Most ABM Users Will Increase Their Budgets This Year, Survey Shows

Almost 60% of B2B marketers polled plan to expand their budget for account-based marketing (ABM) over the next year, according to a study from Terminus, conducted byFlipMyFunnel and Heinz Marketing. And over 50% will deploy additional technology. 

But 82% planned to boost their spending in 2017. And challenges remain, including the sheer length of time it takes to implement ABM. 

Those tech additions apparently will include tools that go into ABM, including data, analytics and coordination across channels, including email.

The top KPI for 53.6% of the respondents is revenue generation, and 46% will measure the pipeline generated.  The study also shows that most firms see progress toward their top KPI within four to six months of launching an ABM program. 

Of the executives polled, 84% say that target account selection is a joint effort of sales and marketing.

“Clearly the research shows increased adoption, a significant move to focus on revenue as the primary measurement, and new challenges in technology adoption as companies scale their ABM initiatives,” states Sangram Vajre, co-founder & chief evangelist of Terminus.

Terminus surveyed 211 B2B executives in December and November of last year.  Only 14.7% of the companies represented have been practicing ABM for three or more years. But the study calls that a “significant percentage,” compared with those of pat years.

Yet a mere 9% have achieved advanced sales and marketing alignment and are able to measure their ABM results. In addition, 39.8% are at the early stage, 30.3% have broadly implemented it, and 20.9% have completed a pilot.

Of the advanced ABM users, 53.1% cite revenue generation as their main ABM goal, up from 45% in 2017.  Lead generation is second, specified by 20.9%. Another 11.8% are pursuing pipeline acceleration, down from 22% in the prior year.

Overall, the main ABM program goals are new business acquisition (73.5%), pipeline acceleration (62.1%) and lead generation (952.1%). 

On a scale of 1 to 7, 23.2% are confident in their ABM programs — they put themselves in the 6-7 range. Advanced firms are more likely to do so. And 54% give themselves a 4 or 5 — in the mid-range. Yet 19.4% are in the 1-3 category — not confident.

The biggest hurdles in implementing ABM are: 

  • Length of time for results — 17%
  • How to start — 12% 
  • Content — 11%
  • Alignment — 10%
  • Budget — 10% 
  • Tech — 8% 
  • Showing results — 8%
  • Engaging key stakeholders — 7%
  • Fining target accounts — 7%
  • Selling internally — 6%

Despite those obstacles, ABM users plan to add the following capabilities to their tech stacks this year: 

  • Account-based analytics or measurement — 44.1%
  • Web/content personalization to support account-based initiatives — 33.6% 
  • Intent and behavioral insights tracking — 30.8%
  • Account-level web engagement insights or sales activation — 24.6%
  • Account-based advertising (digital display) — 23.2%
  • Account-base activity orchestration (coordination of activity across channels) — 23.2%
  • Intelligent predictive modeling for account targeting — 19.9%
  • Firmographic or contact data cleansing/normalization/augmentation — 18.%
  • None — 15.6%
  • Other — 2.3%


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