Prophets of Profit 2018: ABM Experts Give Their Predictions & Advice – Part 2
In part 1 of Prophets of Profit 2018, we heard bold predictions and expert advice from the best ABM practitioners around. Craig Rosenberg, Megan Heuer, Trish Bertuzzi, Jon Miller, and many more gazed into their crystal balls and forecasted the future of ABM in the coming year.
I asked them to take it one step further and offer up one piece of advice to help you succeed with ABM in the next 12 months.
In this post, the prophecies continue. We’re going back to the future for the rest of our ABM prediction for 2018.
Three Comprehensive ABM Platforms
Managing VP, Gartner
“By the end of 2018, we will see at least three comprehensive ABM platforms: The market for ABM technologies is highly fragmented with no single solution to select accounts, orchestrate personalized engagement across all inbound and outbound channels and measure both the engagement and impact of programs across all the channels. Through a combination of innovation and acquisition we expect this to change by the end of the year. Some of the vendors got pretty close by the end of this year, but still have some missing components.
The complete platforms are likely to originate from the marketing automation, predictive analytics and pure-play ABM sides, with differing approaches based on that heritage. While most of the capabilities will be built directly into the platforms, there may be certain capabilities that are handled through API integration to other vendors. We are unlikely to see production offerings by the end of 2018 from three or more vendors, but we do expect to see announced (and committed) features by that timeframe.” Check out Todd’s other fearless predictions for the B2B space here.
Formalization and Incentivization Around Cross-Training
Chief Marketing Officer at InsideView, Author
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that the selection of the right target accounts is becoming an even bigger issue. Companies need to spend as much time here as they do on their ABM techniques. And the data proves it — we recently re-ran our sales & marketing alignment survey (that was the basis of my book, Aligned to Achieve, Wiley, 2016) and this issue was 1st or 2nd on the list of issues causing misalignment.
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is to laser-focus on your ideal customers. Figure out who is most likely to be retained and grow as the focus for your ABM efforts — both new logo and customer growth motions. We can no longer only think top of funnel — helping to grow our best customers is a key way marketing can deliver significant value.”
Personalized Content at Scale
Chief Marketing Officer at Uberflip
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that marketers will embrace ways to personalize content at scale. Consider this: almost 7 people weigh into the buying decision per Gartner. That means each buyer needs the right content at the right time to justify their spend and commit. Relevant & personalized content is necessary, affordable and scalable way to make an impact with ABM.
My advice for people to succeed with content for ABM in 2018 is to not panic – you likely have the basics you need already! Start by (1) tagging your content based on target account characteristics you’ve identified with data analysis & your sales team: this could be buyer/stage/vertical etc., then (2) curate the right content on a dedicated landing page or hub for your audience, and finally (3) use distribution channels like paid, email and social to deliver that dedicated page to your account contacts. With the right process and tech this will scale!”
ABM for Pipeline Creation
VP ABM Strategy, Field & Channel Marketing at DemandBase
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that more and more companies will start to look to ABM for not only Demand Generation, but also to address their pipeline. Increasing close rates and funnel velocity relieves the pressure to increase pipeline opportunities at double-digit rates! They will still focus on creating pipeline, of course, but redirect some efforts to help their sales team close more business, and faster!
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is to not forget Sales Enablement! We as marketers can get caught up concepting and executing fantastic campaigns, but by forgetting to keep our sales team up to speed, giving them the tools to capitalize on the opportunities generated, your campaign will be doomed to underperform. You can spend 10, 20 or more hours building your campaign… take that extra hour to make sure you enable the sales teams to get the most out of your efforts! Work smarter, not harder, in 2018!”
CMOs of the future are ABMers
CMO and Cofounder at Terminus
“ABM becomes B2B. The CMOs of the future are ABMers who care and show results based on overall strategy and customer experience. Companies will take the #OneTeam approach to accountability and results from CEO to CMO to CRO. Everyone will have one number that they will try to hit and collaborate on, every single day.”
Chief Marketing Officer at MongoDB
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that it will be one of the hottest topics at the SiriusDecisions’ summits and that Salesforce will acquire a vendor or two in the space.
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is to partner closely with their sales team. Agree on target accounts, who within the accounts they want to talk to and how you plan to coordinate the engagement with those accounts.”
Scale ABM Learning
Chief Marketing Officer at TechTarget
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that companies who have succeeded with ABM as a driver of enhanced yields will find ways to scale their learnings more broadly.
Too many marketers are functioning under a KPI structure that undermines understanding at the account level. In 2018, to grow productivity, practitioners should look to streamline their processes such that they can easily understand demand behavior clearly at the account level and be able to action it directly with known members of the buying team.”
