What is Demand Generation?—Deanna Shimota, President, GrowthMode Marketing

How many contacts do you think it takes to reach a B2B prospect? Any guesses? Maybe 3, 5, or 10? That’s what I thought too. According to our guest today, it takes an average of 66 touches to connect with a B2B prospect! 

Our guest Deanna Shimota, and she shares with us what the differences are between lead generation and demand generation and some interesting marketing facts.


Lack of patience is a growth killer.


Deanna Shimota is the CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. She has made it her mission to know everything about B2B marketing and demand generation. She’s on top of every tech trend and social media modulation. While she skates on the cutting edge of marketing innovation, Deanna stays grounded in a foundation of solid marketing principles. She’s used her skills and expertise to catapult multiple technology companies into high-growth mode. Now, she leads GrowthMode Marketing with the goal to help other organizations travel down this same path of success.


This episode is powered by Big Sky Franchise Team. If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759.

If you are interested in being a guest on our podcast, please complete this request form or email podcast@bigskyfranchise.com and a team member will be in touch.


Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:01):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week we help growth-minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team. And as we open today, I’m wondering how many contacts you think it takes to reach B2B prospect. Any guesses? Maybe 3, 5, 10? Those are numbers that I had thought, but according to our guest today, it takes an average of 66 touches to connect with a B2B prospect. And if you’re in franchising, I think you are in the B2B business.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:42):

Our guest today, Deanna Shimota, shares with us the difference between lead generation and demand generation and some really interesting facts like the one I just mentioned. Now, Deanna is the CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. She’s made it her mission to know everything about B2B marketing and demand generation. She’s on top of every trend and social media modulation. While she skates on the cutting edge of marketing innovation, Deanna stays grounded in a foundation, solid marketing principles. She’s used her skills and expertise to catapult marketing technology companies into high growth mode. Now she leads growth mode marketing with the goal of helping other organizations travel down the same path of success. This is a very interesting interview, chocked full of great bits of information. So let’s go ahead and jump right into it.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (01:38):

I’m Deanna Shimota with GrowthMode Marketing and I am CEO of that organization.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:43):

The key driver, why I wanted to have you on as a guest, and what was really interesting that I’m looking forward to learning about is what this demand generation is, and you’re an expert in this. So just by way of getting started, tell us what demand generation happens to be.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (02:00):

Yeah, so demand generation is not lead generation and I call that out because I think a lot of marketers still kind of use the terms interchangeably. And just to give people an idea of what demand generation is, I’ll tell you what lead generation is so you can understand the differences.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (02:16):

Lead generation, your marketing programs are typically going to be focused on the 5% of companies that are currently in market. 95% of companies at any given time are not actually looking to buy right now. And so when you’re doing lead generation programs, you’re trying to drive more immediate results. You’re going out, you’re asking prospects for a meeting and you’re trying to pull them into your sales process. On the flip side, demand generation is a very different marketing strategy. You’re still trying to capture leads, but from a marketing standpoint, the focus and driving value is not just with the 5% currently in market, it’s also the 95% who are not looking to buy right now because those future prospects are really important to your future growth.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (03:01):

And so in those instances where you’re doing a demand generation program, your marketing is focused on building brand awareness and trust that will create demand and ultimately capture it. So the flip side where lead gen is you’re asking prospects for a meeting. With demand generation the whole strategy behind it is prospects are asking you for a meeting and they’re inviting you into their buying process, meaning they learn about you, they build trust for you, they like your brand, they develop an affinity for what you’re offering. And so when they actually are in market to buy, they raise their hand and they say, “Hey, let’s have a conversation.”

