Account-based marketing isn’t exactly new, but it’s moved from something reserved for the big corporates to a tactic that every B2B marketer is realising they need in their toolkit.
We’ve rounded up the latest, best statistics that every modern marketer should know. From how its grown to become one of the go-to B2B marketing tactics and the impact it has – to the challenges, best practices and future strategies to keep front-of-mind as we head into 2021.
ABM Is Rapidly Growing In Popularity
In the last few years, companies have begun to dip their toes in the water of account-based marketing and realise how powerful it can be to their overall marketing efforts. By 2020, as these statistics show it’s now a fully established program in over 90% of organisations with over 1,000 employers. And across the board, only 12% aren’t considering it – but the majority are up-and-running or testing the strategy.
- In 2017, 92 percent of participating B2B companies said ABM is “extremely important” or “very important” to their overall marketing efforts. Source: Sirius Decisions: 2017 State of ABM Study Findings
- In 2018, 18% of companies planned to start/increase account-based sales and marketing execution. Source: InsideView: The State of Sales & Marketing alignment in 2018
- In 2019, 93% of those surveyed were either using ABM or planning to soon. Most organizations surveyed were either doing a pilot program with ABM (26%), or had fully rolled out an ABM program in the last 6 months (26%). Source: Engagio & Salesforce Pardot: 2019 ABM Market Research Report
- In 2019, 40% of B2B marketing teams were involved in company ABM initiatives. Source: Engagio & Salesforce Pardot: 2019 ABM Market Research Report
- In 2020, 61% of companies surveyed in 2020 had a full ABM program in place or were in the midst of a pilot program. Nearly a third (27%) were thinking about getting started in the next 6 months. Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- In 2020, 91% of companies with 1,000 employers or more have a full ABM program in place (48%), are running a pilot (23%) or planned to get started in the next six months (20%). Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- 7% reported a decrease in dedicatedheadcount, showing that ABM is going mainstream. Source: Forrester (2016)
- 94% of respondents said they see ABM co-existing alongside their other marketing approaches. Source: Forrester (2016)
As you read on, you’ll see that sales and marketing alignment is frequently seen as a make-or-break for successful ABM campaigns and a challenge for many. In our eBook, B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment The Ultimate Game Of Digital Ping Pong we talk you through the exact processes and strategies that truly align sales and marketing to create successful ABM campaigns.
ABM Now Takes Up A Large Part Of The Budget
With ABM now rooted in most organisation’s marketing strategies and rated so highly, it’s no surprise to find that ABM budgets are also growing at a significant rate and take up at least a fifth of the marketing budget.
- The average percentage of marketing budget dedicated to ABM was set to increase in 2019 (from 21% to 29%). Source: Engagio & Salesforce Pardot: 2019 ABM Market Research Report
- Budgets dedicated to ABM have increased year-on-year by 40%, from 20% in 2019 to 28% in 2020. Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- For those with full ABM programs in place, it now makes up 39% of the total budget in 2020 (up from 33% in 2019). In less mature companies it made up 22% of their budget in 2020. Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Stud
The Widespread Impact And ROI Of ABM
Account-based marketing requires significant investment but the impact pays off. Many companies in 2020 are now reporting a 2x or 3x return and the average turnaround time for ROI is just less than 10 months. The impact of ABM extends into increased revenue, increased contract value and a tighter alignment between sales and marketing (a long-standing bugbear for most organisations).
- 87% of companies say that ABM delivers higher ROI than all other types of marketing. Source: ITSMA: Three types of account-based marketing (2017)
- Of companies with full ABM programs in place that measure ROI (54%), the vast majority report a positive ROI from their efforts. 63% report at least a 25% ROI and 46% report at least a 50% return. 5.7% even report a 2x and 6.2% report a 3x return. Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- 60% of companies that use ABM saw a revenue increase of at least 10% within 12 months, while 1 in 5 companies experienced a revenue increase of 30% or more. Source: Demand Gen & LeadData: 2019 Marketing Measurement & Attribution Survey Report
- Companies that have implemented ABM have seen a lift in average annual contract value of 171%. Source: ABM Leadership Alliance : State Of The Market (2017)
- 91% of respondents say deal size is larger for ABM accounts, 1 in 4 (25%) say it is over 50% larger. Source: Sirius Decisions: The State of the Account-Based Revenue Engine 2019
- B2B marketers saw an increase in average annual contract value of 171% after implementing their ABM strategy. Source: ABM Leadership Alliance : State Of The Market (2017)
- A total of 95% of marketing influencers say an account-based marketing strategy is successful at achieving the top priorities, with 40% describing their ABM strategy success as best-in-class. Source: Ascend2: Account-Based Marketing Summary Report 2018
- A global survey of over 300 B2B marketers in 2019 found that those who had already delivered a return on investment (41%) did so within an average of just 9.8 months. Source: B2B Marketing December 2019 survey report: Become an ABM champion: How to set and smash your targets
- Sixty-two percent say they can measure a positive impact since adopting ABM. Source: Forrester (2016)
- Tighter alignment between marketing and sales is the No. 1 value that marketers can demonstrate from ABM today. Source: Forrester (2016).
