73% of B2B marketers interviewed by Forrester stated the term, “Account-Based Marketing,” (ABM) is used “inconsistently.” When the majority of B2B marketers are confused by the state of ABM, it’s not easy to understand which softwares to include for consideration in your technology roadmap for the year to come.
Let’s start by drawing some lines with Forrester’s own definition of Account-Based Marketing.
They write it’s a “B2B “strategy through which marketing and sales jointly obsess over how to pursue, establish, and grow long-term, highly engaged revenue relationships with specific customer accounts.”
ABM software is, for this discussion, any marketing app or technology which supports B2B marketing team’s execution of an Account-Based Marketing strategy. Specifically, all activities related to the identification and engagement of target customer accounts.
The Best Account-Based Marketing Software
If you’re hoping for a single solution to be an end-to-end option for every aspect of effective Account-Based Marketing, you’re going to be disappointed. It doesn’t exist, especially if you’re hoping to find a tool that can automate your marketing, help you manage customer relationships, engage in paid account targeting, optimize your website, and engage in all of the dozens of other activities that play a role in an ABM strategy.
The 2016 Forrester report Vendor Landscape: Account-Based Marketing captured the zeitgeist of a quickly changing technology market. Forrester’s analysts write that “pure-play” products for ABM processes are generally superior to tools that are marketed as all-in-one ABM solutions, which is why many brands are opting to use a MarTech stack to fulfill different aspects of ABM.
This MarTech stack may include specialized tools for content personalization and target account intelligence, or tools for marketing orchestration that provide total oversight into the sales funnel.
Understanding Account-Based Marketing Software Needs
Just to recap, here’s the state of ABM software at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018:
- The practice of Account-Based Marketing is evolving quickly and means different things to different marketers.
- There’s probably not one single ABM tool that’s going to meet your every need for Account-Based Marketing software, at least according to Forrester’s analysis.
So, where does that leave us?
In the vendor landscape report, Forrester’s analysts recommended that you think about the ABM software landscape in relation to the four steps to Account-Based Marketing Success, which they define as:
- Select and Target Accounts
- Gather Insights into Target Accounts
- Design Engagement, including Targeted Assets and Messaging
- Orchestrate Engagement with Marketing Activity and Tools to Track Interactions
This is obviously a simplification of everything you’ll need for a successful ABM strategy, and it may not fully address the need for technology-supported sales and marketing alignment. However, in an attempt to capture the complicated landscape, we’ll use Forrester’s four success steps to illustrate where each of the softwares reviewed below fits into an ABM strategy.
Reviews of the Best Account-Based Marketing Softwares
It’s not possible to capture comprehensive user feedback on the entire account-based marketing software landscape in a single blog. As of May 2017, there were 5,381 total MarTech solutions from 4,891 unique companies, according to Chief Martec data analysis.
The following reviewed softwares are curated from real users and testers, all of whom are navigating common Account-Based Marketing challenges at B2B organizations in industries that include technology, professional services and finance.
InsideView for Marketing is a sales intelligence and social selling platform that enables B2B marketers to identify target accounts, access real-time insights, and unlock a single point-of-truth on opportunities. InsideView offers several products, including platforms designed for Marketing, Sales and Account Management.
The Marketing Platform specializes in high data accuracy, contextually-relevant insights, and relationship-based insight for ABM marketers to better understand firmographic factors. InsideView has native integrations with many other tools for B2B marketing, including many CRM and MAP – Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Oracle Fusion, Marketo and Eloqua.
Tara Lathrop, Account Executive at OneSource Virtual writes that she has used InsideView in multiple B2B marketing roles at different employers, and likes the accuracy of lead data. She particularly appreciates the depth of available insights on smaller firms and how “tightly integrated with Salesforce.com” the product is. Lathrop describes the InsideView support team as “very diligent” and responsive.
Alex Lynch, North American Marketing Manager of Workflow Solutions at Honeywell uses InsideView for targeted list development. He writes “the ability to export contacts to a CSV formatted file is a huge time-saver when it comes to importing” data into other applications. Lynch also notes the InsideView customer success team has been very responsive to improvement suggestions.
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: InsideView supports the account selection process.
Demandbase specializes in Account-Based Marketing Software solutions, offering a tool that supports activities and alignment across advertising, marketing, and sales programs. Features within DemandBase support account identification, targeted advertising, content personalization and marketing automation. DemandBase can help B2B marketers connect campaign performance and paid ad targeting to sales revenue. The software offers native CRM integrations.
Jim McLemore, Director of Marketing Technology at West Unified Communications Services describes DemandBase as a “good product” which is “getting better.” During his time as a user, McLemore has worked with the DemandBase team and seen the software evolve to a more “user-friendly” and “self-service” solution. McLemore writes DemandBase has made a difference in how he thinks about sales.
Michael Rosenvall, a Senior Marketing Ops Manager at SiftScience, reviewed DemandBase during his prior role as Web Operations Manager at GoodData. He found that DemandBase’s product was constantly evolving and offered quality insights to identify prospects. Rosenvall writes “Being able to accurately identify anonymous traffic to our web properties has changed how we go to market and approach accounts.”
