3 key findings from Engagio's ABM 2018 Outlook Survey

If you are a regular follower of this blog, firstly thank you, and secondly, you may have noticed that I have been harping on A LOT lately about Account Based Marketing. Now the sceptics among you may think it has something to do with the fact that we are sponsoring the forthcoming B2B Marketing Exhibition, ABM: Getting it right and making it happen…well you would be correct, but not entirely. The real reason we are talking a lot about ABM and in fact the reason we are sponsoring the B2B ABM expo is simple…ABM works, it is very much here to stay and we at Sherpa are leading the way with delivering ABM through channel partners.

We have all heard the incredible DemandBase stat that 92% of companies recognise the value in ABM, going as far as calling it a B2B marketing must have, but how are companies actually applying ABM to their marketing strategies? Well this is exactly the question that Engagio asked to 1,260 B2B companies when compiling their 2018 ABM Outlook Survey and the results are very interesting! To save you ploughing through the entire report, here is our take on the key findings:

1. ABM plays well with others.

Very few companies surveyed were solely utilising ABM in their marketing strategies…8% to be exact. This isn’t a huge surprise for me…ABM can be a sizeable investment and is not the right fit for every business model. I have discussed this in detail in previous blogs, but suitable foundations must be in place before ABM can be considered. So, what marketing strategies were companies leaning on? Well, 27% indicated that they relied exclusively on Demand Generation, leaving a remaining 65% who applied a combination of Demand Gen and ABM in their marketing efforts. However, out of the 69% of companies who stated that they use ABM in some form (some of whom had only just started their programmes), on average allocated 20% of their marketing budgets and 40% of their marketing man power to ABM outputs; highlighting that hybrid approach mentioned before. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 11.11.32ABM is a big step for many companies and therefore many are integrating it slowly into their existing plans and strategies. This works well as ABM works with – and even improves upon – the efficiency of many existing marketing practices. However, it is clear that teams need clearly defined roles when applying this new strategy and sales and marketing alignment is an absolute must. At Sherpa we will always suggest an SLA is established between the sales and marketing teams prior to launching ABM programmes. This leads on to the next point well.

2. The ABM framework across companies is flexible.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 14.09.09When asked who currently owns ABM in their organisation, the results were somewhat scattered. The largest denomination (29%) was that the CMO/VP marketing owned ABM, with ‘other’ following closely behind with 28%. To translate, few companies have a dedicated head of ABM driving their ABM programmes forward. This aligns with the hybrid approach most companies are taking.

However, it is important to say that this only works if the teams who actually run the ABM campaigns have clearly defined roles and are fully aligned. ABM is collaborative in its very nature and therefore the people involved must be flexible, as long as all parties are working off the same song sheet and ensure complete transparency.

3. Companies worry most about their ability to execute ABM campaigns.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 14.08.45Engagio asked respondents what they anticipated to be their biggest challenge for ABM and the results varied from ‘measuring impact and attribution’ to ‘orchestrating account interactions’ and ‘prioritising/scoring accounts’. The biggest challenge organisations anticipate facing is ‘getting buy-in for ABM for stakeholders’, with 21% giving this as a concern. However, when asked what they believe to be the biggest risk to their ABM programmes failing, 25% stated their lack of executional ability.

This is a concern as the effectiveness of ABM does not rely on tools and technology, but on the team’s ability to execute the strategy. However, employing a specialised marketing agency who can fully manage ABM programmes provides a solution to this.

This opens a can of worms as choosing an agency in the ABM minefield can be difficult, but luckily, we recently published 5 tips to help choose the right agency for Partner ABM which should help with that decision. Ok, there is a distinction between Partner ABM and standard ABM but the application is very similar and applying it through the channel requires an even more refined level of expertise. Leveraging the right agency’s expertise of ABM, project management, monitoring, optimisation and measurement, as well as their extensive marketing knowledge not only tackles the challenge of stakeholder buy-in, but is a sure-fire way to guarantee successful ABM campaigns.

For more information or to discuss how Sherpa can transform your marketing through ABM campaigns, please get in touch: 


SherpaWe are excited to be sponsoring the @marketingb2b Conference, ABM: Getting it right and making it happen. The specialist ABM event takes place on 8th November and Sherpa CEO, Tom Perry, will be speaking about how ABM can multiply channel revenue. Get 10% off tickets now, using the code Sherpa10. Tickets are going fast, so don’t miss out!  #B2BConf #ABM

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