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:41):

As I think about demand generation and applying that, I’d have to think because most marketers, and I would say I’m probably lumped in with that, you start thinking the two sometimes are used interchangeably. So what kind of mistakes do you generally see that business owners, business leaders make when it comes to their marketing programs?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (04:01):

You know I think it’s so common as a business owner or a leader in an organization to focus on the revenue and the minute you get behind or you have high growth goals that you’re trying to achieve, the immediate thought is we need leads, we need them now, which is really a driving factor to doing lead generation because you are like, how do we grow revenue? We bring more leads in the door. The mistake with that is if you’re only focusing on the short game, you’re totally missing out on the long game. And to ultimately grow your organization, you really have to be able to get ahead of it and remember that 95% of companies are not in market. And technically right now when the economy is a little less performance wise doing what you would want it to do than other years, the companies that are in market actually shrinks down to 1%, making it even harder in a year like this year to grow because there’s less companies and less people that are looking for your products and services right now.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (05:07):

Well, if you’re going to win at the game long term as far as growing your organization, you’ve got to think about the way that people are buying today. And statistics have come out from Gartner research, and I’ve also seen this in having conversations with business owners, CEOs, sales leaders and marketing leaders across the organizations that we work with and talk to on a daily basis. People are not buying in the B2B space the same way that they did a few years ago. It’s evolved quite a bit and now it’s taking an average of 66 touches before a prospect will even pay attention to your company. 72% of B2B prospects, buyers have indicated that they would prefer to have zero interaction with a sales rep during the purchase process, and they’re making up to 80% of that purchase decision before they ever engage with a sales rep.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (06:01):

So if you step back and think about that, if you’re playing the short game, you miss the opportunity and it’s only going to get worse because they made most of that decision before they reached out to a company to talk to them. So if they didn’t know you existed, you didn’t make their short list. If you didn’t build that trust with them well in advance, you didn’t make that short list. It just got a lot harder to grow your company.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:27):

That’s some very interesting, and I would say maybe for some alarming data to be thinking about. When you say 66 touches before someone moves forward, what does a touch look like? What is that?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (06:41):

I look at from the marketing perspective. It doesn’t mean you make 66 cold calls to somebody or send them 66 emails. It’s you’ve got to have ongoing brand touches across an omnichannel approach. And what I mean by an omnichannel approach is you’re looking at email, you’re looking at digital ads, you’re looking at podcasts, you’re looking at LinkedIn, just all of the channels where you could potentially build brand awareness. They’ve got to see that multiple times. It’s kind of like if you run an ad on TV, you don’t run that ad once and expect that it’s going to bring all this business in. The repetition matters. And when Gartner’s reporting that it takes an average of 66 touches, back in the day, they used to say it took 15 touches. 66 is an average.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (07:31):

So you’ve got to figure there are some buyers out there, they might see you out there 15 times and they raise their hand. And then there’s the ones that take 200 times to raise their hand. And the whole point around it is it takes a lot of touches for them to even remember your brand. It takes even more touches from a marketing standpoint for them to remember what you actually do. So all of the marketing that you’re building, when you think about high growth, it’s really easy to get focused on bringing in the leads, but branding plays a really big part of it.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (08:09):

And I think, and I have made this mistake as a marketer where it’s like, we need leads. We need to bring them in the door. Let’s run the programs, let’s shove it down their throats. We’re going to find the people that are ready to buy today and not putting enough focus on the 95% of companies that are not in market. So it makes it harder because you’re constantly on this merry-go-round of trying to uncover the people that are ready to buy today, which is a small number compared to the total addressable market.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:40):

Interesting. Well, the folks that are tuning into our podcasts tend to be either existing franchisors or very successful business owners that are thinking about franchising or are growth oriented. And so I’m just curious how a strategy might apply to what you’re describing for this demand generation for a franchisor to find potential franchise buyers because in the end, it really is more of a B2B type of a play, even though this potential franchise buyer, they haven’t maybe started their business yet, but they’re looking to start this business more. It seems like it would be in line with the B2B play. How would you answer that?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (09:22):

Yeah, I think the thing that business owners need to think about in regards to how people buy today is if they’re not engaging with a sales rep until way late in their decision process, how do you get in front of that? And I really believe what you need to do is look at building out your digital footprint to become your best sales rep. And that doesn’t mean that replaces any sales team that you might have or any efforts you’re going to do internally to build and grow that business by pounding the streets.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (09:53):

But it does mean that you are looking at your digital footprint as how do we build out our website to have really good information for people? How do we build out our own audience so that they’re constantly consuming content that we’re putting out there and they’re building that awareness? You’re building that trust, and ultimately you’re building that affinity. So basically by the time they’re in market, they’re like, “I really like company X, Y, Z. I’ve been following them for quite a while. I know that’s who I want to work with.”

