Fully 95% of B2B marketers around the world expect their account-based marketing (ABM) budget to increase over the next 12 months, up from 90% who felt that way last year and 84% in 2021. That’s according to the ABM and Intent Benchmarking Study 2023 [download page] from Foundry, which found that the average anticipated budget increase over the coming year is just over 18%.
These future investments are being driven by a variety of goals, which are mostly related to sales objectives. The most commonly cited goals are to create wider engagement with the ideal customer profile (59%), improve win rates (58%), improve new account acquisition (57%) and up-sell and cross-sell to existing customers (56%).
However, when asked to identify the single most important goal of ABM programs over the next year, improved win rates and improved acquisition of new accounts led the way (each at about one-quarter of mentions), followed by pipeline acceleration.
These goals generally align with ABM measurement initiatives found in a separate new study. Demand Gen Report’s ABM Benchmark Survey [download page] reveals that the most common ABM outcome measurements used are net-new accounts engaged, number of qualified leads, win rates, and pipeline velocity.
That survey also found that the most common positive impact ABM initiatives have on businesses is better sales and marketing alignment. In fact, 87% of the respondents to Foundry’s survey said that alignment with their sales team is strong, up from 76% last year and 80% in 2021. This aligns with a separate recent study from Demand Gen Report, which likewise found improving alignment between sales and marketing teams.
ABM Marketing Tactics, Channels, and Tech
Some 91% of marketers surveyed by Foundry agreed that they’re adding more tactics to their programs as their ABM efforts mature. The tactics most commonly cited as being used to support ABM are customer marketing (43%) and paid social media (40%), with content syndication (30%) and organic social media (30%) further back.
In terms of channels used for ABM campaigns, Google search leads the way (64%), followed by social channels other than LinkedIn (55%), LinkedIn (48%) and video (48%).
When it comes to technology platforms, the report finds that more than half are using each of a variety of platforms, including social media monitoring, marketing automation, ABM platforms, predictive analytics tools, and web analytics. When asked which is the most successful, marketing automation and social media monitoring tied for the lead, each cited by 24% share of respondents.
The Use of Intent Data
B2B use of intent data is on the rise, and 91% of respondents to the Foundry survey indicate that they’re using intent data to prioritize accounts, identify content to be served and build target account lists. The vast majority are using such data across more than one channel.
With at least 9 in 10 agreeing that intent-based strategies are useful for audience building, gaining contact-level information and creating customer triggers, among others, the most common goal reported for intent data is to optimize lead scoring. However, there are a variety of other goals that a sizable portion of respondents are setting for their intent data use, including building audience segments, identifying new accounts, generating high-quality leads, monitoring for potential customer churn, and prioritizing accounts for prospecting.
Some challenges remain, however: close to half find it problematic to get sales teams to trust the quality of the intent data (49%), to measure the impact of intent data on pipeline (48%) and to combine intent from multiple data sources (47%).
Other Survey Highlights:
- 93% of marketers surveyed by Foundry believe their ABM efforts have been either extremely or very successful, up from 84% last year.
- The main challenges associated with ABM are measuring the success of ABM programs (35%) and attribution of the different ABM tactics and channels (34%). One notable rise has been in the percentage who say that their tech stack is too complicated or not sufficient, with 29% citing this, up from just 4% last year.
- About 9 in 10 say that account-based advertising has been extremely or very successful in impacting their pipeline.
- The top reasons for running account-based ads are to generate leads (45%) and to raise brand awareness among target accounts (44%).
- Close to half (47%) say that 51-80% of their leads become sales-accepted leads, while 48% say that 11-50% of their leads become sales-accepted leads. Among marketers who use at least 5 data sources, 79% said the the majority of their leads become sales-accepted.
For more, download the report here.
About the Data: The Foundry report results are based on an August survey of 500 B2B marketers across the North America, EMEA, and APAC regions.