Year 2021: The State of Account-based Marketing

account-based-marketing

The year 2020 proved to be a pivotal moment for Account-based marketing as it firmly established itself as a key B2B marketing strategy.

The year 2021 welcomed ABM as a strategy that guarantees results. This was known even in the earlier days, but today, we can say it more accurately.

This eBook explores the current state of Account-based marketing, how it changed, and the way to go forward.

So let’s get started.

How Did 2020 Impact Account-based Marketing Success?

The year 2020 forced companies to adapt across different verticals – including technology.

This has meant accelerating digital transformation and using technology to build relationships with your most key account prospects.

This is why ABM thrived in 2020. Since making connections with the most relevant and specific accounts is what ABM is all about.

Organizations saw measurable improvements in three prominent areas: Relationships, Sales, and Brand Reputation.

The year 2021 will see a continuation of these trends.

Now, more than ever, your prospects are seeking personalized relationships and interactions with your brand.

How did the Pandemic Affect the ABM Strategies?

Like everyone else, ABM marketers also had to adapt to the changes.

The tactics that saw growth in the last two years were webinars, paid social, virtual live events, email marketing, and personalized content.

But this doesn’t mean that ABM marketers scaled their tactics to take advantage of this new behavior.

Actually, it was just the opposite.

ABM marketers used very few but precise and personalized targeting options.

Regardless of the tactic or the marketing platform, one core awakening was the fact that prospects expected more personalized content to be more trustful of a brand.

For ABM, it means gaining deeper insights into consumer behavior, their problems, build specific content around it, and more relevant messaging to the account you are targeting.

In 2021, the generic content simply won’t work. 

Highly specific personalized content will help your organization stand out.

The pandemic also changed the way people approached their businesses.

Brands today are more focused on retaining their current clients than onboarding new ones.

The Key ABM Challenges

With refined strategies, the ABM marketers also invited a few challenges.

But most of them weren’t new.

The number one challenge was to track and measure ABM results.

While some data sources like clicks, page views, form submissions were easily tracked, not all metrics are linearly measured.

Some metrics are independent of a CRM – making it difficult to gain an overview of their performance.

Sometimes the quantitative measures do not reflect the perfect picture.

So take a step back and analyze your relationships with your clients and your brand reputation in the market.

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How much does Technology Matter?

Probably the most crucial investment in your ABM strategy.

Because without it, you don’t stand a chance to take ABM at scale.

Despite the need for rapid acceleration, many companies still struggle with the marketing stack.

Very few B2B organizations use tech strategies, such as content syndication, sales automation, attribution software.

Investing in the right technologies is crucial to ABM’s success.

A good tech stack aligned with your CRM gives you an incredible view of campaign results, account insights, sales and marketing performance, and so on.

But it doesn’t mean you should spend your budget on stacking up new technology, you just need to get the fundamentals right.

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How Important is Account Insight?

If there’s one thing that’s important to ABM, it’s account insights.

The most effective campaigns of 2020 relied on deep account insights to support their ABM strategy. The trend needs to continue even in 2021 and further.

Every step in your ABM strategy relies on account insights – from the accounts to target, to the message you craft, to all the way to conversion.

If you want to build deeper relationships with your clients, you need to demonstrate empathy, and understanding their pain points is the only way to do that.

Metrics to Look for in ABM Marketing

Going back to what was mentioned earlier, measuring key metrics has been the biggest challenge for most ABM marketers.

Since ABM cannot be gauged by one single metric, you need several KPIs pre-defined.

ROI isn’t the end of all. There are other metrics you need to look for.

Metrics like…

  • Sales Pipeline Growth
  • Revenue Growth
  • Return on ABM tactics
  • Deals Closed
  • Conversion rate
  • Sales Cycle Length

Based on your ABM goals, you can have your own metric assigned.

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Conclusion

2020 was by no means an easy year, but it also had some positives. The year 2021 propelled the ABM growth and pushed it further.

If you really want to reap the Account-based marketing benefits, you need to deepen your account insights and understanding of your prospect.

Enhance personalization and use technology to do that.

In a fast-paced environment, it’s important to be agile and change your strategies quickly.

Even with ABM, your tactics and strategies must be flexible enough to accommodate new marketing changes.

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