B2B Best Practices in a COVID-19 World

Eight Initial Pivots and How They Can Drive Long-Term Digital Transformation

Executive Summary

Business and marketing plans conceived earlier in the year no longer work in a COVID-19 world. B2B companies must alter how and what they sell to adjust to the economic and societal conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. This is driving digital transformation for B2B companies at an accelerated pace.

What is best practice for B2B marketing during COVID-19?

With many in-person events canceled and continuing concerns around face-to-face meetings, B2Bs need to lean on digital channels, including virtual events or other tactics like paid search, content and email to engage audiences.

How does COVID-19 impact marketing messaging?

While some B2Bs paused their communication plans at the start of the pandemic, marketing should continue. But it’s about adjusting the message so it is relevant and solution-oriented. B2Bs providing content or support that is germane to the moment will gain traction.

How and why should data-driven strategies be implemented during COVID-19?

There has never been a better time to transform and get intentional with marketing. B2Bs need to get the message and offering right and put that in front of receptive buyers. Many B2B companies are using this time to assess their customer data, and others are reevaluating their target account lists to ensure that struggling industries and businesses aren’t the focus.

Is COVID-19 transforming B2B product sales?

Yes, early research shows higher adoption rates in B2Bs implementing ecommerce to reach buyers online. Research from McKinsey & Company uncovered a 23% increase in the worldwide average company revenue share driven by ecommerce before vs. during the coronavirus pandemic.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report will cover eight key pivots B2B companies made during the coronavirus pandemic and explore lessons learned and considerations moving forward.

KEY STAT: More than half of US B2B buyers are currently considering purchases for their business, even in the thick of COVID-19, according to April 2020 research from LeadMD.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. COVID-19’s Impact on the B2B Industry
  3. No. 1: The Loss of In-Person Events Drives B2Bs to Digital
  4. No. 2: Reworking Marketing Budgets and the Mix Across Channels
  5. No. 3: Shifting the Message and Tone
  1. No. 4: B2B Buyer Behavior and Spending in the Wake of the Coronavirus
  2. No. 5: Intentional Targeting by Refining Segments and ABM Approaches
  3. No. 6: Sellers Engage Prospects in New Ways
  4. No. 7: Serving and Supporting Current Customers
  5. No. 8: B2B Ecommerce: COVID-19 and Digital Transformation
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. eMarketer Interviews
  3. Read Next
  4. Sources
  5. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Mike Addonizio
Vice President, Paid Media
Interviewed April 27, 2020
Kevin Arsham
Partner, Group Director, B2B Media Specialist
Interviewed April 27, 2020
Alex Atzberger
Interviewed May 27, 2020
Erica Barth
General Manager, Edelman Digital Chicago
Interviewed April 13, 2020
Michael Bird
Dun & Bradstreet
President, Global Sales and Marketing Solutions Division
Interviewed April 23, 2020
Jordan Bitterman
Interviewed April 24, 2020
John Caplan
Alibaba Group
President, North America and Europe, Alibaba.com
Interviewed May 7, 2020
Kate Cooper
Senior Vice President, B2B Marketing
Interviewed April 13, 2020
Brian Dolan
Founder, CEO
Interviewed April 24, 2020
Dan Frohnen
Interviewed April 8, 2020
John Furneaux
Interviewed April 28, 2020
Liz Harrison
McKinsey & Company
Associate Partner
Interviewed May 21, 2020
Peter Isaacson
Interviewed April 29, 2020
Louis Jonckheere
Co-Founder, President
Interviewed April 23, 2020
Joe Kingsbury
US Managing Director, Edelman Business Marketing
Interviewed April 13, 2020
DJ Kolapudi
Merkle | DWA
Analytics Director
Interviewed May 7, 2020
Paz Macdonald
Software AG
Interviewed May 28, 2020
Kathy Macchi
Vice President, Consulting Services
Interviewed April 16, 2020
Michael McLaren
Global CEO, B2B Group
Interviewed May 4, 2020
Challin Meink
Director of Marketing
Interviewed April 7, 2020
April Mullen
Director of Strategic Insights
Interviewed April 17, 2020
Mark Nardone
PAN Communications
Executive Vice President
Interviewed April 23, 2020
Michael Phelan
Go-To-Market Pros
Founder, Principal
Interviewed April 17, 2020
Kristen Powers
Centerline Digital
Vice President
Interviewed April 27, 2020
Izzie Rivers
Merkle | DWA
Chief Strategy Officer
Interviewed April 21, 2020
Doug Ryan
RRD Marketing Solutions
Interviewed April 29, 2020
Jon Schulz
Interviewed April 29, 2020
Sylvia Seybel
Dell Technologies
Vice President, B2B Client Solutions
Interviewed April 28, 2020
Ashley Shailer
Vice President, Marketing
Interviewed April 16, 2020
Arthur Shectman
Elephant Ventures
Founder, President
Interviewed April 24, 2020
Jennifer Stanley
McKinsey & Company
Interviewed May 21, 2020
Jennifer Stewart
Lincoln Healthcare Leadership
Director of Information Systems and Home Care Marketing
Interviewed April 15, 2020
Stephen Tarleton
B2B SaaS Head of Marketing
Interviewed April 28, 2020
Alicia Tillman
Global CMO
Interviewed April 28, 2020
Leah Walters
Head of Communications
Interviewed April 8, 2020
Michelle Yancey
Centerline Digital
Group Account Director
Interviewed April 27, 2020

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