B2B Beyond Basics
Smarter GTM 12.09.2023

B2B Beyond Basics

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, Chris Moody interviews Meredith on B2B marketing. She discusses the need to understand buyers’ functional and emotional needs and stresses the importance of authenticity and empathy in marketing. Meredith greatly advocates for realistic communication and tangible evidence to support product claims. Her key strategies include developing detailed customer personas, engaging with sales teams for direct feedback, and continuously testing marketing messages to ensure relevance. Meredith highlights the effectiveness of conversational marketing and the importance of comprehensive strategies that focus on customer retention and acquisition. This conversation offers valuable takeaways for anyone in the B2B space looking to enhance their marketing strategies and build stronger customer relationships.

About the Guest

Meredith has an extensive career in marketing and product management with leadership roles at high-growth and Fortune 500 companies in healthcare and financial services. Most recently, Meredith was Director of Enterprise and Collaborative Marketing at Walgreens, where she led B2B product and brand marketing for the company. A data-driven go-to-market strategist, Meredith is excited about identifying innovative solutions that address current and future customer needs.

Connect with Meredith Hein

Key Takeaways

  • Understand and cater to the functional and emotional requirements of your B2B buyers.
  • make sure to communicate realistically about your products and services to build trust with your buyers.
  • Demonstrate, don’t just claim. Use tangible evidence like data, demonstrations, and customer testimonials to substantiate your claims.
  • Foster genuine connections with customers by being authentic and empathetic in your marketing communications.
  • Understand the full scope of customer personas. Consider both the role of the customer within their organisation and their stage in the buying process.
  • Develop specific personas for important targets to tailor your approach effectively.
  • Engage with sales and account management teams for direct customer feedback and insights.
  • Focus on understanding what worries your customers, which can inform how to position your services to address their concerns.
  • Continuously test your marketing messages with essential target buyers to ensure relevance and engagement.
  • Foster genuine, conversational interactions with B2B buyers to create a more human and relatable marketing experience.
  • Employ a comprehensive marketing strategy surrounding your customers with positive messages about your product.
  • Focus on current and potential clients in your marketing efforts to build stronger relationships.
  • Aim not just for customer retention but also for turning customers into advocates for your brand.


“The B2B buyer is supporting an entire organization, even if it is a small business, and they have emotional needs as well. As a B2B marketer, you need to think about partnering with your account and sales team to help support those emotional needs.” – Meredith Hein

Highlights from the Episode

With over two decades of experience in the field of Marketing, could you walk our listeners through your remarkable career journey?

Meredith’s transition from finance to marketing, fueled by her MBA journey, underscores the importance of continuous learning and openness to new opportunities. Meredith’s approach, focusing on data-driven strategies and a broad skill set in product and brand marketing, is a testament to the power of versatility in navigating diverse industries. Her success at Walgreens, driven by a deep understanding of customer needs, is an inspiring example for anyone seeking to evolve their career dynamically.

In the realm of B2B interactions, how can businesses better acknowledge and address the emotional needs of their customers, recognising that it’s not solely about pricing and functionality?

Meredith underlines the importance of acknowledging the multifaceted needs of B2B buyers, who require functional solutions and emotional support. Her advice is to demonstrate rather than just claim a product’s effectiveness and to use tangible proof points like data, demos, and customer testimonials, which offers a practical approach to building customer trust and credibility. Meredith’s perspective encourages marketers to foster a genuine connection with their audience by holistically understanding and addressing their needs.

What strategies and methods do you recommend for getting to know your audience, understanding the specific problems they’re seeking to solve, and delving deeper to gain valuable insights? 

Meredith emphasised the importance of understanding customer complaints and challenges, which can be more candidly expressed in client-dominated environments. Meredith also advocated for close collaboration with sales and account management teams to gather insights directly from customers. She highlighted the practice of conducting primary research through interviews, allowing marketers to listen in and truly grasp customer concerns and needs. Furthermore, Meredith suggested forming advisory boards and accompanying sales calls to gain diverse perspectives, underscoring the need for multiple information sources to understand client needs and emotions comprehensively.

Once you have these insights, how can you effectively craft and deliver the right content to reach them at the optimal time and in the most suitable way?

When you think about your customer personas, consider their roles within their organisations and their stages in the buying process. For critical targets, it may be beneficial to create specific personas. Ensure that you have clear core messaging, including your differentiators and proof points, and adjust your message based on what you’re communicating to different audience segments. While AI can aid in this process, it’s crucial to review its outputs to avoid overly fluffy language and to maintain a focus on demonstrable value.

How can businesses scale and personalise content to enhance relevance, targeting a single account or expanding to five accounts and beyond?

In your marketing efforts, prioritise using core tools and frameworks to test and refine your messaging based on customer engagement. Analyse data to understand buyers’ needs and segment them into clusters for more personalised communication. Embrace the potential of AI for detailed targeting, but remember the importance of authenticity in your interactions. Speak to your B2B customers conversationally, as people, not just as business entities. This human-centric approach can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

How can B2B marketers effectively navigate the challenge of building post-sale loyalty and influencing various stakeholders beyond the initial decision-makers to ensure long-term relationships and customer retention?

To build loyalty and brand affinity, focus on reinforcing the value of your product or service even after the initial sale. It’s crucial to target not just the decision-makers but also the influencers within the company. Regularly remind your customers of the benefits they receive from your product, reinforcing their decision to choose your brand. Consider using ‘surround sound marketing’ techniques, like showcasing awards or new case studies, and include your current clients in your marketing campaigns. This approach ensures that your existing clients feel valued and are continuously reminded of your product’s benefits, which can lead to higher satisfaction and potential recommendations.

In light of the anticipated shift in budget allocation towards retention and expansion, how can businesses prepare and strategise to effectively grow and expand existing accounts, and what are the key factors to consider during these early days of this shift?

To effectively manage marketing efforts without clear ROI attribution, focus on building brand awareness through cost-effective channels. Utilise social media and involve your company’s leadership in marketing activities to boost your brand’s presence. Remember the importance of retaining existing customers, which is often more economical than acquiring new ones. Continuously reinforce your brand’s value to your target audience and seek support from believers within your organisation’s leadership.

Good reads: Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?

Range by David Epstein


Adam TerenasCEO & Founder of Health Launchpad

Chris Rahill – Chief Strategy Officer at Yamamoto

Dawn-Marie Kerper – Executive Consultant at Ogilvy


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