Top ABM Priorities Are Also Top Challenges

January 15, 2018

Marketers’ top priorities for an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy this year also figure among their biggest challenges, according to new research from Ascend2 [download page]. The survey – fielded among a majority B2B sample – found that aligning sales and marketing initiatives is the top priority for ABM strategies this year.

Not far behind, marketers want their ABM strategies to attribute marketing efforts to revenue. Previous research has also shown that account-based marketers’ need for deeper metrics relates to a desire to show marketing’s impact on pipeline and revenue.

When asked the most challenging barriers to the success of an ABM strategy, these priorities emerged as the most prominent difficulties. Indeed, grouped at the top of the list in quick succession are the following barriers to success:

  • Attributing marketing efforts to revenue;
  • Aligning sales and marketing initiatives;
  • Scoring and targeting ideal accounts; and
  • Getting executive buy-in and budget.

Interestingly, few prioritized executive buy-in and budgets in their strategies, suggesting that while sometimes challenging to obtain, marketers have the support they need to execute.

Separate research, meanwhile, has likewise indicated that sales and marketing alignment is a critical ABM-related challenge for B2B marketers.

Encouragingly, virtually all marketers surveyed believe that an ABM strategy is successful at achieving their top priorities, and more than 9 in 10 also feel that the effectiveness of the digital channels they’re using for account engagement is on the rise.

A previous study supported that finding, with three-quarters of B2B marketers surveyed saying that their ABM efforts are meeting (54%) or exceeding (20%) expectations.

As for the digital channels used for engagement, personalized content is considered the most effective, as it was in a similar survey conducted last year. Another form of targeting – segmented email – is perceived to be the next-most effective digital channel for engaging ABM accounts.

While personalized content may be effective, it’s also difficult to execute, per the report. In fact, it’s considered the most difficult of the channels identified. By contrast, segmented email is among the easiest tactics.

In other highlights from the report:

  • Marketers are almost equally as likely to target customers (49%) as prospects (46%) as their primary segment;
  • Just 1 in 6 marketers rely only on in-house resources to execute the channels used in their ABM strategies, with most instead relying on a combination of outsourced and in-house resources; and
  • Account-based marketers aren’t yet seeing the value of mobile: while being among their most difficult channels, it’s considered the least effective.

The full study is available for download here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 253 marketing influencers, roughly one-third (35%) of whom are from companies with more than 500 employees. A slight majority (53%) are from B2B companies, with another 19% from companies targeting B2B and B2C equally.


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