3 Ways to Find Budget for ABM in an Economic Downturn

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November 16, 2023

5 mins read

Budget for ABM blog Feature

3 Ways to Find Budget for ABM in an Economic Downturn

You don’t need me to tell you that the economic landscape is a bit tricky right now.  During these uncertain times, putting your limited marketing budget to the best use to stimulate revenue growth and form better relationships with your best customers becomes even more important. I’m famous for saying in my ABM workshops with clients, “Since marketing budgets are never infinite, we need to hone in on ‘best fit’ accounts that are in-market for your products and services today.” Now more than ever, getting hyper-targeted using ABM / ABX as your go-to-market (GTM) approach is critical.

Unlike traditional marketing that relies on lead-based marketing automation and ad tech designed for B2C, B2B account-based marketing and selling drives efficiency with the accounts that matter, resulting in additional pipeline from targeted accounts, higher win rates from ABM accounts, and improved ROI over traditional marketing.  In fact, according to a 2022 Forrester TEI Study, “Demandbase account-based marketing and sales platform delivers a 367% three year return on investment (ROI).” Check out our ROI calculator to estimate the ROI for your ABM program.

The Demandbase account-based approach is more effective for B2B than traditional marketing.


Making the case for ABM (or ABX as we call it at Demandbase) 

Why budget for ABM? Taking an account-based approach has many benefits. First, when you focus your time and resources on the accounts that are most likely to produce revenue, you eliminate the wasted budget on broad-brush campaigns.  

Next, with an account-based approach, you get to know your accounts well, first through intent and engagement data, and then through a foundation of trusted interactions.  Sales has better, more informed conversations, and marketing delivers the right message to the right accounts at the right time. This can result in much bigger wins, higher closure rates, and shorter sales cycles.  

Lastly, when marketing and sales teams are focused together on the best-fit accounts, they create tighter internal alignment around targeted accounts and customers. This alignment allows you to grow your business through new logo acquisition, expand your relationships with existing customers, and drive a better, more sticky customer experience.  Ask any marketer or seller about customer retention versus acquisition, and I bet they will say that it’s a lot less expensive to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones! 

Making the case for ABM/ABX from Demandbase


Finding budget for ABM

Finding budget for your ABM / ABX program may be easier than you think. It’s all about evaluating what’s working and what’s not, finding ways to use an account-based approach to decrease expenses, and sharing the budget burden across aligned teams.

1. Evaluate Program Effectiveness

Taking a serious look back at prior year expenses and their effectiveness at driving revenue is the first step in finding funding for your ABM programs. Look at what worked and what could be improved. Evaluate which activities took a broad approach such as content syndication and brand advertising, and consider cutting these expenses.  

Demandbase can be used to support the evaluation of program effectiveness as well.  In the Demandbase One™ Analytics tab, there is a menu option called Program Impact for those who have connected either Salesforce or Marketo. Using your targeted account list, review this tab to understand which programs impacted your targeted accounts and which did not in terms of accounts reached, new opportunities, new pipeline revenue, and closed/won revenue for accounts that were a part of that particular marketing program.

2. Shift Expenses and Reallocate Budget Using an Account-Based Approach

Several marketing activities can be more effective when using an account-based approach. For example, traditional field marketing events can be more focused on targeted customers and industries. You may find that you can do an Oil & Gas event in Houston and a Banking & Finance event in New York City rather than a traditional roadshow across the country, for example. For sponsored events, you can ask the organizers for a list of account names who have signed up for the event or those who attended in prior years. Set a threshold for percent of attendees from your targeted accounts to decide whether to invest. If there are too few accounts scheduled to attend, perhaps you can host an off-site cocktail reception for your targeted accounts and forego the sponsorship investment. Of course, taking a targeted account approach with advertising can be much more effective than traditional advertising, and your account lists can be adjusted up or down based on available budget. Revisiting your marketing plans to use an account-based approach can result in significant budget reductions.

3. Sharing is Caring

You don’t have to do ABM alone! One of the primary benefits of an account-based approach is better alignment between your sales and marketing teams. If you look at your ABM program objectively, both sales and marketing benefit from the technology investment and marketing spend. That’s one of the reasons we like to use the term ABX rather than ABM — it’s broader and more inclusive.

Many clients I work with share budget contributions between sales ops, marketing ops, and digital marketing for the purpose of account-based marketing. This shared investment can help to further solidify ABM/ABX as a preferred GTM approach throughout your organization.

While ABM/ABX as a GTM strategy is effective in good economic times, it can be even more impactful to drive business in times of uncertainty. Consider the advice above before you are asked to cut budgets, and you will be in a great position to defend an account-based GTM in your organization.

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Kim Tremblay

Sr. Account Based Marketing Strategist, Demandbase

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