Six things ABM leaders do better

Even ABM leaders are just beginning to deliver cohesive, multichannel experiences across human and digital touchpoints. The good news is, here are six surefire ways to level up your ABM programs.

Rob Leavitt

by Rob Leavitt

December 19, 2022

In 2003, ITSMA (now Momentum ITSMA) coined ‘Account-Based Marketing.’ We knew we were onto something, but wow. In two short decades, ABM has evolved from niche specialism to an all-conquering growth driver. ABM is no longer a “nice-to-have.” For many organizations, ABM isn’t an initiative: it’s a core component of their go-to-market strategy.

However, even ABM leaders are just beginning to deliver cohesive, multichannel experiences across human and digital touchpoints. Customizing, optimizing, and scaling campaigns remains tricky—not to mention the perennial problem of sales and marketing alignment.

In reality, ABM is just entering young adulthood. Let’s be honest: who doesn’t have more to learn at 20? 

The good news is there are some surefire ways to level up your ABM programs.

The 6th annual ABM Benchmark Study from Momentum ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance provides a window into the world of ABM at top-tier organizations and beyond. Who’s investing in what? What sets successful campaigns apart? Where are the gaps to exploit and build out your programs?

Rob Leavitt, SVP Advisory, Momentum ITSMA, and Adam Bennington, Head of Consulting, Momentum ITSMA, recently took a deep dive into the study.

You can check out the webcast here.

In the meantime, here are the top six takeaways:

1. Elevate ABM as a corporate growth priority 

76% of ABM leaders position account-based marketing as a companywide business initiative, not a marketing initiative. Only 41% of other practitioners do. Accordingly, ABM drives overall strategic growth for 74% of ABM leaders—and just 29% of the rest. Want to get the most from your account-based activities? Embed them into your go-to-market strategy.

ABM was the #1 B2B marketing priority in 2022

71% of companies will increase their ABM budgets in 2023

Source: ABM Benchmark Study

2. Segment and prioritize key accounts and opportunities

One-to-many ABM may bring some benefits, but ultimately, the core value of ABM is about resonating with specific customers. One-to-one ABM is the preferred option for ABM leaders, with 73% tailoring their campaigns to individual accounts versus 44% of other organizations. If you have relatively few high-value relationships which drive a significant portion of revenue, then hyper-targeted ABM will repay your time, resources, and expertise.

3. Invest in skills and team development

ABM is a talent game. Nothing happens without acquiring, training, and retaining effective teams and creating an environment where they can thrive. And that talent needs to be cross-functional on the individual and team level. There are multiple must-have skills, but most organizations prioritize two above all:

  1. Campaign planning and execution
  2. Sales and marketing collaboration and integration.

ABM practitioners need strategic acumen and the ability to implement it. And getting top-down sales buy-in is critical.

4. Align the extended ecosystem

The talent challenge extends beyond your immediate teams; successful ABMers coordinate multiple stakeholders to plug in the right tools and expertise. Follow their lead by building out governed ecosystems with a clear set of program functions and processes—including standardized templates and metrics to enable scalability and consistent reporting.

An ABM Program Management Office or Center of Excellence becomes your training ground and internal cheerleader. And creating or joining an ABM community, like Growth Hub, will ensure you remain on the cutting edge of innovation and best practices. Just under half of ABM leaders (46%) have their own (whereas only 14% of other practitioners do).

5. Leverage data and insight for strategy and performance

Unsurprisingly, ABM leaders invest in knowledge-based tools. Account insights (76%) are top of the pack, with engagement insights at 56%. You can never have too many insights, and these numbers show there are more opportunities on the table. ABM practitioners need to know what, where, and when to engage—and how to raise their game.

6. Tailor messaging and thought leadership for relevance and cut through 

Everyone knows ABM is about getting under your customer’s skin and addressing their specific challenges. ABM leaders delve deeper than the rest. Tailored value propositions are a good place to start (and 62% of the most successful organizations agree). There’s no shortage of value propositions out there, but customization is vital. It’s not easy to fine-tune a complex offering to a specific account with a complicated use case—you have to forge it from real insight.

Get the report

Elevating ABM: Building Blocks for Long-Term Growth, the 6th annual Momentum ITSMA & ABM Leadership Alliance benchmark study, provides an essential review of how we’re doing with ABM in today’s context. How well are we applying core principles, and how are we adapting to constant disruption? How should we focus investments as we look toward the next phase of ABM development? How are ABM leaders investing differently to achieve better results?

The report also reveals the top ABM priorities for success in 2023 and beyond, supplemented by real-world case studies and advice from ABM experts.

Download Elevating ABM: Building Blocks for Long-Term Growth for survey details and to see what steps you can take to elevate your ABM program.

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