The ABCs Of ABM: A Guide To Best Practices In B2B

Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of those things that looks difficult from the outside. That may be why most B2B marketers are not yet using it.

Yet ABM tools exist, and they are helping brands achieve “significant improvements in B2B pipeline and revenue,” according to Account-Based Marketing Tools: A Marketer’s Guide, a study by MarTech Today.

The study defines ABM as “a B2B strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts to deliver personalized content and messaging to high-value accounts.” That includes targeted email. 

However, the report cites statistics — from the Information Technology Services Marketing Association — showing that only 40% of B2B companies are actively using ABM.

In addition, 33% are planning to implement it in the next 12 to 24 months, and 27% are not using it. The biggest roadblock appears to be sales and marketing alignment.

The biggest challenges appear to include sales and marketing alignment, the ability to achieve personalization at scale, and attribution. Once ABM accounts have been identified, however, there are many ways to target them, including 1-to-1, 1-to-few and 1-to-many. 



These strategies rely on machine learning for personalization and/or predictive recommendations. Brands also need interaction management.

So how do you handle this if you’re a beginner to ABM?

First, determine whether you need an ABM tool, and begin by asking these questions. We quote:

  • Have we identified our ABM goals?
  • Can sales and marketing work together to identify our target accounts?
  • Do we have C-suite buy-in? 
  • Who will own or manage ABM? 
  • Can we invest in organizational training?
  • Have we established KIPs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring and reporting results?

What are the next steps? Identify and contact the appropriate vendors, and schedule demos. Evaluate the tools for ease of use, the vendor’s understanding of your business, and presence of your “must-have” features.

Finally, check references and negotiate a contract.

The study concludes that  B2B marketers face challenges, “including their ability to align with sales within their organizations, and their ability to comply with tightening privacy regulations in major European markets.”

However, it adds: “By working with one or more of the many ABM tool vendors that provide advanced data, analytics, personalization and predictive recommendation engines and interaction management, marketers can better navigate the rapidly evolving B2B landscape.”




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