Editor's note: Simon Woolley is senior market analyst at B2B PR agency IBA International. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a period of immense disruption for organizations across the globe and across almost every industry. And as we enter the new year, organizations face another challenge as the U.K., the world’s fifth largest economy, leaves the EU.

The outlook forecast by industry experts1, put simply, is quite bleak. Those organizations emerging from the pandemic disruption seemingly unaffected are predicted to be heavily impacted by the effects of Brexit.

As a result, IBA International conducted primary research2 using Cint, a market research technology company, to discern if the pessimistic industry predictions reflected the reality that B2B organizations were facing. We surveyed 450 verified executive B2B marketing managers from the U.K., U.S., Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to investigate the impact COVID-19 has had on their organizations and how they plan to tackle the upcoming year in the wake of lockdown and in the advent of the post-Brexit era.

The results suggest a far more positive outlook for the future. 

Despite causing business disruption, B2B organizations have been using the COVID-induced downtime to assess their pipelines and to take advantage of new opportunities. When asked how they have prepared their pipeline and lead-generation plans for economic recovery, only 15% of respondents said that they had made no changes. The vast majority (86%) of organizations said they had used the time to bring to market new solutions or to alter their product roadmap.

Organizations also indicated that expansion into new industries and geographies was a part of their recovery plan; 28% and 26% of respondents said they planned to move into new industry sectors and geographies in the future, respectively. 

When asked about plans for international expansion related to...