🎙️ Dive into the world of B2B marketing with Deanna Shimota, the CEO of GrowthMode Marketing and a true B2B marketing maestro! In this episode of "Jonny Ross Fractional CMO", we're peeling back the layers of demand generation, content marketing, and more.
🔍 What you'll discover:
- The real difference between demand generation and lead generation.
- Common mistakes businesses are making in their marketing strategies.
- How B2B buying behaviors are evolving and how to stay ahead.
- Crafting a winning demand generation strategy.
- Avoiding the pitfalls of 'Random Acts of Marketing'.
🎉 Whether you're a seasoned marketer or just diving into B2B, Deanna's insights are a goldmine. Don't miss out!
Understanding Demand Generation [00:02:30]
Deanna explains the difference between lead generation and demand generation and why demand generation is critical in B2B marketing.
Adapting to Changing B2B Buying Behaviors [00:05:55]
Deanna discusses how B2B buyers are completing up to 80% of their purchase decision through digital avenues before engaging with a sales rep.
Building a Demand Generation Engine [00:08:39]
Deanna talks about the three pillars of building a demand generation engine and where businesses need to be featured or named to be considered by buyers.
The strategy for identifying ideal customer profile [00:08:49]
Identifying the best fit companies to target, having a unique point of view, and developing a content marketing and demand gen strategy.
The importance of understanding ideal customer profile [00:10:05]
Understanding when and how and where the ideal customers consume information.
The three pillars of a demand generation engine [00:11:07]
Creating content for every stage of the funnel, building a robust website, utilizing managed channels, and tapping into third-party channels for credibility and reach.
Timestamp 1 [00:18:11]
"Channels for B2B marketing"
Discussion on the effectiveness of different channels for B2B marketing, including LinkedIn, Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram.
Timestamp 2 [00:19:54]
"The issue with digital advertising"
Exploration of the limitations and challenges of relying solely on digital advertising for lead generation, including low conversion rates and slow sales cycles.
Timestamp 3 [00:24:23]
"Example of a brand doing demand generation well"
Mention of Lavender, a technology company in the sales space, as an example of a brand successfully building brand awareness and utilizing third-party channels like LinkedIn for demand generation.
Lead Generation and Demand Generation [00:27:02]
The speaker discusses the transition from lead generation to demand generation and the importance of running both programs simultaneously.
Different Approaches in Demand Generation [00:28:07]
The speaker explains how demand generation requires a different mindset and tactics compared to lead generation.
Building a Demand Generation Engine [00:29:49]
The speaker emphasizes the importance of focusing on long-term growth and building a demand generation engine to attract future prospects.
🔗 [GrowthMode Marketing](http://www.growthmodemarketing.com/)
🔗 [The Demand Gen Fix Podcast](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast...)
Tune in now!
🎧 [Audio on your favourite podcast platform](https://podcast.jonnyross.com/listen)
Welcome to the Jonny Ross Fractional CMO podcast. I'm Jonny Ross, your host. And today we're diving straight into the world of B2B marketing. In this episode, we've got a real treat for you. Deanna Schmidt, the CEO of Growth Mode Marketing, is joining us to unpack the secrets of demand generation and more. No time for fluff. Let's jump right in. How are you, Deanna?Deanna Shimota:
I am great, Jonny, Thank you.Jonny Ross:
You're joining us over in the States. You're typically working with B2B tech businesses quite large as well. Sort of give me roughly the sort of the type of business that you're working with.Deanna Shimota:
Yeah. So our typical client is a B2B organization between 10 million and 250 million in revenue with growth initiatives. So many times they're private equity backed, maybe building up their company for a future acquisition. And we work with a lot of technology companies, you know, especially in the tech space. But across the spectrum to help them break through the clutter of a crowded market so they can crush their revenue targets.Jonny Ross:
It sounds good. Listen, if you're listening, if you're watching right now live, please do ask questions if you're with us on the podcast afterwards. Thanks for being here. Let me tell you what's going to be happening. Ever wondered how demand generation fuels B2B success or how B2B marketing is adapting to the changing landscape? We've got answers. Deanna's expertise and insights are about to give you marketing strategies a serious boost. So whether you're a marketing whiz, a business owner seeking growth, or a marketing director navigating the evolving landscape, this episode has something special for you. Hold tight as we peel back the layers of B2B marketing, uncover valuable trends and share actionable tips that you can implement immediately. Let's get started on this exciting journey with Deanna, but first, hit that subscribe button to never miss an episode packed with inspiration and insights. And if you prefer visual, head over to the YouTube channel for the video version. So without further ado, let's get on with speaking to the remarkable Deanna. And what I want to do is I want to I'm going to break this down into four segments.Jonny Ross:
