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Podcasts > Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders

Transform your digital footprint into a powerful SDR

Kerry Guard • Tuesday, August 22, 2023 • 59 minutes to listen

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Deanna Shimota

Deanna Shimota is the CEO of GrowthMode Marketing and she is here to spill the tea on turning your digital footprint into a powerful SDR. With a deep B2B history working with brands like Concur Technologies and Great Bay Software, Deanna has cracked the code on demand gen to help brands grow and hit revenue goals. Learn how she meets customers where they are and ensures they're informed before talking to sales. Sign, sealed, delivered success!


Kerry Guard: Hello, I'm Kerry guard and Welcome to Tea Time with tech marketing leaders.

We are live with tech market leaders coming to you. For the fourth time, third time, third time live here. I'm so grateful for Deanna, for taking a leap of faith with me, we're gonna make this happen. It's gonna be awesome. I want to give folks a few minutes to recognize that we're live and oh, they're somewhere else are supposed to be. Join us as they will. As you get here. Please say hello, I am monitoring the comments. I can't see if you're here unless you tell me. So it's like Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Bueller? Bueller? Come on, let us know you're here. We're excited for your questions. And so we want to give you a few minutes to get into the room and settle down. As you do that, as you come join us, I'm going to give you my take based off of Diana's LinkedIn profile, which is a great lesson that we all get to learn and how to not judge a book by its cover. So often, when we were hiring people, we look at their LinkedIn profile. So we say whether they are or they aren't. And this was one of those moments where I was like, nope, not a fit, because she's a CEO, and she owns an agency. And that's not going to work for me. And then I got hit up again that say no, I think Diaz a really good fit for you. And I was like, No, I really don't think so. And then the third time's a charm and actually looked at her LinkedIn profile and dug into the nuts, nuts and crannies and said, Oh, actually, where she is today wasn't where she was yesterday. And she would be an amazing fit for the tech market leaders podcast. And I'm so grateful. And I'm so grateful for Deanna, for your publicists to keep tapping me on the shoulder and go, no, no, she needs to be on your show. Maybe I'm gonna be going Oh, yes. Actually. Well, no pressure now, right? No, well, this is the beauty is I feel like, you know, we're going to this has totally nothing to do with our topic, but it's just all heart and part of the game of hiring. Right? We tend to just immediately look at people's profiles and say what they will or they won't, and bypass them, but really like giving them a chance to tell us their stories, which is what this podcast is all about. uncovers the fact that actually they've had quite the experience and the life and the career and we should understand more before we just go. Nope. Not a bit. So ungrateful. Deana I'm going to try my best to give a very high level of career you've had and then I'm really more interested in your story of how you got to where you are. So Deanna is the CEO of growth mode marketing, a demand generation agency focused on driving long term growth. I know you're all looking at me like I have 10 heads because you're like an agency and just curious Well, like I said, Don't judge a book by its cover yellow. So what really interested me in Dianna was her previous life around her. She's, I generally on the show has VPs and CMOs and marketing managers of brands, b2b specifically, even better if they're in cybersecurity. Guess what? Deanna checks all of the above. So that's why she's here today. She has been. She started growth mode over seven years ago, but she has been the VP of Marketing at Green Bay software. She's been in Director of Marketing at jam. Now, I didn't say that, right? You're gonna correct me as a marketing manager at concur. And before that a marketing manager had Ceridian and that's only half of her resume. So given her history and background, I just had to have her join me and share her story. So I'm excited. Deana I mean, that was logistics, but like, you tell us your story. Tell us your story. Deanna, what do you do? And how did you get there?


