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Account-Based Marketing: Stats and Trends for 2021

by Sarah O'Neill, on 3 September, 2021

Account based marketing this, account based marketing that. You can't move in 2021 without hitting at least 10 marketers spouting the benefits of ABM. And it's not for nothing. 

stan marsh GIF by South Park

In fact, 87% of account-based marketers say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments.

So, like a fine wine, or piece of cheese, or Jeff Goldblum, ABM has gotten better year after year after year. 

And with 65% of marketing professionals describe their ABM strategy as somewhat successful, it's not difficult to see why marketers are still enthusiastic about ABM.

What Does the ABM Landscape Look like in 2021?

B2B customers now expect to be treated like B2C customers. And empathy is the key. 

Clients expect empathy and tailored engagement whether they're buying for themselves or their company. 82% of high performers say B2B and B2C tactics are now overlapping. This is compared to 67% of underperformers. Plus, overperformers dedicate 18% of their budget to ABM, compared to 14% for underperformers. 

  • 94.2% of respondents now have an active ABM programme (up from 77% in 2019)
  • 64% of ABM programmes have been started within the last five years, and have since grown rapidly in sophistication, with 68% using automation. 
  • 42% of respondents said the pandemic has changed their ABM objectives 
  • 49% of marketers have shifted their objectives to focus more on growing business with existing accounts
  • Relative to other marketing activities, ABM delivers 97% higher ROI
  • Out of 100 B2B marketers surveyed, only 6 said they weren't using ABM.
  • In 2019, 23% of respondents to a Terminus survey had no active ABM program. In 2020 that number had gone down to 5.8%
  • Mature ABM programmes are now accounting for 79% of all sales opportunities (vs. inbound/outbound, etc.) 
  • 67% of brands leverage account-based marketing
  • “Researching Accounts” and “Identifying Target Contacts” are the top two tactics used by marketers within an ABM model.
  • 57% of professionals say their companies target 1,000 accounts or under with ABM.

Heres How COVID Impacted ABM Efforts - Marketing Charts

Where do Account-Based Marketers Plan to Invest?

It's been a pretty tough year, which has been reflected in the budgets available for marketers. But there still seems to be a willingness to invest in ABM. Though, marketers have been exploring different ways to generate ROI with ABM.  

  • Organizations with a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) — which is similar to a buyer persona — achieve 68% higher account win rates.
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of top-performing account-based organizations now have a dedicated account based leader.
  • 70% of companies that started account-based initiatives in the first six months of 2019 have dedicated ABM leaders.
  • 42% of companies that missed their account-based objectives don't have dedicated leadership. 
  • The conversational intelligence market was estimated to grow by 3x in 2019. 
  • Voice assistants will account for at least half of automated data entry by mid-2020. 
  • Marketers strongly agree that personalised content (56%) and advanced data management (43%) are keys to ABM success

What Benefits are Marketers Reporting with ABM?

Direct ROI isn't just the only benefit of ABM. Marketers have also reported a number of different benefits, including relationship building and account engagement, from the implementation of their ABM campaigns.

  • A 70% increase in the number of opportunities created via ABM
  • 84% of organisations deploying ABM saw an improvement in reputation
  • 85% of marketers said that ABM significantly benefited them in retaining and expanding their existing client relationships 
  • 83% of marketers say ABM increases engagement with target accounts. 
  • The number one benefit of ABM is account engagement
  • 62% of marketers say they can measure a positive impact since adopting ABM. 

Account-based Marketing Stats | Why 2021 is the Year of ABM


What Challenges Remain with ABM?

ABM is tricky and time-consuming to both implement and to maintain. But with multiple benefits, and good ROI, these challenges are worth overcoming. 

  • The most common challenge with ABM is delivering a personalised experience.
  • The top three challenges of implementing ABM are creating a scalable strategy for multiple accounts, producing customized content, and coordinating programs across marketing, sales development, and sales teams.
  • 48% of Marketers’ Budgets Were Decreased in 2020
  • 40% of CMOs said that their budgets were cut due to COVID
  • 37% of marketers find it challenging to get adequate budget and resources dedicated to account-based initiatives.

How are Sales and Marketing Aligning with ABM?

Power couple sales and marketing are now closer than ever. ABM requires both teams to be more involved with each other, across the customer journey. 

  • 82% of B2B marketers said ABM greatly improves sales and marketing alignment
  • ABM delivers a 50% reduction in sales time wasted on unproductive prospecting. 
  • Research also shows another key benefit of ABM and sales and marketing alignment, with companies deploying ABM being 67% better at closing deals when they sync their sales and marketing teams
  • 70% of Account Based Marketers report complete/partial sales and marketing alignment
  • Marketing and sales teams that take an ABM approach together can be up to 6% more likely to exceed their revenue goals than teams less ABM-advanced.
  • 20% of accounts targeted via ABM programmes go on to be qualified as sales opportunities
  • Organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates.
  • B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth
  • 74% of business buyers conduct more than half their research online, yet 89.5% of purchases are still completed by a salesperson

although...

  • Only 28% of salespeople say marketing is their best source of leads.
  • Only 7% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were very high quality.

A B2B Account-Based Marketing Refresher for Software Marketers

What ROI Benefits are Being Reported with ABM?

This is the end goal - ROI. ABM consistently shows its ability to improve ROI, year after year. Many marketers report that ABM has driven success, and has a much higher ROI than other marketing campaigns.

  • 87% of B2B marketers surveyed by ITSMA reported that their ABM initiatives outperform their other marketing investments in terms of ROI. 
  • 91% of companies using ABM increase their average deal size, with 25% reporting an increase of +50%
  • 86% of marketers report improved win rates with ABM
  • MarketingProfs report a 208% increase in revenue witnessed by companies using ABM
  • 60% of companies report at least a 10% increase in revenue in year one of their ABM programme
  • A 171% increase in average annual contract value has been reported after implementing Account-based Marketing
  • Mature ABM Programs Drove an Average of 73% Of Their Companies’ Total Revenue
  • When ABM has been in use for at least a year, 60% of users reported a revenue increase of at least 10% & 19% reported a revenue impact of 30% or greater.
  • Almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments
  • 97% of marketers surveyed said ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities

ABMLeadershipAlliance ROI of ABM vs Trad B2B Marketing Jan2021

What is the Future of ABM?

So, what's coming up? What will ABM look like in the future?

  • 34% of marketing professionals are planning for ABM in the future.
  • As ABM matures, marketers are choosing to focus on fewer accounts: 56% say they actively target 99 or fewer ABM accounts, compared to 47% who said the same in 2018
  • 92% of B2B marketing leaders state that building relationships in the C-suite is more important to their sales strategy than it was two years ago
  • 2021 is likely to see near complete adoption of at least some ABM processes. 82 percent of respondents are looking at new business generation while only 42 percent are looking at lead generation.
  • In 2021, we will likely see a smaller percentage of mature programs, but a much more significant amount of programs overall.

talking eric cartman GIF by South Park

This post is part of our Martech stats series, which compiles key data and trends. Others include: 

Topics:Innovation

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