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Account-based marketing (ABM) is frequently hailed as the most effective form of B2B marketing. Despite that, marketing budgets still haven’t shifted accordingly. Most ABM leaders say that less than 25% of their overall marketing budget goes to ABM efforts (Ascend, 2023)

Sound familiar? If so, this article is for you. I’ve collected a set of compelling ABM statistics that will put the success of your ABM program in context—and help you make the case for a budget increase.

How ABM Drives Return on Investment (ROI)

ABM can strengthen customer relationships, improve how marketing and sales work together, and accelerate sales cycles (just to name a few benefits). But when it comes to pitching the C-suite, none of these is more compelling than ABM’s return on investment.

1. ABM Drives a Higher ROI than any other Marketing Approach

Bev Burgess, an SVP and ABM Practice Leader at Momentum ITSMA, a growth consultancy, says, “ABM works. Done right, ABM leads to significantly higher ROI than any other marketing approach.”

In fact, if there’s one statistic with the power to convince the C-suite to try ABM, it’s this:

76% of marketers get a higher ROI with ABM than they do with any other form of marketing. (ABMLA, 2020).

2. Mature ABM programs Invest More in ABM (and drive higher ROI)

Most ABM programs initially dip their toes in the water and invest more over time. As they do, they tend to see higher ROI. Julie Schwartz, an SVP at Momentum ITSMA, says, “We see a positive correlation between the size of the ABM budget and ABM maturity level. With experience comes higher ROI, and therefore, the more mature companies see the value in investing in ABM.”

Companies of all sizes are switching more of their budget to focus on ABM strategies: 66% of companies plan to increase ABM spending in 2024. **(ITSMA, 2023)

3. Not Enough ABM-ers Measure Return on Investment

Given the ROI-boosting effects of ABM, you’d assume measuring account-based marketing efforts would be a top priority—right? However, only 52% of companies measure the return on investment from their ABM programs. (ITSMA, 2023)

Yes, measuring ROI helps you justify your ABM program to the C-suite. But even more crucially, it gives you the data you need to optimize and improve your program over time: the most effective ABM programs are 30% more likely to measure ROI (ABMLA, 2020).

How ABM Supports Revenue Generation

ABM done well means bigger deals, faster revenue growth, and more upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Here’s what you need to know about ABM revenue generation.

4. ABM Results in Bigger Deals

Among ABM statistics, this is one of the most juicy: 58% of marketers see the size of their deals increase with ABM programs (Forrester, 2021). With shorter sales cycles, better customer fit, and bigger deal numbers, it’s no wonder ABM tends to boost revenue.

And even once those bigger deals are closed, 75% of businesses say ABM improves upselling and cross-selling opportunities. (Forrester, 2021)

5. ABM Leads to Faster Revenue Growth

On average, businesses attribute a staggering 77% of their revenue growth to ABM (ITSMA, 2022). 87% of companies say the best way to maximize revenue generation is to mix traditional lead-based strategies with ABM. (Terminus, 2021)

6. Most Companies Rely on Revenue Metrics to Track ABM Success

While seasoned ABM practitioners will tell you that ABM isn’t about lead generation, selling to new accounts is the most common ABM campaign goal (ITSMA, 2022); meanwhile, the top two most popular metrics used are the number of qualified leads and net-new accounts engaged.

Revenue, though, is a close second: for 44% of companies, contribution to pipeline revenue is a top metric (Demand Gen, 2022). A separate report by Foundry agreed, finding that 40% of companies rely on revenue generated as a core ABM metric. (Foundry, 2023)

How ABM Supports Sales and Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing teams often clash, which is the logical outcome of misaligned incentives. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way: ABM brings sales and marketing closer together.

7. Most ABM-ers say ABM Improves Marketing and Sales Alignment

Given the importance of marketing and sales alignment, there’s good news: 67% of companies say their ABM program has led to better sales and marketing alignment (Demand Gen, 2023). That said, the strength of that alignment depends on who you ask. 

While 97% of C-level executives responding to a Foundry survey said marketing and sales alignment is strong, only 86% of the overall respondents agreed (Foundry, 2023).

Marketing and sales alignment also differs based on region and company size. North American companies (94%) tend to be more aligned than APAC companies (70%). And while 90% of big firms say their marketing and sales teams are aligned, only two-thirds of smaller companies agree (Foundry, 2023).

