How Marketers are Making the Most of Account-Based Marketing [Interview]
Marketers continue to show an interest in account-based marketing (ABM), but research has indicated that they still face obstacles in achieving their key objectives with this tactic. A survey conducted by Demandbase discovered that although 66 percent of agency-based marketers are already deploying ABM, 45 percent of their clients do not fully understand ABM. For insight into this challenge and other obstacles, we spoke to Kent Ragen, VP of Channel Sales at Demandbase.
How are marketers making the most of account-based marketing?
“Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is about identifying and targeting the accounts that are most likely to buy your products so you can close revenue faster. Successful ABM marketers are taking advantage of all the new and easy-to-use technologies that are out there to grow their efforts, including making use of AI-enabled platforms that can ingest huge amounts of data and provide deep insights and recommendations for targeting, engaging, and converting prospects.”
Do you see more marketers shifting toward ABM? What are the benefits?
“In the past few years, ABM has emerged as an exciting new marketing technology category. According to B2B research and advisory firm, SiriusDecisions, ABM adoption doubled in 2016 over 2015, and is slated to grow even more in 2017. ABM adoption is growing because the ROI can be very compelling, whether it’s more opportunities, increased deal velocity or better efficiency from existing marketing budgets.
Instead of wasting time and money generating leads that sales doesn’t want, ABM helps companies focus their marketing efforts on the accounts that matter the most, creates more alignment between sales and marketing teams, and drives real impact on business metrics such as increasing pipeline and revenue.
SiriusDecisions also reports that 91 percent of respondents stated that ABM improves closed deals, and nearly one in four had a better than 50 percent conversion increase when deploying ABM.”
How do you see marketers integrating ABM into their strategies in the next 12 months?
“Marketers are partnering with a wider ecosystem of ABM experts, whether it’s agencies or technology vendors or both. There are multiple ways to think about implementing ABM, whether you’re taking a one-to-one approach, one-to-few or one-to-many, or some combination thereof.
Additionally, marketers are becoming more sophisticated with ABM, moving from asking, ‘Why should I do ABM?’ to ‘How do I get started?’ or even ‘How do I do it even better?’”
What is the most interesting finding/statistic to you in the report?
“I was surprised to see that every agency surveyed has at least one client who is pursuing an ABM strategy, but that on average only 29 percent of the agencies’ clients are using ABM. This is a huge disconnect, but it also represents a big opportunity for agencies to create value for their clients and make an impact with ABM.”
Why do you think 45 percent of customers still do not fully understand ABM?
“One of the biggest myths around ABM is around what actually constitutes as ‘ABM.’ Many marketers invest in Account-Based Advertising and then think they are doing ABM, but in reality, they’ve only taken one step to getting ABM off the ground.
True ABM requires coordination across the entire sales and marketing organization, a designated focus on accounts, and aligned goals that utilize a variety of tactics including events, webinars, content, field and website marketing.”
What can be done to change this?
“ABM education is an important part of changing the ABM myths out there and that takes the form of partnering with a wider ecosystem of ABM experts, whether it’s agencies or technology vendors or both.
Additionally, Demandbase and ITSMA are two organizations that provide ABM Certification. Demandbase’s ABM Certification Program offers a full-day “Foundations” course that is available in-person or online, and an “Advanced” course that is available in-person, which is focused on the fundamentals for scaling your ABM strategy. Demandbase has thus far trained and certified more than 1,500 B2B marketers since it was introduced in April 2016.
ITSMA’s ABM Certification and Mentoring Program, launched in 2013, provides a comprehensive immersion in the methodology and skills that ABM marketers need to accelerate growth with their most important accounts. The program includes a two-day interactive workshop, four webinars, and on-the-job mentoring and coaching to create a robust ABM plan for a specific key account or cluster of accounts.
Finally, Demandbase offers a comprehensive training and certification program for agencies, systems integrators, and consulting firms that includes training on ABM strategy, solutions, and a methodology for adopting ABM across an organization.”
Click here to read the full results of the survey from Demandbase!
ABOUT KENT RAGEN
Kent Ragen is the Vice President of Channel Sales at Demandbase, where he focuses on establishing deep relationships with marketing technology platforms, collaborating to provide differentiated and high value solutions to their clients. Kent works closely with leading B2B agencies, building an ecosystem of ABM experts who help their clients optimize their marketing at every stage of the funnel. Prior to Demandbase, Kent held leadership positions at Return Path, Antares Technologies, Zustek (acquired by Zeta Interactive), and Responsys (acquired by Oracle). Kent holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.