How to Leverage Demand Generation for Better Results
In B2B marketing, it’s crucial to use a strategy-based approach that focuses on customers’ needs and how your product or service can address those needs. Bringing awareness through trust and relationship building are also key components that can ultimately result in success for B2B companies.
Join us as we talk to B2B marketing expert Deanna Shimota (CEO, GrowthMode Marketing) about how B2B companies can utilize demand generation to yield better marketing results. In our discussion, Deanna talks about how the way B2B prospects buy has changed and the importance of having a deep understanding of customers as well as their buyers’ journeys. She also elaborates on the mistakes to avoid, reveals what a good demand generation strategy should have, and provides the audience with some tips on what they can do right now to improve.
Topics discussed in episode
Companies and links mentioned
Deanna Shimota, Christian Klepp
Christian Klepp 00:03
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers, where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.
Christian Klepp 00:39
All right, everyone. Welcome to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today, I’m joined by someone on a mission to help B2B companies to crush their revenue targets and achieve their growth goals. So coming to us from the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota, Deanna Shimota, welcome to the show.
Deanna Shimota 01:11
Hi, Christian. Thanks for having me.
Christian Klepp 01:13
Great to be connected, Deanna. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation. So if it’s all the same to you, let’s dive in.
Deanna Shimota 01:21
Yeah, let’s do it.
Christian Klepp 01:22
All right, fantastic. So Deanna, you’re a seasoned B2B marketer, and you’d like to blend, I’m gonna say the art and science of marketing, I love that right. The art and science to align with client goals, and focus on achieving the results that businesses need. So for this conversation, let’s focus on a topic that I believe has become a part of your professional mission, how B2B marketers can leverage demand generation for better results. So I’d love to, I’d love to kick off this conversation by clearing the air a little bit, because as you might know, people throw these terms around very loosely on platforms like LinkedIn. So please, help us to define what the difference is between demand and lead generation.
Deanna Shimota 02:12
Yeah, I’m glad you asked Christian, because this terminology, demand generation lead generation, that a lot of marketers and company leaders still think of as an interchangeable term, that’s the same thing. And I actually think they’re very different. And I’ll start with lead generation. So with lead generation, that’s more your tried and true marketing tactics that we’ve all been doing for many, many years. And your marketing programs are only focused on the 5% of companies that are currently in market, meaning we need leads, we need them now, we’re trying to uncover those opportunities that we can hand over to sales. With a lead generation strategy, typically, you are asking prospects for a meeting, and you’re trying to pull them into your sales process. The challenge with that is, it just isn’t as effective as it previously was in the past, because the way B2B buyers make purchase decisions has changed drastically in the last few years. And that’s where demand generation comes into play. And the difference with demand generation is that you’re focusing on driving value, not just for the 5% that are currently in market, but also for the 95% of companies who are not looking to buy right now. Because essentially, if you’re looking for high growth, those future customers are really important to your future growth. And so you’re building a marketing programs, you know, not just at the bottom of the funnel, trying to capture the in market opportunities. But you’re creating marketing programs that are focused on building brand awareness and trust to create demand and ultimately capture it. So that real differences, you know, with lead generation, you’re chasing after prospects, asking them for a meeting with demand generation, you’re working to build that trust. So prospects ask you for a meeting when they’re in market and they’re ready to buy, and they’re inviting you into their buying process.
Christian Klepp 04:08
That’s such a great answer. And it’s so important to understand, to your point, what the differences are between those two. Because at the end of the day, and you know, we’ve all seen those reports, right, the I think the one that we talked about last time was the B2B buying journey that was mapped out by Gartner. And then I think there was I believe there was another one by Forrester and McKinsey. And if you look at all of these, and I know that they’re, I wouldn’t say industry agnostic, but they’re like, the general B2B buying group. Yeah, for lack of a better description. The buying journey is not linear. It’s pretty haphazard. Right?
Deanna Shimota 04:46
Yeah, it’s, it’s crazy. I mean, you look at that Gartner example that you and I talked about, and it goes forward, it goes backwards, it goes up, it goes down, you know, and the whole point of it was if you think that that purchased decision processes a straight forward line, you’re missing the way people buy today.
