How Are B2B Marketers Going About Building ABM Target Account Lists?

November 17, 2021
DemandGenReport Data Used to Build ABM Target Account Lists Nov2021

For a majority of marketers, account-based marketing (ABM) has had a favorable impact on their organization’s revenue. Given the positive impact ABM has, it’s worth having a look at how marketers go about creating their list of target accounts. Here’s what the 2021 ABM Benchmark Survey [download page] from Demand Gen Report, MOI, RollWorks, Salesforce and Triblio reveals.

While ABM strategies rely on focusing on a given set of target accounts, that doesn’t mean that the list of accounts has to be short. Indeed, some 43% of the more than 300 B2B marketing executives and professionals surveyed currently target between 100-500 (25%) or 500-1,000 (18%) accounts.

When it comes to the data marketers use to build and formulate their target account list for ABM, three-quarters use sales-team selected data. A fair portion of marketers are also using firmographic data (65%), behavioral/intent signal data (57%) and technographic data (47%). And, although only 3 in 10 (29%) currently use predictive data, slightly more than half (52%) plan to use it in the future.

Furthermore, close to half (46%) of respondents say they have a handle on their ideal customer profile that they want to include in their existing or potential ABM program. However, these same respondents say there is room to improve coverage. 

A similar survey from last year shows that ABM initiatives have led to better sales and marketing alignment. This appears to be beneficial for building account lists for some respondents to this year’s survey. More than one-third (37%) report that, when thinking about which accounts to include in their ABM program, sales and marketing are aligned on their ideal customer profile and they have strong coverage of their target accounts. 

Technology Used to Target Accounts

Technology also plays a vital role in targeting accounts for ABM. The top two technologies marketers are currently using to do so, CRMs (81%) and marketing automation platforms (71%), are also the mainstays in most martech toolkits. Account-based marketers are also adding technologies such as intent monitoring tools (42%), campaign execution and orchestration tools (36%), web and content personalization tools (36%) and account-based advertising tools (34%) to the mix to help target accounts.

On a broader scale, these same technologies are the ones currently being used to support overall ABM strategies, with CRMs and marketing automation platforms, again, figuring most prominently. 

ABM-Related Challenges

When asked to identify their biggest ABM-related challenges, personalizing at scale towards target accounts was cited most often. Earlier research suggests that the reason why marketers struggle to personalize target accounts at scale is that they are not using automation to its fullest advantage.

Additionally, although a study from ITSMA and ABM Leadership shows that three-quarters of marketers were seeing higher ROI from ABM than from traditional marketing initiatives, many respondents from this recent report are finding it challenging to prove ROI or attribution from ABM.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an October survey of 308 B2B marketing executives and professionals of various roles across industries.


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