Forrester’s recent ABM research confirms that the convergence of account-based marketing and lead-based demand generation is just starting to occur. Into the 2022 State of ABM Survey, Forrester asked survey participants concerning the ongoing state associated with relationship between their ABM and demand generation efforts and regarding how they wanted the partnership to improve as time goes on.
Eighty-two percent associated with survey respondents said their “desired future state” would be to have ABM and demand generation efforts which can be broadly aligned (sharing people, processes and tools) or fully aligned (combined in one function). Which was up from 54% of respondents into the 2020 edition associated with survey.
The evolution of account-based marketing has actually foreshadowed its convergence with classic B2B demand generation. When ITSMA (the data Technology Services Marketing Association) introduced the idea of account-based marketing in 2003, it defined ABM as, “treating individual accounts as markets in their own personal right.”
As originally conceived, therefore, account-based marketing had not been designed to replace a business’s demand generation strategy or tactics for some customers or prospects. Instead, ABM was made to be a “special” method of marketing that might be used in combination with a small amount of the business’s most strategic, high-value customers or prospects.
Within a couple of years, however, a lot of companies began expanding their ABM programs to encompass a broader array of customers and prospects. In its 2016 Account-Based Marketing Benchmarking Survey, ITSMA identified three types or “flavors” of ABM.
- One-to-One ABM – “Marketer works together key account teams to build up and implement highly customized sales and marketing programs for individual accounts; typically with 5-50 strategic accounts.”
- One-to-Few ABM – “Marketer works together specific sales teams to generate customized campaigns for small groups or clusters of accounts with similar business attributes or imperatives . . . usually 5-15 accounts per cluster.”
- One-to-Many ABM – “Marketers make use of sales to focus on priority accounts at scale, using technology to aid issue-based campaigns with personalization; typically hundreds or even more named accounts.”
Collectively, these three forms of ABM can cover a broad swath associated with target audience for the most part B2B companies, as well as the the reality is, there was little distinction between one-to-many ABM and modern, well-designed demand generation programs. They normally use similar marketing tactics and channels (digital advertising, marketing with email, webinars, etc.), in addition they typically employ similar quantities of targeting and personalization.
In the 2021 ABM Benchmark Study
by ITSMA as well as the ABM Leadership Alliance, approximately half (48%) associated with survey respondents said they have been using one-to-many ABM
. With all this amount of usage as well as the commonalities mentioned previously, it willn’t be surprising that ABM and demand generation are converging.
Technology Convergence Is Well Underway
The convergence has already been well underway into the marketing technology space. Several providers of B2B marketing automation software have added features to create their solutions more with the capacity of supporting account-based marketing programs, although some associated with leading providers of ABM software have added capabilities (such as for example native email) that support classic demand generation programs.
These developments will probably accelerate the convergence of ABM and demand generation by simply making it feasible for marketers to handle the combined function within an individual technology platform.
What Convergence does not Change
The convergence of account-based marketing and classic demand generation marketing may have a substantial effect on how B2B companies organize and manage their demand generation operations. But it is also essential to identify that this convergence will not replace the basic recipe for effective demand generation.
Account-based marketing is a robust method of demand generation since it is predicated on two fundamental principles of B2B commerce. First, many B2B buying decisions are built by buying groups, not by individuals, and ABM recognizes this particular fact.
Second, only a few customers or potential prospects are equally valuable, as well as the three types of ABM enable B2B companies to align their marketing and sales efforts – as well as the related investments – with all the estimated value of each and every customer or prospect. Marketing and sales professionals may use highly effective, but resource-intensive, one-to-one ABM programs with a small amount of their most effective customers and prospects, when using lower-cost one-to-many ABM tactics for many customers and prospects which can be desirable, but have lower potential value.
Image due to XoMEoX via Flickr (CC).