Christian Klepp 05:08
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think the statistics on these facts vary depending on which report you read. But it’s anywhere between 80 and 90% of B2B buyers are not actively buying when they’re online. And I think that was your point, right. And that’s probably also where demand gen can really add value because they are conducting their own independent research. They’re looking for validation. They’re looking for I think that was your other point, social proof, a demonstration of expertise of said service provider. So there’s a lot of like, factors that come into play, right?
Deanna Shimota 05:44
Yep, for sure.
Christian Klepp 05:46
Moving on to the next question. So you brought some of these up already, but mistakes and misconceptions. So you already highlighted one of them. But talk to us about some other mistakes and misconceptions when it comes to demand generation and what B2B marketers need to do to address those.
Deanna Shimota 06:03
Yeah, you know, I think the biggest mistake that organizations are making on the marketing front is that they’re only focusing on the short game, and that is the lead generation. And because they’re so focused on we need leads, we need them now, we have to hit our revenue numbers, which absolutely are important, and the struggle is real, but they’re overlooking the long game, and not considering the fact that if we don’t get in front of these prospects, well before they’re in market to buy, we’re gonna miss the opportunity to make their shortlist. Because Gartner statistics are saying that B2B purchasers are making up to 80% of that purchase decision before they ever engage with a sales rep. If you step back and think about that, they don’t have their mind made up by the time they’re willing to talk to you. So if you haven’t done the marketing programs, to build that brand awareness and build that trust, the likelihood of them reaching out to you and asking for a sales meaning are pretty slim.
Christian Klepp 07:10
Absolutely, absolutely. I love that you brought that up, that when they’ve already reached out to the salespeople, they’ve either already made up their mind or again, they need that validation, right? It’s such an important point that you bring up that they don’t want to talk to the salesperson at the beginning of that journey. Right?
Deanna Shimota 07:29
Think about it like in, in your own purchasing process. Like, is your first thought, let me pick up the phone and talk to a sales rep? Or is it let me do research. Let me talk to colleagues, let me find out as much information as I can? According to Gartner, 72% of B2B buyers have said they would prefer to have zero interaction with a sales rep during the purchase process.
Christian Klepp 07:54
Right. Right. Exactly.
Deanna Shimota 07:56
So they’re reluctantly talking to those of us in sales, once they get to that point where they have to have a conversation.
Christian Klepp 08:03
Exactly, exactly. The and I wanted to go back to something you said earlier. And I think it’s a really important point to jam on a little bit further, if you will. Talking about how B2B companies are so focused on the short game, or short term games or gains rather, So leads, revenue, etc. So from your experience, how do you…. and I know it’s not, it’s not a simple answer. But how do you address that challenge? And how, from your experience, can you convince B2B companies to change that mindset and to believe and have faith in playing the longer game?
