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How to Build Demand with B2B Marketing with Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Oct 17, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to build demand with B2B marketing with Deanna Shimota. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: How to Build Demand with B2B Marketing with Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing

B2B marketing is a great way to attract business – and a great way to waste money, if you’re not careful. This works in your favor when you continue to focus on demand generation. But it’s easier said than done. So how do you increase demand for your products or services through B2B marketing tactics? We wanted you to learn from a true pro in the space, so we welcomed on Deanna Shimota, CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. They’re a demand generation agency focused on driving long-term growth. This episode covers everything from B2B marketing to demand generation. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you build demand with B2B marketing?
  • What’s the difference between demand gen and lead gen?
  • How do you build your credibility as a B2B brand?
  • Is demand gen shifting to more digital?
  • How much time should you spend building relationships with your clients?
  • What’s Deanna’s favorite way to unwind?
  • How do you change your mindset from lead gen to demand gen?
  • What triathlon event would Deanna train for?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to

April Martini 0:30
Marketing Smarts.

Anne Candido 0:31
I am Anne Candido and

April Martini 0:32
I am April Martini. And today we’re going to do another elaborated Marketing Smarts Moments. And this one is focused on how to build demand with b2b Marketing and actually, more specifically, what is and is not the right approach or way to think through it. We’ve talked about the power of marketing in the b2b space and some of the misnomers associated with marketing from this lens and previous episodes. But today, we’re really going to get into and discuss how to think through and build an approach to marketing for b2b Very, very

Anne Candido 1:02
effectively. Yeah, and before you guys are asking, does b2b need marketing? Yes,

there is yes.

I think a lot of times it is a misnomer, because people think marketing is product oriented, and B2C oriented, but it is for everybody who is trying to grow their business, hence why we’re going to have this discussion about how to do it effectively, and how to use it to grow your business.

April Martini 1:28
Exactly. And as we often like to do, we’re bringing a guest on to discuss discuss this topic, you heard her chuckle and and comment in the background. And that is Deanna Shimota. And she is CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. Hi, Deanna. It’s so great to have you on Please introduce yourself. Hello, it’s

Deanna Shimota 1:46
so great to be here. As you said, I’m Deanna Shimota, CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. And growth marketing is a demand generation agency that helps b2b technology companies break through the clutter of a crowded market so they can crush their revenue targets. So I love talking about demand generation, it’s what I know I live and breathe every day.

Anne Candido 2:06
Awesome. Well, with that, let’s get into how to build demand with b2b Marketing and crush this episode crush this episode. There you go. There we go. And so you already sort of preempted a bit here, Deanna, but you and I talked about and I know you have a strong point of view about this, but the difference between demand gen and lead gen and why it is so important to lead more from the demand gen lens. So talk about educate our audience first on the difference and what that looks like and why it’s so important.

Deanna Shimota 2:37
Yes. So it is very common for people to mistake lead generation and demand generation for being the same thing. They think it’s an interchangeable term. And they’re actually very different strategies. And I’ll start with lead generation, because I think that’s where a lot of companies in the b2b space are still focusing a lot of their energy. So lead generation, your marketing programs are only focused on the 5% of companies that are in market, you are asking prospects for meaning and you’re trying to pull them into your sales process. And if you’re like, What do you mean by that? Think about it, you know, a prime example, a team goes out and hires a bunch of SDRs, they create marketing content, they put it out there on the worldwide web, they put forms in front of it, a prospect comes along, they want to access your content, they fill out that form, you then take that contact information, you pass it to that SDR, they start the sales Chase, to reach out to that individual with the goal to try to set up an appointment for the sales team. This is you know, there’s a lot more to lead generation than that. But that’s like at the crux of what that is. On the flip side demand generation is focusing on driving value, not just with the 5% of companies that are currently in market to buy, but also with the 95% that are not looking to buy right now. And so your marketing programs are really about building brand awareness and trust to create demand in the market and ultimately capture it. The flip side from lead generation is that prospects are asking you for a meeting and they’re inviting you into their buying process. And this is really important because the way b2b prospects make purchase decisions today has changed. It used to work really well to have the STRS reaching out chasing after these people that looked at content, but buyers have become very resistant to engaging with a sales rep expecially if they’re not in market to buy right now. And so we’ve had to rethink marketing approaches, because we want to support the way that prospects want to buy. And Gartner research has shown that up to 80% of that purchase decision is being made before a company and an individual is willing to engage with a sales rep. And in fact, 72% would prefer to have zero interaction with the sales rep. I saw some updated numbers this morning on a LinkedIn post. I don’t know how accurate they are. But they’re now saying it’s more like 80 85% would prefer that zero interaction, and up to 90% of the decision process is being made. So if you step back and think about that, it’s alarming, you know, if you’re trying to go out there and sell in the b2b space, for sure, but it’s not insurmountable. And that’s where demand generation really is the ticket to long term growth, because you have to get in front of those buyers before the Reverend market and build that trust because by the time they’re willing to engage with a sales rep, they’ve probably already got a shortlist.

