Half (51%) of B2B marketers employing account-based marketing (ABM) have seen better sales and marketing alignment as a result of their organization’s ABM initiatives, according to Demand Gen Report’s latest ABM benchmark study [download page] for 2020. Laying out the benefits of ABM, the report also takes a look at what such initiatives currently look like at the organizations surveyed.
To arrive at their benchmarks for the year, Demand Gen Report surveyed 191 B2B marketing executives and professionals in September 2020. Confirming the ongoing popularity of account-based marketing seen in research by Demandbase earlier this year, respondents cited a number of positive impacts on their business brought about by ABM.
For the majority of respondents, ABM initiatives have led to efficient use of marketing resources (53%) and better sales and marketing alignment (51%), with nearly 4 in 10 seeing a clearer path to ROI (37%) and the building of stronger, more trustworthy relationships (36%).
Fewer are seeing better reporting potential (28%) and faster sales cycles (27%), with about 1 in 5 enjoying a streamlined customer acquisition process.
The Current State of ABM Initiatives
Despite being aware of these benefits, most B2B marketers have less developed ABM initiatives. The largest portion (49%) report using their current tech stack (CRM, MAP, etc.) to target certain accounts, with the next-largest proportion (39%) practicing “ABM Lite” or a named account model (1:Few).
Slightly fewer (36%) are practicing programmatic ABM (1:Many) or are in the early stages and testing their ABM program (33%), while about 3 in 10 (28%) practice strategic ABM or large account model (1:1). Notably, only one-fifth (21%) have a dedicated ABM platform integrated into their tech stack to streamline efforts.
ABM remains distinct from traditional demand generation for some. The majority (58%) of respondents described their current marketing operations as having integrated their demand gen and ABM processes to streamline their marketing efforts. However, about 1 in 5 (21%) prioritize traditional demand generation over their ABM efforts, with an almost equal share claiming to prioritize their ABM efforts over their traditional demand gen efforts (20%).
But what do these ABM initiatives look like in action? The majority of respondents are offering content or experiences such as sales meeting invitations (59%), targeted executive event invitations (59%) and video content (51%), while other experiences include interactive content tailored by industry/role (44%) and promotional item giveaways (40%).
Data and Channels Used
For those organizations looking to develop their ABM initiatives, certain types of data feature more than others in marketers’ plans to build and formulate targeted account lists. Sales team-selected data is what the largest percentage (80%) of respondents are currently using, with firmographic (62%) and behavioral/intent signals (63%) also being currently used by the majority of respondents.
And, though just one-third (34%) of respondents currently use predictive data to build their account lists for ABM, this is the data type that the largest share (46%) of respondents plan to use in future.
When it comes to channels used to engage ABM account lists, the vast majority (94%) are currently using email for this purpose. About 7 in 10 (71%) report that they are currently using in-person events (though with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus on the events industry this channel may be compromised) and only slightly fewer are currently using account-based advertising.
Read more in the full report here.
About the Data: Results are based on a September 2020 survey of 191 B2B marketing executives and professionals of various roles across industries and company sizes.