Over the past several years now, marketers and other go-to-market (GTM) professionals have suggested account-based marketing (ABM) motions will be the way of the future, simply because it makes too much sense to discount. Built up over countless webinars, videos and articles, organizations have pushed to get their ABM motions in place, and while those approaches do manage to pay off in leads, opportunities and closed/won deals, they often don’t flow smoothly and efficiently – ABM motions are often plagued with poor operational metrics, hampered abilities to agilely adjust, and siloed efforts between marketing and sales teams. 

First, a step back. For those as of yet uninitiated, ABM is a GTM strategy that directs a company’s marketing resources to a subset of targeted accounts within a market, utilizing customized and personalized campaigns designed to engage each individual account, and basing its marketing messages on the specific characteristics, attributes and needs of the account. Push the old marketing sales funnel aside. Or, rather, flip the funnel upside down and re-label: Identify targeted accounts, acquire leads and engage, and then land and expand across the organization and its buying committee. 

abm-flipped-funnelImage: B2B News Network

Tomorrow’s approach, today

In the ABM Leadership Alliance’s recent 2020 edition of its annual benchmark study, 71 percent of respondents responded that they have at least experimented with ABM with their GTM efforts. Plus, average spending on ABM investments have climbed to over 27 percent of annual marketing budgets. Still, only 13 percent of the study’s 420 marketers at B2B technology and business service companies described their ABM programs as fully embedded and a driver of strategic growth. 

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So, the data suggests we’ve seen ABM processes move from theory into practice. Now, it’s time for sales and marketing teams to gather data on the effectiveness of their ABM motions and to continually improve. As ABM is completely customer-centric from it’s very concept to tactical execution, it’s an exercise that is absolutely mission-critical. 

Limitations of sales & marketing data processes

The shift of many GTM activations toward ABM has uncovered the data management limitations of many revenue teams. Data tends to reside in silos, spread across CRM, marketing automation, and sales engagement systems, and often leads to cumbersome, homemade “work arounds” just to make do. Of course, solutions like LeanData’s industry-leading Lead-to-Account Matching and Routing solutions prevent data silos from forming and facilitates efficient marketing and sales processes to drive growth strategies. 

At its core, data silos lead to poor account visibility, not only the absence of a comprehensive, 360-degree view of an account, but also a poor understanding of how engaged any individual account is with a company’s GTM efforts. It all requires a ton of time-consuming, manual processes to collate and analyze data to develop actionable insights that drive toward closed/won deals. 

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With data limitations, B2B firms struggle to capitalize on targeted account growth as they:

    • Lose sight of buying committee activity and engagement throughout their buying journey
    • Fail to coordinate, integrate and leverage sales and marketing activities
    • Grapple to understand overall account engagement

ABM engagement insights

With regards to ABM, engagement is defined as any touchpoint a key account has with your brand. It covers everything from an interaction with marketing campaign activation to a meeting with a member of your sales team. Throughout the entire customer journey, account engagement analytics illustrate the level of interest in, and commitment to, your brand, and provides an early indicator of the impact your ABM are making. 

When GTM teams can’t identify and act on customer engagement activities, they miss an opportunity to more effectively drive growth. Engagement data – data drawn from a targeted account’s buying committee activities with your company – provides the very foundation upon which all account interactions are built, from prospective new contacts to closed/won customers.

Within their sales cycles, revenue teams empowered with engagement data can now effectively address and answer their most important questions regarding ABM motions, including:

    • Who is engaging with our campaigns?
    • How often is each account engaged with?
    • Are engagements with marketing activities, sales activities, or both?
    • How does engagement differ across funnel stages?
    • How effective is our account-based strategy?
    • What actions will improve our ABM results?

For more information on the power of ABM engagement analytics, please refer to the LeanData eBook, “Know More, Grow More: How to Use Engagement Data to Unlock ABM Growth.”

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Using account engagement data to spur growth

Real-time account engagement data empower your revenue teams to penetrate your target accounts and grow those valuable relationships over time. Below are eight best practices for using account engagement data to unlock revenue and grow your business:

    1. Coordinate the right ABM motions. Personalize and coordinate the right outreach to an account at the right time, ensuring individuals who engage are key personas for your product, solution and/or service.
    2. Improve routing and account follow-up. Take action on the number and quality of engagements in an account and ensure timely follow-up by accurately routing leads and contacts.
    3. Supercharge intent data. Increase the relevancy of account outreach efforts by layering your first-party engagement data with third-party intent data on how buyers interact on other sites’ digital content. 
    4. Drive demand generation. Improve return on investment (ROI) by ensuring each and every lead is followed up in an appropriate manner.
    5. Power field marketing. Review sales and marketing activations for given territoritories, and collaborate cross-functionally to continuously improve. 
    6. Simplify GTM planning. Clarify GTM planning processes by carefully selecting targeted accounts, scoring those accounts, and developing criteria for sales coverage and follow-up.
    7. Report what matters. Use engagement analytics to show trending engagement of your top target accounts, month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter, and year-over-year. 
    8. Celebrate wins, together. Engagement data clearly illustrates how both sales and marketing teams played roles in moving ABM deals forward.

For a more detailed examination of the best practices listed above, read the new LeanData eBook, “Know More, Grow More: How to Use Engagement Data to Unlock ABM Growth.”

In conclusion

The more you know about your targeted ABM accounts, and all the individual engagement behaviors within it, the more relevant and effective your account-based GTM motion will be. Engagement is a leading indicator for ABM, and should be prioritized as a central part of your B2B revenue operations strategy.

Ray Hartjen
Senior Content Strategist at

Ray Hartjen is a senior content strategist at LeanData, where he collaborates with internal and external customers in furthering the engaging narrative of revenue operations and innovative go-to-market strategies. You can connect with Ray on both LinkedIn & Twitter.