Account-based marketing (ABM) isn’t just another tactic. It’s a specific, holistic approach through which B2B marketers identify, target, and convert valuable accounts. Implementing an ABM strategy not only requires the support of data, technology partners, and a brand’s agency partners, but it also requires a brand’s sales and marketing teams to work together.
ABM looks a lot different than it did back in 2003, when ITSMA coined the term. And as adoption of ABM continues to grow among large and small enterprises alike, we can expect to see continued evolution in both its implementation and tools. In this article, we’ll explore four specific predictions for how ABM will evolve in the near term.
ABM will become Account-Based Everything.
Since its inception, ABM has been uniting sales and marketing efforts. But increasingly in the future, we’re going to see that realm of influence expand. Pretty soon, account-based marketing will become account-based everything.
Account-based everything brings together marketing, sales, sales development, and customer success activity together in one coordinated effort to engage and convert target accounts. With each additional layer of influence, the power of account-based everything multiplies. But of course, such coordination is no easy task, especially within large organizations. But when done right, account-based everything brings a number of elements into alignment: account selection, strategy, data, account planning, content and offers, channels and plays, metrics and technology.
Pursuit marketing will gain more traction.
Pursuit marketing is a type of ABM that focuses on targeting and closing a few key accounts within a specified time frame. This approach is gaining more traction due to its effectiveness in winning big deals. It also encourages reduction of waste and requires the company to implement processes that align internal teams. Also, companies find pursuit marketing appealing because the measurement of success is clear: Did you close the deal?
Of course, pursuit marketing does face potential roadblocks as well. It requires the dedication of specialists and resources, and its implementation can be time-consuming and complex, particularly given the need to align teams. At present, Demandbase is a standout when it comes to helping companies navigate these complexities.
ABM marketers will embrace intent data.
If ABM is a powerful engine for a business, then intent data is its rocket fuel. Intent data provides companies with a window into online behaviour, at an account and individual level, that indicates interest in a brand, such as consuming relevant content or searching for related terms. In short, it can tell companies when an account is in active consideration of products within its sector.
Intent data, enabled by companies such as Bombora, is taking off in ABM because it is exceptionally useful in informing a company’s targeting strategy. It enables marketers to find new audiences for a brand’s campaigns that were otherwise unconsidered, and the data is easily appended in most DSPs. That said, intent data requires commitment and might not provide immediate results. Likewise, its proper implementation within a marketing team requires both programmatic and data expertise.
AI will bring a new level of automation to ABM.
Finally, a predictions article in the marketing industry wouldn’t be complete without some insights into how artificial intelligence will influence a given sector. And indeed, AI will play a growing role in the ABM space, where it will be employed to personalize experiences for target accounts across all devices and media, both online and offline.
In general, as the online space grows, more data is becoming available. And more data feeding AI algorithms leads to more precision and less waste. The beauty of machine learning for ABM is that it enables marketing staff to step back from various manual daily tasks and instead focus on the bigger picture. Of course, AI in all areas of marketing faces potential roadblocks as it relates to consumer distrust and weak algorithms, and the initial cost of developing AI technology for a sector is high. But such work is well underway at companies like The Trade Desk and IBM. As with so many other areas, ABM will be reaping the benefits of this technological progress in the near future.
As the data and technology that’s available to marketers continues to evolve, it allows brands to execute extremely targeted, powerful ABM campaigns. On the other side of the coin, today’s ABM technology will expose gaps in internal communication, for it is only as efficient as the people putting it to use. Marketing and sales teams that are