Deanna Shimota: Yeah, so as you mentioned, Kerry. Today I have gruff bow and marketing, which is a b2b marketing agency. We focus in demand generation. But prior to that, I lived on the corporate side. I actually worked in the cybersecurity space As my last stop was VP of Marketing at great bass software, which had a network security solution for uncovering endpoints on a network and identifying those risks. So I know how challenging that market is, I mean, know how often those tech buyers get hit up. I mean, they're really the most targeted role within an organization. So surprised. They don't respond to marketing, as well as some other industries, it like the struggle was real. Right. But you know, prior to being an agency life, I worked on the corporate side, always in the technology, space and marketing and kind of grew my career, learning all the different parts of marketing. And the last couple of spots where I landed, you know, I learned a lot when I was at Ceridian, and concur. And you know, all the places before that, you know, I've been around for a while. So I've got a lot of places that I've been, but I got to sage in and I was building the marketing department from scratch. And they built it up, I built an SDR team out, I built out the marketing, I help them grow twice the size in about four years with a very scrappy marketing budget, which then landed me in the cybersecurity world at great bass soft or is the VP of Marketing, where I was doing the same thing coming in, building up the marketing function from scratch, putting the foundation in place, helping them look at how do we grow rapidly in the next few years, so that we can be acquired. As I was a VP of marketing, I was going out to agencies, because this market was really hard to, you know, get the attention of buyers. And I didn't have a huge staff, because the organization, you know, they were looking at being acquired down the road. So they didn't want a lot of fixed costs. So they're like, here's a marketing budget, you can hire some marketing people, you can hire an SDR team, we can build this out, but you're never going to have a 40 person marketing department. So find some partners that can help you execute on some of this work. I was going out looking at all the different agencies and I'm in Minnesota, you know, so I was looking locally at the b2b agencies there. And I was looking nationally, and I was so frustrated with my experience, because I would talk to these different agencies. And they'd be like, yes, we specialize in b2b. And then you take a step back and look at their portfolio of business. And 80%, or greater of their portfolio was actually b2c. And in my mind, you're not a specialist, that's a side gig to bring in more revenue. Yeah, there just weren't as many b2b agencies out there. And the ones that I was talking to had come in who I'd be like, help, we need leads, we need them yesterday, I need someone to help me think through this and really build out the strategy and ultimately execute. And they would come back and they'd be like, we're going to create this beautiful brand experience for you. And I'm like, Yeah, right. And I'm like, hold up. I just told you, my problem is I need more leads. I am a marketer, I understand the value of brand building very well. But this is not the conversation that I wanted to have with you. Like, they could have talked about it in a much different way and still gotten the point across, right. And so I was really frustrated, you know, just wasn't finding agencies that understood what it was like to sit on the corporate side, and have to answer to the board of directors, and the investors and justify every marketing dollar that I was spending and how it was going to ultimately help the company, you know, get to 10x in value within a few years. So I went to lunch with a former colleague, and we had a conversation and she was just coming off of a software company as a VP of Marketing there. And she said, Deanna, I'm having the same experiences with agencies, there's got to be a better way to do this, or someone out there who gets what it's like to have those pressures and to live on the other side, and not just create pretty beautiful branding stuff. So we decided to start an agency and eight years later, that's where I am today is, you know, we focus on b2b Tech and demand generation.

Kerry Guard: I feel like our like our lane, like we just sort of missed each other. In the midst of things. We've been b2b and tech since 2011. Doing what you're talking about, but we were lost in the sea of, of all the things so I'm glad we're having this conversation today. Some of the things you mentioned is when you you've experienced the different parts of marketing, as a marketing manager as a VP marketing's huge, what sort of like your personal like, we're all marketers at heart, we all have like a sweet spot of the things we love doing. So for you like, even though you're an agency owner now, and you probably have a completely different role, which I can completely relate to, but like, where's your heart at in terms of like, if you could get your hands dirty again, and like get lost in the sauce? Where would you go? What would you do?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, you know, I love digging into strategy. And I do love building things from scratch from a marketing standpoint, because when you walk in an organization that hasn't built out a marketing foundation, yet, they don't have team members building marketing, they've got a scrappy website that you cringe at their brand is ugly, it looks like you know, their eighth grader did it in his intro to design class. I love going into those companies and really thinking through like, Okay, if our mission is high growth, what are the things that we have to do? And how do we get scrappy about it? Because not everybody has those big budgets. I mean, I feel like I worked at both big companies and small companies in my career prior to going into the agency side, where I got to see, here's what it's like to have really big budgets and really big brand awareness, and you go to a trade show, and they spend half a million alone just on the presence at the trade show. And then I've been at the organizations where they're like, we're 20 million, here's your $300,000 budget, good luck, we have to grow by 30%, year over year for the next three years. And you're like, Okay, you know, I, so in my heart, I have a special place for those smaller, scrappy companies that have these big aspirations to grow, but don't have the budget to back it. And I think you know, where I have found the success in my career is where I have got really creative with the strategies that you put into place, and how do you build that awareness in the market and that trust in your brand, when you don't have the dollars to put behind it?

Kerry Guard: Do you have any examples any, like favorite stories of where you've been able to do that, that you can share with us? bring it to life for us?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, you know, I'll talk about sage. And because that was kind of a turning point in my career, where I came in as the sole marketer, and they didn't know what they wanted for marketing, they were just like, hey, can you do some newsletters create a little bit of collateral, stuff like that, and I didn't have much of a budget, they never were gonna have much of a budget. And it was a very, very competitive market, they were selling. Basically, like a translation management system technology combined with translation. So think like you're creating marketing content, you're creating product literature, all of those things have to be translated in the say, 30 different languages. There are a ton of translation agencies, they're a dime a dozen, they all use contract workers from around the world, they're using the same contract world workers. So there's not a lot of competitive differentiators there. And yet, they were like, alright, we have to make our mark, we want to compete with the big guys. And nobody had more than like, 1% market share in the entire market, because it was so big and cluttered. And I went in there and really had to get creative and think about how do we create that brand new awareness and stand out from all of the others that are out there, you know, we're never going to be, you know, within two years, the leader in the space, but there's enough business out there to go and make a name for ourselves. And, honestly, I through all of my money and all of my efforts and building out my team into building a really, really strong content marketing strategy, which is kind of, you know, the foundation of, you know, what we call demand generation today. So I was putting marketing automation in place before marketing automation was the norm. I was going to LinkedIn groups, and we were creating brand ambassadors, within the company that were going and posting in these groups. And we were regularly publishing content of our own and we were getting things placed, you know, through content syndication, and all those things. And, you know, we were able in about three to four years with not enough marketing dollars, quite frankly, to go from 14 million to 30 million, so we were able to double in that time. You know, which I look at it. I'm like, in hindsight, that was pretty darn impressive, considering I didn't get much money to spend it And when I did spend, I honestly I chose to hire people to help create the content, versus going out and doing a ton of digital advertising and hiring an agency and all of those things. So that's probably my, my favorite story, the of my career pre agency life.