Deanna Shimota 08:46
Yeah, you know, listen, if you’re playing the lead gen game, and you’re not thinking about the long term game, what’s likely happening is you’re falling short on your revenue goals. And it’s a constant chasing your tail, you can’t seem to get off that merry go round, because you can’t get ahead of the curve. And that is where you need to take a step back and look at the long term strategy from a marketing perspective. And that’s where demand generation comes into play. And I will say, you know, demand generation is not this, I build an engine and overnight, I have all these inbound leads. It takes time to build an audience, it takes time to build out the content, you’ve got to continually feed it. So you do have to look at it as a long term strategy. And you do have to have the patience and willingness to go all in and give it time to actually start producing results. Once it starts to produce results. What you’re going to see are more inbound leads coming in the door. And guess what, those leads who raise their hands are a hell of a lot better than the leads that you uncovered doing cold calls and outreach, trying to get people to have an appointment for you. There’s gonna have shorter sales cycles. They’re gonna have higher close rates, and overall, they’re gonna have lower customer acquisition costs. So it really is a win, to build out a demand generation engine. Now, that doesn’t eliminate the we need revenue now, immediately, it will solve it in the long term. And I think that’s where a lot of organizations struggle, they’re like, we can’t just stop doing this stuff, because we have to bring leads in the door. And I totally agree with that. I’ve been on the corporate side, the struggle is real. So I think there’s a transition period where you may continue to do lead generation tactics while you’re building out a demand generation engine. But as the demand generation engine starts to, you know, get some momentum, it’s actually going to make your lead generation programs perform better, because there’s better brand awareness, better trust, more affinity out there in the market for your wares that you’re going out and selling. Now, we don’t call it lead generation at that point, we call it demand capture, as part of the demand generation engine, but in essence, you’re still going out and you’re looking for leads, and you’re trying to bring them in the door, you know, but you’re more focused on quality. Those that are doing lead generation today, you know, I talk to companies all the time who come in, they’re like, what we’re doing, it’s just not working the way that it used to. And we’re banging your head against the wall, because we can’t figure out how to solve this problem. If you’re putting content out there, for example, that let’s say you had Forrester do a research study for you, and you’ve got this really great 20 page report, you’ve paid a lot of money for it, you’re really proud of it, you put it out there and you put a gate in front of it, meaning you have a form in front of it. I talked to people all the time who are like, I don’t get it. They’re coming to the landing page and the landing page is not converting, we need to redesign our landing page. And I’m like, yes, sure do. It’s called get rid of the form. Because you are preventing the very people that you want to read your content, watch your content, listen to your content, because it will build trust, and move them forward in considering you down the road. You’re preventing them from doing that by putting a form in front of it. So it defeats the purpose. And those are the kinds of things like even when someone does fill out a form. And then I’m not saying forms are the only thing that dictates whether something is lead gen or demand gen. But if I’m filling out a form to read your content that doesn’t demonstrate that I’m in market to buy. So as soon as you pass that lead on to your SDR team or your sales team and they start chasing it, you’re gonna be frustrated because the leads aren’t closing, they’re falling out of the pipeline, you know, you can throw 500 leads at them. But if they’re all garbage, it’s a very expensive mistake to make.
Christian Klepp 13:04
Absolutely, absolutely. It’s such a great point that you bring up. Talk to us about the importance of having a deep understanding of customers and their buyers journey. And I think that’s such an instrumental component, if I may say, of demand gen, right?
Deanna Shimota 13:20
Oh, it absolutely is. And, you know, I go out with my marketing when we work with clients, the first thing that we want to look at is okay, who’s your ideal customer profile? Let us help you define it, because I think you’ve got to be talking to the companies and prospects to understand where do they seek out information and education? How do they typically go about purchasing solutions for their company? What are their biggest challenges and issues that they are dealing with? And why would they care about what you solve? You know, and understanding those things, because I think if you can better understand your buying audience that gives you the ability to hyperfocus in creating that story that you’re telling them, which we like to call a unique point of view, and hyper focusing that content. So everything you’re creating, speaks to those points that matter to that buyer. And so instead of trying to be everything to everyone, which doesn’t typically get great traction, especially if you’re in a very crowded market, you can craft content that actually will resonate. So I think it is so important to have a deep understanding of your customers and their buying journey.
Christian Klepp 14:40
Absolutely, absolutely. On that point, another question would be like, what was the last time you were on the website of a company and you’re going to take your pick which industry and you spend like five minutes on their homepage, and you can read it three times and you still don’t know what they do?
Deanna Shimota 14:56
Oh my goodness, I feel like now 99% of companies and you know, as a marketer, I have always told people if I can’t, within five seconds, understand what it is your company does, you have a messaging problem. And they’re like, well, we clearly outlined, it’s like, no, you don’t. And I have talked to you, I actually know what you do. And I’m still telling you, I don’t know what you do when I look at your website. It’s so common such a mistake that companies make. And I think, you know, they try to come up with fancy taglines. And sometimes it’s like, just clearly state what it is you do. So that when I come there, I know that you are a software that solves this problem.
Christian Klepp 15:43
Absolutely, absolutely. Or that trend, where they tend to change the name of something into some fancy branded name, because that will make it unique but you know, it actually then has the world reverse effect, right? That actually just confuses people. It’s like, okay, so what exactly does this team do?
