B2B Marketing Blog

Is the Buzz Around ABM Justified? A Look at Our State of Pipeline Marketing Data

By Dave Rigotti
Nov 14, 2018
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As Head of ABM at Marketo, I’m always eager to learn how others are doing account-based marketing (ABM) and the success they are having.

We all know that ABM has been exploding in popularity thanks to new technologies that make it possible to execute and measure ABM at scale, like our Marketo ABM and Bizible ABM solutions.

But is that buzz justified?

The only way to find out is to look at the data, which is why I had to look at survey question results from the State of Pipeline Marketing report.

For this blog post, I am examining marketers whose account-based marketing activities make up over 50 percent of all other marketing activities, like demand generation, done at their orgs.

I’m also looking at the other end, marketers whose account-based marketing activities make up less than 50 percent of all other marketing activities.

As you can imagine, we made some interesting observations.

cover image buzz around account-based marketing

Companies who are doing ABM are growing faster

One of the questions this year asked for approximate year-over-year revenue growth. Twenty percent of companies where ABM makes up the majority of marketing activities are growing revenue 30 percent year-over-year. For companies who aren’t doing ABM, they are growing by only 10 percent year-over-year.

With ABM comes a different way of executing all your existing channels. For example, paid social media campaigns become more engaged and focused, which requires more budget.  ABM also enables a whole new set of channels like outbound calling, field marketing, and direct mail which can break through the noise and combine to have a 1 + 1 = 3 effect.

Companies who are doing ABM are more likely to map investments to revenue

Specifically, those not doing ABM are more than two times more likely not to have any visibility into how investment data maps to revenue metrics.

Let’s be real, ABM is expensive.

The campaigns are more involved than traditional demand generation (often with longer sales cycles too) and therefore the channels/campaigns may require bigger investments per account in order to execute. It’s so important when doing ABM to map your investment data to outcomes like pipeline and revenue to justify the ongoing spend (and spend increases) each year.

Marketers doing ABM say their organization is effective at measuring marketing performance

Thirty-two percent of marketers doing ABM say their organization is effective at measuring marketing performance, compared to just 15 percent who are not doing ABM. Like the previous section, we believe this is the case because the expense of ABM requires accountability to revenue.

This observation supports the idea that companies are scaling ABM because  its positive impact on revenue growth is proven.

Marketers doing ABM are more likely to be aligned with sales

Forty-two percent of those doing ABM said they were aligned with sales, but only 22 percent of those not doing ABM could say the same. Not a big surprise here. To execute ABM well you need to work so closely with sales that the lines between the teams often blur.

I hope next year we'll find that even more companies align marketing and sales because 42 percent leaves a lot of room for improvement. This year's report shows those doing ABM are growing faster, have metrics tied to outcomes, and are closer aligned with sales. 

I’d say the buzz is justified!

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Topics: account based marketing

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