Kerry Guard: That's a good one. And it shows just the power of content. And I don't think that's, I don't think that's changed. I think that's really where we all circle back to, if we think we gotta go do these other things. But at the end of the day, we have to have good content to fuel. There's other things we want to do. Like, we want to go on LinkedIn, if we want to do advertising, if we want to have good SEO, if we want to have influencer programs. If we want to have communities, like at the end of the day, you need really strong content at its core to make any of that happened. And so, yeah, yes to that being one of the first things you innovate the only the only thing you can do.

Deanna Shimota: Right. And I think the whole content play has amplified in the last few years. Because if you look at the way b2b buyers are purchasing these days, you know, the statistics are coming out a gardener. And we've seen this with the companies that we work with that growth mode marketing. People are not as responsive as they were to cold outreach, to cold calls to email campaigns to digital ads, you know, and it's very frustrating for companies who are like, the things that we did in the past are not getting the results. And you know, we had this blueprint tried and true tested. You know, you think about the tech industry, like everybody builds out SDR teams. And now you're telling me that 72% of b2b prospects would prefer to have zero interaction with a sales rep during the purchase process. They're making up to 80% of that purchase decision before they'll even engage with a sales rep. Which means if you're an SDR and you're cold calling, you know, the, the math works against you, right? Because now you have like the vast majority of people are doing everything they can to avoid talking to a sales rep. And the SDR is another step in that process. And so you know, when you and I had talked previously, Kerry, we talked about how, you know, your digital footprint needs to become your best salesperson or your best SDR. Essentially, what we're saying is, okay, if they're gonna go the prospect and make up to 80% of their decision, they're researching mostly digitally online content that's out there that exists for you to decide who to shortlist.

Kerry Guard: You're gonna get there. That is the name of the game. We're going to talk about your digital marketing has become the SDR footprint before we get there though, Deana I do want to know, is that what's the current challenge you're facing? Is that really it in terms of helping your clients make that digital footprint? Is there something else happening for you that sort of Top of Mind what, you know, we're all human and life is hard, and and the whole new world that we live in? So currently, it's like your primary challenge?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, you know, I think it's, it's all around, like, how do you grow as a company? And how do you build revenue? And when you look at it from a demand generation standpoint, and take a step back, I think there's a few factors that need to be considered that a lot of companies are getting wrong. One, I think a lot of companies are trying to be everything to everybody. Meaning, let's say you're selling a cybersecurity software, and you're looking at it and you're seeing, basically, anyone with 50 employees has how many endpoints on their network coming in? They're a good fit for our solution. However, so are the other 200 vendors that are coming with the exact same message, right. And so I really think that you have to define an ideal customer profile. And that's scary to a lot of company leaders, and salespeople and marketers, quite frankly, because they're looking at and they're saying, Hold up. So you're telling me, I need to make my audience that I market to smaller? Like, yeah, but step back and think about it. If I'm an organization that's selling my cybersecurity solution to everybody. I'm gonna come in sounding like everybody because it's going to be a message that's trying to appeal to the masses, right. On the flip side, if I said I'm going to focus in on hospital systems. Now my messaging is around how how, you know, it's life threatening if there's a data breach, and someone breaks into your network, and they can start to control the systems that are within a hospital, telling that story is going to resonate much more with that buyer in the hospital system than it is if you just came in and said, We can protect your network, we can help you identify where the risks are, and not let those, you know, endpoints into your network. Yeah, like you're getting lost in the sea of sameness, when you're trying to be everything to everyone. So really, if you narrow down your focus, and you really, from a marketing standpoint, design, everything that speak to that audience, specifically, that hyper focus of a narrow audience will actually get you higher growth.

Kerry Guard: And that's like the challenge you're currently facing is trying to convince brands that they need to really like hone in on a graph, really, right, helping to talk to.

Deanna Shimota: Helping them understand that and then also the whole like differentiators, you know, every company tries to come up with here's how we're different. And what I have seen in the tech space in the cybersecurity space, you know, in the broader tech space is a lot of times, they don't have true meaningful differentiators that are valuable to the buyer. And what happens then is they start to come up with differentiators, like our customer service is exceptional. Our technology integrates with a lot of other platforms, our onboarding process has ease, you know, the list goes on and on. If you stop and think about it, those are table stakes. Those are things buyers expect from you. But they're certainly not like real differentiators. Because let's be honest, anybody, any company can say we have exceptional customer service.

Kerry Guard: So are you paper weary?

