How COVID-19 Impacts Your ABM Strategy (And What You Can Do About It)


One of the biggest challenges we’re currently helping our clients solve is understanding how the world has changed for their customers and prospects. The priorities of businesses and individuals have changed as they deal with the effects of COVID-19. And those priorities are rapidly evolving week by week, making it difficult to get a comprehensive view of what’s going on by industry, geography or company size.

The effect on some industry sectors (like travel and hospitality) is obvious. But for many industries, changes are more complex. For example, financial services firms might be scrambling to figure out their role and obligations under COVID-19 relief programs, as well as helping their clients navigate fluctuations in the market and their financial situations. And the impact of these changes will vary by company and by role within the company.

That means you need to go back to a truly intentional, individualized approach to selecting accounts for your ABM campaigns.

Hold brainstorming sessions.

Who is dealing with problems or challenges you can solve right now? Who is putting initiatives on hold that might pick up again in the short or long term?

Tap the collective wisdom of your marketing, sales and customer service or account management teams to understand the impact on your customer and prospects and incorporate that knowledge into your ABM strategy.

Research every account you put on your list.

How are they trying to help their customers? Have they been impacted by cost-cutting and layoffs?

Look at news articles and their social media feeds. Some accounts might not be good targets right now, and you need to be sensitive to that.

Message and Content

When crafting your campaign messaging, make use of the intelligence you’ve gained from your account research. What are the problems you can solve for your prospects? Remember that COVID-19 itself isn’t the problem, and that you need to adjust your approach and your tone depending on the audience.

Some audiences will be receptive to a straightforward “COVID-19 has impacted your business, and we can help” message. Some audiences won’t. And a few audiences might be proceeding with business as usual. It’s your job to sift through these options and decide which ones are right for your campaign audience.

This isn’t easy, and you’re not always going to get it right off the bat. Give it your best shot based on the information you’ve gathered and be humble and open to learn. Most importantly, be ready to change and pivot as you learn more with the campaign.

Personalization is more important than ever.

You need to show you’ve thought through what your prospect might be going through right now. What their business situation is, and how it’s impacting their role.

Technology that enables dynamic content and personalized snippets can be helpful here, but you’re also going to have to do some true 1:1 personalization for accounts and prospects. Your sales team can help with this (see next section).


The impact of COVID-19 has reduced the number of channels available for ABM campaigns. In-person events—especially conferences and tradeshows—won’t be an option for a while. And direct mail is now an unreliable option—with people working from home, you can’t assume they’re going to get mail you send to their office. It’s a shame that some of the highest touch marketing channels are non-options now that people are craving more connection!

But just as COVID-19 has removed some channel options, it may have actually boosted the effectiveness of others. The channels where we’ve seen success in the evolving environment are inside sales, email and social media.

Inside sales plays a critical role in current ABM campaigns.

Your inside sales team is the perfect channel for conducting 1:1 outreach with personalized messaging, getting feedback on that messaging and helping you learn what’s working and what’s not. People want connection, and we’ve seen prospects be more open to conversations with inside salespeople right now, even if they’re not ready to buy.

Personalized emails cut through the noise.

Prospects’ inboxes are filled with people offering help and “we’re here for you” messages. However, we’ve seen prospects respond to thoughtful, well-crafted emails.  That’s where your background research and personalization comes in.

People are spending more time networking on social media right now.

So take advantage of that to run some targeted PPC ads as part of your ABM strategy. LinkedIn in particular enables highly precise targeting where you can use personalized messages and helpful content to generate engagement at your target accounts.

Everything is changing.

And that includes account-based marketing. If you’re intentional, hands-on and open to learning and pivoting, however, ABM is still a good answer for how to build sales pipeline in challenging times.

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