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The B2B Marketing Global ABM Conference – 5 key takeaways

Paul Mackender

November 11, 2022


Last week we were proud to be sponsors of the B2B Marketing Global ABM Conference in London. Exhibiting and presenting to the great and the good of the B2B Marketing industry was exciting, and the buzz in the room was palpable.  

So what were our main take-aways?

Sitting in on various presentations throughout the day, it was clear that organizational alignment around customer needs was the theme du jour and 2023 was touted as the year that will solidify the position of Account-Based Marketing as more than just a marketing approach. Instead, this account-centric focus will become a central tenet around which B2B organizations must structure themselves in order to better engage the needs of a customer. Indeed, ABM’s evolution is predicated on B2B organizations thinking differently, both inwards-facing and outwards-looking, and an account-based approach can’t be driven by simply looking at the ‘m’ of marketing any more.

While this theme aligns with the Agent3 view of the ABM world, it was also a view confirmed in the presentations of two veterans of the ABM scene – Bev Burgess, Founder and Managing Principal at Inflexion Group – the new de facto industry advisory service – and Jon Miller, CMO, Demandbase.

So what are the 5 key steps to achieving ABM’s next frontier?

1. Cross-organization buy-in: According to Bev Burgess, ABM should be used for account growth – new & existing – and it should be utilized across the entire lifecycle, not just with greenfield opportunities. So all parts of the organization need to buy into ABM in order for it to be successful. She illustrated her point with this diagram:


Reference: Bev Burgess Inflexion group 2022

2. Alignment: It is critical that Marketing, Sales and Ops departments operate as a team and that 100% cross-organizational buy-in at every single level, right up to exec sponsorship, is achieved, according to Demandbase’s Jon Miller. Whereas in the past, the relationship between Sales and Marketing has resembled a “baton pass” in a relay race, with marketing owning the top of the funnel, generating leads, and passing these to Sales, who were responsible for closing the deal and any post-sale activity; in today’s world, this doesn’t cut it. Sales, Marketing & Product players have distinctly different positions – offense and defense – but it’s critical that they work together to win new business and drive account growth.

sales and marketing orchestration

Reference: Jon Miller, Demandbase,  2022

3. Change the shape of your funnel: 7% of of your target accounts, continued Miller, are in market at any one given time, so utilize technology to identify who they are and start to drive them down the funnel. Don’t waste time filling up the top of the funnel; instead narrow its top and work with sales to identify the select accounts that you can convert. It’s important to engage with buyers early, given they do their research early, and personalise your messaging to deliver content that resonates, utilising insights to do so.

4. A cross-organization approach to scaling ABM: The need for scale and innovation in B2B organizations in order to remain competitive has never been more intense. For many, this means facing the challenge of how to truly scale ABM activity, while remaining loyal to the principles that make it  such an effective strategy. The scaled ABM process has to include highly intelligent propensity analysis, awareness plays and the capability to act quickly on accounts which show a likelihood to engage, followed up with account-specific touchpoints that support sales teams in actually closing business. And this relies on – among other requirements – structuring the organization around the needs of the customer. It’s a challenge to get right, but one Agent3’s Greg Salmon addressed in a presentation alongside Rachael Bell, VP ABM, NTT Ltd. Given the significant numbers in attendance at this session, it’s clearly a conundrum faced by many! If you missed Greg and Rachael’s session and would like to learn more scaling ABM, visit agent3/scalingabm to view the presentation and download the slides. 

5. Account selection: Marketing-driven, Sales-owned: Anyone engaged in ABM for any length of time will know that account selection is more often than not the preserve of the sales team. Interestingly, though, Jon Miller (Demandbase) suggested flipping this model with marketing taking a lead on accounts to be targeted by using Intent signals to determine likely engagement, and then sharing this information with sales to allow them to confirm which accounts could be targeted. He illustrated his point with the following graphic:

account selection

In conclusion, it’s exciting times for B2B marketing with a focus on more strategic, more integral to commercial success and more aligned with sales than ever before. Being account-centric is extending beyond the Marketing department and it was great to be surrounded by so many industry luminaries to ponder and help navigate the challenge. Congratulations to Joel Harrison and the crew at B2B Marketing on another successful event!

If you would like to find out more about any of the topics mentioned above, we’d love to hear from you! Reach out at

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