Our previous studies from 2018 and 2019 showed ABM to be a top priority for B2B teams seeking:
The findings from our 2020 survey maintain this fact; we saw an increase in investment and budget allocation as firms see strong results from an account-based approach. Budgets dedicated to ABM increased by 40 percent year over year, from 20 percent in 2019 to 28 percent in 2020.
The ABM metrics tracked by companies with strong and weak ROI.
What’s surprising, however, is what hasn’t changed. Today, firms struggle with the same challenges as last year (2019) and the year before (2018): measurement and data quality.
(Every Marketing operations practitioner reading this is likely nodding in vehement agreement.)
Why is measuring ABM proving to be so difficult for firms? In part, it could be due to an overreliance on lead-based metrics making it difficult to measure the effectiveness of an account-based approach.
Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) was found to be the second most common metric tracked in this year’s study (revenue was #1). Only 29 percent of firms are measuring Marketing-qualified accounts (MQAs), and the vast majority (57 percent) haven’t even started to measure.
When we compared companies seeing high ROI with ABM versus those seeing lower ROI, here’s what we found:
As the adoption of this mission-critical discipline continues its steady climb, it’s clear that to move the needle, B2B firms need to prioritize measurement and the quality of the data that fuels their ABM programs.
I hope our 2021 report demonstrates progress in closing this gap.
We closed our survey in April 2020, just when all businesses were beginning to feel the effects of the pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 has altered a number of perspectives in this survey, including budget, headcount, and prioritization.
We made the decision to publish the full results of our study to honor our commitment to those who took the survey, and to maintain the year over year reporting that we set out to accomplish. It represents a snapshot in time, as all surveys do.
“ABM programs have been shown to result in significant improvements in pipeline growth. If economic uncertainty continues, these programs should remain a core element of the Marketing strategy.” – Todd Berkowitz, Practice Vice President, Gartner
While COVID-19 and a looming recession are affecting B2B organizations’ ability to drive sustained growth, it’s our hope that an account-based approach will actually help B2B firms in the following ways:
For more on the topic, read Six Strategies for B2B Marketing During Uncertain Times, in Forbes.