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Insights From the 2018 State of ABM Survey

This post is based on a podcast about the Insights From the 2018 State of ABM Survey. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!

A few months ago, we joined with Heinz Marketing to release our annual State of ABM Survey Report.

The report is based on a survey with 470 companies, and their best practices and biggest struggles with ABM, along with the results they’re seeing.

A few months ago, our CMO, Derek Slayton, joined with Matt Heinz and hosted a free webinar on the most critical insights from that report. We brought you the highlights of that webinar right here.

(For a free copy of the full 2018 State of ABM Report, click here.)

Here’s what insights we’re unpacking today:

  • What are most companies doing for ABM?
  • How mature are most companies’ ABM programs?
  • The biggest challenges companies are facing with their ABM campaigns.

What’s the purpose behind this survey?

Matt Heinz: One of the benefits of survey is to get a sense for where everybody else is. It’s beneficial to know where we are as an industry, so you can benchmark yourself. THis will give you a sense of what you could be doing next to scale the impact and predictability of ABM efforts moving forward.

What are most companies doing — who’s in ABM, & who isn’t?

Here are the stats on who had ABM, and who didn’t, according to our survey of 470 companies:

  • 61% had ABM
  • 19% did not have ABM, but  planned to implement it
  • 13% did not have ABM yet, but knew they needed it
  • 7% had no plans for ABM

Where do organizations stand on the ABM maturity scale?

  • 20.9% — pilot complete
  • 39.8% — early stage, just implementing tools and processes
  • 30.3% — broadly implemented, focused on optimization and iteration
  • 9.0% — advanced, full marketing & sales alignment has been achieved, and    able to measure ABM results

Implications of ABM maturity:

Matt Heinz: It might be a little easier if this was something marketing could control, but because it requires cross-departmental coordination — and not just head-nodding but day-to-day engagement — that’s where things can fall apart. We saw that. Getting programs off the ground doesn’t just require sales and marketing alignment, but it’s necessary to get key people bought in on the concept of organizational change. To a certain extent, it means you have “ABM yourself” to get change across a complex buying committee inside your own organization.

‘What bumps in the road to implementing & driving sales results has your company experienced?’

Derek Slayton: We asked folks what technologies they were using across their ABM initiatives, and I think north of 65% said they were using an ABM platform. But when we asked them how they were measuring ABM, the number one answer was CRM, and the number three answer was spreadsheets, and the number six answer was ABM platform.

It was just interesting to me that folks say, “We’re using an ABM platform to execute ABM,” but only a third of the respondents we’re measuring ABM with their ABM platform. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I think it just speaks to the current state of where we are from a technology tool and adoption perspective.

‘What are the 3 biggest challenges you’ve faced when implementing ABM?’

Derek Slayton: Measurement comes up again and again. And so does allocating budgets to account-based initiatives. The only group that really showed a marketable improvement were those who were more advanced in their ABM implementation. I actually think that’s incredibly enlightening, because it further validates the notion that as you get deeper into ABM, if you aren’t able to measure it, it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to fund it.

‘How do you think your ABM budget will change in the next year?’

Matt Heinz: We’re seeing people start to build in ABM programs, build in line items for the tech stack they need to do ABM on an ongoing basis. I’m happy to see that most companies that are thinking about ABM ongoing are no longer thinking about it in a campaign mentality. They’re thinking about ABM as an ongoing effort to engage their audience. However, it does seem that from past years, the spend has slowed.

Derek Slayton: I think that there are a couple things here. When we looked at the data, some folks said, “Oh my goodness! The pace of investment is slowing,” because last year, almost 78% to 80% had increased budgets, versus this year’s 59%, but what strikes me here is that I think we’re a little too over-indexed on ourselves.

The fact that only 2.8% have experienced a decrease in budgets is pretty remarkable. That just says if you’re running ABM you’re obviously doing a good job of protecting your spend because marketing budgets get compressed. We all know this. We live through it. I think let’s not over analyze the difference between 60% and 78%.