Anne Candido 5:54
And just for all of our listeners, Deanna SDR is

Deanna Shimota 5:59
sales development rep.

Anne Candido 6:01
Okay, thanks. I’m sure people can infer from the your story, but I just want to say we started out absolutely any acronym. Yeah, I went, I grew up a png. So I know how that feels. On the other side. But I love what you’re saying. Because, you know, when when people think about their sales funnel, it usually starts at lead gen, right. So this mannequin actually backs up the funnel. And that can be really disheartening for a lot of folks who are like, I’m just looking for the shortest way from point A to point B to get somebody to buy. And a lot of times, even in the lead gen portion of the funnel, people want to jump from that point to just like, can I just like put a you know, some a direct like ad out and just like people just want to buy it and like, well, you can do that. But you have to warm the door, you have to warm the process up. And when you’re just talking about the cold leads, it’s sometimes it could take a while. And now that we’re in this virtual world, it seems like it’s taking a whole lot longer, because right to what your stats are saying is the same thing we’re experiencing, as well, as people are like, give me tools, give me insight, give me education, give me online training, I really don’t want to talk to anybody. And because I want to do this, I don’t want the additional expense of that. I don’t want to have to take time out of my busy schedule to entertain you and all those sorts of things. So is this similar to the the experience that you’re seeing people? Or the reaction that you’re seeing people have to this whole idea of demand generation?

Deanna Shimota 7:32
Absolutely. You know, I think it’s scary for some organizations, because they’re living in the mindset of like, well, we need to make our revenue numbers now. And that is a very valid concern. I mean, you can’t just not focus on the short term, and build out the long term strategy, which demand generation is a long term strategy. But I think, you know, the reality is, you’ve got to be able to have a balance between like focusing on the short term, and how do we capture the demand that is in the market now, for individuals and companies that are ready to make a decision from a purchase standpoint. But that if you only focus on the short term, a lot of times what happens is you start to fall behind on revenue, if there’s not enough demand in the market, or enough brand awareness and demand specifically for your company and your products. And so you have to also have an eye on the long term game, because those future customers are really important to your future growth. And if you ignore that 95% that are not in market now. They’ll probably ignore you when they actually are in market. And so it’s really about taking a bigger picture approach to your marketing and understanding. If you build up brand awareness, credibility, trust, with your ideal customer profile in the market, you’re more likely from a long term growth perspective, to have more inbound leads coming in the door, which every company wants that because quite frankly, they have shorter sales cycles. They have higher close rates, there’s a lower overall customer acquisition cost, and they’re just better quality leads. Versus when you’re playing the short game, you’re gonna have some leads that may come in the door that are ready to buy now, but a lot of the leads that often get generated via lead generation haven’t actually demonstrated any buying intent. And so now you’re trying to convince somebody to buy when they’re not in the market to buy and if you’re selling something really expensive, like let’s say you’re selling a multi million dollar a year enterprise software, let’s be real, you’re not going to convince them to buy right now. If they’re not Already there from a mindset perspective.