So we're going to talk about understanding demand generation. We're then going to go into B2B marketing trends and mistakes, then into adapting to changing B2B buying behaviors and then how to craft a winning demand generation strategy. So let's get started in terms of understanding demand generation DNA. Why exactly is demand generation and why is it such a critical aspect of B2B marketing?Deanna Shimota:
That is a great question, John, and I think to really understand what demand generation is, first you've got to understand the difference between lead generation and demand generation. And I say that because I think a lot of marketers out there and business leaders think that it's the same thing, that they're basically interchangeable terms to you know, find as many leads as you can. And in reality, they've actually become very different strategies. And if you're doing lead generation, I'll start with that because that's what most organizations are still doing today. Your marketing programs are only focused on the 5% of companies that are actually in market right now to buy. You're asking prospects for a meeting.Deanna Shimota:
You're trying to pull them into your sales process. So think about marketing tactics, for example. You're running digital advertising. You're trying to get people to book a demo with you. You're putting content out there, you're putting forms in front of it so you can collect that information, hand it over to an SDR. They're going to start chasing them, trying to pull in an appointment from that opportunity. Demand generation. On the flip side is about putting a focus on driving value, not just with the 5% that are currently in market, but also the 95% who are not looking to buy right now. Because the reality is your total addressable market, your ideal customer profile, they're out there. Not everyone's looking to buy today, but you can't ignore them because of the way that buyers are buying today, which, you know, we can certainly talk about. But your marketing programs need to be focused on building brand awareness and trust to create demand and ultimately capture it. So at the end of the day, the flip side from lead generation is that prospects are asking you for a meeting and they're inviting you into their buying process.Deanna Shimota:
And so it doesn't mean I'm never going to run an ad with a demo attached to it ever again. But there's a much more holistic approach to it. And I look at like lead generation as you're playing the short game because you want leads, you want them, now you're trying to pull anyone that's in market. In demand generation is really a long term strategy because you're building that trust, that credibility in the market. So that. When they actually are in market, they know who you are and they're going to dig deeper into understanding your products and your services and let you know like, Hey, I'm in market, I'm ready to talk to a sales rep.Jonny Ross:
So you mentioned there about a you know, don't you're not going to necessarily get rid of ads that are straight diving into a demo. Give me some real examples of demand generation strategy, the sort of things that you might lead up to that then.Deanna Shimota:
Yeah, you know, think it's important to understand how B2B prospects are buying today in order to understand how a demand generation strategy needs to work.Deanna Shimota:
We are moving towards a reality where the B2B buyers have completed up to 80% of their purchase decision through digital avenues before they choose to engage with a sales rep. So if you really stop and think about that 80% of that decision, by the time they're contacting a sales organization, they're they've got a short list. And if they don't know about you, you didn't make that short list. And that's information, that research that Gartner has put out. And we've seen this in the market as well, like talking to our clients, they're definitely seeing like people are less likely to engage with that sales rep until they really are ready to have those conversations. And 72% of B2B buyers would prefer to have zero interaction with a sales rep during the purchase process. And it's now taking an average of 66 touches for a buyer to engage with that sales rep, which means from a marketing standpoint, we're playing a much more instrumental role in moving people through that sales process because again, they're making up to 80% of that purchase decision before they're willing to talk to that sales rep, which means from a marketing standpoint and demand generation, you've got to have a really strong content strategy and it's got to be hyper focused and it's got to stand out from the sea of savviness of all the competitors that are out there to build an audience and get them to engage with you and follow along long before they're in market to have a conversation with you.Deanna Shimota:
So, you know, I'll use this podcast as a great example where you're building up an audience. They're coming back to continually listen to the content that you're putting out there, but they might not be ready to buy today. Fast forward six months, 12 months, 18 months down the road. If they've been engaging with this content and all of the other content that you're putting out there, you're much more likely to make that consideration set because they know you and they trust you and they're like, This is a credible source I've been following along, consuming their content for quite a while now. This is someone I want to have a conversation with.Jonny Ross:
