Account-based marketing (ABM) has come a long way.
Today’s top ABM practitioners are now technically-empowered and revenue-focused – and continuously outperforming the competition.
So what’s their secret? 👀
We teamed up with the ABM experts at Demandbase for their 2020 ABM Market Research Study to find out.
The study not only revealed the state of ABM across industries, but the seven defining traits of high-performing ABM programs. (In the study, “high-performing” was defined with self-reported ROI levels of 2x or higher.)
Learn what these traits are and what it takes to make the cut 👇
1. ABM High-Performers Have Expert-Level ABM Knowledge
High-performers were more likely to have a robust, multi-faceted ABM program in five key areas:
- Marketing and sales alignment
- Unified account measurements across teams
- ABM playbooks
- Defined and measured ABM metrics
- ABM-specific content, web personalization, and advertising
Source: Demandbase, 2020 ABM Market Research Study
Larger companies were most likely to have fully-realized ABM programs. 48% of companies with 1,000+ employees reported having full ABM programs in place.
As your company grows, so should your ABM program. If you want to learn more about scaling ABM for your company, download Drift’s The Art of ABM guide 👇
2. ABM High-Performers Invest More in ABM
As companies find success with ABM, they should start reinvesting back into their program and continue scaling outreach.
Unsurprisingly, high-performers were much more likely to reinvest in ABM than low-performers. These teams were able to prove the ROI of their program and get additional budget to continue growing. In fact, companies with fully mature ABM programs had a 77% higher increase in budget than less mature companies this year.
If you’re looking to learn more about what an ABM solution has to offer, Drift and Demandbase have you covered. We partnered on a guide to help you align marketing and sales around conversational ABM 👇
3. ABM High-Performers are Better Collaborators
Respondents with less mature ABM programs utilized only 33% of their marketing teams for ABM activities. Companies with more mature ABM programs involved over 50% of their marketing team in executing on all aspects of their account-based marketing strategy.
Moral of the story? Don’t silo ABM. Keep visibility high and invite others to contribute – especially in the early stages of your program.
4. ABM High-Performers are Hyper-Focused on Data Quality
Marketers are spoiled by data. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because it allows for greater personalization. A curse because, as this study shows, even the best marketers struggle with data quality. More than 53% of high-performers said data quality was the greatest challenge facing their ABM program. This is in line with other research I’ve come across.
For many teams, getting data isn’t the problem. Having a strategy for how to best use it in your marketing? That’s the challenge. And it’s a real problem considering the kind of money marketers drop to gather data today.
👆Those stats are taken from a webinar between myself and Drift’s VP of Demand Generation, Kate Adams.
In that webinar, we discussed how to break down data silos and get more traction out of the data you have. Check out the recording by clicking the image below 👇
5. ABM High-Performers Have a Dedicated Head of ABM
As Drift’s Head of ABM, I know it’s a bit on the nose to have this here.
But the data speaks for itself: Companies with the strongest ABM program ROI were three times more likely to have a dedicated head of ABM in their ranks.
The “why” behind this number is pretty simple. Companies that recruit for an ABM leader are clearly investing the time and resources to build out their program.
Instead of trying to wiggle in ABM campaigns as part of their go-to-market (GTM) strategy, high-performers are segmenting both personnel and resources separately. This way, it’s easier for them to measure the impact of ABM on their bottom line.
6. ABM High-Performers Have Defined ABM Playbooks
Demandbase defines ABM plays as “…a set of tightly coordinated sales and marketing activities across channels meant to drive more meaningful interactions with target accounts.”
Most ABM marketers have some repeatable plays in their back pocket. The assets and messaging around these plays may differ, but the execution is largely the same.
Think of them as interchangeable campaign roadmaps 👇
Having proven plays in your ABM toolkit is great for creating quick and repeatable wins. I shared some of Drift’s own plays in a webinar with Demandbase’s Director of Content & ABM Education, Tenessa Lochner. You can access the recording by clicking the image below 👇
7. ABM High-Performers Use Account-Based Metrics vs. Lead-Based Metrics
They said it in the report, and I’ll say it here again: Old habits die hard.
For businesses originally guided by lead-based metrics, it can be difficult to think in terms of accounts. However, companies running ABM should introduce new measurements of success over time as well.
Businesses primarily focused on account-based metrics had the strongest ROI in the report:
Source: Demandbase, 2020 ABM Market Research Study
It’s no secret that 2020 did a number on marketing pipelines. 79% of survey respondents said their pipeline has moderately or significantly decreased due to the coronavirus.
If you’re an ABM-er on a budget, or facing any other limited resources right now, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Narrow your focus: ABM programs still targeting new accounts should concentrate on only ideal customer profile (ICP) accounts. Anything that strays even slightly from ICP should be shelved for now.
- Focus on the accounts you know: Prioritize campaigns on highly engaged target accounts that are most likely to respond.
- Get creative: Direct mail may no longer be an option, so what virtual events can you create? What virtual content experiences can you deliver? Now is the time to test new offers and assets.
- Nail sales and marketing alignment now: Use this time to train your ABM and sales team. Enable them with resources so they can hit the ground running with new messaging and tactics. Additionally, take the time to review metrics and share results on a consistent cadence.