Anne Candido 10:03
Yeah, I think it is so important. And I think, unfortunately, because lead gen was kind of the quote unquote, way before, it’s where all are more comfortable, unfortunately. And so it’s harder to get to the change in process, let alone mindset that you really have to come at it from this perspective. And I think the other important thing that we talked through there is really the short term long term and really, as that pertains to revenue, because I do think it can be really hard, if you’re in all companies are focused on their revenue, of course, right? We’re all in business. But if you get so myopically focused on those numbers, you’re not taking the time to cultivate the relationships, so that people want to not only buy from you, but also buy from you on a long term, more intentional basis, that’s going to be more meaningful to your bottom line overall. And then I do think the other point that we made early on, about the way it used to be versus how it is now is, things have changed and consumers have matured so much. And I think that’s why there is so much resistance to the you know, more than lead gen approach. I mean, even and I’m sure you feel the same channel like at forthright people the amount of cold calling, we get through email reach out, we put in our, our email address into something to get information, all those things we’ve talked about. It’s like I could spend all day just looking through Fielding and answering those things. So automatically, I pray for them, because I’m like, I couldn’t possibly even sift through all the ones I’m getting, let alone really take the time to process what they’re offering and whether it might be important to me.

Deanna Shimota 11:44
Right. And you know, I’m certainly not saying that all outbound marketing efforts should just be thrown out the window, I think it’s, you know, it’s a combination of building those things that will bring the inbound leads in. But even if you have, you know, you build up this engaged audience that wants to consume your content, when you do those outbound motions, they’re going to be more receptive to actually opening your email and actually reading the thing. And, you know, maybe you catch them on the right day where they actually are about to go into market for that. And they respond to you, you know, so it’s, it’s still a combination of how do we do these outbound marketing efforts? But how do we build up what I like to say, your digital footprint to turn it into your best sales rep. Because at the end of the day, if I’m the buyer, and I’m making 80, to 90% of that purchase decision, before I engage with a sales rep, you’re marketing, your digital footprint better be good, because it’s got to do 80 to 90% of the job, before someone’s willing to have that conversation so that the sales rep can come in there and really do their job?

Anne Candido 12:57
Well, I think it’s me, it’s a really good point. And you had mentioned April to about, people just feel more comfortable at that lead gen stage, because it’s very action oriented. And a lot of the training and a lot of the right now the education is really focused on how to do that well in like social or in Google. And I’m like, right now I’m on an Alex Hermoza bandwagon, and he has his new book, 100 $100 million leads, right. And it’s all focused on that, right. And so, when you’re selling a product that is reasonable when you’re selling relationships, which is what a lot of b2b are doing, at least initially, before you sell, you need to back it up. And a lot of times, that’s where it gets very murky for a lot of people because they’re like, I don’t know what that looks like. Nobody is training me how to do that. Nobody is giving me that insight about what it takes to build relationships, what it takes to build reputation what it takes to build credibility. So I mean, my question for you, Dan is like, what are those things are those activities that you are finding, that is really, really beneficial for b2b buyers who are wanting to build that reputation, build that credibility? So that upfront part and making it very actionable for people to go do something?