Deanna Shimota: Right, you know, and then yeah, so the the question that we try to help clients answer, you know, then again, I think it's a challenge for them to really wrap their arms around in the beginning before they go into the process is how do you sound different in the market, when you're not technically different in the eyes of the buyer, and your technology doesn't have enough differentiation to really make that standout? 

Kerry Guard: Yes, I think a lot of folks that are now coming into cybersecurity, especially, you know, startups, they all sort of started at same point and just sort of who could get to the market faster. I think it comes down to you know, we're going to talk about this in a second in terms of the SDR you know, make your digital footprint, your your next SDR. And it's just putting it back in the hands, which is terrifying, but also reality into the hands of your buyer and letting them make the decision. Which I think lends nicely because I have a lot of questions around the SDR and relationship building. So when I when I first got started in digital advertising and digital marketing, it was as a media planner back in 2007. So I'm totally dating myself right now. And as a media planner, we had print, folks knocking down our door, left, right and center for us to sell. We're I was working on Verizon Wireless, at the point and so they wanted us to put our ads into their magazines, right. And the the people who showed up in the middle of my day, and tried to bring me coffee and donuts. I was like, I want to murder you right now. I'm trying to get work done. Can you eat anywhere else. But the sales folks who was like, I want to take you out tonight, you've worked really hard, let's go get a massage. I'm going to let's go pick shoes at Nike because that's cool. It's something you'll never get to do anywhere else. And you know what, on another instance, we're gonna go learn how to track us, because you're young media buyer, and that's something rest of your life, right? And they gave me these experiences. And I know exactly who to this day. I remember the publisher and I remember the person who took me on all those experiences and it was the same person who did the trapeze, the Nikes to the massages. And she was building relationships with every single one of us along the way. Getting using that as a moment to get to know us and what we're passionate about what we love, and she was building these relationships as an SDR. And then there's just been this shift around like this not that long. It's 1015 years that's all about cold calls and emails and bombardment and digital and how we can scale it up. So we can do this and like, the relationship piece has gotten so thrown out the window. And so I just feel like in what you're talking about, the first thing I want to sort of establish your buying as well, the wild wild west over there. The first thing I want to establish is to you like, who was the SDR now? And what are the responsibilities? But what should they be? Like? What are they expected to do right now? But really what they what should they be expected to do?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, I mean, that's a great question, Kerry. So you know, in my experience, I've managed the built from scratch a couple of different SDR teams. And, you know, I know the drill, you know, at least back in the day, you would hire them, you'd give them a list, you'd give them some email templates. And it's kind of like, Alright, have at it, we need you to get 20 appointments per month, you know, and then you hand them over to the sales rep. I think the way that they've done it in the past, I mean, when in hearing from other people that still have SDR teams, they're like, Oh, it's a grind. You know, they're not finding as many opportunities as they did in the past, people seem to be more resistant. And I think part of it is, you know, because the way people buy has changed and like I just saw some data yesterday on LinkedIn from a company called Torial. That did a study with 560 software purchases. And what they found were 80% of b2b buyers say they self educate as much as they possibly can. When evaluating software solutions. Self Educate to me means don't call me SDR. I want to figure this out on my own right. You know, an 83% feel most b2b SaaS websites don't provide all the info they need before a demo. And 84% expressed frustration over being forced to speak with a sales rep to see the product. Well, I don't know about you, Kerry. But I've had clients who have told me like they will build a whole marketing strategy around book a demo. And when you ask them why they're like, because if we can get someone to see a demo, they have a much higher conversion rate, because they're impressed by our software product. It's like, that makes sense. But someone who's willing to see a demo is pretty far along in that decision process, right? Like they're not just randomly like, Sure, I'll see 20 different demos from 20 different vendors. The problem with that, if you think about the SDR model, you know, if they're chasing after these people, they're trying to pull people into the sales process. And the way people you know, from a prospect side are buying now, they don't want to be pulled into the sales process. They want to invite you into their buying process, when they raise their hand and say, I am ready to have a conversation with you. So I think that means organizations really need to step back and think about the role of the SDR and how do you make those individuals successful, to ultimately make the sales team successful. versus the old model, which was, you know, like, let's say you have a report, a research study that you did that you're putting out to your customers and you're running digital ads, you put forms in front of those trying to collect leads. Now the SDR is following up with them. They're flipping those leads as appointments over to sales and sales is saying these aren't closing, these people don't actually have buying intent. That's a lot of time and money that's being spent on SDR chasing down, you know, marketing qualified leads that aren't actually going to have a very good close rate, you know, and it's frustrating for everybody involved, because everyone's working really hard to find those appointments to pass on to sales to try to turn it into something. And I think it's a lot of waste of time and energy and ultimately dollars for organizations to make those investments if it's not converting to business the way that it needs to be. So going back to your question, Kerry about how does that change for the SDR? I think we need to look at the fact that people are doing a ton of research and digging in a lot more and trying to figure out the answers on their own versus engaging with a sales rep. And it really does come become how do you be seen as an asset who's providing valuable information to the prospect without infringing on their desire to not engage with a sales rep right so Oh, you know, it probably takes more time, more personalized outreach, like really digging in and understanding that prospect. And instead of trying to be the pushy, you know, sales, let's book an appointment, it's like, here's some information I thought would be valuable based on the research I've done and what I know about you.

