A few years ago, Engagio published our ABM Market Map, which was the first comprehensive listing of all the categories and vendors in ABM. Now, I’m pleased to unveil the all new ABM Market Map, updated with everything we’ve learned in the last few years!
Now, don’t be overwhelmed. Sure, there are a lot of technologies that support ABM, just as there are many technologies that support demand generation. But you don’t need to buy technology from each category to do Account Based Marketing! You can dip your toe in the water with relatively modest investment in new technology, and then add more solutions to help scale over time.
Let’s break this down by walking through each section.
FOUNDATION: The core essentials
These are the core essential technologies to support ABM. You must have a marketing automation platform and a CRM platform. With few exceptions, you can’t do ABM without them.
The other required technology is some way to unify your account data with lead-to-account (L2A) matching. Combined with CRM and marketing automation, this creates a single view of your accounts to act as the foundation for all your ABM efforts.
None of these are optional (hence the name “foundation”).
DATA AND INSIGHTS: Select target accounts, fill contact whitespace, identify insights
Technologies in this category can help you select your target accounts and fill in the whitespace with the right contacts at those accounts. Combining basic firmographic (e.g. industry and size) data with your first party engagement data (e.g. are these accounts already engaging with you) is the basic requirement for selecting your target accounts. Once you have identified those accounts, you also need the right people within those accounts. Typically, investing in data to support these actions is required for ABM.
Beyond the basics, there are cool optional technologies to help make the process even better. For example, intent data uses the content people are reading on third party sites to identify which accounts might be actively researching particular solutions.
Some vendors use predictive models to help you identify the best accounts for your business. The old version of the Market Map had Predictive as its own category, but in the last few years the predictive vendors have re-positioned themselves into other categories – often into the emerging category that I’m calling “Data Platforms.” These are customer data platforms (CDPs) focused on the B2B space. They are not required for ABM, but can be a cool technology for B2B organizations.
INTERACTIONS: Specific channels to create 1:1 account-based interactions
This category is all about the different channels you can use to create engagement with target accounts. The core channels include ABM advertising, content syndication, sales and SDR outreach, web and content personalization, direct mail, and events.
A few key points. First, there’s no required channel for ABM; you may skip any of these and still have an effective ABM strategy. Second, technology is not specifically required for most of these channels; for example, you can hold events and send direct mail without specific investments. Third, and perhaps most important, advertising is not synonymous with doing ABM. The reality is that ads are just one easy thing, and having an ABM ads platform doesn’t mean you’re executing an effective ABM strategy.
ORCHESTRATION: Manage multi-channel account-based plays across multiple personas and departments
This is my favorite category. Again, ABM is not about any one channel – it’s about coordinating interactions across multiple channels, and it’s doing so in harmony with each other, at scale. The fastest path to success is when teams collaborate and are aligned on strategy.
Why is this so powerful? At Engagio, we’ve achieved meeting rates of 20% to as high as 85% using orchestrated plays. How? By leveraging the benefits of automation to scale our efforts and the power of personalization to add a human touch. That’s marketing orchestration.
While Orchestration is optional, the most advanced ABM companies are using it to execute and scale effective ABM.
(Account planning is an adjacent technology category; this piece isn’t required, but it can be very helpful.)
MEASUREMENT: Track engagement, score and prioritize accounts, and measure the impact of your ABM programs
Engagement measurement is a required category, since the cornerstone of marketing is the ability to measure and demonstrate results – and the metrics for your account-based efforts are different than traditional lead-based marketing. There’s a shift from quantity to quality.
Engagement measurement must go beyond web traffic – web traffic is important, but it’s only one piece of the picture. Getting insight into the type of engagement is key, from content downloads to email clicks to meetings and more. It’s all part of building the relationship and closing deals, thus it’s important to measure.
Another piece that we’ve seen is essential is putting your engagement insights in front of your Sales team. What good is measurement if you can’t act on the insights?
Lastly, account journeys and multi-touch attribution to prove value and ROI are increasingly an important piece of a complete ABM stack. They key is to focus on account-specific attribution and metrics, not lead-based analytics.