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: DemandBase features support identifying accounts and orchestrating engagement.
Engagio is an ABM analytics tool designed to help B2B marketers “drive new business and expand relationships with high-value accounts.” Users can combine lead data from multiple internal and external sources, create multi-channel engagement strategies, and use data to score, prioritize, and measure ABM success.
While Engagio is best-known for their marketing orchestration capabilities, the portfolio consists of a series of products for B2B sales pros and marketers working in execution, management and operations. These technologies can support account insights and data aggregation, tools for making orchestrated “plays,” analytics, and attribution.
Alyssa Fein-Davis, a Sales professional at Sales Performance International (SPI), says Engagio Playmaker “enables us to truly orchestrate a strategic omnichannel approach to marketing.” While the product is relatively new, she’s found the customer support team is receptive and responsive to her feedback on improvements. Fein-Davis writes “now that we have this tool we are able to see the ‘whole picture’ of an account.”
Kathy Kraysler, Director of Marketing Operations at NewStore says Engagio ABM Analytics offers the “ability to track engagement…at the account and contact level and identify the most engaged accounts overall.” Krayler appreciates Engagio’s integration with Salesforce CRM and describes it as an “invaluable tool for marketing.”
Where it Falls in the ABM landscape: Engagio’s various products support gathering insights, designing engagement, and orchestrating engagement.
Terminus is designed to serve as an “Account-Based Marketing Hub.” B2B marketers can use the tool to identify key decision makers at target accounts, using data populated by Terminus. Once identified, Terminus assists in engagement with multi-channel campaigns including web, mobile, video, and social.
Users upload marketing assets to Terminus, which serves as a centralized portal for testing and launching campaigns. The tool also contains in-depth insights and Salesforce integrations.
Grant Fuellenbach, Director of Sales Ops and ISV Partnerships at TextUs™, says “as long as you have quality content (i.e., good advertisements) and can build reports in your CRM, Terminus is a very cool tool to get your product seen.” In his former Sales Operation role at Digabit, Fuellenbach used Terminus to increase the number of marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) generated each month. He also notes the product is “a great tool as long as you have a significant advertising budget.”
Allison Winkle, Senior Digital Demand Coordinator at Return Path, says “it has been very beneficial for our marketing and sales team to work with accounts on this granular level.” While she says ABM newcomers may need sources for campaign ideas, she’s relied on her Terminus representative for training. Winkle writes “our dedicated rep is helpful and responds quickly to all of our questions…[since] we have never done account-based marketing before.”
Where it Falls in the ABM landscape: Terminus’ capabilities enable organizations to perform actions related to identifying target accounts, gathering insights, designing engagement and orchestrating engagement.
Integrate provides demand orchestration software which enables Account-Based Marketing success by supporting top-of funnel automation, lead processing, and full-funnel insights to scale the sales pipeline and revenue contributions.
Offering integrations with leading MAP and CRM tools, Integrate enables B2B marketers to sync target account data, implement target account criteria, and actively manage the target account selection process. It also supports the data-driven design of target account engagement and automated program manag3ement of multi-channel engagement activities with target decision makers.
Patrick Walsh, a Digital Marketing Associate at Turbonomic, uses Integrate as a “centralized hub” for all of his organization’s lead capture initiatives with multiple top-of-funnel lead sources and vendors. He notes it’s saved significant time by acting as a single source for lead delivery. Walsh writes “Integrate is a no-brainer if you are running multiple lead programs with multiple vendors” and that adopting the platform has helped the Turbonomic marketing team “save… time and money by rejecting leads that are duplicates, do not having working emails or fall outside our criteria.”
Dawn Colossi, Senior Director of Worldwide Digital Marketing at Commvault has used Integrate to increase marketing-attributed deals by 450%. In order to intelligently use third-party sources for lead targeting and capture, the Commvault team needed a “thoughtful” way to carefully manage content distribution and paid lead source performance. Colossi writes, “that’s where Integrate comes in – it’s an intelligent way to manage all the channels and measure all the performance data.”
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: Integrate supports Account-Based Marketing success through features that help B2B Marketers gather insights for account selection, use data insights to design engagement and orchestrate engagement.
Bombora is a specialized ABM product focused on B2B intent data. The organization coordinates a “data cooperative” consisting of premium media companies and a “Content Consumption Monitoring” technology, which populates the software with a database of up-to-date insight into key account decision-maker intent.
Users of Bombora can access prioritized account data, based on insights into the firms that are displaying an interest in the company’s product and services. Other features include fit modeling, target account list prioritization, and customized engagement strategy insights.
Erika Robinson, Senior Media Manager at Look Listen, has used Bombora to solve lead generation challenges in an agency setting. She writes “Bombora has been helpful in not only identifying [key decision makers] but in finding them across the internet to convert them for our clients.” While Robinson notes she has augmented the tool’s reporting capabilities, she’s a fan of its ease-of-use factors, writing “super easy interface to navigate and good customer service. Their team has been really easy for us to work with.”
