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Marketers Aren’t Taking Advantage of Account-Based Marketing—Yet

To paraphrase baseball legend Yogi Berra, account-based marketing (ABM) is so popular that nobody uses it.

SiriusDecisions’ “2015 State of Account-Based Marketing” study shows that ABM is essential to improving sales and marketing alignment; yet, many marketers believe they lack the support needed to be successful. So although 92% of companies acknowledge ABM’s value—with some even calling it a B2B marketing must have—only 20% have had full programs in place for more than a year.

However, a wider implementation is expected throughout the industry. In fact, more than 60% plan to invest in ABM technology.

“B2B marketers are realizing that marketing to large quantities of individuals doesn’t result in quality sales opportunities,” said Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase, which revealed the study today at its Marketing Innovation Summit for B2B. “ABM is fast becoming the B2B strategy of choice because it truly aligns sales and marketing while focusing their teams on the highest value accounts. I expect adoption to grow rapidly as companies that have made this switch have seen tremendous results by focusing their efforts on attracting, engaging, converting, and measuring the accounts that are most likely to buy.”

The study also reveals the following:

  • All companies practicing ABM claim to be at least somewhat aligned with sales, with 34% saying they’re tightly aligned.
  • Fifty-two percent of companies say they currently have ABM pilot programs in place.
  • Seventy-four percent of respondents work with sales to define account goals and plans, while 67% receive help from sales on account insights.
  • Only 46% of respondents say they’re receiving help with ABM from other marketing functions.
  • Almost half (47%) of companies say they don’t feel their ABM teams have the necessary skills for ABM and their marketing teams need more support to succeed at ABM.

“We’re in the early days of an important change in how B2B companies go about delivering on their revenue goals, and ABM is a critical aspect of this shift,” said Megan Heuer, VP and group director at SiriusDecisions. “What makes ABM so attractive right now is the way it combines insights for strategy and technology for execution. Marketing teams who understand ABM are in a powerful position to better align to what sales needs and to make smart choices about the right actions to take and the right time to take them to grow high-potential accounts. What we’ll see in the year ahead is whether marketers acquire the skills and resources they need to fully realize the promise of ABM.”

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