Deanna Shimota 14:11
Yeah, so the short answer is, it depends on who your audience is. Not a one size fits. All right. And if you’re, you know, like, I’ll walk you through, like how we build out a demand generation engine, because I think that will put it into perspective for you. So when building it out, there’s three pillars, their strategy, there’s content, and there’s distribution, though, so the strategy piece, which I think many organizations make the mistake of kind of totally skipping the strategy, or going skimpy on it. And really, it’s one of the most important pieces of being able to build out your demand generation engine, because it’s how you hyper focus, and it’s the blueprint for okay, how do we now go and execute on this and when I say it depends which vehicles are the best ones to use, how you’re going to decide that is you’re going to build out your ideal customer profile. And that is defining who are the best fit type of companies to go after. Because many organizations make the mistake if they’re in a really crowded market, and they’re not already like a dominant player in the market. They’re trying to be everything to everyone. And to give you an example of what I mean, you know, we do a lot of work in the HR technology space. And I will talk to CEOs and say, Tell me about your ideal customer profile? Who do you sell to? And they’ll be like, well, basically, any company that has employees, holy smokes, your total addressable market is immense, right, like good for you. But there’s also 21,000 Plus HR technology solutions out there for those HR tech buyers to spend their budget on. So now, if you stop and think about it, okay, I need an ideal customer profile, I really need to narrow down my audience, to increase my traction in the market. So that I resonate with someone instead of, you know, don’t hit the mark with anyone because the message is so diluted. Next, you need to look at a unique point of view. And that’s how do you kind of a challenge to the thinking in the market and sound different for your ideal customer profile than everyone else out there? And you know, one of the things I forgot to mention about the ideal customer profile, that’s kind of the whole point of what tactics work is, as you’re building out that ideal customer profile, you need to think about and ask and have conversations around? Where are you going to get your information? How do you make buying decisions, you may find depending on the market you’re in, you may be in a market where a lot of people listen to podcasts, for example, rate, a podcast should be one of the many tactics that you build into your distribution pillar to get that content out in front of those people. But on the flip side, you might be in an industry where nobody listens to podcasts. And then it would be a very expensive and time consuming effort to build out a podcast, that you’re not going to be able to get in front of those people because they’re just not doing it. LinkedIn is another example. You know, if you’re selling to say nurses, they’re probably not on LinkedIn nonstop. But if you’re selling to sales reps, sales organization, they you typically use LinkedIn a lot if their buyers are on LinkedIn. So you’ve really got to look at that factor when you’re determining which tactics to use. The second pillar in this demand generation engine is the content. This seems pretty self explanatory. You know, content is the fuel of the engine. But really, the takeaway there is you’ve got to create content for each stage of the funnel. And you’ve got to create different formats of content, because not everybody consumes at the same. And we like to do what we call cornerstone and cobblestone content, the cornerstones are going to be the big meaty pieces. So for example, let’s say you create a 25 page research report that everyone’s gonna read that 25 page research report, even though it’s got really good information. So how do you slice and dice it down into cobblestones that are more bite sized consumable pieces. So if you’ve got someone who doesn’t read the 25 page report, you can spoon feed them a little bits and pieces until you’ve gotten all that information in front of them. And all of that content is hyper focused, because you’re creating it for your ideal customer profile. And you’re telling the story of your unique point of view over and over and over. Because Gartner has said it takes an average of 66 touches now from a marketing standpoint, to get companies and individuals to pay attention to you. So that doesn’t mean send them 66 emails and boom, your job is done. Right? If only it was that easy, but you get the point. Like you’ve got to have a lot of content out there. And then that distribution pillar that is really like okay, how do I get all this great content out there in the places where these people are actually going to consume their content? And so, one website, that’s pretty obvious. You’ve got to have deep rich content on your website. To manage channels. That’s about how do you build up your own audience that wants to continue to follow and engage in content that’s building that credibility and trust with them, and three tapping into third party channels. So that’s existing relevant audiences where your ideal customer profile is hanging out. So one, it gives you credibility because someone else is talking about you or you’re tied to their brand equity, and to you try to pull them into your audience so that they continue to follow you. And this is like a starting point for them as they learn about you maybe in that third party channel.

