Research Proposal

Account-Based Marketing vs Account-Based Engagement


To provide a market analysis on switching from account-based marketing to account-based engagement, including best practices for the B2B industry and brand examples, as well as why companies make the switch, to help develop strategies for internal planning and clients.

Early Findings

Switching from Account-Based Marketing to Account-Based Engagement

  • Forrester notes that ABM (account-based marketing) does not just include basic marketing, but that it should be seen as “a customer engagement strategy, not a set of tactics or tools,” and they’ve called it “account-based engagement.” They state that many companies are engaging in these techniques at this time, though they don’t realize it, and in realizing it, could shift the processes to be significantly more effective.
  • Topo provides insights into what they call the “account-based everything framework,” which appears to be account-based engagement. They identify five defining attributes of this process: [a] “Targeted, high value accounts” [b] “data and intelligence-driven programs/campaigns” [c] “orchestration across marketing, sales, and customer support” [d] “valuable and personalized buyer experiences” [e] “coordinated, high frequency / effort outreach.”
  • Business2Community also calls the new term “account-based everything,” and how most companies don’t understand what the E stands for (everything, engagement). They note that potential customers often require time spent with them (through various means) in order to finally move to the purchasing stage. They state that “engagement is the goal, not the tactic,” and that engaging with a potential customer throughout the sales cycle – and not just through automated means – is key to success.
  • They also note that “sales spam is not engagement,” and that true engagement falls into “five levels of sophistication (and effectiveness).” Level 1 includes basic emails sent to one individual; Level 2 includes a series of emails to one individual; Level 3 includes a series of multi-channel touches to one individual; Level 4 includes a series of multi-channel touches to multiple individuals at the company; and Level 5 includes an orchestrated “series of interactions across channels from multiple people to multiple people at the account.”

Best Practices for Successful Account-Based Engagement

  • Forrester states that account-based engagement starts with a strong corporate strategy. Additionally, they note four key practices for successful account-based engagers: [1] “Build an account pyramid to distribute and balance resources.” [2] “Use account-specific engagement to help sales become more human and helpful, not just hungry.” [3] “Choreograph the steps marketing and sales take to guide prospects around the dance floor to becoming customers.” [4] “Adopt technology only after they prove their account-based strategies and execution.”

Additional Helpful Resources

  • Forrester offers this on-demand webinar that helps B2B companies learn how to become successful account-based engagers. They also have a detailed report on changing from account-based marketing to account-based management that is available for download.
  • Marketo offers a free report on the State of Engagement that includes “insights on engagement from over 2000 global consumer and marketers,” which may be of use.
  • Ovum offers a free downloadable report on “The Evolution of Account-Based Marketing to Account-Based Engagement in B2B Enterprises,” which may be of interest.

Findings Summary

  • Our original research noted that most information available was specifically related to account-based marketing rather than account-based engagement. There was very little information specific to companies switching from account-based management to engagement, though enough information was located on this that we should be able to provide you with useful insights and case studies.
  • Interestingly, we found that “account-based engagement” was also referred to as “account-based everything” by multiple sources, so we’ll use information on this in our research, as well.
  • Although our original research utilized a few marketing resources, our continued research will ensure that none are used. That said, many best practices and case studies often come from marketing companies, so this may prove to make the research much more difficult (as noted during the original search).
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