Deanna Shimota 16:06
Yep. And then you’re trying to remember the name because it’s so complicated,
Christian Klepp 16:10
Correct? Correct. That’s also a great segue into the next question, which is, how is the way that B2B prospects buy changing and what should companies be doing to keep up? And I think that’s such a pertinent question, because my goodness, like how much has changed in the past three years? Not necessarily just because of the pandemic, I think the pandemic accelerated a lot of this. But also everything’s become more digitized, the market dynamic has completely changed. But yeah, over to you.
Deanna Shimota 16:38
Yeah, it really has changed in the last few years. And I think, you know, the pandemic certainly helped fuel it, because you think about when it felt like the whole world shut down. And we all you know, went remote. Suddenly, from a sales and marketing standpoint, you didn’t know where those people were located anymore, you didn’t have their phone numbers to reach out to them. You couldn’t send them direct mail packages, you couldn’t meet in person. And I think as people adjusted to remote world, they started to realize, hey, I don’t actually have to talk to the sales rep. I can do the research online. And I can find these things. And I think the companies that excelled during that time, they immediately embrace the fact that the way our sales reps sell right now has to change drastically. And all the statistics were coming out that people were consuming way more content online than they traditionally had. Well, you know, as we’re getting back to, you know, what’s more of a normal state now, and a lot of people went back to the office, it didn’t change their habits that they picked up over that period, when everyone was working from home where they’ve realized, like, I can go online, and I can research this, and I can find all of this information. And there are companies out there that will list their actual pricing and their packages on their website, I can go to review sites, I can ask people on LinkedIn and get information. Like there’s all these back channels per se, to get the information you’re looking for without having to talk to a sales rep. And so, you know, we’ve talked about a couple of the statistics already, how 72% of B2B buyers don’t want to have interaction with the sales rep and 80% of the decision process can be completed before they’re willing to engage. You know, another statistic to pull out there is they’re now saying it takes an average of 66 touches for a buyer to engage with the company. And that is up significantly from you know, years ago, it used to be like, 15. You think about that, 66. Sure, there’s gonna be some who maybe it’s 15 touches, there’s going to be some who’s 200 touches that that doesn’t mean okay, I’m just going to cold call them and leave a voicemail 66 times, or I’m going to throw 66 emails their way and they’re going to be ready to talk. Like it’s so much more nuanced and complex. But I think the key takeaway is the way that people buy has changed. And that means the way that we market needs to evolve to support that.
Christian Klepp 19:21
100% 100%. You’ll forgive me if I don’t remember who said this. But there’s a saying out there that says we innovate or die. We innovate or we die. And I just want to go back to those statistics that you brought up because I think they’re worth mentioning again, So that was 72% and that was 80%. So 72% of buyers preferring to conduct their own research and not be in touch…
Deanna Shimota 19:50
They prefer not to talk to…. Yep, they prefer not to talk to a sales rep at all.
Christian Klepp 19:57
And then, sorry, remind me what the 80% was again?
Deanna Shimota 20:00
up to 80% of the purchase decision process has been completed through digital avenues before they all choose to engage with the sales rep.
Christian Klepp 20:11
So that was another interesting statistic, the 80%. Right. And then this 66, I’m sorry, I’m just looking back to see that the 66 touches that a buyer has with a company. And that’s even before any decision has been made. And I think those are such critical points. Those are such critical figures to keep in mind because especially in the world of B2B and just imagine Deanna you take your pick whichever industry, right? But like, just imagine somebody’s buying, like all this high tech equipment, and you’re looking at it easily at least six figure deals, right? This buying group is most likely not going to respond to some cold call saying like, Hey, you want to know, you know, let’s book a meeting next week, and we can we can sell you this equipment that you’re looking for, it’s most likely not going to happen that way.