Other anonymous reviews from B2B marketers in industry and agency roles noted satisfaction with Bombora’s support for segmentation activities, a “straightforward” platform, and responsive customer support representatives.
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: Bombora supports activities related to identifying target accounts, gathering insights, and designing engagement.
Radius has a mission of helping B2B marketers “demand better prospects.” Described as a predictive marketing platform, it enables ABM teams to identify and engagement with target accounts and decision makers. The company worked in insight collection for several years prior to the launch of the marketing software in 2009, and today collects and aggregates on over 25 million companies in the U.S.
Radius users are empowered to identify ideal accounts and the identity of decision makers at these organizations, and design the launch of targeted ABM campaigns. The software also offers real-time results tracking.
Richa Shukla, Application Development Senior Analyst at Accenture UK, says the software “offers direct customer relationship management (CRM) integration, enabling marketers to visualize where they have historically had success and identify the top opportunities to pursue next.” She appreciates the tool’s ease-of-use and “clean” user interface.
Brandon Hawes, Director of Sales at Indeed, says Radius offers “a very simple way for reps to get additional contact info for a company or verify the info they have.” While he notes the insights available can vary by target industry, he has found the greatest value in this tool as a source for verifying the quality of CRM data.
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: Radius supports target account identification, gathering insights, designing engagement, and launching engagement.
Triblio was designed to act as a “single integrated platform” for ABM programs at mid-sized and large organizations. It offers support for both digital and paid marketing campaigns, sales-marketing alignment activities, and real-time behavioral tracking.
Users of Triblio can launch personalized content on websites, and transfer new MQLs to sales in real-time. Other features support retargeting, attribution reporting, and account scoring.
Melissa Meinert, Marketing Program Manager at Sales Loft, says Triblio has helped her team “successfully and easily provide relevant messaging to customers and prospects.” She notes that Triblio’s features are being “tweaked” as the company grows. She enjoys using this software to provide “custom messaging to different accounts or market segments.”
Brendon O’Donovan, Director of Product Marketing at TrendKite, says “Triblio gives us the flexibility to deliver fully custom experiences for each of our segments, target markets – or even individual customers.” His review of the software notes that users will need “basic web editing and coding experience” to fully use the features. O’Donovan also notes that Triblio’s support for one-to-one marketing experiences has created efficiency in his company’s sales cycle.
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: Triblio supports designing engagement and orchestrating engagement.
LeanData is a part of the Salesforce.com (SDFC) ecosystem of products, positioning itself as “the only visual lead-routing flow-builder for Salesforce” users. The product was designed to support actionable insight into ABM leads for superior sales and marketing results. It aims to help B2B remove sources of “friction” in the sales funnel.
LeanData features include the ability to match leads to target accounts with in-tool insights into targeted decision-makers and campaign performance. It also supports lead assignment in real-time. The software offers support for attribution reporting, including an understanding of campaign influence on pipeline and revenue.
Josh Davis, Sales Operations Manager at Kount, uses LeanData for “matching new leads to existing leads in the system to keep owners consistent” and “easy redistribution of leads.” In Davis experience, this product is a necessary Salesforce add-on to address all the necessary lead routing variables used at Kount. Davis writes “ease of maintaining” the platform has been beneficial.
Matthew Lenhart, Manager of Sales Operations at PandaDoc believes LeanData can be an “incredibly valuable” product for mature ABM programs if you “have a good grasp on your current lead process and where you want to be.” While Lenhart notes the product implementation process was time-intensive, he believes the outcome has been worthwhile. He writes “Lean Data has been great at reducing the number of duplicate leads and transitioning our Mid Market team to an Account Based model.”
Where it Falls in the ABM Landscape: LeanData can support various ABM activities for SDFC users, including gathering insights and orchestrating engagement.
Adopting the Right Software for Successful Account-Based Marketing
While there are several options reviewed here that can support many aspects of Account-Based Marketing execution, building the ideal MarTech stack for ABM is complex. In addition to the specialized options for B2B success, organizations will almost certainly need solutions for marketing automation (MA) and customer relationship management (CRM). Both play an essential role in the MarTech stack, offering technologies designed to tailor and orchestrate lead engagement for B2B.
When coupled with the right tools for CRM, , and lead nurturing, B2B marketers may find success with carefully reading into user reviews and fast-tracking Account-Based Marketing software that enables the orchestration of complex, multi-channel efforts. While Account-Based Marketing isn’t easy, the best ABM software of 2017 can allow real B2B marketing teams to achieve better visibility and integration throughout the entire sales funnel.
Regardless of whether you’re an experienced ABM marketer or new to an account-based strategy, there’s value in objectively measuring where your program stands against best-of-class B2B marketing programs. How much progress have you made towards effective goal setting, account targeting, content creation, engagement tactics and ABM software adoption?
Get started with The 2nd Edition of Integrate’s ABM Program Development Workbook, which provides the advice, templates and guidance you need to execute a successful account-based marketing program.