ABM's Focus Is Shifting Dramatically, Forrester Finds
So far in 2022, marketers don't seem willing to invest in either the technology or best practices required to deliver account-based marketing (ABM) successfully, Forrester Research asserts in a new report.
Forrester's 2022 State of ABM Survey also found significant changes in the overall ABM landscape, with a much larger and stronger representation from smaller companies than in previous years, with many of those firms in the very early stages of implementing ABM. Around 80 of these deployments were less than two years old, including 39 percent that were still pilots.
And despite the challenging market and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, budgets for ABM initiatives dropped only marginally since 2020, according to Forrester's data.
Data further suggests that a lot of newcomers to ABM feel more comfortable investing now that the discipline is more established.
In other findings, one-to-one ABM is no longer the most favored deployment type, as was the case in previous years. "One-to-one ABM is very resource-intensive and, therefore, typically reserved for only a small number of very large, strategic accounts, usually existing ones, explains Nicky Briggs, a Forrester vice president and principal analyst. "Smaller firms often need to cast a wider net and focus on new logo acquisition as they seek to grow their businesses by attracting new customers and will therefore often align sales reps and business development representative resources against a wider list of named accounts."
And companies are also pursuing account-based strategies for different reasons today, with the overwhelming majority of respondents focused on sourcing new pipeline and leads. Forrester advises clients not to over-rotate on sourcing metrics, though.
From a tactical perspective, the research also found that digital advertising jumped from the third-highest area of program execution spend to the highest, with more than a quarter of execution spend now allocated in this area and many firms spending considerably more.
"While there is no single right way to spend execution dollars, companies for which display advertising consumes a significant chunk of budget should put governance in place to ensure that the high spend is justified," Briggs advises.
The report also found the emergence of five discrete deployment motions: large ABM, industry ABM, digital-first ABM, hybrid ABM, and non-ABM, all of which involve their own hallmarks, traits, goals, and challenges