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Where are you in the race to ABM excellence?

We’ve compiled The ABM Competency Model 2019. A one-stop graph that shows you where over 300 ABM practitioners are with regard to the delivery of their ABM programmes.

As well as demonstrating the work involved in ABM’s delivery, it shows where B2B marketers are progressing and where they are struggling to do so. Lastly, it provides you with the means to benchmark yourselves against the market average and chart your next steps ahead.

If you’re new to account based marketing you’re most likely in the early stages of a first pilot – keen to show results but also to steal a march on your competitors. For those who are wondering where they are in that race, we’ve compiled The ABM Competency Model 2019. A one-stop graph that shows you where over 300 ABM practitioners are with regard to the delivery of their ABM programmes. As well as demonstrating the work involved in ABM’s delivery, it shows where B2B marketers are progressing and where they are struggling to do so. Lastly, it provides you with the means to benchmark yourselves against the market average and chart your next steps ahead.

This model allows you to: 

  • Assess the work involved in ABM’s delivery
  • Review how far your ABM peers and colleagues have progressed
  • Compare your aptitude with other ABM practitioners
  • Determine your next steps.
The ABM Competency Model 2019

The ABM Competency Model 2019 - click here to view.

The ABM Competency Model 2019 is an updated version of the models we’ve published for the past two years. It demonstrates everything you will master as you become proficient in ABM, mapping it across five stages, and taking into consideration the five main aspects of ABM’s delivery.

The five elements of delivery:

  1. Internal alignment
  2. Account definition
  3. Data and insight
  4. Technology
  5. Programme and content execution.

The five stages of delivery:

  1. Defining
  2. Planning
  3. Implementing
  4. Upscaling
  5. Perfecting.

Internal alignment 

Internal alignment starts with key stakeholder buy-in from your marketing team, sales, executives and the board. Once you have secured this (and that is no easy feat in itself), the majority of your efforts will be to maintain your understanding and alliance with sales. Friction between you will have an affect on your performance. 

The largest proportion of ABMers (62%) are evenly spread between stages 2 and 3 of their alignment around ABM. This means board support has been granted, objectives and resource have been agreed and sales and marketing are working towards collaborative delivery of those objectives. 

“One of the main reasons ABM programmes take longer to see ROI is a lack of alignment between sales and marketing. Even if they may have been brought in by marketing, sales needs to be just as aware of what ABM is. The key is making sure that sales are included earlier.”

Mike Boogaard, CEO, Alias Partners

Account definition 

Our survey shows that ABM practitioners are more advanced in their account selection process than any other of the five elements. This is unsurprising given that without accounts you’ve nothing to practice ABM on. But have people selected the right accounts, and if so what process did they take to get there? 

At 45%, the largest group of ABMers are at stage 3 of their account selection process. They are more advanced here than in any other aspect of ABM. This means they have selected, scored and segmented their accounts and are delivering small scale ABM.

“Where I’ve been asked to help stalled ABM campaigns, the cause is invariably down to choosing the wrong accounts for the wrong reasons. I personally advocate focussing on existing accounts first as the anecdotal evidence from our advisory clients is that this has proven to be the fastest and easiest place to start.”

Andy Bacon, lead advisor for B2B Marketing’s ABM Head-start programme

Data and insight 

On average ABM practitioners are at stage 2 of their data and insight collation, but in reality most are either stuck at stage one (auditing), or have leap-frogged to stage three (delivering ABM). Either way, this area requires a lot of investment in terms of time, resource and in some cases, cost. Yet data problem exists independent of ABM. For many years we have invited data into our organisations at a quicker rate than we could process or properly analyse. This means the information we have is messy, in duplicate, incomplete and so vast. ABM is a great catalyst to make improvements.

On average, most ABMers are at stage 2 of their data and insight delivery, that’s because the two largest groups are either side with 34% at stage 1 (where they are auditing their existing data) and 33% at stage 3 (delivering small- scale ABM through the use of centralised data).

“Often the first party data we need for ABM is siloed or difficult to access. It can often take longer to locate, access and assimilate than expected, especially because many think this will be the easy bit! Once you have identified what you do know it can then take a while to establish the known unknowns. Deep account insight of the kind that really makes a difference does require an investment – it’s why I advocate an initial pilot of a few accounts to keep everything manageable.”

Andy Bacon, lead advisor for B2B Marketing’s ABM Head-start programme

Technology 

Technology is a wonderful tool for ABM’s delivery. Although the early stages ABM can be carried out almost entirely independent of tech, it’s prudent to scope the opportunities tech vendors provide and how others are deploying them. 

The largest group (43%) are at stage 1 of their ABM technology development. That means they’re simply scoping their existing tech and their needs. This is both unsurprising and wise, given that most ABM practitioners are in the early stages of their programme; unless you’re running one-to-many (programmatic) buying new tech isn’t advisable until you’ve delivered results.

“For now, we’ve been using the platforms and tools that we already had. They turned out to be quite compatible. Essentially, I think that strategy should drive technology, not the other way around.”

David De Smedt, European marketing and communications manager, DS Smith

Programme and content execution

Rushing into programme and content delivery before you’ve properly selected and analysed your accounts is money down the drain, because of course, you need to understand your audience in detail in order to create personalised outputs for them. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to wait for months of analysis before you take action. 

Our survey shows that ABM practitioners are at stage one of their programme and content delivery. That means while marketing output may be in sympathy with ABM, it’s not in adherence with ABM’s defined processes. Simply put, most aren’t actually deliver ABM campaigns just yet.

“Clients today expect you to understand everything about their organisation; they expect you to come enabled with a properly structured discussion based around their issues. It’s purely driven by the customer. If you’re not delivering that, the client switches off and actually you’re no longer portraying your company in the right light. In fact, if somebody calls you with something that’s not relevant you get annoyed and never want to deal with that organisation again.”

David Cotterill, marketing director, Europe, Conduent

Become an ABM champion: How to set and smash your targets

This year’s ABM report provides essential reading for those wanting to gain a realistic and confident view on the typical cost of ABM, how long it takes to hit ROI and the success marketers you’ll see along the way.

Download now

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