Account-based marketing (ABM) is essential to improving sales and marketing alignment, but many marketers believe they lack the support needed to succeed at ABM, according to a survey of more than 100 business-to-business (B2B) companies.
The report, which SiriusDecisions issued and was unveiled at the Demandbase Marketing Innovation Summit for B2B last week, found all companies practicing ABM claim to be aligned with sales and 34 percent said they were tightly aligned.
"At its core, account-based marketing is about aligning sales and marketing around target accounts that are the highest valued and matter most," Peter Isaacson, chief marketing officer at Demandbase, told eWEEK. "Historically, these divisions have not been aligned, since marketing focuses on quantity and volume of leads while sales focuses on quality and targeted accounts. We have seen companies of all sizes—from midmarket to enterprise—and across all verticals benefit from ABM and its ability to drive revenue and improve marketing programs."
More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they currently have pilot ABM programs in place, but 47 percent of companies surveyed say that they don't feel their employees have the skill set that is needed for ABM and that marketing teams need more support to succeed at ABM.
"B2B marketers have been building credibility with sales around traditional broad-based demand creation, and this has set them up to be welcome at the table for higher-value activities," Megan Heuer, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions, told eWEEK. "It's also true that, as buyers seek more self-service options both pre- and post-sale, marketing's digital toolkit is an essential extension to what sales provides. This has created the perfect storm for ABM adoption, and the study reflects these market conditions."
While 92 percent of companies recognize the value in ABM, going as far as calling it a B2B marketing must-have, only 20 percent have full programs in place.
However, wider adoption is expected, with more than 60 percent actively investing in technology for ABM to better align sales and marketing over the next 12 months.
In addition, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents said they are relying on their sales team to target their accounts, indicating that marketers can play a larger role in developing the target account list in the future.
"Without a doubt, we'll see adoption rates soar in the near future. We've reached an inflection point that signifies that companies are recognizing ABM as a vital component in their marketing strategies," Isaacson said. "In fact, more than 50 percent of B2B companies have preliminary programs in place and 60 percent plan to implement the technology within the next 12 months."
He noted that companies continue to see extraordinary business results that illustrate how effective ABM is in improving performance and warned that those companies that don't take the leap and implement ABM are leaving the door wide open for their competitors to get a step ahead.