And you mentioned that so much research is done prior. And so we're relying much more on a third party as well. And so so as part of the marketing mix, what are the I mean, certainly in the B2B tech industry or sectors, I you know, where are the where are some of the places that you have to be featured or named or or part of the mix to even be considered then?Deanna Shimota:
So I mean, that kind of jumps into how do you build a demand generation engine when you are looking at building it out? There are three pillars.Deanna Shimota:
The first is strategy. You've got to identify your ideal customer profile, which are the best fit companies that you want to target. You've got to have a unique point of view and that's your story to challenge thinking in the market and sound different from everyone else. And then you've got to have basically your content marketing and demand gen strategy, right? So when you think about the distribution piece of it, which is how do I get this great content that I just created out in front of the right people? It's really going to depend on your ideal customer profile because you want to be where they are, hanging out, where they are going and seeking information. And so if you've done your research and had the conversations with companies and individuals that fit that profile and you've hyper targeted the content, so it's focused exclusively for that ideal customer profile, then you're looking at, okay, from a third party channel perspective, are they hanging out at these industry conferences? Are they researching online? Are they following these industry influencers? You know, like it's going to vary depending on the company and the industry that you're in.Deanna Shimota:
You know, there's no one size fits all for everybody. I think it really comes down to understanding your ideal customer profile and understanding like when and how and where they're consuming their information.Jonny Ross:
But the point being is that they're looking for external factors to to sort of say, you know, if you're looking for this type of solution, then these are the sort of five top businesses to be considering. You know, and it's and it's only then that the content strategy comes in or perhaps the content strategy was there prior as well. They work together, do they not?Deanna Shimota:
Yeah, they absolutely work together. So kind of going back to the pillars of a demand generation engine, it's the strategy, it's the content and it's the distribution. So you're creating content that is for every stage of the funnel, because if you're looking at something that's like, Here's the top five providers for this solution, yes, you absolutely want to try to get on that list, but you wanted to get in front of them before they were to the point where they were looking at that.Deanna Shimota:
Right. So you're creating content, you know, at the top of the funnel, which is the awareness stage, which is where 95% of companies are sitting at any given time because they're not in market to buy yet. It's more the educational best practice type of content as they go down, you know, to the consideration phase or the decision phase in that sales funnel, then you want to be sure that they find that different content, you know, and thinking about the distribution channels, like there's really three areas that we recommend companies build up, one which is pretty obvious, your website, that's your digital storefront. If people are in market and they're ready to buy. You sure as heck want them to be able to dig in and find the information. If they're making up to 80% of their decision before they're willing to engage with you. So you've got to make sure that that's robust, that you've got content loops, you know, that you give them a reason to continue to engage with the content on your website versus looking at one thing, jumping off and Googling the next company or the next, you know, resource, right? The second is managed channels.Deanna Shimota:
So this is what we define is these are the channels where you can control what is put out and when. So we're looking at things like social media, podcasts, webinar series, email marketing, digital advertising, like you have control over all those things. And the goal with the managed channel is how to build up your own audience that wants to engage and follow you. And then of course, that third piece is that third party channel, and that is about tapping into other existing relevant audiences, which sometimes needs to come before the managed channels because you need to be able to, you know, get your name out there right away and think the third party channels add an element of credibility. Because to your point, Jonny, if they're going and looking up like Googling, who are the best technology solutions for performance management? You want to be on that list? Of course. But how do you start to build chunks of your name showing up in all these different, you know, whether it's review websites or it's industry organizations that put out content? Like there's a lot of different resources that exist today, but it's important to make sure that their audience is relevant to you and what you're doing to really make it impactful.Deanna Shimota:
But the goal of like looking at that distribution channel with the website, the managed channels and the third party channels is thinking about demand generation in your engine is how do I build my digital footprint to become our best sales rep? And I say that because if people are doing up to 80% of their purchase decision before they're willing to talk to you, you want to make sure that you're really easy to find for the right people and that your content becomes kind of a magnet to attract them so that they want to continue to follow you. And so there's all these pieces that go into this demand generation engine. But at the end of the day, like when you lay out the model of strategy content distribution, it's fairly straightforward. It's just a lot of heavy lifting to execute it.Jonny Ross:
