For several years, Account Based Marketing (ABM) was discussed by Demandbase with little interest from other firms. In the past twelve months or so, it has taken off and become a full blown marketing fad well into its hype cycle (time will tell whether it becomes a movement). Now that other firms are discussing ABM, Demandbase has formed an ABM Leadership Alliance with Oracle and several other firms.
Account Based Marketing identifies a firm’s best prospects and then looks to deeply market and sell to those organizations. As B2B purchasing decisions span multiple individuals and departments, targeting single decision makers is no longer sufficient.
“If you are only looking at an individual, you may only get a part of the picture; seeing the collective acting together helps you to truly understand how interested an account is in your solution,” said Demandbase CMO Peter Isaacson.
Last month, SiriusDecisions released a “2016 State of Account-Based Marketing,” report which found that over seventy percent of B2B companies are looking at implementing ABM and have dedicated staff to ABM-specific programs. The process is still relatively new with 58% of surveyed firms only in the pilot or test phase. The percent of B2B marketing departments with full ABM programs in place grew from twenty percent in 2015 to 41% last year.
This year’s data shows ABM continues to gain rapid acceptance for B2B marketers. What is most exciting is that marketers are rapidly building ABM skills so they can deliver on its promise. Marketing teams understand there are many ways ABM can deliver business impact and are reporting on a range of metrics focused on both demand creation and relationship improvement objectives. In the coming year we’ll see marketers continue to invest in ABM technologies to deliver on their goals.
- Megan Heuer, VP of research at SiriusDecisions
The alliance is expanding ABM beyond Demandbase’s original programmatic marketing slogan to a broader concept spanning Engagement, Account Selection, Infrastructure, Measurement, and Sales Enablement (Sales Intelligence).
Sales Enablement is broken into three categories all supported by traditional sales intelligence platforms: Sales Intelligence, Account Insights, and Contact Development. ABMLA has defined these terms a bit differently than I have. By Sales Intelligence, they mean improved coordination between sales and marketing including target account intelligence gathered by marketing. Account Insights focuses on buying signals to assist with outreach prioritization. Contact Development focuses on deeper intelligence around decision-makers.
Missing from their model is ABSD (Account Based Sales Development) services that provide sales reps with pre-defined messaging and campaign cadences which can be adjusted by sales reps. ABSD firms provide what SalesLoft refers to as “sincerity at scale.” Other firms in the ABSD category include QuotaFactory and KiteDesk.
“For ABM practitioners, being able to go beyond the account to the contact level is critically important to drive deeper relevance and specificity,” said Matt Senatore, research director at SiriusDecisions. “For those companies focused on lead generation within target accounts, technology that can help automate this is an important component that enables their ABM programs to scale more efficiently.”
The alliance noted that “B2B companies face a set of unique marketing challenges, which require specific technology to address. As you navigate the space, you’ll need to identify the technologies and vendors that have solutions built for the unique needs of B2B.”
The founding members of the alliance include
- Demandbase – “Full Funnel ABM”
- Oracle Marketing (Eloqua) – Marketing Automation
- LookBookHQ – Content Marketing Automation
- Get Smart Content – Content Personalization
- Optimizely – Testing and Automation
- Bizable – Attribution and Reporting
- Radius – Predictive Analytics
At this point, the alliance does not have any Sales Enablement members which is understandable because Demandbase operates at the very top of the funnel targeting anonymous individuals at named companies. However, several sales intelligence firms have already adopted ABM positioning including Avention, Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg, and DataFox.
The alliance was announced on the opening day of Demandbase’s annual user conference.