Kerry Guard: Yes, I do think that the SDR role has has to shift. And we'll get into the marketing piece of how marketing can support that, and sort of talking about the bottom of the funnel and then working our way up here. I do think going back to my original story, there's, there's something about bringing relationship back into the fold that I think is missing for STRS, where they have a huge opportunity right now to reach out and say, How can I help or listening to what's actually happening market? There's a really great sales rep out there for another digital marketing agency in fuse, Trevor van Warden who's doing exactly that. He's looking at the market. And he's saying, What do Marketers need right now they need connection, they need help, they need to feel and hear from each other. And we need to elevate one another. And so he's gone out and created LinkedIn live campaigns, similar to this, but more about how can we call other people out who are doing great work and create this beautiful network. And it's totally free of like anything he's, he's not trying to sell at the end of the day, he's just seeing a need within the market and trying to create connection. And I can't Trevor, and I think there's real beauty in SDR being able to fill that human void that both marketing and sales are sort of caught in between of, and going back to that relationship building that I mentioned early on, like this has gone away, and COVID certainly an aspect of that, taking people out and making, you know, in person relationships and building rapport there has been really tough, especially remotely, but I think it can come back. And I think it can be done really, really well. And I think marketing can help bring in the the initial bright people who might look like those folks. And then the relationships can be cultivated and then handed off to sales is sort of how I'm starting to feel like the shift. So let's talk about the marketing piece now. Because I do think marketing plays a huge piece in this. And I think that there's an a new shift as well that I'm really excited about that I love your intake on around sales and marketing used to like each other. I still think there's a little bit of friction. I think it's like, a little bit. So what's been your experience in watching this sort of relationship on both between marketing and sales? Because I think that's a big piece to making this whole puzzle work.

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, for sure. I mean, sales and marketing butting heads is a tale as old as time, right? Like, everybody says, We're perfectly aligned. And then as soon as the revenue is down, and we're not hitting those revenue targets, that's where like tensions get high. And, you know, I can tell you, I've had teams before that would, you know, come and plop down a team member in my office and be like, I'm so frustrated. Everything we do is to help the sales team be successful. But when they're doing really well, they're saying it's because they're exceptional salespeople when they're not doing well. They're saying it's because marketing isn't doing their job, and I feel no appreciation felt like Welcome to marketing, you're never gonna get the glory, my friend, like, just accept it and do what you can to make, you know, the right decisions to support this organization. I think, you know, when when you look at the shifting tides right now, you know, in the tech space, what we're seeing with companies is they're pulling back on marketing spend, which means Hey, our revenues down great idea, why don't we cut our marketing budget, the very engine that creates brand awareness and trust for us so that we make the shortlist. So they raise their hand and say I'm willing to talk to a sales rep. The flip side is the sales team is getting more pressure to deliver because with this economy, it's harder. I mean, if you think in a normal year 5% of the total addressable market are actually in market to buy at any given time. When there are tough economic times and companies are pulling back spend, guess what, it's now 1%, which means their job just got harder as sales reps because they're trying to uncover these opportunities without the marketing support, to be able to do it. So I think they that that creates some of the tension is, you know, we're measured on different things at times that don't necessarily align. Marketing is trying to look at the long term, how do we build brand awareness and growth? And, you know, they're looking like 18 months down the road, right? Well, sales is looking at this month, this quarter, like I need to meet my revenue number now. And so I feel like from an alignment standpoint, where that misstep happens is, if you're in an organization that says marketing needs to meet a certain MQL number, or, you know, in organizations I worked at, where I managed the SDR team, the SDR, reported into marketing, we had to meet certain numbers of how many appointments we were setting her SDR every single month. Well, guess what you focus on you focus on quantity, because that's what you're being asked to do. The problem is, now you're handing it to sales and marketing, saying, Okay, close it, this is a great opportunity for you. And sales is pushing back and saying these leads are crap, I can't be held accountable because you guys are sending bad leads. And you got sales marketing, saying, We did what we were asked to do, you can't hold us accountable, because you're not capable of closing those leads, right, like, so. We're all working towards the same thing. We want to help the company achieve its revenue targets. But we're measured on different things. And I think that's where the head butting in the finger pointing tends to happen.