We should mention, I'm going to come back to what you've been talking about, but I also want to mention that you've got your own podcast, The Demand Gen Fix. Yes, the demand Gen Fix. It's on all your favourite podcasting platforms.Jonny Ross:
You've been doing that for about eight months now. Got what, 30 episodes or so?Deanna Shimota:
Yeah. And, and, and, and I assume that you're just exploring all of these topics in, in greater depth and, and going there. And so what I also wanted to ask though, because you were talking about the funnel there and around the the three stages in the funnel and wanted to ask you about whether you had any real world examples of something that was well executed in the awareness stage. So the type of content and the, uh, you know, how to find something that resonates with that sort of 95% that and you know, in across the companies that you're working with, what's the typical types of content that are in that stage?Deanna Shimota:
Yeah, that's a great question. So, you know, again, it goes back to who is your ideal customer profile and where are they showing up? We work a lot in the technology space, so with a lot of our clients, we're working with them to go within their websites first and really build out like pillar pages and content loops and just, you know, like they'll come in and they'll have a portal that will call like your product Insights portal.Deanna Shimota:
And it's like, okay, if people come into this page, you want them to be able to dig in and find all these things. A lot of times with technology you can do like mini video demos, you can have pricing pages, all of those things For a person to go in and look at that and then being able to set up retargeting ads because it's like, Hey, there seems to be some level of buying intent here. If this is the information that they're looking at, how do we continue to stay in front of them? That's one thing. Another piece that we look at in building out their managed channels is, you know, kind of building up that list of these are your ideal targets. Let's do some outbound marketing to them. You know, like let's develop a webinar series that is very focused on the topics that this ideal customer profile would like and executing on that and having an email campaign around it social campaigns, digital advertising, all of those pieces together. And then looking at that third channel, third party channel and saying, okay, we know technology buyers look at all these different resources and there's hundreds of them out there, you know, where they can go.Deanna Shimota:
And it depends what their focus is. But we'll work with companies and help them. Um, you know, they're going to be podcast guests. They're going to have industry influences, influencers who have their own blogs right about them and make it look like it's an outside perspective, even though it's a pay to play. And, you know, we have the ability to help kind of shape the message that's put out there. They're coming on as webinar guests. They're pulling those industry influencers into their webinars to tap into their audiences because they'll help promote it. They're using their email lists. You know, there's so many different things to do. But what we do when we work with a client is help them evaluate all those things and kind of prioritize and just start to build out that digital footprint.Jonny Ross:
You mentioned retargeting there, and I think that's really important. It's often overlooked and not really thought about what channels are you finding working in in your space? I know it depends on the target audience, but, but, but, but, but, but just taking the sort of the sectors you're working in, you know, are we talking LinkedIn? Are we talking Google ads? Which which ones are you finding are working there?Deanna Shimota:
You know, if we're talking B2B, I think LinkedIn tends to drive more than some of the other vehicles. We'll look at Google as well, like the Google ads to be able to do those things Facebook, Instagram, you know, those other options that are out there, they just we haven't found them to be as effective for B2B marketing. So we don't typically recommend those for clients. But what I will say, like when you're putting a digital strategy in place, I think a common kind of mistake that organizations make is if they're in the we're behind on our revenue targets, we need leads. Now, a lot of organizations will lean into digital advertising because they're like, Ah, if we can run our ads that bring people in to book a demo. And we get more of those, we'll get more revenue, right? Like it feels like an easy way to drive more leads. And part of that is because it's very measurable on the surface. But the reality is, you know, if you're selling a enterprise level software that costs millions of dollars or even if it only cost $500,000 a year or 250,000 to implement and have within your organization.Deanna Shimota:
