Account-based marketing (ABM) is growing in popularity among sales and marketing professionals who have been tasked with updating their targeted account lists. And according to a recent report, the 2018 State of Account-Based Marketing from #FlipMyFunnel and Heinz Marketing, companies are looking at different factors and reaching various stages of mastery with the new marketing system.
While the report was filled with many different talking points and takeaways, these are the three that really caught our eye.
Targeting Account Selection is a Joint Effort, Should Happen Frequently
Sales and marketing are often in a tug of war over who’s responsible for finding the right accounts and closing those deals. So how do they approach using ABM? Who’s responsible for leading the charge?
According to the report, over 84% of respondents with an advanced ABM program share the responsibility for targeting accounts between both sales and marketing, with most of them asking marketing to lead the charge (44.1%); it’s 25.6% for the sales team. They’re sharing the responsibility for building their target account lists, using predictive signals, intent signals, and engagement data to get it done.
More importantly, the researchers found that “39.3% of organizations update and add-to their target account lists quarterly, 22.3% of organizations lack a systematic approach, iterating more on an ad-hoc basis.”
This can be a bit problematic for these less-systematic companies because customers enter and leave the buying process on a frequent basis. The research and decision making window can be short for some companies, which means if you’re not updating your target account list on a regular basis, you might find that your target customers already concluded their buying cycle, and you missed it.
We recommend you update your target account list at least monthly in order to keep up with the turnover, but even quarterly is better than updating at random (and presumably lengthy) intervals.
Using Different Account Attributes
The ABM-leveraging companies look at a number of different factors to build their target account lists, including factors like industry/vertical, revenue, employees, and geography.
We call all of these firmographics, the details that help you decide whether a company is going to be a good fit for your product or service. You can pre-qualify a great number of leads if you just drop out the ones that don’t fit your ideal company profile.
Maybe you only sell to companies with more than 100 employees or companies that make more than $20 million in revenue. You can determine which companies will fit your profile by looking at their firmographic data, instead of finding this out after you’ve spent a lot of time trying to reach them.
You should also consider a company’s technographic data, which shows the pieces of technology they use. For example, if you sell a Salesforce add-on product, you don’t want to pitch to Marketo users. It wastes time and energy and reduces your closing rate percentages just because you added that company to your pipeline.
Fit and Intent? That’s Our Jam
Something else lit our FIRE (see what we did there?), when we saw that roughly 40% of the total number of respondents are now looking at engagement data and intent signals as important list building factors. That number was much higher for companies with an advanced ABM program.
Roughly 31% of respondents plan to include intent in their technology stack in 2019. It was third on the list after account-based analytics (44.1%) and web content personalization (33.6%). Calling back to the previous section, #8 on the list was Firmographic or contact data cleansing (18.5%).
Interest in ABM is increasing and companies are either adopting it or putting more energy and resources into properly using it. As the #FlipMyFunnel report says:
It seems there is a shift happening in how organizations are investing in account-based marketing. In previous years’ reports, a large percentage of respondents indicated their ABM budgets were increasing year over year. In 2018, however, that number dipped from 82% to 60%. Companies are still increasing their investment in ABM, but the numbers indicate many may be past the initial investment phase and focusing instead on maturing and optimizing their programs.
To learn more about how to use firmographics, technographics, and FIRE to boost your Account-Based strategy, schedule your customized demo today.