Kerry Guard: It's so true. Quincy Johnson. I'm grateful you're here and for your father, yes to marketing quarters all day. And yeah, building campaigns and campus meals. That's a whole different conversation that we might have time for today. But yes, I appreciate what you're saying, Deanna, in that we're on different, we're on different playing fields, because we're all trying to hit different targets, depending on what the artwork, marketing is told to deliver volume, and tells us to deliver revenue. So should we be all working towards the same metric? And if so, what should that metric be?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, in my opinion, yes. And ultimately, you know, as, as marketers, we've been kind of trained, you have to justify every dollar you spend, you have to be able to show growth, and tie the ROI back to marketing programs. And, hey, we'll give you more budget, if you can prove that it's working. Right. So we've we've gotten very metrics focused, like what can I measure? How do I tell that story? I think there needs to be a step back from some of that, to really take a good look and say, okay, quantity can't be the only measurement quality has to come before quantity. And so if sales and marketing are truly going to be aligned and rowing in the same direction, what we need to be measured on ultimately together is the pipeline and the revenue. Because at the end of the day, let's face it, revenue is the only thing that matters. You know, and I know I've had people say before, well, don't you think profitability matters? Absolutely. That's not something that marketing gets to have a lot of influence on, but we can influence the revenue piece. And at the end of the day, I guarantee you if the company is hitting its revenue targets, and growing at the rate that they've been asked to grow at, your CEO, your investors, your board of directors are not going to come back to you and say, How many website visitors did we have? What's your open rate on your emails, you know, they care about the ad number. And that means everything, you know, from a marketing standpoint, from a sales standpoint, like we've all got to be paying attention to that and number and marketing needs to own it too, because we're having an influence on it. And if we're not, you know, that's probably where the budgets get cut in the positions get cut in marketing, when times are tight, because you're not showing the value in that you're really in it to help the company achieve the ultimate goal.

Kerry Guard: I will say yes to that and two things. One is it's getting it's getting harder to it feels like brands want it yesterday, like it's easy to talk about for more the enterprise in the mid level who are a bit more established, like yes, 100% We shall be measuring revenue. Let's go for the startups in the just getting started. Yes. And what are the key KPIs we need right now to start working towards that because you need to why Hear it up, you need to get enough data through it to actually know what's happening. So I think, yes, and to that I, we all need to be held accountable to revenue when these things are in place, and we have enough data flowing through the system. Yeah, we have to get better. Quincy Johnson, we have to get better as marketing marketers are communicating up to CEOs that keeps their hands out of the strategy. Yes, yeah. They have, they're answering to the board, and they don't have these answers. And so they're coming to us with these really tough questions. And if we don't have really solid answers, that's like, with timelines with timeframes and, and, you know, those times those types of things of how much revenue they can expect when there's really tough conversations with the CEO. And so yes, Quincy, I totally agree. And we need that data to know to know that in terms of marketing and how marketing can help sales now, right, so if the SDR and we're all working towards revenue, and we're all in the same boat rowing? How can marketing help sales? If it's not about leads? Or maybe it is? You tell me Deana in terms of your experience, like, how do you create that digital footprint?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, so when I talk about you have to create a digital footprint that becomes your sales, best sales rep, or your best SDR. Basically, what I mean is, if you look at the fact that prospects are making up to 80% of that purchase decision, before they're willing to engage with a sales rep, marketing has to carry more of the load in convincing them for that 80% until they're willing to say, Okay, I'll talk to you now, that means you've got to be very targeted, you know, know who your ideal customer profile is, create a unique point of view that resonates with that ideal customer profile, and then create the content engine, to create content that's very hyper focused for that audience telling the story and you get it out everywhere, where they're hanging out. So knowing that people are doing so much of their research online and gathering information, I think there's three kind of pillars that you should be looking at one, your website, if someone comes to your website as a prospect, do you have enough information that they can make 80% of their decision on there, and it kind of goes back to that stat from tutorial that, you know, 80, something percent of people were frustrated that they can't see a demo on your site, that they have to actually engage with a sales rep to do it. So look at putting that type of content on there, not just the blog posts and the podcasts and the you know, kappa funnel type of content. But if I want to dig deep, and I want to understand how your products and your services work, give me that information, put it out there, stop being afraid that your competitors are going to see it and do something with it. If they really want that information, trust me, they can get it. Right and, and honestly, like is anything you have so earth shattering that your competitor can turn around and replicate it tomorrow? I highly doubt it. Right. So make your website really good make it so people have a reason to stay on your website and continue to dig in, put content loops on there, meaning I look at topic XYZ, at the end of the article, there's links to more of your content on those topics. So instead of jumping off and Googling and looking at the next company, they just keep reading your content. And going deeper and kind of building that trust in these people know what they're doing at this company. This is a product that sounds like it would work for my needs. The second one, right. The second is building out your audience through manage channels. And what I mean by manage channels, that's any marketing channel where you can control what you put out there, when you put it out there and how often you put it out there. So think about social media channels, blogs, webinar series, podcast, email campaigns, digital advertising, you have control over all of that. And the goal is like as you're putting that stuff out there. Like, let's use this podcast as an example. You're trying to build an audience that wants to continually follow the content that you're putting out there, because they find value in it. And it's interesting to them. And then that third channel is third party channels. How do you tap into relevant existing audiences that other people have built up? And if you don't have brand awareness, if you're in the startup phase, or you haven't been in the game long, you don't have your own audience built up. You might actually want to start with somebody else's audience and Matt means looking at, you know, who are influencers within the industry? What are publications within the industry? What are resources within the industry where your ideal customer profile is hanging out? And how do you tap into that? How do you build out review sites where people are reviewing your content or your product? How do you have other people writing about your company, your product? How do you, you know, do all these things to get in front of them from a third party perspective, and some of its pay to play? For sure, you know, like, you can, you can purchase other people's email lists, you can get on their podcasts, you can sponsor webinars that they put on. I mean, there's a lot of things out there. And some of it, which is a little harder to find, but it exists Are you can also do it without any added costs. So for example, you know, going on a tour being a podcast guest, right, like, yes, you can hire someone to go find those opportunities for you. But most of the time, there's not going to be a cost to be on someone else's podcast, if you can bring value for them.

