Slides: The Rise of the Third R: Relationships
Momentum ITSMA’s 2018 State of the Marketing Profession: the year of relationships. Marketing that is more targeted, tailored, and personal.
The exploding interest in account-based marketing (ABM) is mostly about revenue. As broadcast marketing continues to decline, and inbound fails to fill the gap, more and more B2B marketers are shifting to targeted and personalized approaches to drive pipeline and revenue.
As ITSMA and others have documented for years, ABM provides higher ROI than other forms of marketing, along with greater alignment with sales and other business benefits (see, for example, Fueling the Account-Based Marketing Fire).
Our latest research, conducted in partnership with the ABM Leadership Alliance, confirms the value of ABM yet again, with a full 87% of B2B marketers agreeing that ABM delivers higher ROI.
In terms of revenue, more than two thirds (69%) also report that their ABM programs have already delivered improvements, with 35% stating that they have seen significant improvements.
Importantly, though, the same research shows that even larger percentages of ABM-ers are seeing improvements in Reputation and Relationships, the other two “R’s” of strategic marketing: 84% report improvements in reputation and 74% are seeing improvement in relationships. This is the case even though those same ABM-ers report that their top metrics for success are primarily related to revenue (pipeline growth, revenue growth, and win rate).
Focusing on all three R’s has been a core principle for ITSMA’s ABM work since the very beginning, more than a decade ago. ABM is a long-term strategy, and marketers need to focus accordingly on the drivers of long-term success, not just shorter term revenue. And as ABM veterans know well, the approach can be incredibly effective in all three areas.
It’s even more important today while we’re shifting as fast as possible into the digital, connected economy.
With so many companies working overtime to enter new markets, roll out new offerings, and fend off new competitors, we need desperately to build and strengthen our reputation for leadership in new areas. Shifting perceptions within our key accounts is often the linchpin of the change. If they don’t accept and support our new vision, positioning, and thought leadership, why would anyone else?
And we need to leverage our most trusted relationships, especially at the executive level, to deepen understanding of the most important changes in the market, accelerate sales, and generate compelling references. Indeed, 92% of B2B marketing leaders state that building relationships in the C-suite is more important to their sales strategy than it was two years ago, according to ITSMA research on executive engagement.
So, yes, investing in ABM to drive revenue is one of the most effective approaches we can take. But don’t limit focus to just that one R. Reputation and relationships are similarly important, and ABM is already driving results with those, as well.