It’s a trend that is perfectly keeping up with the times. Account-based marketing (ABM) is becoming one of the dominant forms of marketing today for good reason. In an age when marketing is ubiquitous, mass marketing efforts are much less effective than individual marketing aimed at specific prospects. By tailoring marketing efforts, messages can be used more effectively and avoid the stigma of today’s marketing saturation.
While ABM is a trend in marketing, there are also trends within ABM. With that in mind, here are five of the biggest ABM trends taking place in 2021.
Trend No. 1: Multi-channel presence in ABM
Historically, ABM has focused on one-on-one interactions with leads in the form of face-to-face meetings and connections at trade shows. However, a recent study by Gartner found that only 17 percent of typical B2B buyer time is spent on meetings with suppliers.
To get around this, ABM marketers are relying more heavily on a multi-channel approach to guide engagement. This includes platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as other social media. It also plays more of the live chat built into a company’s website and the usual suspects like text messages, emails, and phone calls (Zoom calls mostly for now).
By taking a multi-channel approach, ABM can maintain this 1-to-1 time with prospects, although traditional methods have been reduced by the typical lead.
Trend # 2: Sales teams drive ABM
The line between sales and ABM is small, of course, as ABM is effectively a link between the two separate parts of the buying process, namely sales and marketing. With the gap between sales and ABM being so narrow, sales teams are starting to take a more active role in choosing ABM accounts.
This trend makes sense because the sales teams already know which potential customers to target. For these sales teams, being able to work with marketing on ABM campaigns that make it easier to close the sale is a huge benefit in the sales process. It also helps marketers show value as these ABM efforts are more easily linked to sales results. The sales team will of course continue to borrow, but marketing can easily point out ABM’s role in the sale.
Trend # 3: Quantity is a primary metric for ABM performance
While ABM’s focus on sales helps marketers show the impact of their efforts, the metrics of ABM’s overall success still revolve around volume. B2B marketing executives mostly use quantity as an indicator of ABM’s success.
Specifically, the number of net accounts created, the number of qualified accounts, the onboarding rating, and the speed of the pipeline are some of the ways marketers are currently showing the effectiveness of ABM.
This focus on quantity places particular emphasis on B2B data providers, so ABM has a larger pool of potential targets to generate those volumes. Good B2B data providers are the fuel for many successful ABM efforts as these providers create the ability to engage across multiple channels and more easily reach potential customers based on accurate contact information.
Trend No. 4: Use of B2B influencers to control ABM
This trend is only just gaining momentum, but the opportunity is obvious. The collaboration between ABM marketers and B2B experts is a matter of course, as these B2B experts are visible and trustworthy and potential customers want to get in touch with them. At the same time, ABM can be a fruitful source of income for B2B influencers, much like retail influencers who work with consumer goods companies. B2B experts monetize their expertise and reach, and ABM marketers get a powerful channel to reach individual accounts for ABM.
As mentioned earlier, this trend is only just picking up. This is partly because it is fueling the wave of multichannel efforts in ABM, and also because some B2B marketers are not yet fully leveraging B2C strategies in ABM. So of all the trends mentioned here, this could be the biggest opportunity for ABM marketers.
Trend No. 5: Adapted content down to the ABM level
A fifth trend at ABM right now is to mix content marketing production with ABM to get targeted content for individual prospects.
Rather than tailoring content only to specific industries or company roles and going well beyond the mail merge style personalization that is already widespread in the marketing world, ABM marketers engage with their content creation processes from the start and help content marketing producers add personalized elements to marketing content at the time of production.
When content is created with ABM at its core, the level of customization can go much deeper as it is planned from the very beginning of the content creation process.
These trends are currently among the biggest in ABM. Given the direction of marketing and the continuing need to deepen the marketing messages even further, ABM is a highly dynamic space that is rapidly experimenting and growing. Expect more ABM trends to emerge later this year as ABM is hot.
Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Unsplash
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