How to Budget for ABM?

How to Budget for ABM

Marketing is a highly data validated field, where the efficacy of your decision is determined by good data. To include any activity or channel into the bigger picture of the marketing mix revolves around how it will affect the ROI. This compels the marketing leader of a company to validate his decision with how much he will spend on each activity.

The only premise you begin with Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the ideal customer profile (ICP) and the primary objectives. To determine and run the exercise of who are the ideal customers you should pursue and where exactly your money should be spent, we have created an elaborate list of expense pockets that will help you create an ABM budget.

Here, we recommend you take an account-first approach. This helps in allocating a specific amount of spend on the high priority account vs the low priority ones. 

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How to Choose the Right Accounts for ABM? 

Budget Spend Categories

To determine success, how do you know you are spending the right amount? The first step in creating an ABM budget is to list down all possible cost pockets.


This is not the foremost, but this takes away a reasonable chunk of your monthly budget pie. Most imperative and larger costs are typically over software and platforms such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing Automation Systems (MAS), Data Management Platform (DMP), Predictive Analytics, and AI. Technologies that would consume other activities are programmatic ads, dashboards, AI, and so on. Apart from this, you will also have to accommodate other costs that you would spend on standalone marketing events like an exclusive email campaign, social media campaign, or physical conference.

Human resources:

People are the foremost asset to execute a marketing plan. Good hires boost the campaign’s efficiency and effectiveness. Since ABM strives for a 1:1 ratio in terms of the marketing team and a customer — hiring account managers who can deliver such an experience is critical. The ABM marketing team includes data analysts, communication associates, social media associates, content strategists and writers, account managers, and a customer support team. LinkedIn has worked extremely well for us in hiring relevant resources.

Read More: Is Account-Based Marketing right for your B2B company? : A quick checklist

Events and experience:

ABM is not always digital. Strong Account-based marketing strategies also include participation in targeted events and building a customer experience across offline touchpoints too. These are not very apparent until the marketing mix is developed. Once you prepare tiers and lists of accounts, who you want to engage with; allocate spending for each account experience and physical involvement with each account.

MapAnything is one such tool that lets you figure out where your high-value clients are located. This will allow you to meet them in person over an exclusive meeting while you plan your travel to a different city. This helps you make your travel most productive.

ABM for B2B companiesMedia spend:

Media spending is proportionate to the magnitude of the campaign. It grows with the magnitude and expectation of the campaign. The media spend with ABM will be focused only on very specific targets and not on a larger population of unknown leads.

Few ABM benchmarks used to allocate spending are based on the value of the account, the number of targets and personas, and the desired impact through the accounts. This works best when you know the formula of how much spending would give you and how much returns. This would be a variable-driven formula that can be applied to read immediate results.

Direct mail:

Physical notes or goodies still have their charm when you offer them as a token of appreciation to a customer. Some companies choose to include a physical gift once the prospect reaches the opportunity stage or gets converted into a customer. Relevant packaging and messaging would create a great response in the case of direct mail.

Direct mail format could also be electronic. This could include video content, e-books, e-card, or electronic gift vouchers.

Factors that affect the spending.

While you can chart out a table and allocate dollars to each category, there are a few aspects that influence the degree of spending. These factors would bring exceptions to the rules of any industry.

Brand awareness and perception: Few questions that you need to pose to yourself before designing an ABM campaign are — does the account know your brand already, is the brand new to the account you are targeting, has there been a positive vs neutral vs negative perception among the target accounts and does your brand require a reposition? These are some aspects that will help you make further decisions.

Product complexity and need: The amount and frequency of communication are directly proportional to the complexity of the product. The more complex your product or service is, the more communication you would need. 95% of buyers chose a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”

Competition: If you are in a highly competitive market with more number of competitors trying to reach a customer segment, then you need to build sharp differentiation to draw their attention.

There are a few factors that affect the number of individuals you need to target. These factors are the number and hierarchy of decision makers and influencers, the departments affected, and the size of the business. In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people is involved in most buying decisions.

Attributing the Budget to your ROI

Ensure that the ABM budget you create should fulfill clear goals and as a marketing manager, you should be able to create paths that can be attributed to the ROI. Use the budget as a criterion at an account level which will help you attribute the spending to the ROI with more clarity.

These parameters are a high-level framework that will help you design a unique ABM budget for your company. We would be glad to discuss how you are working towards devising the smart budget.

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The Ultimate Account-Based Marketing (ABM) tool kit for B2B Organizations executing or planning to implement ABM in 2024