Marketing and sales analyst firm, TOPO, recently published a report on the state of account-based marketing. The report found a number of insights and recommendations for both marketers who are just getting their feet wet with ABM and those who have a few years of ABM under their belt.
The chief finding of the report is that ABM works. As you can see in the chart below, ABM outperforms traditional marketing methods (e.g., demand generation) across a number of categories, including sales and marketing alignment, overall customer LTV, contract value, close rate, and ROI.
Successful ABM Requires a Shift to Down-Funnel Metrics
While that’s good to know for marketers who are still on the fence about ABM, the most valuable finding in the report for marketers looking for actionable insights is Learning #4: “The MQL is not marketing’s ultimate milestone.” The study found that the top ABM metric is Pipeline -- 4x more ABM marketers focus on pipeline compared to MQL or MQA.
It’s a total shift in focus to down-funnel metrics. When your ABM focuses on the opportunity stage (pipeline), you are able to manage your resources and optimize for the metrics that really matter. In addition to pipeline, metrics like velocity, win rates, ACV, and LTV are all down-funnel and related to the opportunity stage.
Build Your Tech Stack from the Ground Up
So what do you need to do in order to achieve that? The report offers some recommendations here. Up next in the report is Learning #5: “Build the tech stack from the ground up.” Asking respondents which technologies contribute the most value to ABM, the only technologies that scored greater than a 4 out of 5 are the CRM, marketing automation, target list data automation, and ABM analytics & attribution. These four technologies create the foundation for your ABM strategy.
Connecting these two key learnings, ABM marketers can focus on impacting opportunities and pipeline by shifting their focus to opportunity and customer data that exists in the CRM, through ABM analytics and attribution.
Effective account-based marketing relies on effective account-based attribution. That means connecting the interactions of individuals from the same company into accounts through lead-to-account mapping, and attributing pipeline and revenue credit to touchpoints at the account level instead of the individual level.
This way, marketing data best encapsulates the truth about how B2B companies make purchasing decisions. One person may make the discovery, and as they become more interested, they’ll loop in more of their coworkers. This group of individuals -- an account -- are part of the same journey, are a single sales opportunity, and eventually become one customer. Account-based attribution ensures that your marketing data mirrors that reality.