Kerry Guard: It's kind of like the story of pick two against three, right? Do you have time? Do you have money? Or do you eat quality? Right? We all agree that we need quality at the end of the day. So that's, so it's just a matter of whether Do you have time? Or do you have money? Yeah, it's when people have more time at their startup, and they're growing and they can get a head start. And other people are like, right, we have a product and our investors are telling us we need to move like yesterday, we're probably gonna need some cash to like, amp that up. And so it's threefold. Let's unpack some of this, Deana because the web is a big, big worldwide thing. And I love what you're saying in terms of breaking it down into three clear buckets. And where should people start? Because we can't do it. All right. It's something you said earlier on, like when you show up, you're trying to be everything to everybody. You're nothing to no one. So in your experience, and I know that it depends on on a lot of the things but in general, in your experience, where should brands start when it comes to their online presence, their audience and those third party channels?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, honestly, if you're starting from scratch, you really have to do the strategy piece, you have to define who is that ideal customer profile, you have to determine what is our unique point of view in the market, and then build that blueprint for how you're going to execute it. And I know this feedback from this, because I do hear this from companies from time to time. They're like, yeah, Deanna, I get the strategy piece. But we need results today. And I just want to get into the tactical stuff. Well, guess what, when you skip the strategy, you're all over the place. I like to call it random acts of marketing, because it's like, Ooh, let's try this. And let's try this. And how about this and get against? Right? Right, let's let's let's shoot 1000 bullets before we send the cannon ball out, because we want to see what sticks. And get the thinking behind that. But what all these random acts of marketing equate to, is not optimized for results, you're not going to grow as fast because you weren't hyper focused. And so I think it's really important to call out like, Don't skip the strategy piece. I hear it all the time. People don't want to spend money on the strategy, they just want to dive into the things. Well, if you're building a demand generation engine, you know, in full transparency, it's not going to start working tomorrow, it's going to take probably six to nine months before you start to see any traction and up to 18 months before it is a predictable humming machine with inbound leads coming in.

Kerry Guard: But that's pause there for a second. Deanna. And just for those who are listening, I'm sure we all understand what demand gen is right now. But let's just double check, because I also hear go to market thrown around a lot demand gen. Demand capture Ilija there's all these terms. So what when you're specifically talking about demand gen was demand gen mean to you?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah. So you know, I think a lot of people still interchange the term lead generation and demand generation and from my perspective, they're very different strategies. Lead Generation is we're trying to pull prospects into our sales process. We're asking them for a meeting, demand generation. On the flip side, it's about focusing on the broader market, meaning we know 95% of companies that are not in market right now. But we also understand that if they don't know who we are and have trust in us, when they are in that 5% They're less likely to reach out to us and if they've already shortlisted it, if they know you and they pick you to be on the shortlist you probably have a one in three one in five chance of getting selected. If they They didn't know you before they made their shortlist, because remember, they're making 80% of that purchase decision before they reach out, you now have probably a 1% chance of getting selected because they've already narrowed down who they want to talk to, they probably already know who they want to buy from. Right. And so I think as you look at marketing and demand generation, and understand, like demand generation is about building the brand awareness and trust with companies with individuals so that when they are in market to buy, they raise their hand and they tap you on the shoulder. That's why it takes a while, you know, companies are still gonna come back, you know, and I have been there, I have been on the corporate side, where it's like, but Deana, we need leads, we need them now. Therefore, we're going to do lead generation, I think there needs to be a transition from lead gen to demand gen, most companies aren't in a situation where they can just say, Okay, turn off all the outbound efforts, turn on the inbound, let's wait the 18 months and see how spectacular it is for us. So you kinda have to continue to do lead gen to a point until your demand gen engine is truly up and running. And I think naturally, you start to ease up on the lead gen, and you start to look more at okay, we're working on demand creation, which falls under demand generation. And now instead of lead gen, we're looking at demand capture, which falls under demand generation. That's probably a very common.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, one starts to feed the other, right. So instead of demand, so instead of lead generation, right, we haven't, like you're saying you have to sort of pull people into it. You're generating it from top of funnel and then when they're ready, and they're raising their hand, whether that's through paid search and something super down the funnel, whether that's signing up for a demo, whether that's a string of contact form that lead capture, because we're not pulling. We're just a big giant net. And we're saying, We're here when you're ready, we're ready to cut you when you're ready to make that decision and purchase for me going back to our original conversation. That's almost leap frogging, SDR into right into sales, or does does the SDR still goes yesterday?