Trust me, they did not just come in because they saw your digital ad, right? Like it would be amazing if it worked that way. You know, in the feedback we'll get from prospects when we talk to them, they'll be like, we ran these digital ads. They were really successful. We got a lot of click thrus, but I feel like our landing page does not work and we need an expert in landing pages because it's not converting. And I'm like, okay, tell me more. And they'll be like, Well, we had 1500 people this month. Click on the ad to see a demo. And not a single one actually filled out the form. It's like, okay, I don't think the issue is. Redesign your landing page. The issue is the approach to the digital advertising campaign, right? Like, why wouldn't you take that opportunity to bring them to your website and show them all this content for free, to let them dig in without having to provide their information? Because think as as B2B consumers and even B to C consumers, nobody wants to give their information.Deanna Shimota:
They don't want the cold calls. They don't want the barrage of emails. Right. And and we've kind of been trained with marketing automation and teams and how lead generation works that get the name, let's run with it. We're going to convert some of them. And at the end of the day, many companies are finding like their digital advertising programs are not actually delivering great ROI because they may be pulling in what they call a lot of leads if people are actually filling out that form. Right? But even in those cases, many of the times when you dig in, you find compared to other marketing tactics that they may be doing, that the close rates are incredibly slow or the sales cycle and the close rates are incredibly low. And. This is just not the magic fix people hope it's going to be. Unfortunately.Jonny Ross:
So it goes back to educating, entertaining, educating, building awareness and understanding, you know? Yeah. And, and and if anything, they've just taken them to the wrong part of the web.Jonny Ross:
Well, as you say, the approach has been totally wrong. It's not the landing page design, but actually, if they had if they have had all those clicks, then potentially having them click to a in-depth content piece. Right. Would have been a much better start to then take them on a longer journey.Deanna Shimota:
Right? Like what have you. Just brought them to your website and you brought them to this Product Insights portal where you had a mini video demo and you had product case studies and product use cases and you know, all of this content around your product. No Gates They just go in and they start clicking through and they watch the video and then they read the case studies and they start digging in like, you want them to consume this content, right? So why, you know, prevent them put any obstacles in their way from them consuming it, especially if they're making so much of that purchase decision before they'll talk to you. But think for many.Jonny Ross:
I was gonna say for many companies, you know, when they run with that strategy of we're going to run a ton of digital ads and we're going to put, you know, like see a demo as the lead for it.Deanna Shimota:
The reason they're doing that is they're like, if we can get someone to see a demo or close, rates are sky high. It's like, I get that. But usually if someone really, truly wants to see a full blown demo that is given by a sales rep, they're in market. They already know that they're going to buy.Jonny Ross:
They're in that 5%. Yeah, Yeah. Well, I'm determined to get some brand names out of you. It might not need to be your clients by any means, but just some sort of. Just some of the best practices. Everything you've talked about here. Are there any brands that are doing it well that, you know, even in your sectors, your industry, which which are the ones that are doing it? Well, that, you know, the, you know, for example, I think the Mondays of the world know how to market. And I'm curious what you think.Deanna Shimota:
Yeah. You know, think most brands are not there yet. So you know.Deanna Shimota:
We have clients that we're working with. They're certainly moving the needle and getting there. It's one of those things that it's not an overnight I a demand generation machine and suddenly the leads are pouring in. It takes time to build up all of the content. You have to continually feed the content. You have to be able to build that brand awareness and it needs to be not everybody needs to know your name. So I could throw out some client names, but you'd be like, Who? Because they're their up and coming technology companies or B2B technology companies who are very focused on their space. But a company, we don't work with them but who think is doing demand generation really well is lavender, which is a technology in the sales space that they've really thought about how do we create brand awareness? And they're posting content everywhere. You know, it feels like that, right? Like they're showing up where I'm showing up because, you know, could be argued to be part of their audience. But just go on LinkedIn, for example.Deanna Shimota:
And you can see they've got they've hired some kind of high profile people who have really figured out how to make LinkedIn work for them from building brand awareness on a personal level. And they've tapped into that and they're using those people to build brand awareness for their company through those individuals. And, you know, that's one way. If you look at the demand generation engine tapping into third parties, while these people's audiences were very relevant for them and now they're working on that managed channel of how do we build up our audience for lavender? And they're doing some really cool stuff. They're putting out a lot of videos, they're putting a lot of best practice advice out there. They're doing some funny things that kind of are memorable to people. And when they really like went in and did like a full blown kind of launch, you could tell like they were like spending a lot of investment and resources into like, we're going to make a splash out there. There are a lot of other people talking about them on LinkedIn who are like, I had to click on and see who Lavender was because all of a sudden they were just there.Jonny Ross:
