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Kathleen Glass is a featured contributor to Account-Based Marketing (ABM): A Guide to the Future for High-Performing Teams report.

Here's the complete contribution:

ABM technology will be impacted by three things in the next 3 to 5 years

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI will be used many different ways in account-based marketing (ABM), from using it to better access and interpret external intent data to support dynamic ABM, to driving intelligent chatbots, to more accurate predictive scoring, to better revenue forecasting. AI will help us with account profiling, as well as targeted scoring and contextual personalization.

Predictive marketing finally happens with AI – being able to identify the ideal customer, who has the highest likelihood to buy, and then determine the most appropriate way to engage. In short, AI will automate and eliminate what is mostly manual today. We may even see AI created B2B content.

Big Data

In reality, Big Data and AI go hand-in-hand. While in some respects, ABM might feel like “little data," ABM actually requires an even greater measure of targeting and personalization than a top of the funnel lead generation approach. And more importantly, when you want to move to what ITSMA calls Programmatic ABM for mass personalization, Big Data becomes essential.

We can also use new types of Big Data such as intent data to better understand what the customer is interested in. Huge amounts of Big Data about both accounts and buyers are being generated on social media, online communities and chat. Leveraging this will enable more targeted ABM interactions and help us separate the nuggets from the noise.

Integration across sales and marketing

Next, we will have better integration across sales and marketing systems, delivering better visibility and a true feedback loop. Integrated sales and marketing will provide a true 360-degree view of the customer. Integration will break down functional team silos, enabling business functions to approach the customer as a team, rather than separate functions, aligning metrics and activities.

Tomorrow’s ABM technology will better enable marketing to be a more integral part of the post-sale customer lifecycle. We will have the ability to integrate “listening” data from social media, online communities and chat.

What trends can you cite as indicators for your prediction?

AI and Big Data

Data Science, Machine Learning and AI are being used more on both sales and marketing. But we are still in the early days. Surveys in the past year have indicated that while marketers agree that AI is important, they aren’t clear on where to start.

  • In just the past year, we’ve seen the wave of AI company acquisitions extend beyond the large tech companies and start to reach into sales and marketing.

    HubSpot acquired AI Company Kemvi in July and Motion AI in September.

    Zeta Global acquired Boomtrain in July.

AI Assistants in the form of chatbots have experienced early success in handing basic lead generation activities and inbound sales inquiries. I believe that this is the tip of the iceberg.

Startups and mergers

We are already starting to see consolidation of the technology stack. I believe that Marketo’s acquisition of ToutApp was just the beginning of that integration trend of bringing together ABM platforms and sales efficiency tools. It only makes sense that marketing and sales campaigns and content would live under the same “roof”. The past several years have seen a rise in startups focusing on sales engagement, sales management, sales acceleration and deal management and VC interest has been high. This trend doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon. We’ve even seen recent pre-launch seed rounds of $1M in recent months.

Overall, perhaps the biggest catalyst is the new focus on marketing as a strategic business driver. We will continue to see the evolution of the transformational performance-driven CMO who is the new steward of the complete customer experience. Experts like Kimberly Whitler are talking about this. True ABM can only exist when sales and marketing work hand-in hand to support the entire customer lifecycle.

What's Next?