Why marketers finally stopped talking about ABM (and started practicing it)
Contributor Peter Isaacson explores the trends driving marketers to turn their attention to the nuts and bolts of implementing account-based marketing.
ABM is growing up. It’s gone from a buzzword B2B marketers couldn’t quite make sense of to a strategy that’s becoming more and more ingrained in our daily lives. Nowadays, marketers aren’t asking “why ABM,” they’re asking “how ABM.” How do I get my strategy up and running? How do I bring Sales into the conversation? How do I navigate the sea of ABM technology? How do I start running campaigns? How do I connect all my data sources and measure my results?
I’m seeing this shift come to life in many ways, from conversations with fellow B2B marketers to news articles about the strategy. My team has actually witnessed this firsthand. Our company’s educational offerings covering the “how” of ABM have grown drastically and have been rated more highly than the theoretical topics exploring “why.”
While a lot of factors have played a role in this shift from “why” to “how,” there are four reasons really worth calling out here.
1. Increased focus on data and ROI
Marketing departments have gotten a lot more sophisticated in the past few years. But when it comes to proving their value and reporting on the right metrics, they’re often finding themselves lost in the shuffle of all the data they collect, from downloads and click-through rates to page views and bounce rates.
As marketers feel increasing pressure to tie campaigns to revenue metrics, they’re looking to ABM for answers. ABM provides marketers a framework for measurement and gives them the ability to move past the vanity metrics toward understanding how each and every channel and program is contributing to one goal: turning target accounts into customers.
2. Growing need to connect with our audience
Measuring ROI isn’t the only challenge plaguing B2B marketers. As marketing has become increasingly digital, it’s become harder than ever for sales and marketing teams to capture and hold the attention of their prospects. So, instead of just continuing to “spray and pray” with hopes that a few good deals will eventually convert, marketers are realizing just how effective a personalized ABM approach can be.
Since ABM focuses only on a select number of accounts, it makes personalizing the message that much more efficient and effective for marketers. And it doesn’t all have to be manual, hands-on work. In fact, there are several technologies out there that automate the personalization process and make it easier for both Marketing and Sales to connect with their target accounts.
3. Early adopter success
As marketers, we’re constantly looking to our peers to understand the latest trends, technologies and tactics. So it’s no wonder that word about ABM’s success has gotten around. B2B marketers have watched their early ABM adopter peers build, execute and measure ABM strategies that have more than delivered on the ROI front.
Fresh off the heels of their early adopter counterparts, more and more B2B marketers are looking not just to learn about ABM but also to find ways to best implement it in their organizations.
4. Changing technology landscape
The ABM technology landscape has undergone tremendous growth in the past few years. Coupled with advances in artificial intelligence (AI), ABM technologies are now more powerful and have the ability to process larger quantities of data more efficiently, deliver more meaningful insights and generate automated actions.
AI enables an improvement in everything from account identification rates to real-time personalization based on intent data. It also supports a connected data model for each piece of ABM so that marketers can easily execute and measure their ABM initiatives throughout the entire funnel. All of this increased innovation not only makes adopting ABM that much easier, but it also gives marketers the ability to automate and scale their ABM efforts, which in turn frees up their time and allows them to think more strategically about their marketing and sales efforts.
As the conversation around ABM matures and evolves, B2B marketers will go even deeper with the strategy, the technologies will continue to develop and grow, and ABM will only get better and better with age.