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8. Alignment Leads to More Deals and Higher Retention Rates

Companies reporting high marketing and sales alignment are 67% more effective at closing deals. And customer retention rates also get a 36% boost when teams are aligned.

9. Alignment is Hard, But the Majority of Marketers Say it’s Vital

Sales and marketing alignment isn’t easy; companies report it as the biggest ABM challenge they face, with 46% of businesses saying they struggle with alignment (Demand Gen, 2023).

Marketing and sales teams naturally have different priorities, and it takes deliberate effort to sync them. 

A 2021 study published by Terminus asked businesses to name their biggest sales/marketing priorities for the next 12 months. The responses from sales teams (customer expansion, retention, and new business generation) were strikingly different from those on marketing teams (retention, brand awareness, and product adoption).

When digging into your alignment challenges, get granular. Marketers tend to agree strongly with statements like “sales and marketing are willing to work on shared KPIs and metrics,” but disagree with statements like “sales has finally come to understand ABM,” or “sales freely gives ABM-ers credit for influencing/contributing to closed deals when credit is due” (ITSMA, 2023).

Despite the challenges, companies are in full agreement on the benefits of alignment. 93% of companies say a fully aligned sales and marketing team is crucial to a successful ABM strategy (Terminus, 2021).

How ABM Drives Lead Generation

While traditional demand gen campaigns focus on generating qualified leads, ABM practitioners focus on revenue and business outcomes. Still, ABM effectively drives leads, boosts pipeline conversion rates, and gets buyers to engage earlier.

10. ABM Results in Earlier Buyer Engagement

One key benefit of ABM is earlier customer engagement: 75% of businesses say ABM has boosted their ability to engage buyers earlier in the funnel (Forrester, 2021). 

This ability to engage earlier helps drive a 28% increase in overall account engagement and contributes to ABM’s ability to add more opportunities to the pipeline (Gartner, 2024).

11. ABM Boosts the Quality and Number of Opportunities

A 2021 study by Forrester found that 65% of companies reported that their ABM programs increase pipeline opportunities, quality, or both. A separate study by Ascend2 agrees, with 64% of the marketers they surveyed reporting that their ABM program is successful at driving more leads.

12. ABM Boosts Pipeline Conversion Rates

Research by Gartner has found that account-based marketing can increase overall pipeline conversion rates by 14%. Even better, ABM leads to a 25% rise in the marketing-qualified lead to sales-accepted lead conversion rate.

How ABM Supports Personalization

Launching an ABM campaign involves serious research. Stephanie McCredie, a marketing director for Salesforce, spent three months researching 38 businesses; after that, her sales team hand-picked pain points that would resonate most with each business. But the painstaking process behind personalization is worth it—here’s why.

13. Customers Expect Personalization—And it Makes Them More Likely to Buy

One compelling reason to adopt ABM personalization is that it’s simply what customers have come to expect. 71% of customers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences, and those experiences make them 80% more likely to purchase.

Top-performing ABM practitioners are more likely to use content personalization than low performers (Demand Gen, 2023). Fortunately, the latest ABM software makes personalization at scale easier to implement.

14. Most ABM Programs Target Based on Account Needs, Industry, or Roles

ABM-ers face a divide when it comes to content personalization: one-to-one ABM programs tend to personalize for each account, while one-to-many programs create content targeting specific industries or based on specific needs.

Generally speaking, targeting based on account challenges is the most common (65%), followed by industry (62%), specific company roles (52%), “recycling” generic content into customizable templates (45%), and creating custom content for each account (44%). (Demand Gen, 2023)

15. Case Studies, Articles, and Guides are the most Common Forms of Personalized Content

Different audiences respond to different content types. Overall, though, these are the most popular ABM content formats (Demand Gen, 2023):

  • Case studies (used by 83% of marketers)
  • Articles/blogs (used by 70%)
  • Guides/ebooks (used by 59%)
  • White papers (used by 57%)
  • Research (used by 48%)

How ABM Supports Account Targeting

The success or failure of your ABM program depends on the strength of your account targeting. Picking the right targets and delivering personalized, helpful content at each stage of the buying process can be impactful.

16. Sales Team Input is the Most Common Way to Choose Target Accounts, followed by Firmographic, Predictive, and Technographic Data

Account targeting isn’t always a purely data-driven affair. One 2023 ITSMA ABM survey respondent said, “We pick our ABM accounts with the company presidents in each area, and it’s not necessarily the top revenue accounts. Growth potential is what we’re looking at.”

