Forrester’s 2022 State Of ABM Survey has just been released, providing new insights into the current state of the account-based marketing (ABM) landscape. This study is conducted every 1–2 years, and this is the first since the effects of the pandemic have started to stabilize, with B2B marketing starting to resemble something closer to “normal.”

One of the interesting details of the survey was that it generated much stronger representation from smaller companies than in previous years, with many of those firms in the very early stages of implementing ABM (around 80% were under two years old, including 39% that were still pilots). Given the combination of these two factors, it would be natural to expect ABM budgets to have dropped significantly, but this was not the case: Budgets only dropped marginally by 16% from 2020, to $590K. (Please note that this budget number excludes headcount due to the different ways that different companies will account for headcount costs). This suggests that a lot of newcomers to ABM feel more comfortable investing now that the discipline is more established.

In other headline findings, one-to-one ABM is no longer the most favored deployment type, as we’ve seen in previous years. Again, this is due to the increased numbers of smaller firms participating in the study; one-to-one ABM is very resource-intensive and therefore typically reserved for only a small number of very large, strategic accounts — usually existing ones. Smaller firms often need to cast a wider net and focus on new logo acquisition as they seek to grow their businesses by attracting new customers and will therefore often align sales reps and business development representative resources against a wider list of named accounts.

When we asked about the top reasons for pursuing an account-based strategy, the overwhelming majority of respondents were focused on sourcing new pipeline and leads. It should be noted, however, that Forrester advises clients not to over-rotate on sourcing metrics, as this blog post explains.

From a tactical perspective, we saw digital advertising jump from the third-highest area of program execution spend to the highest, with over 25% of execution spend now allocated in this area. Many firms spend considerably more. While there is no single “right” way to spend execution dollars, companies for which display advertising consumes a significant chunk of budget should put governance in place to ensure that the high spend is justified.

Clients can access the full readout of the report here (login required), which includes breakdowns by the different ABM deployment types. It also details key characteristics for each type of program, such as the number of accounts included, goals and challenges, and execution hallmarks, as well as recommendations for optimizing each.