April Martini 20:33
Well, and I think you said a lot of things there. But backing up first and foremost, to doing the strategy, which is something we constantly are, you know, educating our clients on the importance of starting point, right, I think it can be really hard to stop what you’re doing, and take the time to really think through things. And obviously, you know, both of us are in the business of helping clients do that very thing. But I think what you said is so important, because people do want to jump into the doing. And it goes back to what we were talking about before, where it’s the things people know how to do, they’ve been comfortable in, they can do it over and over again, I think you’re 66 email things important, because I think sometimes people are like, well, the things and check it off my list and then stuffs gonna happen, right. But what we’re talking about here is making sure that you take a timeout to really be intentional about what you’re doing so that you can reach the right people with the right content at the right time in the way that they want to see it instead of trying to get to them through what you believe is the right way. And that’s one of the things we talk about often with clients, because I think I think when you work on an you know, work in your business all day long, you are a certain type of expert in it. However, that also creates blinders for businesses. And so I think that’s why we’re going like you said, you ask, where do you consume content? Where do you want to hear from us things like looking and seeing our podcasts really going to be relevant? Or am I going to throw a whole bunch of money and time and energy at this, and I’m not going to get any returns. And I think the other piece about it in a way we often talk about with our clients is, it sounds like a lot of work. And like wasted time, I think a lot of times is what we get like we don’t have time to stop, we got to keep going, we got to keep moving. But actually, when you stop to create the strategy, it makes everything else that you talked about that much easier, because then you do have that roadmap to success. And then you can tick off what are you supposed to be doing? Right? So you write the 25 page research paper, and you put it where you know that they’re going to be and then you also we you know, we do the same thing, parse it out, I mean, we even on the podcast have quick hits, where we pull out parts of certain episodes that people with, you know, 10 minutes can have something to listen to. But it makes all of that stuff so much easier. And it also the intentionality of it helps you do everything from measure success, test and learn, give it where you need to try new things while certain things are working for you. And it just becomes an entire approach that you can feel confident in instead of more the shoot from the hip. I saw my competitor here. So we need to be there. I listened to podcasts. And suddenly I think I need to have that for myself and all of those behaviors that are born out of not starting with that strategic approach. Yeah, let

Deanna Shimota 23:37
is spot on. And you know, every marketer has good intentions, right? And when they’re doing these different things, and they’re shooting from the hip, they’re still thinking about it, like I’m doing the right thing for the organization. But I think there’s a lot of what I would call random acts of marketing. Right? Like, it’s like, even when companies build a strategy, if you’re not really intentional and focused, and continually gut checking, am I doing this because it supports the strategy and the end goal of high growth? Or am I doing this because the CEO had an idea, and I’m running with it. And I see it all the time we see it with our clients, we see it when we talk to prospects, where they have the best of intentions, and they do really great work. But it’s so all over the place. And at the end of the day, all of those random acts of marketing, it adds up to a lot of time and effort that went into things that quite frankly, they’re all disconnected and so instead of like rowing the boat, you know, all in the same direction. You know, they’re just not getting the results that they could if they remained vigilant to ensuring like we have a strategy we’re very intentional about about what we do. And if someone comes and ask for something, or I have an idea, or the CEO makes a request, you know, whatever it is that you’re looking at it and evaluating it from the lens of does this support the mission at hand? Does this fit in with our strategy? Or is this something that isn’t going to move the needle enough? To say, Yes, this time? And, you know, I’m telling marketers, it is okay to say no, even if it’s the CEO asking for it. If it doesn’t meet the mission, that you know, I see it all the time. Well, the CEOs report, yep. And guess what the CEO is a very smart person, or they wouldn’t be in the position that they’re in, if you explain to them why you don’t think it’s the right thing to do at this time, you know, why you’re trying to stick to the strategy, and you know, get to that goal of high growth, most of them are going to be like, Thanks for keeping me honest, you made some really good points there.

Anne Candido 26:05
Yeah. And I think to build on what you’re saying, when you can start getting that level of focus, you are able to then focus on the right things. Because I think what tends to happen a lot in b2b, especially in the tech space, is people fall in love with their products, right, and they think that they’re in it, and they know it, and they’re like, this is the best thing that’s ever come to come to light in the tech space. But to a layman, or like a person who’s just wanting a service that does a specific function, they really don’t care, you know, and they don’t really know all the little bits and pieces that are going into making this like the best thing that’s ever been created. And so when you are kind of on that flat part of the curve, if you will, if you’re gonna just go with me a second and say, to some extent, a lot of the tech services, just like a lot of the marketing services are somewhat commoditize, you have to differentiate on a different factor, right. And so, even though we fall in love with putting the price tag on this thing that we’re selling, because it’s tangible, the real thing that we’re selling, especially in a b2b place is this service that we’re providing, or how we provide that service, which is why the demand creation is so important, because that’s what is the differentiating factor, the reputation and credibility, how you make your clients feel your customers feel, and the process of delivering this thing is really what’s going to win in the end of the day, right? Because, again, I mean, a lot of these services, they might have some bells and whistles, but unless there’s something that’s like, truly, truly novel, even though we tend to think inside that our things are the best, you know, it’s really hard for a person or a company or a business to differentiate.