Deanna Shimota 21:00
Yeah, you know, maybe it’s happened once or twice in the history of sales. But if someone’s not in market to buy today, the more expensive it gets, the more unlikely it is that you’re gonna convince them that they do need to buy it today, you know, when I look at all these statistics, which by the way, these are all numbers from Gartner, in the last year that have come out. I think what you know, to me, what that means is that companies really need to work to build out a digital footprint to become their best sales rep. That doesn’t mean it replaces the sales reps, sales reps still have an important job, you know, if you’d prefer to say your best sales tool, fine. But you know, my point is, if they’re making up to 80% of that decision, and they’re doing everything they can not to engage with a sales rep until they need to, you damn well better have a good footprint out there with really good content that allows them to self-guide through their buying journey.
Christian Klepp 22:04
Absolutely, absolutely. Okay, moving on to the next question, which I like to call the Lego question because it’s breaking it down into its parts. So break it down for us, please, from your point of view, and from your professional experience, what does a good demand gen strategy look like?
Deanna Shimota 22:26
So from my perspective, there are three pillars to a demand generation strategy: Strategy, content, and distribution. You start with the strategy, and you know, the way we work with clients is okay, you’ve got to build out an ideal customer profile, that is going to be who, or what type of companies are the best fit companies for your services? A lot of organizations struggle with this, because they’re like, you’re saying, I have to narrow down my audience? Do I have to say no to all these other companies? And it’s like, no, that’s not the point. Yes, you have to narrow down your audience, because it’s going to help you get better traction, if you’re in a really crowded market, and you’re getting lost in the crowd, because there’s so many solutions out there, and they all sound the same. Then we work with them to develop what we call a unique point of view story framework. And this is really like, what’s the story you’re going out to the market with to challenge thinking. And it’s not necessarily like, this is your product, and these are your product differentiators. It’s that whole story that you’re telling, because sometimes, quite frankly, especially if you get in, like the technology space, or the services space, there’s not real meaningful differentiation in the eyes of the buyer. And companies struggle with that, you know, they spend a lot of money doing message differentiation exercises, and I can tell you from experience when the differentiation doesn’t actually exist, it can be pretty disappointing to get to the end of that project and feel like we don’t actually sound any different. Like, yep, because you’re not. So that’s where the unique point of view puts a different spin on, on how do you talk about it without actually having a different product. And then, you know, the third piece of that strategy is building out that content marketing and demand generation plan. And, you know, like, I find a lot of companies, they want to jump to the other two pillars. They’re like, I don’t want to spend money on strategy. That’s a really important piece. It’s the blueprint to set the direction for everything you’re going to do moving forward and to get you hyper focused, so that when you get to the next pillar, which is creating the content, you know who that audience is, you know, the story you’re going to tell and now it becomes about executing that by building out content, looking at the key topics, creating content for every stage of the funnel and creating different formats of content because different strokes for different folks, you know, some people like long format content, some people prefer video, some people like social media snippets, you can take that content and really slice and dice it and make it go far. But then if that content doesn’t get out in front of the right people, it’s a waste of time. And it’s not going to be impactful. So that’s sort of that third pillar of demand generation and building out an engine is the distribution. And there are three avenues to look at, from my perspective with distribution. One is the website, that is your digital storefront, you’ve got to have good content in there, you’ve got to have content loops, like the goal is to get people to your website to consume as much as you can get them to consume, and to keep their interest so that they look at a lot of different things. And that they get all the answers that they want out of, you know, I’m interested in your product. Second, is managed channels. So these are the channels where you can control what is put out and when. And the whole purpose of managed channels is how do I build an audience that wants to continually consume my content. So think about it, like, you know, this podcast is a great example of a managed channel, webinar series, blogs, email campaigns, digital ads, all those things that you can control. And then the third avenue is third party channels. And that’s about tapping into existing relevant audiences, within the industry, to build credibility, expand your reach beyond your own managed channel, and basically get in front of someone else’s audience that they’ve already built up that that is really relevant for you. So you know, in a nutshell, like, that’s how I grow my marketing, we look at demand generation is the like, there’s, there’s a process to it. And it’s about getting in front of your ideal customer profile, so that it appears like you’re everywhere they are.
Christian Klepp 27:12
So bear with me for a second here. I take all this.
