Our Top 3 Takeaways from Engagio's ABM 2018 Outlook Survey

October 14, 2018


This post originally appeared on the LinkedIn Sales Blog.

Account-based marketing (ABM) is growing by leaps and bounds. More and more companies are using this approach to bring together sales and marketing with greater focus and cohesion.

Engagio surveyed 1,260 companies to learn more about how ABM is fitting into today’s B2B strategies, resulting in its 2018 ABM Outlook Survey.

Here are our top three takeaways from Engagio’s findings, and what they mean for you.

#1: Few Companies Are Doing Full-Fledged ABM

ABM is not an all-or-nothing game. Most of the companies surveyed are using ABM in conjunction with other marketing methods.

Interestingly, 27% of respondents admit to exclusively using demand generation as their go-to-market strategy, and only 8% use ABM exclusively. This leaves 65% of respondents pointing to a combination of both demand gen and ABM.

Of the companies that said they are using ABM (69%), approximately 20% of their marketing budgets and 40% of their marketing teams are allocated to account-based efforts. This means they are not putting all their eggs in one basket, but rather integrating ABM within the overall marketing plan.

The takeaway is that you don’t need to go all-in on ABM in order to benefit. You can slowly integrate this model into your marketing mix as long as you clearly identify the roles for your existing team, and work closely with sales.

Use LinkedIn to identify the right people at target accounts, and run ABM tactics where and when it makes sense.

#2: ABM Ownership is Scattered

As you can see from the chart above, different organizations have different key players responsible for driving the ABM bus. What matters most is not who’s steering, but making sure that all passengers are onboard – that is to say, secure alignment between sales and marketing, and whatever other departments are involved. Without this, you may not reach the desired destination.

In order to ensure alignment, Engagio’s recommendations include positioning ABM as a strategic initiative and over-communicating. Complete transparency is a must.

Like with all plans, ensure you take the time to plan your actions. As the saying goes: 90% inspiration, 10% perspiration. Work with the sales team to assess which accounts will be pursued and what resources are needed to implement ABM on their end.

ABM is a relatively flexible framework that you can adapt to your organization, as long as sales and marketing are working in tandem and both have a seat at the ABM leadership table.

#3: Buy-In for ABM Is Still the Biggest Challenge

The greatest ABM challenge, cited by 21% of respondents, is gaining buy-in from various stakeholders.

We can overcome this hurdle by first overcoming the others. By proactively showing how your team will address other challenges highlighted in the survey – ROI and attribution, creating content for accounts, establishing an account foundation, etc. – you can more easily get buy-in from stakeholders, because these are likely to be their concerns as well.

LinkedIn can help you easily knock out some of those functional concerns, such as mapping and acquiring contact data, developing account plans and insights, orchestrating account interactions, and measuring impact of ABM.  

Interested in learning more about ABM and how to make it work? You’ll find tactics to align sales and marketing, guidance for creating an effective ABM program, and insights from thought leaders and insiders by subscribing to the LinkedIn Marketing blog.