Chatbots and Messenger Interfaces for ABM
VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that conversational interfaces — chatbots and messenger interfaces — will become a key part of the ABM arsenal.
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is to (re)focus on answering the questions different stakeholders have in different stages of the buyer’s journey, through the interfaces that they prefer.”
inners Focus on the Customer Experience
VP of Marketing at Vidyard
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that it becomes a catalyst for more engaging content marketing and sales enablement, pushing these disciplines to focus on remarkable customer experiences that cut through the noise and create a more personal connection with prospects at targeted accounts.
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is to think outside the box when it comes to how you will engage key accounts and what tactics you’ll use – such as interactive content, personal video, direct mail and live events – to stand out from the crowd and make targeted accounts actually want to do business with your brand.”
Will We Still Call is ABM?
President at Heinz Marketing
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that more companies will adopt Account Based Marketing practices but won’t necessarily call it ABM. If you’re coordinating sales & marketing activities, embracing revenue responsibility as a marketing organization, and improving your messaging to account for the increasingly-complex internal buying committee, you’re doing ABM – even if you don’t call it that!
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is align everything you’re doing to the buying journey and buying committee. Everything gets better from there.”
Common Sense Becomes Common Practice
Chief Growth Officer at DiscoverOrg
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that most companies with a fully developed marketing team engage in some form of ABM in 2018, and it becomes less of a “novelty”or one-off program and more integrated into the overall sales and marketing strategy. The reality that “it’s common sense, but not common practice” will start to recede in our rearview mirror – although there will remain a gap in our ability to consistently and effectively measure both ABM and traditional demand generation efforts across our sales and marketing tech stacks.
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is “Progress, Not Perfection.” I likened getting an ABM program off the ground to training for a race in a recent blog – most people don’t try to run a marathon before they can run a 5K and the same should be true of ABM. Too many companies spend months and months trying to get their target list PERFECT and their plays PERFECT, and in the meantime, they’ve lost ground. That is insane. If you’re just starting out, embrace an iterative approach. Start with a small ABM program focused on one target segment, see what works and doesn’t, and then start adding to it and going bigger. We learned so much in our first few efforts that made every play after that so much better.”
People and Processes
Chief Marketing Officer at Dun & Bradstreet
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that companies will focus on people and processes in order get the return on their investments in ABM programs and technology. Technology is only as effective as the people and processes surrounding it. Companies need more agile processes and ways to continually upskill talent.
My advice for people to succeed in ABM in 2018 is to get your customer data foundation right before you try to implement any program. That means you need structured, quality data that is consistent across your organization.”
MarTech & SalesTech Stack vs the Data Stack
President at LeadGenius
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that a multi-vendor, strategic data strategy will evolve as the most impactful means of turbo-charging an organization’s Account-Based efforts. The salestech and martech ‘stacks’ are becoming less impactful than the ‘data stack’ a company creates to feed such systems. Those with the best data will win.”
Actionable Data with CDPs
Sr. Analyst at TOPO
“In 2018, data will become far more actionable as the CDP (customer data platform) is developed and gains traction in B2B. These systems will make data about the account, and all individuals at the account, actionable in new ways for early-adopting marketers and will become the next major infrastructure element of the account-based technology stack. I predict these solutions will become important enough in 2018 that at least one will be acquired by a CRM or marketing automation provider before the year is up.
My advice to account-based marketers in 2018 is to focus on increasing their opportunity rate (# of target accounts with new opportunities opened / number of target accounts). Opportunity rate reflects the effectiveness of account-based execution for both acquisition and expansion, and is a conversion rate that can be measured and compared across various segments.”
Is ABM Necessary or Just Trendy?
SVP of Marketing at Radius
“My prediction for ABM in 2018 is that for organizations selling into Enterprise, ABM will become a necessary strategy to stay competitive, not just a trendy approach. Organizations will also start to refine their current ABM efforts and realize the importance of investing in such key components of ABM like investing in account selection. If you are targeting the wrong accounts to begin with, your strategy will surely fail.
My ABM advice is don’t be short-sighted in limiting your strategy to marketing. Your whole organization, especially sales, needs to be bought into the approach for the strategy to truly succeed. Most importantly, align upfront on measurements of success for ABM and don’t fall into old traps of still looking at lead volume, or your team will never be truly incentivized to adopt ABM.”
Once again, here is the link to ABM Prophets of Profit 2018 part 1.
What’s your prediction for Account Based Marketing in 2018?
What is your advice for people who want to see results?