Deanna Shimota 27:16
I know it’s a lot.
Christian Klepp 27:18
My hand was getting sore from all this note taking here. But this is, this is so great. So thank you so much for well, doing what you were asked to do, just breaking it down. And that’s exactly what you did. I mean, this is such a such a great approach. I mean, clearly, first of all with the strategy, and then the content and the distribution. And I had an analogy I wanted to throw in there, because I’ve encountered that myself with a couple of prospects in the past where they want to skip the strategy part goes straight into execution, because you know, they’re in a time crunch, and they want leads, and they need revenue and all that, right. Yeah, it’s almost like, I mean, there’s many analogies out there, but the one I love going back to is the real estate one, because at least in North America, a lot of people can relate to that, like, so just imagine you’re building a house, right? And you’ve got the contractor, you’ve got the building materials, and they’re starting to build it, but they don’t have the architect’s blueprint for the structure. Right? So what’s the house gonna look like when it’s finished? Right? So you have these teams that probably know what they’re doing. But will they know how to build a house without having a plan in front of them? That remains to be seen.
Deanna Shimota 28:26
Yeah, well, and you know, from a marketing standpoint, if you don’t have a strategy, and you’re not sticking to that strategy, it becomes random acts of marketing. And random acts of marketing very rarely add up to great results. Because you’re doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and there’s no real focus and no real intention, even though marketing teams are doing this with the best of intentions, you know, and they think they’re working towards goals. But if you’re not stopping and saying, Does this activity, move the needle? Should this be the priority over XYZ? How does this all work together to support that mission of high growth? If you’re not asking those, you’re doing a lot of wasted effort on marketing, that’s not going to be very impactful.
Christian Klepp 29:21
100% 100% or as, as I like to say, it’s like, just shooting from the hip, and hope you hit something, right? That’s basically it. Yeah. All right. So we get to the point in the conversation, because this show is also very much about actionable tips. So Deanna, and you know this better than I do. Demand gen is not something that you can achieve overnight, and let’s respect and appreciate that. But if there were three to five things, you know, for our audience out there that’s listening to this conversation, if there are three to five things that you want them to take away from the show, and act upon immediately with regards to demand gen. What are they?
Deanna Shimota 30:04
Yeah, so I mean, demand generation to your point, Christian, it is a whole process to build out that engine. But I think there are some quick things that you can start doing now or started thinking about now that will be helpful. And I’ve kind of talked about them already. But to summarize, you’ve got to stop doing the random acts of marketing, you need to be more intentional and stick to your strategy, because quite frankly, the long game matters. You need to stop gating your best content, because putting obstacles in the way of content that you actually want your prospects to read, to watch to listen to, doesn’t make sense, it’s better to get in front of them, you know, I don’t want to have a call, I’m sure you don’t want to have a call with your prospects and clients where they’re like, I had 1500 people visit the landing page, and nobody converted. Yep, or 1500 missed opportunities to build brand awareness and trust with those individuals. You know, and the third thing, I would say, narrowing down your audience, to widen your impact, you really got to stop trying to be everything to everyone in your market and get really good at telling a story to stand out in the crowd with a subset of your total addressable market. And if you’re not sure what I mean by this, I’ll use HR technology as an example, there’s 21,000 plus technologies out there, all competing for the same dollars. Yes, they do different things at times, sometimes they don’t. But imagine if I am a HR tech buyer at a manufacturing company, and just 20 of those vendors are marketing to me to purchase their human capital management system. And I’m looking at it and all your options sound the same, I’m probably going to price shop. And unless you’re the low cost provider, you don’t want that to happen. Now imagine if one of those 20 vendors was sending them materials and marketing that talk about understanding the challenges of managing an employee base in a manufacturing plant, where you’ve got shift differentials, you’ve got high turnover, you’ve got you know, dangers that happened on the plant floor, all these different things that are very unique to the situation they’re in. Which one do you think is going to resonate with them? Most likely, the one that is speaking their language. And so when I say narrow down your audience to widen your impact, that’s why. You’re gonna get more traction, when you don’t sound like everybody else.