April Martini 27:44
What would you have to say to then like when you’re thinking about the fact that relationships are so important, building the credibility and reputation is so important, like, what role does that play? Or how do you guide your clients and how much to prioritize that versus the overall selling of the things?

Deanna Shimota 28:02
I think it’s so important to focus on, you know, the pain points and the issues that the buyers have way more than focusing on, you know, your product and the features and the functionality. expecially. You know, knowing that 95% of companies are not in market this year, when the economy is tough, there’s even less than 5% that are actually in market to buy, right, all the rest of those companies and those individuals, they’re not here to hear about your products, and all those things right now, I think it’s really important. You know, you build that trust in that credibility, by helping them see like, I understand your challenges, my organization understands your challenges. And here’s how we think about them. And here’s what you should be thinking about. You don’t even talk about the product at that point, you know, you can say, well, you know, at our company, we do this, or that’s why we help companies solve this. But going into the nitty gritty about the product, that really until they’re in market to buy is not going to be important to that prospect. And quite frankly, companies that do a really good job of building that credibility and trust in the market. And kind of creating that personal connection with people when they’re in market to buy, if they already like your company and feel like I know some of those players in there because I’ve been watching their videos on YouTube and I’ve seen their LinkedIn posts and all of those different things. They’re going to pay less attention to the features and functionality as long as they know that it does the basic job of what they need. They’ve already made their decision. They don’t need to even see the demo in some cases. Of course, they still want to see it. But they probably already made up in their mind like, this is the solution I’m going with, Unless I see the demo, and it’s nowhere what I expected. Right?

Anne Candido 30:12
It’s a great point. And it’s the same way we think about the long term, right, that we were talking about before. But as you were talking, I was kind of thinking about, this is where it gets really hard for organizations. Right? So I’d love to hear how do you help change the mindset from lead gen to demand? Gen? Or what how do you help companies with the quote, unquote believability of it, because obviously, we’ve talked about the fact that this takes a while to actually work. And you’re asking people to do something that they’re not comfortable with, and they don’t so far, proof of it. So I’d love to hear you know, and you got into this a little bit with like, pushing back on the CEO, and a lot of this is the same stuff about with our clients, but how do you help organizations create the right change, to even be able to do this

Deanna Shimota 31:05
one going into an organization, they have to like from the leadership, on down to the marketing team, they have to believe and support a demand gen mission, or it’s not going to succeed, because lack of patience will kill the results. It’s not an overnight magical bullet, that you you build your engine, you turn it on, and the next day, it’s like, oh, look at the leads coming in, it doesn’t work that way. You know, in realistically, it takes six to 18 months, for that demand gen engine to start humming along in a predictable fashion, to really get really good traction. That’s painful, you know, if you’re behind on revenue, and, and so like working with organizations who are fully immersed in lead generation, you know, if they don’t see the value in demand generation yet, quite frankly, as an agency, they’re not ready to work with growth mode marketing, or any other demand gen agency out there, because the expectations have to be realistic. But for organizations that are behind on revenue, that are seeing the decline in leads that they’re getting in the door, and recognizing like, even if they are getting leads in the door that, hey, our close rates are now what they need to be, you know, let’s say we bring 1000 leads in the door, but we’re closing 5% of them. And that’s not enough to meet your revenue target, something’s got to change, right, either need to find more leads, which quite frankly, you know, if your close rates are low, the leads are the problem. It’s not a volume issue, it’s a quality issue. And if you continue to do what you’re doing, it’s not going to change the results. And so quarter after quarter, you’re going to be on that merry go round that nobody likes to be on of the we need more leads, we need them now. Because we have to hit our revenue number. And so when organizations recognize that, I think they’re more open to looking, okay, long term, how do we fix this, it’s time to bring in demand generation. But it’s rare that someone’s like, stop the lead gen. Turn the demand gen on we’re going 100% In let’s do this, nor what I recommend that because again, you’ve got to pay attention to the short term, while you’re focusing on the long term. And I don’t think you’re going to win any hearts in your organization by just cutting off the lead gen programs and saying sorry, sales, no more MQLs which are marketing qualified leads, we’re now focusing on demand generation. And don’t worry, in 18 months, you’ll be happy with the leads that are coming in the door, right? You’ve got to be able to have like a transition period where you’re still doing some of the lead generation tactics because in the organization, they need to have something to work with, right. But as you’re building up that demand generation engine, and as you’re starting to get results from it, what will naturally happen is you’ll be able to back off of some of the lead generation strategies and some of the tactics that you’re doing now that are more lead gen focused, you’ll be able to start to evolve those to be more about looking at the market from a perspective of these activities are being done to create demand in the market. These activities are being done to capture the demand that we have created in the market.

