ABM,  News,  Vendor Selection

ABM is now Fundamental

This week, the B2B Marketing team published my sixth Premium Report. Through the year, I research and write a report for each of the eight hives within Propolis, their community platform, which launched in January this year and has well over 1,000 members.

Propolis is a digital community for B2B marketers, and one which we all believe will become the new home for the B2B marketing industry. By design, Propolis has a diverse membership; not just executives but often entire teams of marketers from leading global organisations based across the globe because it deals with so many aspects and facets of B2B marketing.  

The naming is also quite elegant. Propolis is a resin that bees use to both build and protect their hives –  a perfect metaphor for a buzzing, vibrant and productive community. Within Propolis, there are eight separate Hives, built around the core pillars of B2B marketing, where members can explore and expand their knowledge on their chosen areas of interest. 

Here is the opening page of the report. If you would like to see more, you need to join the B2B Marketing community, where you will see an abridged version of the report, subscribe to Propolis for the full version. …. Or talk to me (see below). (The British English spelling is deliberately so.)

ABM is now fundamental

The last two years have seen a series of shifts in B2B marketing: a shift to more digital marketing channels; a shift to more customer-centric or even personalised content marketing; and a definite shift to more marketing programmes based upon the needs of accounts, as opposed to individual contacts. In parallel, because of the growing popularity of ecommerce in B2B buying, some elements of the selling process have undergone a tectonic shift in B2B businesses, away from the sales organisation and towards digital programmes.

During the disruption caused by Covid-19, business buyer profiles were changing within organisations, with new members increasing the size and composition of buyer teams.

Marketers were having to target different persona configurations, and adjust to the increasing importance of digital channels. Those companies who did not have an established ABM strategy found that they were not quick enough to pick up changes in the behaviour and preferences of their target customers.

So, there is a clear reaction across many B2B sectors to planning new investments in ABM technologies, such as predictive analytics, advertising retargeting and account-profiling. The most-early adopters of ABM, and therefore the most experienced practitioners, are to be found in the services and software industries. But now these technologies can also be found in the B2B financial services and healthcare companies and, increasingly, across the manufacturing sectors.

Most B2B businesses will continue to reform to a post-Covid world driven by societal change, resulting in new working practices and economic and market shifts – all of which have dramatically altered both customer behaviour and their expectations. The overall importance of customer relationships based upon deep insights into the specific needs of each target account has become an overriding critical success factor for marketing and sales. This will continue to accelerate additional ABM investments in new processes, education and technology.

The focus for this Growth Hive report is to complement the ABM Census and document a series of best practices and lessons-learned from more experienced ABM practitioners. It will also provide actionable advice on improving ABM programmes, using the B2B Marketing Maturity Assessment for ABM as a basis. This year’s Growth Hive report has a clear focus on ABM for the reasons described above.

In order to build this report, we held long interviews with several senior B2B marketers for deep insight into the topic. All are highly experienced ABM practitioners, so we have taken the liberty of setting the report title accordingly: “Mastering ABM – Lessons Learned from Several Masters of ABM”. As you will see, these executives delivered a wealth of advice, so they will take the main stage throughout the report. ………

B2B Marketing also held its ABM Forum in London; a hybrid event with a mix of conference center presence and online experience. I presented an overview of the vendor landscape and sourced both my own Vendor Selection Matrixtm report from April and other analyst reports. I must say, I have been kept busy since April talking about ABM. The pandemic has done two things to accelerate interest in the method:

  1. Expose to those marketing organisations without ABM, that they do not know enough about their customers to be relevant and helpful
  2. Helped sellers and sales executives how useful their colleagues in Marketing can be with good customer research and insights

Always keeping you informed!  Peter

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