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (10:30):

And the third is how do you tap into existing relevant audiences within the industry to get that message even further? So at the end of the day, as you’re building out your digital footprint, it’s so much more than just doing digital advertising. It’s looking at all the channels and all the ways that your ideal customer profile can potentially find you, but making it appear you’re everywhere that they are. You’re showing up in the places that they go to learn to educate themselves to research information from a online standpoint. I know from a franchise standpoint, not all franchises are in the B2B space, and I’m talking primarily about B2B because that’s where my area of expertise is. But I think there’s some things you can take away from this thinking for how do you apply it on a B2C side is if they don’t know about you, they don’t buy from you.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:25):

Very true. And I’m really thinking in the sense of just attracting new potential franchisees into your franchise system. So I think what you described makes a lot of sense. Deanna, this is a great time to make a transition in the show where we ask every guest the same four questions before they go, and the first question we ask is, have you had a miss or two on your journey and something you learned from it?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (11:48):

I think a miss that I had, if I could go back and do over, I was a VP of marketing at a software company and we had a high growth initiative to bring the company from this level to this level in a relatively short amount of time. And I came in as the marketing leader who was building out the processes and really the foundation for marketing to help them achieve high growth. And at the time we were building marketing to speak to anyone in the network security space, which is a very crowded market. There are a lot of network security options out there. It was a hot market in that moment because there were all kinds of data breaches and everything happening.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (12:30):

And if I could go back, I would narrow down the audience because I feel like we were trying to be everything to everyone, which I can tell you now as a marketing agency owner, this is very common across companies because the thought is how do we build out our total addressable market? We build out this database, we’re going to market to all these people, and the more fishing lines you throw in the water, the more opportunities you have to catch fish. It seems logical. Until you step back and realize in a very crowded market, if everybody else is doing that, you’re really getting lost in a CSA miss. And so where I think there was a miss is that we didn’t niche down to a specific audience or ideal customer profile and really hone in the messaging to speak to them so that we would stand out in that crowd.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:21):

Well, let’s look at the other side. Let’s talk about a make or two in your career that are some highlights.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (13:27):

I think it’s always fun when you land in an organization and all the stars align and you can help it grow. And I’ve had that opportunity more than once. And so I think from a what’s a make opportunity is coming in and building up a marketing function and department from scratch and really seeing a company embrace it and align well with marketing and sales, so they’re working together to help a company double in size. And I’ve been able to do that.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (13:59):

It was a lot heavy lifting and there were a lot of people involved that helped make it happen. But that was definitely an opportunity that I look back on. And I think there’s so much that I learned in living that day to day that I was able to bring forward to the next companies that I worked with and ultimately to my clients today.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:18):

Let’s talk about a multiplier that you’ve used to maybe grow yourself personally or professionally.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (14:25):

Yeah. So from a multiplier, I always think there’s opportunities to look at your organization as a business owner and figure out how to get to the next stage of growth. And I really think a multiplier is the strategy behind it and having purpose. And I’ll use an example that I use with my clients all the time of what not to do, which is be very reactive and I call it random acts of marketing. And I think as a business owner, those random acts, whether it’s marketing or strategy or operational, are very easy to slip into the day-to-day because you’re trying to manage six different things. You’re trying to support your clients, make the business move forward, but you’re trying to support that long-term vision too.