Anne Candido 34:58
Right Yeah, I love that. I I think that’s exactly right on and couldn’t agree more. Very tactically speaking. And this goes back to one of the statutes said before, which I can’t get out of my head about what percentage of people actually want to engage with a live salesperson? Are you seeing a shift from a lot of this demand generation activity going more virtually than live? Or? Like, what is kind of the the going rate right now?

Deanna Shimota 35:28
Yeah, I see a lot of it being digital. The reason being, you know, it kind of got accelerated during COVID. All of a sudden, nobody was in offices anymore. Sales Reps didn’t know who they could call because, you know, nobody had an office phone anymore. Or if they did, it was being forwarded, they weren’t answering it, you didn’t know where to send direct mail or packages anymore, because you didn’t know where the person’s home address was, things like that. The companies that really thrived, you know, from a marketing perspective, got really creative and smart during that period and COVID, when the you know, it was a lot harder to be able to do normal day to day business. They built out these digital footprints that were really impressive, because suddenly, people were in front of their desks more than they used to be. So not having watercooler conversations, you know, they’re not getting up and doing something for lunch. They were spending more time online. And what companies were seeing is people were engaging with their content more than they ever had before. Well, life has pretty much gone back to normal, you know, since 2020, but the habits of people have not changed, people are doing a lot more of their research online. And that is a big reason for the shift in the way people are buying according to the research from Gartner that it’s not going to go back, you know, like they’re making up to 80% of that purchase decision before they have a conversation. And so what are they doing, you know, they’re going to these digital channels, and they’re trying to gather as much information as they can. And they’re going to, you know, third party review sites and looking at that information. And they’re looking for pricing pages, they’re looking for virtual product demos, like they’re looking for a lot of things that historically was part of the sales process. And so, you know, I saw some research recently, I can’t remember who put it out, but they were saying it was like 87%, I think of b2b buyers said that their expectation is that they get to see an online demo before they talk to a sales rep. But yet, chili Piper put out a report last May that said only 17% of sass companies actually have virtual demos on their website. So there’s this big gap between what the buyer wants, and what companies are offering. And quite frankly, those 17% of companies that are offering those online virtual demos before they talk to sales, they’re ahead of the curve, they’re more likely to win that business, because they’re supporting the way that prospects want to engage with them.

Anne Candido 38:29
Yeah, I was gonna say it’s very similar to what we’re seeing too. And even personally, from our business, we turned on a funnel a couple of months ago, when we test and learned a little bit one was a call to action for a meeting. And then one was a call to action to download a brand strategy workbook. And I could tell you, I mean, significantly, like 98%, the choice was a download the workbook and actually the leads we got were actually from people who downloaded the workbook versus the direct call to action to set up a meeting with the same landing page, pretty much. So it’s a very interesting dynamic. So it’s interesting to see that it’s, it’s transcending industries, as well. And I love what you said about making sure your website is the validation source, because a lot of people are not cultivating their website and their social presence in the mindset that these are marketing channels, per se. And I think what you’re saying is so probably important, and we’ve had people push back on us, it’s like, wow, it’s a website, how important is a website? Like, do you want to do business? And so but then they get so a number with the social the social has to do this, and then we’re going to generate community and like, well, that would be nice. But the number one job your social needs to do is validate you, right? It needs to real. Nobody comes and looking at your company that this is yet another channel that’s reinforcing the value you provide. So I don’t know if you have any additional perspective on that. But if what you’re saying definitely jives with what we’re experiencing as well, yep.

