What Are ABM Practitioners’ Top Challenges?

October 26, 2022

Almost half of B2B marketers say that their ABM efforts are either greatly exceeding (16%) or exceeding (31%) organizational expectations, according Demand Gen Report’s ABM Benchmark Survey [download page], sponsored by Zoominfo, Salesforce, ON24, and MRP.

While roughly twice as many respondents (36% share) prioritize traditional demand gen over ABM efforts than the other way around (19%), overall a plurality (45%) have integrated their demand gen and ABM processes to streamline their marketing.

Respondents are realizing various benefits from their ABM initiatives, but one stands out: most marketers are seeing better sales and marketing alignment. That’s supported by recent research from Demand Spring, in which three-quarters of B2B marketers surveyed reported either a significant or moderate increase in sales and marketing alignment since executing ABM.

However, sales and marketing alignment remains one of the biggest ABM-related challenges, according to this latest survey, along with proving ROI and attribution. B2B marketers are also struggling to some degree to personalize at scale towards target accounts and to develop targeted content for specific accounts or personas.

Indeed, when it comes to content used in outreach, fewer are using personalized/custom content for each account (51%) than targeted content tailored to specific industries (64%) and targeted content based on account challenges and needs (61%).

The top 5 content types leveraged are white papers, case studies, articles/blogs, analyst reports, and research.

ABM Campaign Delivery Channels

Email continues to be the channel that the most respondents are using to engage their ABM list – as cited by 84% of survey respondents (though down from 91% last year). Other top delivery channels include in-person events (70%, account-based advertising (64%), outbound tele-prospecting (53%) and direct mail (46%).

The authors highlight a rise in efforts to “keep up with buyers’ self-service demands.” Specifically, the report notes increases in the following campaign delivery channels: custom resource centers (41%, up from 30%); chatbots (39%, up from 23%); messenger platforms (35%, up from 17%), and text messaging (33%, up from 10%).

Other Findings:

  • CRM remains the top tech tool used by ABM practitioners, followed by marketing automation;
  • 6 in 10 are using intent/behavioral data.
  • The most common way of augmenting contact lists to optimize reach and campaigns is manual, internal research, though the method with the biggest planned uptake is to work with a predictive analytics provider.
  • Targeted executive invitations are the top content format of choice, though it fell in use from last year. By contrast, the use of interactive content, video content, promotional item giveaways, and influencer/advocate-related content grew.
  • The top metric used is the number of qualified leads and the net-new accounts engaged.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 273 B2B marketing executives in various roles and industries. About two-thirds are from companies with at least $25 million in annual revenues.

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