How Marketers Are Measuring ABM Success
Account-based marketing may now be very prevalent but it’s still relatively in its infancy, which may explain why just over half of marketers hadn’t began to measure its impact in 2019. There’s also a disparity between what those with a strong ROI report on and those with weaker ROI. Those with poorer ROI are less focused on meetings set and still focused on engagement metrics.
- 53% of marketers reveal they haven’t started to measure ABM yet. Source: Engagio & Salesforce Pardot: 2019 ABM Market Research Report
- 54% of marketers cite "influence pipeline” as their primary ABM metric. Source: Demand Gen & LeadData: 2019 Marketing Measurement & Attribution Survey Report
- 60% of marketers place their focus on customers, while 32% said their focus is on prospects. The remaining 8% focus on partners. Source: ABM Leadership Alliance : State Of The Market (2017)
- In 2017, 28% of marketers cited driving pipeline as their key measure — more than any other metric. Source: ABM Leadership Alliance : State Of The Market (2017)
- Our survey shows that the most common measurement of success in ABM is revenue (66%), shortly followed by pipeline in SQLs (65%). Source: B2B Marketing December 2019 survey report: Become an ABM champion: How to set and smash your targets
- In companies with a strong ROI from ABM; 75% measure pipeline generated and revenue, 67.5% measure meetings set and target account pipeline and 63% measure marketing qualified leads. Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
There are a few challenges that tend to stand in the way of rolling out and executing ABM and they will generally vary according to the size of organisation but data quality, lack of budget and attributing revenue to efforts are common trends. And once again, sales and alignment issues rear their head for larger organisations!
- 19% of respondents reported poor data quality to be their #1 challenge for executing ABM. Source: Engagio & Salesforce Pardot: 2019 ABM Market Research Report
- For companies with full ABM programs in place, the three biggest challenges are: data quality issues (53.29%), lack of budget (32.93%) and lack of alignment with sales (31.14%). Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- In early-stage ABM programs, the biggest challenges are lack of budget (47.2%), lack of ability to execute (38.51%) and lack of tools/tech (33.01%). Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- 39% of marketing influencers say attributing marketing efforts to revenue is a challenging barrier to the success of an ABM strategy. Source: Ascend2: Account-Based Marketing Summary Report 2018
- Creating personalised content is not only the most effective digital channel used, but also the most difficult to execute for 39% of marketing influencers. Source: Ascend2: Account-Based Marketing Summary Report 2018
What’s Behind Successful ABM Strategies?
The evidence shows that when sales and marketing are heavily involved in working together to provide personalised content for highly-targeted customers and prospects (driven and measured by data), it’s a winning strategy.
- Companies with full programs in place report being “solid” or “awesome” with sales and marketing alignment (51.6%), a unified account foundation (40%), running plays (40%), measurement (36%) and content / web personalization / ads (30%). Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- Marketing influencers say a successful account-based marketing strategy targets customers and prospects nearly equally (49% and 46% respectively). Source: Ascend2: Account-Based Marketing Summary Report 2018
- 60% of B2B marketers use a collaboration between outsourced and in-house resources to execute channels for ABM engagement. Source: Ascend2: Account-Based Marketing Summary Report 2018
- Marketing and sales teams that take an ABM approach together — and spend time maturing their processes and practices around it — can be as many as 6 percentage points more likely to exceed their revenue goals than teams less ABM-advanced. Source: Forrester (2016)
- Marketers strongly agree that personalised content (56%) and advanced data management (43%) are keys to ABM success. Source: Forrester (2016)
- Most marketers adopted ABM to deepen relationships and expand business with existing customer accounts . . . or to pursue a few, high-value, net-new accounts. Those focusing on lotsof accounts are practicing better segmentation (which is also very cool!). Source: Forrester (2016)
- Across all teams, the average % of team involvement in ABM is 39%. More mature programs report an average of 51% and those with the strongest ROI from ABM (2x their investment) said 61% of teams were involved. Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
Future ABM Priorities
As ABM continues to mature, many are looking to invest in more content – and personalised content is due to get more personal with a large investment in direct mail initiatives. There’s also a trend for targeting fewer but more strategic account selections and connecting efforts with ROI.
And, once again (and for the last time!), aligning marketing and sales is a top priority for many.
- 41% consider attributing marketing efforts to revenue another top priority for ABM. Source: Ascend2: Account-Based Marketing Summary Report 2018
- 50% B2B marketers surveyed plan to invest morein content for ABM in 2019, followed closely by an increased investment in Sales and Marketing Alignment (47%) and Target Account Selection (46%). Source: Engagio & Salesforce Pardot: 2019 ABM Market Research Report
- In 2020, companies with strong ROI from ABM planned to invest the most in: direct mail (64%), content (55%) and target account selection (55%). Source: DemandBase: 2020 ABM Market Research Study
- As ABM matures, marketers are choosing to focus on fewer accounts: 56% say they actively target 99 or fewer ABM accounts, compared to 47% who said the same in 2018. Source: Forrester (2016)
There are many themes and trends in our round-up of the best account-based marketing statistics but one of the most common recurring themes was the importance of aligning sales and marketing. It’s behind the companies that see better ROI from ABM and it’s also seen as a challenge and top priority for many to address as they advance on their ABM journey.