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, yeah. You know, what if, if you're doing demand gen, and you're getting results from it? Technically, these should be buyers who are demonstrating some level of buying intent. They probably should go straight to sales. Because if you're adding another step and saying, okay, but wait, you have to talk to her SDR and see if you're qualified. Well, the whole qualification thing was determined, like, do they have the budget? Do they have the authority? Do they have the timing, you know, all of those things. They've raised their hand, they said, I want to talk to a sales rep. They didn't raise their hand and say, I'd like to talk to an SDR. So you have to think about that. But you know, honestly, I am kind of on the fence of the role that the SDR plays because they are near and dear to my heart, I have built those teams from scratch. I know how hard that job is. So to just throw the baby out with the bathwater, I don't think makes sense for a lot of organizations. But how do they help with the marketing piece of it of getting people to that 80%. And I think that goes back to what you were saying earlier carry about, they can help build that relationship. They can help humanize the brand, by being there and being helpful. And putting the right content in front of those individuals on a more one to one scale. And also like leveraging LinkedIn, for example. You know, you probably see it too, there are a lot of people these days that are really good at building a personal brand on LinkedIn, that ties back to their company brand. And people follow that and they're like, I really like what that person has to say that resonates with me. Oh, they're from XYZ company. That's interesting. Maybe I should take a look like I can't tell you how many times I've actually looked up the company that someone's from, and I've looked at their profile because I constantly see their stuff in my feed. And I like what they're saying. If an SDR can do that they can help get those prospects through that 80% decision process. But that's totally different than the traditional model where they're giving quotas based on volume that they produce.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, yep. I think tying the total marketing funnel from marketing to SDR to sales to a revenue to all income this Seeing revenue number. I think giving everybody a role and responsibility for marketing building top of funnel to SDR creating relationships to sales, closing deals, create some clear roles and responsibilities, having everybody worked together without stepping on each other's toes, or working against each other. And I think it all helps essentially raise the bottom line. I think it also diversifies your funnel and not some people do want to talk to a person, they have questions and they sort of, they need somebody on the other end to answer those. And if they feel like they're reaching out to somebody who's not going to hard sell them, they're more open to doing that. You know, at the end of the day, b2b is, as has Simon Cowell has taught us all through marketing on Mars. It's People to People business, right at the end, they you do need that human element. And so as marketing, we're here to surround and provide and be there when somebody's meeting that thing, and then the person is there on the other end to build that relationship. And then sales is there to help them make that decision and move through. So I love this, I think this is where things do need to go. I also feel like it's going a little bit back in time, which I'm good with to have, like coming back to relationships, like it's been such a digital world for so long. And like how do we scale? And how do we grow? And more and more and more and more more? And it's like, actually, everything you're saying, Deanna? Yeah. Do you need to be talking to who is that HiCP? Let's focus on them in giving them what they need. And the rest will follow.

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, it's amazing how narrowing down your focus can actually increase your results.

Kerry Guard: It's true. I'm so grateful for this conversation. Deanna, thank you so much for joining me. And riding the wave. I know, you may. You didn't know where it was going with this in the beginning, but I wanted to give SDR a voice and let them know we're not here to trample them. No, we're here to help them. And I think that there's a real value for them. That's a place for them to really step in and, and own a piece of this pie. That would be incredibly valuable. So thank you for that so quickly, before we close out, because this is b2b Because people people because you are human, I have a question for you. In the last three years, and the shift of the universe, we are now out and traveling again. The world is opened up, we can go wherever without all of the things. Imagine that. Not everybody's trying to do the same thing at once, like, you know, to, you know, get on a plane at the same time. If you could travel to anywhere. Without the red tape, where would you go? And why.

Deanna Shimota: Sorry, the clock is dinging in the background. That means time's up, right. So I just got back from a trip to Australia, which was pretty epic. So I can take that off the list. But I would say the next place I would love to go is Thailand. I just think the scenery looks amazing. I love hot and beachy, and I love Thai food. So I think that's where my next bucket list item is gonna ** ** go.

Kerry Guard: Oh, well, you have to share your your Instagram or something so we can join in your travels. That sounds amazing. And yes, that I'm so grateful. Deanna, thank you so much. Thank you to our listeners, Quincy Johnson. I see you. I have a LinkedIn user. I don't know who that is, but I will follow up with you. I'm grateful for your comments. And even if you're listening, and it's pre recorded, if you have any questions, please chime in. And Deanna and I will get back to you as we want to hear from you. And you're important to us. So thank you for for joining in. This episode is brought to you by mkg marketing the digital marketing agency that scales brands through meaningful relationships fueling their ability to push the mission forward. It's hosted by me Kerry guard, CEO and co founder of FPG marketing Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis This has actually been recorded. And if you'd like to be guests, please visit MKG to apply. Deanna thank you so much. Yeah,

Deanna Shimota: Yeah, thank you. It was great!

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

If you'd like to be a guest please visit to apply.

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