Account-Based Marketing 2017: An Introduction for B2B Marketers - eMarketer
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Account-Based Marketing 2017: An Introduction for B2B Marketers

eMarketer Report

By: eMarketer

Published: October 17, 2017

Jump to: Executive Summary | Table of Contents | List of Charts

Executive Summary

Lead generation has long been the main business-to-business (B2B) digital marketing strategy. Only recently has it been complemented by account-based marketing (ABM), in which B2Bs turn their attention to high-value accounts and try to reach stakeholders in a personalized manner, in hopes of generating more revenue.

  • With ABM, the focus is on the quality of engagements within a single account, and tracking how accounts move through the pipeline and convert to sales opportunities. Individual leads are less important.
  • While the number of vendors touting ABM capabilities is on the rise, it’s not clear how many B2Bs have adopted ABM. Survey estimates vary widely, as does the share of marketing budgets it may require: Estimates range from under 10% up to 80%.
  • ABM isn’t right for all companies, and experts say it’s best suited to those selling to large businesses, with average deals exceeding six figures. Those typically selling to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) might not benefit enough to justify the effort.
  • Many B2Bs struggle to get started with ABM, as no single approach looks the same. There are three main types: one-to-one bespoke communications with each account; ABM Lite, with one marketer assigned to a segmented group of accounts; and a programmatic (automated) approach, which can reach thousands of accounts at scale. Many use a blended ABM model that incorporates aspects of all three.
  • To execute ABM well, B2Bs must be data-driven in their account identification process, and look for accounts that are high-value and display similar attributes to current best customers. The creation and dissemination of custom content across channels is also crucial.
  • Marketing and sales teams need to work together for ABM to be successful. If these teams, their technology and their workflows are not integrated and account-centric, ABM will struggle to deliver results.
  • While ABM offers B2Bs a new way to reach their target audience, it’s not sufficient on its own. Companies need to build a marketing mix that balances account-based methods with more traditional ones, such as brand advertising.

"US B2B marketing executives measure the effectiveness of ABM via metrics related to accounts, pipeline and overall engagement rather than individual leads, per April 2017 Demand Gen Report (DGR) and BrightFunnel data."

Table of Contents

ABM Changes the Rules

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Making ABM Work

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A New Marketing Mix with ABM

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8 charts are included in the full report:

Account-Based Marketing 2017: An Introduction for B2B Marketers

Metrics Used by US B2B Marketing Executives to Measure Effectiveness of Account-Based Marketing, April 2017 (% of respondents)

ABM Changes the Rules

Primary Type of Sales Cycle Encountered by Their Company According to Marketing Professionals Worldwide, Feb 2017 (% of respondents)

Account KPIs and Goals

Metrics Used by US B2B Marketing Executives to Measure Effectiveness of Account-Based Marketing, April 2017 (% of respondents)

Primary Goal for Using Account-Based Marketing According to B2B Marketers in North America, 2016 & 2017 (% of respondents)

Important Objectives vs. Challenges of Account-Based Marketing According to Marketing Professionals Worldwide, Feb 2017 (% of respondents)

Making ABM Work

Tools Used by B2B Marketers in North America to Engage Target Accounts with Account-Based Marketing, April 2017 (% of respondents)

Marketing and Sales Alignment

Alignment of Their Company's Marketing and Sales Teams According to B2B* Marketers in North America**, July 2017 (% of respondents)

Biggest Challenges in Aligning Sales and Marketing According to US B2B Sales Leaders, Q1 2017 (% of respondents)