with two-fifths rating their confidence either a 1 (21.8%) or 2 (18.4%), compared to about one-quarter rating their confidence level at 4 (16.7%) or 5 (9.8%).
So, what are the challenges behind this lack of confidence? Respondents cite a variety of obstacles, including tracking and analyzing campaign performance (38.3%), buyer persona and messaging development (37%), unreliable or non-actionable contact and account databases (36.6%) and involving the account owner (30.2%) as hindrances in their efforts to execute ABM at scale.
However, the problem faced by the largest percentage of respondents is being able to create personalized experiences (51.1%) — a challenge that has thwarted ABM efforts for some time now.
One reason why marketers are struggling with their efforts to personalize targeted accounts at scale is they are not using automation to their advantage. Only about 1 in every 14 respondents (7.2%) have fully automated their personalization of content or advertising campaigns. And, while about 2 in 5 (38.4%) have partially automated this personalization, the largest share either do it manually (31.2%) or not at all (21.1%).
On a more encouraging note, despite all that has been said about sales and marketing departments being siloed and alignment between these two areas being vital to the success of an ABM program, the report indicates that not only are sales departments taking an active role in making and influencing decisions about ABM solutions, they are also right out there with marketing running ABM campaigns.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of more than 270 senior-level sales and marketers.