From demand generation to sales strategy and channel management, the next five years will bring significant changes to established technology service providers’ (TSP) go-to-market strategies. Disruption is occurring within technology markets and in many of the large markets that typically purchase B2B technology.
“As buyers get used to new go-to-market techniques, many of the sales, marketing and product management practices that TSPs have relied on for the past 20 years no longer work,” says Todd Berkowitz, managing vice president at Gartner.
According to Berkowitz, instead of broad-based, siloed demand generation, leading TSPs are finding that coordinated and targeted approaches that deliver ongoing, personalized outreach to specific accounts can drive more wins, shorter sales cycles and larger deals.
The rapid and continued adoption of ABM programs will require significant investment in technology, media, data and employees
It’s therefore no surprise to learn that account-based marketing (ABM) has been the fastest-growing go-to-market topic among Gartner TSP clients in the past year. Gartner predicts that by 2019, 75% of B2B TSPs with more than $10 million in revenue will adopt ABM as their primary market model, up from 25% in 2017.
ABM offers a structured methodology for finding, engaging and selling to multiple individuals in key accounts. As programs mature, coordination between sales and marketing is likely to increase, while tools for account selection, planning, engagement and reporting will improve further.
“The rapid and continued adoption of ABM programs will require significant investment in technology, media, data and employees,” says Berkowitz. “Although pilots can be run with existing resources, full-scale deployments require more investment in demand generation and product marketing staff and third-party creative agencies. Experienced product marketers are already in short supply, and finding either product marketers or demand generation staff with ABM experience is likely to be challenging.”
By the end of 2019, at least three ABM platforms will have the ability to handle orchestration across all relevant engagement channels
From a technology perspective, the landscape is extremely fragmented. No single platform can orchestrate and manage all aspects of an ABM program, and TSPs typically need multiple marketing and advertising solutions to run a program at scale. The market is likely to undergo some consolidation, with Gartner predicting that by the end of 2019, at least three ABM platforms will have the ability to handle orchestration across all relevant engagement channels.
For those TSPs that aren’t running an ABM program (even in pilot), doing so should be high on their list of priorities for the remainder of 2018. Pilots are often critical to mitigate the impact of the cultural shift driven by ABM and help determine what works and doesn’t work before rolling out ABM on a larger scale.
There are many different “flavors” of ABM that TSPs can employ across different use cases (net new, renewal, expansion, etc.) and different scale and tiers.