IDG Research Reveals Extraordinary Adoption of ABM in the Tech Industry
A recent survey of marketing professionals worldwide undertaken by Triblio and its parent company IDG, reveals for the first time the extraordinary scale and momentum of ABM adoption in the technology industry itself.
Here are some of the most striking findings from the IDG Triblio survey
- 97% of technology marketers describe ABM as very important or extremely important in achieving their overall marketing objectives.
- In every territory studied, marketing organisations are now spending more on ABM than on “traditional” marketing strategies.
- Across six marketing core objectives, respondents told us that ABM performs better than traditional marketing strategies.
Only 2% of respondents describe ABM as a “new area for investment” in 2021. Even so, adoption of ABM in the technology industry isn’t a uniform process. Within an industry-wide shift like this, there will always be early adopters, mainstream pragmatists and late adopters. The research also suggests the existence of diverse approaches in different geographies and sub-sectors.
Some of the most noticeable differences separate medium-high spenders from super-spenders and large organisations from small. The report also identifies significant differences in the tools and platforms technology companies use to manage ABM.
The rise of the super spenders
Many of the organisations we surveyed are planning significant investment increases of 20%-40% in the coming year. But in every region, a large number of super-spenders are planning catch-up investments. Fully 28% of respondents worldwide say their organisation is planning a 40%+ hike in ABM investment. (In North America, the proportion rises to 32%).
Who are the super-spenders? Many of them are large organisations. For example, one of the key groups of super-spenders visible in IDG Triblio’s report are telecommunications operators. At the moment, telcos have a lot of innovation to bring to market, including 5G, edge computing and the internet of things. It’s perhaps no surprise that this is the year in which many of them are ramping up investment in ABM.
Large organisations: more experienced and set up differently
Satisfaction with ABM runs high across the board: 91% of organisations regard their efforts as extremely or very successful. However, satisfaction runs noticeably high among the very largest organisations (+25,000 employees), where two-thirds of respondents regard their ABM efforts as extremely successful. It is probably no coincidence that these organisations are significantly more likely to have been using ABM strategies for longer. The implication is that taking the time to optimise ABM strategies results in superior performance.
Many of the same very large organisations structure their ABM efforts differently. They are much more likely to share responsibility for implementing ABM across the marketing organisation. 48% of the very largest companies do this, but only 28% of all companies do this.
Large organisations tend to have established customer bases and predictable business models. It’s therefore to be expected that their ABM efforts prioritise retention and pipeline acceleration. The smaller companies in this survey are far more likely to prioritise acquiring new accounts and upselling and cross-selling.
Regional variation: goals for ABM in Europe and North America
The goals organisations are most likely to select for ABM won’t surprise you. Globally, the following percentages of respondents identified the most popular goals as follows: improved new account acquisition (67%), improved retention or renewal (64%) and improved win rates (59%).
North American technology companies largely reflect global industry norms, albeit with an even stronger drive for new account acquisition and improved win rates. By contrast, European companies have evolved slightly different priorities. In Europe, new account acquisition is still the top priority. But upselling/cross-selling and creating wider engagement within the ICP rank as the no.3 and no.4 priorities, higher than any other region we studied. The other striking point about European technology companies is the relatively high level of restraint in selecting priorities for ABM campaigns. Fewer Europeans selected each of the eight broad goals (such as “improved win rates”) the survey offered them as priorities for their ABM campaigns.
Experience generates a preference for dedicated ABM tools and platforms
The organisations we surveyed use a range of tools and platforms for ABM (80% use three or more). However, the longer an organisation has been running ABM campaigns, the more likely its marketers are to identify a dedicated ABM platform like Triblio as their single most successful tool. For example, among companies with limited experience of ABM (under six months), respondents had a tendency to tell us that marketing automation was the most successful technology used for ABM. But this stance quickly changes as marketers start to comprehend ABM’s full potential. Among companies with more than 12 months’ ABM experience, many more respondents identify ABM platforms as the single most successful tool.
One correlation among many underlines this point. In Asia Pacific Japan, where satisfaction levels with ABM run at the top end of global comparisons, 61% of organisations told us they’d been using ABM for more than a year, significantly more than elsewhere. These high levels of experience and satisfaction correlate very closely with respondents identifying dedicated ABM platforms as the most successful technology – in this case, at twice the rate for any other tool or platform.
By a substantial margin, dedicated ABM platforms also emerge as the tool of choice among the most intensive users of ABM: those marketers whose role is wholly devoted to running ABM campaigns. This endorsement matters because it’s reasonable to expect that these power users have a deeper understanding of ABM operations than (say) a events marketer for whom ABM is one responsibility among many.
What is the key finding?
It is this: for a majority of organisations in the technology industry, deciding whether to implement ABM is no longer the question. ABM has already become the dominant approach.
Instead, deciding how to deploy – and how to optimise – the model is increasingly the central question.
What are the right organisational structures? The best processes? The most successful tools? What does best practice look like? Increasingly, the marketers who settle on the best answers to these questions will win the race to capitalise on the potential of ABM.
Read the full findings from the IDG Triblio global survey of ABM adoption in the technology industry.