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (15:11):

I think a multiplier is when you can really focus in on the strategy and remain focused on it to be able to put the right things in place that will move the needle and prioritize, here’s the things that will 10 xx versus here’s the things that will 1 xx. And knowing when to say no to things.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:34):

Kind of like your previous answer where you were talking about having these multiple lines in the water, really narrowing that focus, right? Focusing on the things that actually matter instead of being all over the place, kind of a less is more kind of an idea you’re talking about. And Deanna, the final question we ask every guest is, what does success mean to you?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (15:55):

To me, success means helping our clients grow. So as a marketing agency in demand generation, we have organizations come to us who a lot of times they’re going to be private equity backed, they don’t have a big marketing department, and they’re ready to figure out how to get to that next stage of growth. In fact, they’re being pushed to get to the next stage of growth because they do have private equity behind them. And so for me, success looks like helping those organizations build out that foundation, helping them focus on actually achieving what they’re going after and ultimately growing the organization to where they need to be so that they hit their revenue targets and crush the goals that they have.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:38):

Well, Deanna, as we bring this to a close, is there anything you are hoping to share or get across that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (16:45):

I would just say as you’re thinking about your marketing, think about the way people buy today. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Build your strategy and stick to it because part of the battle is being consistent with your marketing and getting it out there, and it’s not typically going to be an overnight all of a sudden the leads come in, but doing things consistently over time will pay off. And I often say lack of patience is a growth killer. So just keep that in mind as you’re building things. Continue to invest and do the right things and the success will come.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:19):

And Deanna, what’s the best way for someone to follow up with you if they’re interested in learning more, finding out more about your agency, how can they get in touch with you or where can they go?

Deanna Shimota, GrowthMode Marketing (17:29):

Yeah. If you’re interested in learning more about how to create a catalyst for growth for your organization through demand generation, I would say check out GrowthMode Marketing’s podcast. It’s called The Demand Gen Fix, and you can find it on Apple Podcast, Spotify, YouTube, or anywhere that you get your podcast from. Also, feel free to follow me on LinkedIn, Deanna Shimota. I post a lot of thoughts and insights and tips around demand generation and lead generation and best practices for growing your organization. And then last, if you’re looking for marketing services, reach out to us at growthmodemarketing.com.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:04):

Deanna, thank you so much for a fantastic interview and let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is when she described the difference between lead generation and demand generation. And I like some of the facts that she said, that lead generation, these are the people that are actively seeking in the market. These are active buyers ready to spend money and hire you to do something or maybe to buy your franchise. And she said that about 5% of all consumers out there are in this mode. So that means if you’re spending on bringing leads in, you’re going after the 5%.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:45):

Demand generation is focused on the other 95% of people that are maybe not looking to buy right now, but they will be in the market at some point. And so with demand generation, she described that as prospects are asking you to come into their story, they’re inviting you to come in, and it’s a longer play, but it leads to a long-term success according to Deanna.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:09):

Takeaway number two is what I opened our podcast with when Deanna said that it takes 66 touches on average for customers to start paying attention to your company. And she said that most customers and shoppers are doing 80% of their sale investigation before they actually inquire. So I found that interesting. So maybe a takeaway there is just to be thinking about what do you have available for people to start learning more about what you’re doing? And takeaway number three is when she shared in her miss when she was trying to be all things to all people in marketing, and she said she didn’t segment and niche down to a specific customer profile.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:53):

And now it’s time for today’s win-win. So today’s win-win came when Deanna mentioned right before we left the interview, she said, lack of patience is a growth killer. I thought that was a fantastic takeaway. Lack of patience is a growth killer. And certainly being able to discern the difference between when is more patience needed to keep things going and also know when have you been too patient and it’s time to maybe cut out. The old adage when to hold them and when to fold them, know when to do that. And so I thought that was a great win-win.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:39):

Because I’ve seen this happen so often, specifically in the franchise sales process for new franchisors, not having enough patience where you may be in a business where you’re used to having transactions occur every day or every week or sometimes every hour. In franchising, especially when you first get started, you might have one sale every six months, or it might take a year or two years for that first sale to come through. So patience is very important.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:11):

And so that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, you or anyone you know might be ready to franchise their business or take their company to the next level. Please connect with us at bigskyfranchiseteam.com. Thanks for tuning in, and we look forward to having you back next week.

Posted in

Multiply Your Success®

Franchise Your Business