I'll be checking them out straight after as well. Talking of LinkedIn, we've got a question on LinkedIn. What this user said. What if this open content clashes with an existing lead gen campaign? Would you suggest sunsetting the lead gen campaign?Deanna Shimota:
I think, you know, we run into this with our clients at Growth Mode Marketing, where they are doing lead generation initiatives and they're ready to move to demand generation. I don't think you should just shut off everything you're doing for lead generation at first because it does take time to build out that demand generation engine and you've still got to satisfy the sales team. You've still got to give them something to work with. If you've gone and you've built out this ideal customer profile in this unique point of view and the current lead generation campaign you're running is to that audience and the message is totally different. Then you might want to think about reworking that just to make sure to lines better with the direction that you're going from a demand generation standpoint. But there's going to be a period, you know, would say at least a year where you're kind of running in concert like lead generation programs and demand generation programs as you're trying to build up that demand generation effect.Deanna Shimota:
And as you start to get results on that, typically what companies will do is they'll start to pull back more on the lead generation piece of it because they are starting to see some results from the demand generation. But the thing to keep in mind is there are some things that cross over that really you're going to do some of the same tactics within a demand generation strategy, but you're probably going to start thinking about it differently. So instead of thinking about it as lead generation, you're thinking about it as, okay, there's parts of demand generation. It starts with demand creation. How do we create awareness and trust and credibility in the market so that they start to follow us? But then there's the lead capture or demand capture part of it. That's okay. There's people who have been following us. Some of them are actually in market to buy. Now, we do have to do some tactics to help kind of bring them along because as wonderful as it would be if every single person who is in market suddenly raised their hand and tapped you on the shoulder, some of them still need kind of that coaxing to do it, but it's just not going to be as kind of aggressive as with lead gen.Deanna Shimota:
It's going to be more of a like we're we're trying to, you know, remind you we're here because you already know that we exist versus, hey, you're ready to buy. Did you know we exist? Let's get married.Jonny Ross:
Deanna, we talked about the crafting a strategy. I think you talked about the three pillars. So as a bit of a wrap up, what's one piece of advice you'd give to our listeners looking to enhance their demand generation efforts?Deanna Shimota:
I think a big mistake that organizations make is they focus only on the short game and overlook the long game, which is that future prospects are really important to future growth. So I would just recommend to companies, as you're thinking about your marketing strategies, how do you ensure that you've got growth tomorrow? And that is really building out a demand generation engine to become your best sales rep doesn't mean you replace your sales reps by any means. But if people are making up to 80% of that purchase decision before they're willing to raise their hand and have a conversation with the sales rep, you want to help get them there.Deanna Shimota:
And that's where that digital footprint will be really, really important to your your growth and your success.Jonny Ross:
I like it. Steven Halpin was asking, has anyone got a link to Lavender? It's lavender, I believe. Is that right?Deanna Shimota:
Sorry. Say that again.Jonny Ross:
Stephen was asking, has anyone got a link to lavender? It's lavender. Why is that right?Deanna Shimota:
Uh, that sounds right. Yeah. And I think if you just search on, like, lavender sales tool on Google, it should pop up.Jonny Ross:
Hang out? Yeah, you know, if you're interested in learning more about how to create a catalyst for growth through demand generation, you can certainly reach out to me on LinkedIn. Diana Shimoda or come to my company website. It's growth mode marketing.com. If you're not in that 5% and you just want to learn more about it, again, follow me on LinkedIn. I post a lot of content about it, but also check out our podcast, The Demand Gen Fix, which is Jenny said, pretty much any of the podcast platforms you can find us or we're on YouTube as well.Jonny Ross:
Fantastic. Well, listen, that is all for today. Very insightful. We've got to remember that not to just be focusing on that what is 5% and think about the bigger picture and all the research that people do make in that buying decision and how things are changed. Diana, thank you so much for your time. If you've been listening, if you've been watching, thank you. You're the most important people here.Jonny Ross:
Our listeners, our viewers, please do subscribe. Please do come back for more episodes. I've been Jonny Ross, Fractional CMO. Thanks so much for joining us. We will see you soon. Take care.