Here are the top data sources firms use to target accounts (ITSMA, 2022):

  • Sales-team selected accounts (used by 74% of firms)
  • Firmographic data (used by 55%)
  • Predictive data (used by 47%)
  • Technographic data (used by 45%)

Choosing the right accounts has a big downstream impact: 72% of businesses say account targeting results in a better customer fit, greater loyalty, and higher profitability (Forrester, 2021).

17. One-to-One or One-to-Many? Almost Half of ABM Programs Use a Mix

One of the first questions you face when designing an account-based marketing program is which ABM strategy to pursue:

  • Strategic ABM (one-to-one)
  • ABM lite (one-to-few)
  • Programmatic ABM (one-to-many)

However, there’s good news: you don’t have to choose. Nearly half of all ABM programs include two or three types, meaning you’re in good company if you choose to run different ABM tactics in parallel. (ITSMA, 2022)

18. Customers Respond Favorably to Highly Targeted Content

Creating a single marketing campaign for a broad audience is relatively easy work. Creating targeted materials for dozens of accounts? That’s tough. 40% of B2B marketers find developing the right content for their target audience hard. (LinkedIn, 2019)

But it’s worth the effort: vendor content significantly impacts the purchase process for 79% of buyers (Demand Gen, 2021). And 54% of buyers say content that helps them through each stage of the research and decision-making process is a key vendor-selection criterion (Demand Gen, 2021).

General Account-Based Marketing Statistics

The number of businesses relying on ABM is growing, but the makeup of each ABM campaign can look surprisingly different—and most ABM programs are still in the early stages.

19. The Number of Companies Relying on ABM is Growing

If you’re not on the ABM train yet, you’re in the minority: more than two-thirds of marketers are leveraging an account-based marketing strategy (Demand Gen, 2023). 

Investment in ABM efforts is growing fast this decade; the global ABM market is projected to grow from $1.1 billion in 2022 to $3.1 billion in 2030 (Global Industry Analysts, 2024).

20. Most ABM Programs are Still in the Early Stages

While many companies now have an ABM program, most are in the early stages of development. Fewer than 20% of companies report that their ABM program is fully embedded in the business (ITSMA, 2022), and only 29% of businesses say that their ABM strategy is fully optimized (Forrester, 2021).

21. ABM Campaigns look Different Based on the Strategy Selected

ABM campaigns can come in wildly different sizes depending on which approach you prioritize. While one-to-many ABM strategies have an average of 6000+ accounts, one-to-few campaigns have 177 accounts, and one-to-one campaigns average just 39 accounts (ABMLA, 2020).

Depending on your ABM strategy and resources, other aspects of your campaign may look different as well (Ascend2, 2020):

  • 54% of businesses focus on attracting new contacts
  • 27% of businesses focus on engaging and converting existing contacts
  • 19% of businesses focus on nurturing and cross-marketing to existing accounts

Account-Based Marketing Statistics: Benefits

The vast majority of marketers say their ABM programs have been successful, with most pointing to benefits like increased sales productivity, better marketing and sales alignment, and faster sales cycles.

22. ABM Boosts Marketing and Sales Alignment

As mentioned earlier in this article, ABM-ers see increased marketing and sales alignment as the biggest benefit of account-based marketing.

Other frequently cited benefits include (Demand Gen, 2022):

  • More efficient use of marketing resources (44%)
  • Stronger customer relationships (44%)
  • A streamlined customer acquisition process (29%)
  • Faster sales cycles (28%)

23. ABM Increases Sales Productivity

Your sales team is at its best when they’re building relationships. But as much as 50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. Account-based marketing—augmented by a strong sales enablement program—helps to reduce that number so your sales team can focus on face-to-face time with customers.

24. Most Marketers say their ABM Efforts Have Been Successful

If you’re on the fence about whether to implement ABM, here’s a compelling statistic: 93% of businesses say their ABM efforts have been either very successful or extremely successful. And 98% of businesses say ABM is very important (or extremely important) to their marketing objectives (Foundry, 2023).

Account-Based Marketing Statistics: Challenges

ABM programs have challenges. Many ABM leaders struggle with measuring ROI, gathering reliable data, and securing the budget they need to expand their efforts. Reviewing these common hurdles can help you strengthen your own ABM program.

