2019 ABM Market Research Report: New Original Research for B2B Marketing Leaders

The adoption of Account Based Marketing continues to rise. But, what do the best B2B organizations do to find success with ABM? Where do companies struggle most? Who, internally, owns ABM?

The answers are here in the 2019 ABM Market Research Report.

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Engagio teamed up with Salesforce Pardot to engage 500 business leaders in an in-depth, original research study. The resulting report distills the stats you need to know to understand the current state of ABM, and where your peers are succeeding (and falling short.) We’ve identified the top challenges related to ABM, what companies are investing, and where those budget dollars are going.

Below are some of the most notable findings this year.

New This Year: What Drives Strong ABM ROI?

This research uncovered the habits of those organizations who report seeing a positive return on their investment in ABM initiatives:

  • 72% have good alignment between Sales and Marketing.
  • 62% are sophisticated in their use of content, web personalization, and ads.
  • 50% have become more sophisticated with their measurement of ABM.
  • 58% are sophisticated with ABM plays.

ABM Budgets Are Increasing in 2019

Overall, the average percentage of marketing budget dedicated to ABM is set to increase this year (from 21% to 28%).

Where is all that budget going? Our survey respondents indicated that content is still king, as half of B2B marketers surveyed plan to invest more in content for ABM in 2019, followed closely by an increased investment in Sales and Marketing Alignment (47%) and Target Account Selection (46%).

ABM Adoption is Early but Steady in 2019

Though organizations are varied in their state of adoption, 93% of those surveyed are either using ABM today, or planning to soon. The majority of organizations surveyed are either doing a pilot program with ABM (26%), or have fully rolled out an ABM program in the last 6 months (26%).

Marketing Team Involvement in ABM

On average, organizations surveyed report 40% of their marketing team to be involved in the company’s ABM initiative.

Note: ABM doesn’t require a wholesale change to your marketing team. The truth is, you can get started with ABM right away and increase your team’s involvement over time. For more details on the roles and responsibilities of a high-performance ABM team, download this eBook.

ABM Ownership

According to our findings, 28% of respondents indicated the Chief Marketing Officer or Vice President of Marketing currently owns the ABM initiative at their organization.

Frequently (at 24% of companies,) the Head of Demand Generation is tasked with ownership of ABM. This makes sense, as the ultimate goal of this initiative is to drive revenue and demand within key accounts. We also found that more organizations are starting to have a full time, dedicated person focused on ABM.

A quick LinkedIn search finds over 2,000 open job positions across the US related to ABM.

Measurement and Data Remain a Challenge

The full report reveals which key ABM challenges must be overcome, including measurement.

When asked to report the ROI of their ABM efforts, the majority of respondents (53%) reveal they haven’t started to measure it. Only 5% say they are “awesome” regarding their measurement of ABM. Our eBook, “How to Measure ABM, from Start to Success” may be a helpful resource if this sounds like a struggle you’re facing.

The most common challenge in 2019, however, is poor data quality: 19% of respondents reported this to be their #1 challenge for executing ABM.

Some good news: While last year the #1 risk of failure for ABM was “lack of ability to execute” (25% of respondents), this year that risk was reported by only 12% of respondents as their top barrier to success. As skills training and industry education improves, execution should be a reasonable hurdle to overcome.

Much More In The Full Report

Download the entire research study which answers more pressing ABM questions, including:

  • Whether companies expect existing or net-new customers to drive most revenue/bookings in 2019
  • What ABM metrics are currently being tracked
  • Which tools (including specific vendors) are essential to an ABM strategy
  • The average number of target accounts across tiers 1, 2 and 3
  • Where marketers go to learn about ABM

Thanks to everyone who participated in this study, and our partners at Salesforce Pardot for their collaboration.