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It is no big secret that trying to stay current in the B2B marketing world isn’t an easy task. New technologies, new services, new techniques, new vendors, and new potential leads are always popping up from out of nowhere. As such, it’s important for those who work in B2B to keep an eye on all relevant trends. One area that you can’t afford to ignore is Account Based Marketing, or ABM for short.

As with any other sector of marketing, ABM has its own trends that can help tell businesses what they need to be doing. Understanding where others are excelling or where they’re struggling could be the key to getting the most from your own efforts. As such, looking more closely at ABM trends is a must.

Just What Is ABM?
ABM is a go-to-market strategy that focuses on using personalized marketing efforts and sales techniques to transform leads to conversions. Using this type of strategy, you need to focus on cross-function collaboration and look beyond just new accounts. You also need to pay attention to your existing customer base and how you interact with them as well.

Elements Of Great ABM
To maximize your ROI from your efforts at ABM, it is important that you pay attention to a wide range of things. In a recent study involving 500 businesses, some very interesting numbers were uncovered. Of the businesses that report having a positive return on their investment into this type of marketing:

  • 72% of businesses have a strong relationship between their sales and marketing teams
  • 62% use web personalization, online ads, and web content in a sophisticated manner
  • 50% have increased their measurement capabilities when it comes to ABM
  • 58% use more sophisticated methods of ABM application

Additionally, the amount of money that teams are applying towards ABM budgets is increasing steadily. It’s expected to increase by 8% this year alone, which in turn means that more technologies and more capabilities will be used. But the big question here is just where is that increased budget being applied, and once again the most successful businesses have several things in common.

Content is still the king of marketing, especially when it comes to B2B. In fact, half of all the B2B marketers included in the study said that they will be increasing their investment in content for their ABM. Other areas where the increased money is being applied is in sales and marketing alignment and targeted account selection techniques.

A Journey To A Destination
The destination is simple – reach the marketing goals that you have in place for your company. But the journey is where things can get very interesting, and most organizations say that they are already using ABM or will be soon – only 7% reported that they won’t be taking the steps towards ABM.

Most organizations either have a pilot program in place or have already had a plan in place for the last few years. The bottom line here is clear – while ADM adoption is gaining mainstream attention, it’s still very young in its development cycle.

Often, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out just who is leading your business on this journey. In particular, just how much of your marketing team is involved in the use of ABM? For most businesses, roughly 40% of their entire marketing team is involved in ABM in some way.

That’s because you don’t have to make huge changes to your marketing team or their efforts. Instead, you can start off your use of ABM immediately and gradually increase the involvement of your team over time.

Identifying A Leader
While about half of your marketing team will likely be involved in ABM, another even more important question is just who should be in charge of ABM. Without having someone steering the ship clearly and confidently, your team will struggle to find true success. In this most recent study, about 28% of respondents said that their CMO or their VP of marketing is in charge of the ABM initiative.

Just behind this is the head of demand generation, with 24% of respondents reporting that this is the case. This is a good strategy as it allows for alignment of goals – the goal is to drive revenue and demand, and having either of these two leaders in charge makes sense. But, as things progress, many businesses are shifting away from this and actually having their own head of ABM in place who focuses solely on this area of marketing.

Measuring For Success
If you can’t measure your success, how will you ever know that your strategies are working? It’s an obvious question, but one that is very often overlooked. The bottom line is that if you want to get great results from your efforts, you’ll need to be able to identify what works and what doesn’t. Poor data gathering is a major issue within the ADM field, and as such it’s important that you take the time to learn how to identify success and failure.

Additionally, you’ll need to know where your biggest challenges lie. Plenty of issues may be present and holding you back including things like:

  • Lack of alignment with the sales team
  • Failure to properly measure ROI
  • Poor data quality
  • Lack of a budget
  • Lack of technology and tools
  • Lack of team members
  • And more

In short, it’s important for businesses to apply the right level of effort to their ABM teams. You need to not only make sure that you’re giving them all of the tools and manpower they need to succeed, but that everything is working smoothly once your ABM is up and running.

If you’re serious about getting the best results from your ABM, it’s vital that you take the time to truly consider what your existing efforts include and how you can change them. The trends above suggest that many companies are struggling in the same areas, and as such it should show you just where you need to focus your efforts and attention going forward.