Marketers have benefited from the use of ABM for some time now. However, the pandemic has had an impact on ABM and marketing, in general. Recent data provided by Market Resource Partners (MRP) shows that about three-quarters (77.1%) of marketers have seen the pace of their marketing efforts increase from what they were a year ago.
The survey of more than 400 marketers shows that while the majority of both SMB ($150 million and below) and enterprise (greater than $150 million) companies have seen the pace of their marketing efforts increase over the past year, it appears to be more so for enterprise businesses. Some 83% of marketers representing enterprise companies say the pace has increased, compared to 70% of those representing SMBs.
While marketers report success from using an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, the pandemic has had an impact on ABM strategies — with 72.5% of the marketers surveyed by MRP reporting as such. Additionally, there is little difference between the proportion of SMB (72.9%) and enterprise (72.2%) marketers who report having been impacted by the pandemic.
When asked how to best describe the impact COVID-19 has had on their ABM efforts, about half (51.7%) said it has somewhat disrupted the way they market and sell their products and services. This is also the description of COVID-19’s impact on ABM for the largest share of SMB marketers (55.9%) – as well as about half (48.3%) of enterprise marketers.
Other respondents reported that COVID-19’s impact was more severe. More than 2 in 5 (43.8%) said that the pandemic dramatically disrupted the way they market and sell their products and services (37.8% of SMBs and 48.9% of enterprises).
Most Significant Changes in ABM Efforts
Two-fifths (39.4%) of those marketers who said that the pandemic impacted their ABM strategy say that the most significant change in their efforts has been that their account profiles have changed (e.g. identify decision-makers, buying processes and media preferences). This is the top response for both SMBs (35.1%) and enterprise companies (42.9%).
With the shift towards digital in the wake of the pandemic, it stands to reason that more than one-quarter (27.5%) the most significant change to their ABM efforts has been that the channels they use to reach targets are changing. Broken down by company size, some 29.8% of enterprise marketers and 24.6% of SMB marketers identified this as the most significant change to their ABM efforts.
Another top change ABM marketers have noticed since the pandemic is that targets are not responsive to the same content (20.2%). This is a change cited more by SMBs (24.6%) than enterprise companies (16.7%). SMBs also were more likely than enterprise businesses to identify sales cycles being longer as the most significant change to their ABM efforts (11.9% vs. 6%).
Investing in ABM
Finally, despite the changes to their ABM strategies that marketers have experienced because of the pandemic, there is no indication that they will abandon them. Indeed, three-quarters (74.5%) plan to increase their investment in ABM this year, while another quarter (24%) will sustain their investment.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 411 marketers fielded in April and May 2021. Some 85% of respondents were based in North America.