Deanna Shimota 40:01
Yeah, no 100% I think the reality is someone can go and they can google your company. And what they find or don’t find is what they’re basing their decisions on. And if you have a weak website, or a pretty basic website, that’s what they’re seeing. That’s your 80 to 90% sales rep, right there until they’re willing to engage with you. The question is, isn’t good enough? And if anyone is questioning, like, how much should I really invest in this? You know, it’s our people that move mountains to sell these deals. Let me ask you, you know, how much do you spend on your most impactful sales rep. Maybe you should think about making the same type of investment in your online digital presence, because it has to do a lot of the upfront work to get individuals to the point where they’re willing to talk to your sales rep. So true,

Anne Candido 41:04
that is such a really fantastic insight. I hope everybody heard that. And if you didn’t rewind and listen to

that again, again. Yeah. All right. Well, this has been an awesome conversation, Deanna, and one of the things we’d like to do before we close out is do a few rapid fire questions. So we did not prep for these folks, as we like to say, our guests can get to know you a little bit beyond your role as CEO growth mode marketing. So switching gears a little bit here. The first one I’ll ask is, What is your favorite way to unwind that is not digitally focused.

Deanna Shimota 41:38
I have a cabin on a lake. I love going there and doing what I call boat and float. We have to pack the cooler and we pack some floaties. And then we find a deep spot in the lake and plop in for a couple hours.

Anne Candido 41:51
That is my login flow.

April Martini 41:55
I want to go do that. Yeah, no kidding. All right. Number two, what are you reading or listening to right now? What’s kind of your, you know, learning?

Deanna Shimota 42:06
You know, right now I’m actually reading a book for fun. It’s called The Five-Star Weekend. I can’t remember by I’ve read it. Yeah, I think I got it off the bestseller. List to like looked in was like, Oh, this book sounds interesting. So I’m currently burning through that one, trying to find out how all these five ladies come their stories. And

Anne Candido 42:26
it’s a really good one.

I’m reading through the Bridgerton series like rapid-fire. Oh, I know.

Deanna Shimota 42:32
Oh, yeah. I read that whole series. That’s pretty good. Yeah.

April Martini 42:36
All right. So if you were going to have to train for something would you run or swim or bike?

Deanna Shimota 42:46
I hate running. Even though I was in cross country when I was a kid. So definitely not running. I think I would probably bike. I thought you might say swim after your whole lake thing. But clearly, I’m not doing any of these three because it wasn’t. Oh, that’s easy.

Anne Candido 43:05
You’d be if you were trained to be a really fantastic loader. Yeah.

April Martini 43:11
She sounds like a champ at that. Yeah. Thank you, Deanna. And like I said, we’d love to just have people get to know you a little bit outside of our very serious business conversation. So appreciate you energy, love it. Right. So just close this out anything else that we didn’t cover that you want the audience to know? And certainly let them know where they can find you if they want to continue the conversation?

Deanna Shimota 43:33
You know, parting words, I would just say seriously, think about how can you make your digital footprint your best salesperson. The more content you have out there, the more avenues where people can consume it, particularly your ideal customer profile, the better. If you’re interested in learning more about how to create a catalyst for growth through demand generation, check out GrowthMode Marketing’s podcast The Demand Gen Fix. It’s available on all the places you find podcasts like Apple, Spotify, YouTube, you can also follow me Deanna Shimota on LinkedIn. I post pretty regularly about insights and best practices on demand generation. And of course, we provide lots of information on our own website, which is

April Martini 44:23
Awesome. Alright, and with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!