The landscape for account-based marketing (ABM) continues to evolve and mature, but what does it mean to do ABM? For some organizations, it is a subset of the business that focuses on a select few accounts; for others, it is a set of tactics driven by tools and technologies. For the first time ever, we are starting to see ABM as something broader, an insights-driven go-to-market framework that has become the core of B2B marketing.
This maturation of ABM is also having an impact across the martech stack. A decade ago, marketing automation platforms (MAPs) were the primary and, in many cases, often the only marketing technology an organization utilized. Over the last half-decade, there has been an explosion of capabilities that have extended the ideas around ABM into a broader, insights-driven go-to-market strategy that has become a fundamental focus for many B2B marketers. To put it simply, to do marketing, you need more than a MAP, and to do ABM, you need more than an ABM platform.
We recently published a New Tech: Account-Based Marketing, Q1 2022 report that analyzes the key technologies required for the modern B2B marketer to accomplish insights-enabled strategies. This report examines 31 providers across five segments, including ABM platforms, data providers, customer data platforms, personalization solutions, and sales engagement platforms (SEPs).
As organizations embrace buying groups as the construct by which B2B purchasing decisions are made, solutions are coalescing around buying group identification, prioritization, omnichannel outreach, and real-time buyer enablement, all across the entire customer lifecycle. Since the last New Tech on ABM technologies was published in 2020, we have seen massive consolidation of vendor offerings attempting to build out complete, all-in-one platforms that offer a comprehensive set of solutions. We have also seen the explosive rise of SEPs (both in funding and usage) as a valuable solution that complements omnichannel outreach. These consolidated capabilities are making it harder for marketers to select between established providers and platforms.
Additionally, this coalescence is blurring the lines between technology features and the market segments that we reviewed in the report, hinting that a broader shift is on the horizon for the entire marketing technology category. Forrester maintains the view that the term “ABM” will disappear by 2025 as B2B organizations complete the convergence of demand and ABM strategies for identifying, planning, managing, and measuring accounts, opportunities, and buying groups across the entire customer lifecycle.
For Forrester clients with access to the New Tech report, I hope you enjoy it — and let me know what you think about this shifting landscape.