Account-based marketing has reached an important turning point. B2B marketers are getting tangible results, and those who haven’t started are planning to.
And why not? The concept uses the best of marketing tactics to create highly relevant campaigns that have a positive impact on the bottom line.
Forrester defines account-based marketing (ABM) as “a strategy by which marketing and sales work together to think about how to build, develop, and grow long-term, highly engaged sales relationships with specific customer accounts.”
Providing relevance and value to the right buyer at the right time through the right channel has long been the strategic goal of marketing and sales. What has changed are the tools these teams can now use to increase and measure the business value generated for their organizations. These mature technologies enable B2B marketers to deliver the exact results their executives crave: significant pipeline improvements, increasing average business size and conversion rates, and increasing successful cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
Now that the case for ABM is clear, the only question left is: where should marketers invest to fully optimize their efforts?
A recent Forrester Consulting study commissioned by LiveRamp, surveyed 312 B2B marketers in six industries, and found that nearly all marketers said their companies are now using ABM as a revenue-generating strategy. Likewise, most marketers reported high levels of confidence in a wide range of ABM functions.
Although most respondents (79%) said they use an ABM platform to measure ABM outcomes, less than half of respondents (46%) said that these tools actually have a strong ROI.
In the study, Forrester evaluated the approaches to measuring account-based marketing programs – the measurement capabilities of an ABM platform or a comprehensive B2B marketing measurement solution. These standalone measurement solutions are specialized applications that measure the business impact of B2B marketing campaigns and programs across multiple channels and dimensions such as volume, speed, value, efficiency, and effectiveness.
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According to the Forrester study, the strengths of B2B measurement solutions stem directly from a core weakness found in most ABM platforms.
While ABM is only at the beginning of its maturity curve, it doesn’t take long before marketers realize that their features need improving beyond the metrics found in all-in-one ABM platforms. Once the programs have gone through a full sales cycle or two and expanded to a wide range of digital and analog channels, many marketers are looking for better ways to connect the dots from initial engagement to closed sales.
Respondents said they were more satisfied when they use cross-channel B2B marketing measurement providers to:
- Collect and associate contact information with target accounts. Data connectivity is critical to improving the prioritization of target accounts, especially when trying to aggregate contact details and tracking engagement. However, most marketers are unaware of the numerous back-end technologies and processes that can duplicate these tasks and bill the same results multiple times.
For example, Forrester interviewed a digital advertising EVP at a digital marketing agency who said, “I 100% agree that there is a market education problem. I have a client who has looked at ABM measurement solutions, and they have did not notice this. ” have already paid for the data synchronization. It is often not transparent. “
- Track and optimize campaigns across multiple channels. Not all ABM activities fall under digital advertising. In fact, B2B marketers engage their audiences across multiple online and offline channels, including addressable television, field marketing, targeted search, and even direct mail. Due to its novelty, this can be a valuable way to get out of the clutter.
Bridging both sides of this digital / nondigital divide is a prerequisite for comprehensive omnichannel ABM programs. Many ABM platforms can only measure limited digital assets or channels and so offer limited insight into a holistic campaign.
Forrester survey respondents said the main strengths of dedicated measurement solutions are the improved ability to track engagement and optimize it across online and offline channels so they can manage engagement frequency and more accurately determine allocation.
- Manage and monitor data management and data protection. Maintaining the privacy of contact details is vital for B2B organizations. In a world where the lines between B2B and B2C marketing are increasingly blurring, applying strict governance guidelines for the use of contact information – for example across multiple silos within a company – is a must. People expect brands of all kinds to respect people’s privacy preferences and actively work to build trust.
Measurement and optimization are more important than ever, especially in a volatile economic environment. Every dollar counts in a crisis, but nearly a third of marketers still plan to increase their investment in B2B marketing measurement solutions over the next calendar year.
This finding is particularly convincing after the COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing many companies to cut their spending and prioritize investments in digital channels. Decision makers clearly expect these digital media investments to deliver strong business benefits, and the pressure to deliver is higher than ever.
Start planning an account-centric future now. B2B marketers can accelerate out of this recession with ABM programs that deliver strong business ROI by considering a comprehensive and cross-channel B2B measurement solution to fill capacity gaps and more clearly demonstrate the value of your ABM marketing efforts .