Gartner Account-Based Marketing Framework
I’ve been ignoring this blog for the past couple of months, but I promise that I have a really good reason! Julian Poulter and I have been hard at work creating a five-part series of research around account-based marketing (ABM). It’s designed for technology and service providers (TSPs) that are considering, piloting or running ABM programs. The series, which published earlier today, includes:
- An overview for building, planning, and running an ABM program
- A note dedicated to selecting the right accounts for an ABM program
- A note that talks about how to build account or segment plans
- A note that focuses on the different inbound and outbound engagement channels
- A note that identifies the right metrics to prove success from an ABM program
Note: A Gartner subscription is required to access the research
This isn’t an ABM 101 project. The number of ABM-related inquiries we’ve taken from TSPs in 2017 is already higher than it was for all of 2016. So we not only picked the brains of people that we have advised around ABM, but reached out to clients and non-clients that have been doing ABM for more than a year (which is a long time in the ABM world, at least for targeting net-new accounts at scale). We talked to megavendors and emerging startups, TSPs that target a single vertical to those that have a more horizontal approach. In addition to near daily ABM-related calls with clients, we spent a month picking the brains of some of the smartest people running ABM programs, found out what they were doing, what worked, what didn’t work, and what advice they have for others. And we then spent March and April writing these notes.
All that research led to a few key takeaways that are emphasized heavily in the notes:
- Alignment between sales and marketing isn’t enough; You need complete agreement and support between the two groups (and often the rest of the executive team and the board)
- Selecting the right accounts seems easy on the surface, but becomes much harder (and requires more rigor) as you scale the program
- Really thorough account planning can identify issues before you start engagement; This may delay the start of a campaign, but it helps to significantly improve success
- There isn’t a magic combination of engagement channels, CTAs or personalization that all TSPs should use; Like any other demand gen campaign, there is a lot of trial and error required and what works for one TSP may not work for another one
- The sales metrics you track don’t really change (when compared to traditional demand gen), but the marketing ones really do change: MQLs aren’t nearly as important and alternative engagement metrics have to be agreed upon in the planning stage
Over the course of the next month, we’ll be writing detailed blog posts around account selection, account planning, engagement and reporting. But in the meantime, I want to remind everyone about how we’ll be talking about ABM at the Gartner Tech Growth and Innovation Conference from June 19th-21st in Huntington Beach, CA. I have two sessions:
- An ABM panel on the 19th featuring sales and marketing leaders from Alfresco, InsightSquared, LiveRamp and Red Hat (four of the TSPs we interviewed and who feature prominently in the research)
- A “Getting Started with ABM” workshop on the 20th, a hands-on experience for TSPs who are thinking about or just beginning their ABM journey.
If you haven’t already registered for the event, then you should do it ASAP! We have a lot more than ABM on the menu and this is our one and only event targeted specifically for TSPs. Reach out to your Gartner account executive or directly to me via e-mail or LinkedIn if you need more details about the event.