We recently released the findings of a landmark piece of independent research which investigated the use of Account-Based Marketing and Account-Based Sales approaches. Entitled, ‘A Perfect Match: ABM and ABS’, in the first of this two-part blog series, we revealed:

  • The close alignment that exists between Sales professionals and Marketers;
  • Which communications options they each think are most effective;
  • How CRM systems are being used;
  • Whether those people we researched are working to an account-based framework, and;
  • The ways that both teams measure the effectiveness of marketing on lead generation.

Today we can share the concluding part of our research project and some further insights provided by the 200 senior B2B Marketing and Sales decision-makers.

Setting off on the right foot

As we reach the time of year where budgets start to be reviewed, refined and allocated and annual business plans and implementation strategies are signed off, it is the perfect time to ensure you have clearly articulated the goals and expectations you have for your marketing strategy. With three-quarters (76%) of the Marketers we researched working within an ABM foundation, it would be recommended that your next annual marketing strategy incorporates at least the beginnings of the journey to this approach.

Perhaps surprisingly for me, only 45% of those surveyed said that a persona-based approach to Marketing or Sales is a goal. For us, this is the ordinarily the foundation of an effective marketing strategy. By truly understanding your personas, you are able to visualise and put yourself in the shoes of your buyers and clients. Find out more in my recent article.

Related: Unleashing the power of buyer personas and account-based marketing

Our findings also suggested that while close rates and times mattered as a goal of their overall strategy to 57% of the group, both Marketers and Sales leaders were most focused on the slightly more qualitative measures of improving the quality and applicability of marketing plans to the overall business plan (71%) —rather than just quantity of leads. Understanding more about prospects also featured highly as a goal. This further underlines the importance of a sales and marketing strategy which both builds and develops a brand and also goes after leads and sales with short-term tactics.

Achieving impact from an ABM or ABS structure

With a strategy defined, the attention turns to how to achieve impact in day-to-day execution. While 76% of Marketers and 85% of Sales leaders said they are already working to an ABM or ABS structure respectively, dissatisfaction was higher than expected in terms of the impact it was having on their business. In fact, 60% of Marketing decision-makers wanted to realise a bigger impact, as did 79% of Sales professionals.

So, what’s behind the numbers? The top three challenges preventing both groups from seeing true performance improvements were:

  • A lack of knowledge (46%)
  • Less budget or time than ideal (45%), and;
  • Lacking the required technical infrastructure (41%).

To take the final bullet point a little further, almost half of Marketing professionals said that they didn’t have the right technology in place. And from our experience, this likely reflects the difficulties which arise in evaluating the number of tools available and needed for an integrated Martech stack.

Surprisingly, only 31% of the combined audience said that they didn’t feel they had enough support from senior management, suggesting to me that these decision-makers have effectively educated upwards as to the need for an account-based approach.

There’s little doubt that implementing and working to an account-based framework can be hard work and may feel initially unrewarding – but just like improving a Martech stack, it will be rewarding and helpful in the long term.

Suzanne Griffiths, Managing Director, Whiteoaks International

Tell Us Your B2B Tech Story

Download our free report, ‘A Perfect Match: ABM and ABS’ today, by filling in our contact form below. In the report you’ll discover:

  • How senior Sales and Marketing decision-makers are currently embedding ABM and ABS into their business;
  • Which marketing communications both leaders say supports the business most effectively;
  • The best ways for marketing tactics to demonstrate their direct impact on sales; and
  • An in-depth look at the goals and challenges that Marketers and Sales professionals have when implementing an account-based structure.
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