Christian Klepp 32:43
Absolutely, absolutely. Have your, your unique point of view, your points of differentiation and whatnot. I wanted to go back to point number two, if I may, you know, about the stop gating content. And I know that there’s been all your best content, rather. And I know there’s been chatter in the grapevine about this, and the heavy debates on LinkedIn and whatnot. But are there a few occasions I would say or situations where you probably will get the content?
Deanna Shimota 33:15
To be totally honest with you, in my opinion, the only things I think you should throw a form on are like a subscription list, a live demo request, and I want to talk to sales. And the reason I say that, and I have I have been guilty in the past being like, why would we take a form off? You know, we want to collect that contact information. We want to know who’s seeing this stuff. I have totally changed my tune. we coach our clients on this like… If it’s really good content, don’t you want them to see it? Isn’t it better that they see it? Then you get their email address? Because there are other ways to find the email addresses. You know. You can cheat the system. There are tools out there that can help you get a better idea of who’s actually looking at your content. You can do retargeting ads. I mean, there’s so much you can do without having to force them to give you their information. And if they’re not in market to buy right now. What are you going to do, you know, with their email address, you’re gonna send sales after them and then they’re going to be annoyed and it creates a bad experience in the prospects mind.
Christian Klepp 33:28
Yes, that is what I believe is called, um, let me think, oh, spam. Right. So…
Deanna Shimota 34:41
Right. We’ve gotten a reputation as marketers and sales professionals, because of the tactics we’ve used in the past and I think people are just tired of companies trying to push the sale on them, you know?
Christian Klepp 34:58
Exactly. And I mean, It’s going back to one of your previous points is that like everything else marketing is also a discipline that needs to evolve. Right? It needs to evolve with the times. Right? Okay. Moving on to the next question, love it or hate it. But at some point, you have to prove to somebody higher up, that what you’re implementing is working. Right. So what are some of the metrics that B2B marketers need to be paying attention to when it comes to demand gen?
Deanna Shimota 35:28
Yeah, I’ve thought long and hard about this, because, you know, I have worked at organizations where you had to prove every dollar you spent was driving revenue for the organization. And that is easier said than done. There are lots of marketing attribution software and tools out there today that allegedly do that. But what I have learned is you’ve got to look beyond the easy to measure tactics to find what works, because sometimes what works is not as easily trackable. And what I mean is that activities like emails, and digital ads are relatively easy to measure when it comes to engagement and actions taken. But that really only gives you a very narrow view of the buyers journey. So for example, you may have a digital advertising program that drives people to schedule a live demo with your team. And if these ads are converting, you’re thinking, hey, this tactic works, maybe we need to pull back on the other programs and invest more in digital advertising to drive more leads. But that’s totally deceiving. Because a person likely did not see a digital ad for the first time and think I should buy this, tell me more. And it goes back, you know, to when you brought up that buyer journey visual from Gartner and Forrester and some of the other analyst firms out there. Like it’s not a straight, linear journey. It’s rarely ever a straight line. You know, and if the Gartner research is accurate, and it truly takes an average of 66 touches before a prospect pays attention to a company, there are likely many other marketing programs that factor into the person ultimately clicking on the digital ad. And I think sometimes the hard to measure tactics can drive the most brand awareness and trust. For example, you don’t know who listens to your podcast on the regular, you don’t know who is reading articles and content you have out there in many cases. And you don’t know who is stopping to scroll to read posts on LinkedIn, but not actually like liking or commenting on it. And all of those activities matter. So it doesn’t really answer your question. But I think when looking at what to measure, you’ve got to be sure to look at all the programs and find ways to measure engagement levels beyond someone filling out a form or saying I’m ready to buy. And if they’re trending in the right direction, you might be onto something. And so, you know, if you’re looking at podcasts, look at the downloads and any other information you can get from those podcasts to see is it trending up? Is it flat? Is it going down? If it’s trending up, when you’re putting out great content, and you’re promoting it to the right audience. That’s a really good sign. And that’s an indicator, I think, you know, that will feed into the results from some of these other things like the digital ads.