25. Most Accounts aren’t Actively Looking to Buy

While account-based marketing is more effective than other marketing approaches, ABM practitioners still deal with many of the typical sales and marketing issues. Chief among them is that only 5% of B2B accounts are actively looking to buy at any given time.

As a result, 40% of surveyed marketers say reaching audiences at the right moments remains their top multichannel marketing challenge.

26. Measuring ABM Success can be Difficult

Only 52% of companies measure account-based marketing ROI (ITSMA, 2023), and the businesses that do measure ROI often struggle. According to Gartner, measuring the effectiveness of ABM programs is a serious hurdle for 42% of businesses.

While the 2023 Foundry survey shows that most companies are confident about the success ABM brings, tracking ROI data can be eye-opening: the 2023 ABM benchmark study by ITSMA found that while most ABM programs are successful, only a few achieve gains of more than 10% on key metrics.

27. Budgets and Reliable Data are a Challenge

ABM budget is often reallocated from other sales and marketing areas; as a result, 37% of marketers find it hard to secure the budget and resources they need (Ascend2, 2020).

Working on a limited budget can limit ABM teams’ access to data and tools. 43% of marketers say unreliable data can make it hard to know which accounts to target (LinkedIn, 2019).

Account-Based Marketing Statistics: Future of ABM

There are big changes on the horizon for account-based marketing programs. From adopting dedicated ABM software to experimenting with generative AI, here’s what the most forward-thinking ABM programs are doing.

28. Long-term ABM Programs see Better Results

There’s a significant contrast between the success of new and established ABM programs. Among marketers with ABM programs over a year old, 59% are satisfied with the outcome; the same is true for only 45% of those who recently launched their programs (Demand Gen, 2022).

The takeaway?

Give your ABM program more time before making an assessment of its success. Mature ABM programs tend to experience a “snowball” effect: after they report initial results, they secure larger budgets and can expand, implement new tools, and integrate more fully with the rest of the business.

29. Marketers are Slowly Adopting More Advanced ABM Technology

While there’s no shortage of dedicated ABM software, only 26% of marketers used a dedicated ABM platform in 2022 (Demand Gen, 2023). Technology is also a roadblock to getting started: 45% of businesses that haven’t launched an ABM program say it’s because they “lack the needed technology to support ABM” (Forrester, 2021).

The truth is, you can start a basic ABM program using your current tech stack. Most businesses rely on direct mail (69%), chat (61%), and CRM software (59%) to run their ABM programs (Terminus, 2021). 

Still, you’ll start reaping greater benefits by using more sophisticated technology like intent data (only 35% of businesses use) and account-based advertising (44% of businesses use).

30. Generative AI may Have an Outsized Impact on ABM

Account-based marketers are excited about the potential use of generative AI for ABM. 

Use cases include account selection, insights, messaging, content, sales enablement, and personalization. But it’s still early days for most businesses: marketers at large companies report they are “just scratching the surface” with generative AI. In contrast, small companies (which tend to be more adaptable) are a bit further along (ITSMA, 2023).

Still, challenges remain. One ABM practitioner responding to the 2023 ITSMA survey said, “AI will make it much easier to create profiles of people or companies and summarize them in actionable ways. But how do I take that and differentiate it for my customers? We need to get smart on how we mix the public data with our own proprietary data that's behind the firewall.”

Ready to Make the Case for Your ABM Campaign?

If you’re part of the 33% of businesses that are on the fence about starting an ABM program, I hope these ABM statistics are the nudge you need. But if you’re not quite there yet, consider this:

One of the most common reasons for not starting with ABM is that “we’re not sure what our strategy should be.” If you haven’t yet launched an ABM program, start small. Coordinate your sales and marketing teams, run an initial pilot, and get early wins. Then, secure more funding (using this list of stats if needed!) and expand the program.

Plus, we've got an ABM campaign template you can use to measure progress and optimize your campaigns.

For more ABM inspiration, check out our list of account-based marketing podcasts or these ABM ideas to inspire your next campaign. And make sure to subscribe to The CMO Club newsletter for more strategic insights designed for marketing leaders.

By Ryan Kane

Ryan Kane has been researching, writing about and improving customer experiences for much of his career and in a wide variety of B2B and B2C contexts, from tech startups and agencies to a manufacturer for Fortune 500 clients.