Christian Klepp 38:36
Absolutely. Absolutely. That was such a great example. Like with the podcasts, I guess one of the things that we don’t look at. Well, I don’t look up personally, by the number of downloads, because those are vanity metrics. I mean, a lot of you see a lot of people going like, yeah, we got we got these many 1000s of downloads and whatnot. But one thing I do look at which I think is really important, because it speaks to, I guess, the engagement and the level of quality of the content is the completion rate. So how many people are listening to the show from start to finish? And very rarely do you see 100%. But if you see… ours are anywhere between like 75% to… 75% and up, which is already a pretty good indication because some people don’t listen to the show all the way to the end. Right. Yeah. And there are some and I think that was your other point, like you know, all hail those people that don’t engage with you, because I get a lot of like, emails or messages from people that said, Hey, I listened to that one interview that you had with so and so. And that was such a great show. But these people never liked, never commented, never shared or anything like that. Right. And never did any any of those things on on platforms like LinkedIn. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not engaged. Right.
Deanna Shimota 39:53
Exactly. And I think a way that you can kind of capture some of that understanding is to just build self reported attribution into your lead capture and sales process. So, you know, when a lead comes in, ask them on the form. How did you find out about us? How did you learn about us give us as much detail as you can, you’re gonna start hearing from them, well, I religiously listened to your podcast, or I’ve been following you on LinkedIn for six months, and I love the content you’re putting out there. Also, like, when you have the actual sales conversation, ask them again, you know, and get more detail. And I think that can be really insightful. Because if you’re using the marketing attribution software, and it tells you, they came in from a digital ad you ran, that’s great. The digital ad played a role in it, but then you talk to them and you find out they’ve been listening to your podcast for months and have consumed multiple episodes. That’s the real driver of why they reached out to you. And it’s important to know those things and to be able to convey that information to the leadership team and the board of directors and the investors so they understand why you’re making investments and spending a lot of time building out some of those, what some will call dark social channels.
Christian Klepp 41:14
Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, Deanna, this is a chance for you to get up on your soapbox, if you haven’t been out there already. A status quo in your area of expertise. And let’s just stay with demand gen that you passionately disagree with and why.
Deanna Shimota 41:34
Yeah, you know, I feel like I’ve been on my soapbox. We’ve been talking about it the whole time. But I think you know, what I disagree with. That is status quo in a lot of organizations still is that lead generation still works. But with the way B2B prospects buy today, we’ve got to evolve our marketing. I think so many marketers are still trying to run the same playbook that they used two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago. And these programs just aren’t driving the level of results that they used to. And quite frankly, if what you’re doing is not working, you’ve got to take a step back and change the approach, because focusing on the short game only gets you so far. And you know, the reality is, if only 5% of companies are actually in market to buy at any time during normal times, you’ve got to imagine that when the economy is tough. And companies are pulling back on spend, that the number of companies actually in market to buy probably drops to closer to 1%. And so you’ve got to build out your digital footprint to become your best sales rep. And that is what demand generation is all about.
Christian Klepp 42:53
Absolutely, absolutely. Deanna as expected this was such a great conversation. Thank you so much for coming on today and sharing your experience and expertise with the audience. So quick introduction to yourself, and how folks out there can get in touch with you.
Deanna Shimota 43:08
Yeah, so I am the CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. We’re a demand generation agency that helps B2B technology companies break through the clutter of a crowded market so that you can crush your revenue targets. If you are interested in learning more about how to create a catalyst for growth through demand generation, I encourage you to check out GrowthMode Marketing’s podcast called the demand gen fix. It’s on Apple podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. I also encourage people to follow me Deanna Shimota on LinkedIn because I regularly post insights and best practices on demand generation. And of course, we provide lots of information on our website too, which is growthmodemarketing.com
Christian Klepp 43:52
Fantastic. Fantastic. So once again, Deanna, thank you so much for your time. Take care. Stay safe.
Deanna Shimota 43:57
Christian Klepp 43:57
Awesome. All right. Thanks. Bye for now.
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