From Series C to IPO: The Snowflake story
A company’s story can have as many twists and turns as a Hollywood blockbuster.
The milestones, the successes, the growth in staff, and everything in between.
It’s all a journey - and it’s an exciting one at that.
And in this article, you’ll understand Snowflake’s growth story, all the way through to IPO.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight into the story - as recounted by Marc Wendling, Snowflake’s Global VP of SMB Sales.
Listen to Marc’s interview with Ryan Reisert, Cognism’s Brand Ambassador, below 👇
Snowflake's stages of growth: from Series C to IPO
Marc has been through it all, experiencing 4 distinct stages of growth at Snowflake.
Ryan wanted to find out about each one of these stages 👇
This is where it all begins!
And it’s far from easy, because sometimes you’re having to sell on an idea, rather than an actual product.
Marc explained his thoughts on this:
“At Snowflake specifically, the vision of the company itself was to solve other companies’ problems related to data. What you are pushing is you selling the future. And it’s hard because you need to be a big believer. At this stage, you’re selling on what it would be, not what it is. So you can expect to be faced with a lot of no’s.”
This stage can be tough for any business. But what can make it easier is hiring the right people into your sales team.
Here’s Marc’s take on recruitment:
“Despite the stage that you’re at, I look for characteristics like grit and drive, rather than experience. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about the experience.”
But there’s also one trait in particular that Marc believes is the secret to success in B2B sales:
“If you want to be good at sales, one of the things you need to work on is memory. Because you’re processing information all day long. And the good sales reps are the ones who have guided conversations, where they’ve understood the data and information they’ve been given. Being able to understand how this information can come in useful even 2 to 3 weeks down the line is important too.”
For Marc, emphasising and setting standards are important at this stage:
“When your prospecting or follow-up engine for inbound is super-professional, the beauty of it is you create a brand. And you build a brand for your product, and you think about how professional your company is going to be perceived.”
It’s about visibility and control of how you're perceived by others. And we couldn’t agree more - you need to mean business to get the results you want 👏
Growth at all cost
Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time for super-speedy growth.
And for Marc, it was about hiring as fast as he could:
“For me, this stage was hire, hire, hire.”
But it’s not about hiring in bulk - Marc’s advice is to focus on hiring the best of the best:
“Most managers spend the majority of their time with people who are struggling or taking time to get to grips with things. But you’ve actually got to manage top performers, and spend time closely with them. Because you can’t settle at this stage.”
Ryan agreed, saying:
“It’s about being able to rely on the people who are going to get things done, and are going to deliver. And there’s no doubt it’s a tough part of the culture at this stage too.”
Organisation and improvement are the bywords of this stage.
“It’s about asking yourself how you can drive efficiency. So there’s a shift at this stage towards productivity and cost control. More specifically deal size, deal velocity, and ramp.”
And for Marc, ramping productivity in the sales team is the most important element of this.
“We had ramped up our productivity. But I had to double down on ramping productivity consistently. It’s like an engine: getting close to overheat but not quite there. Because I want people to be happy in their job.”
So, how did he do this?
By following these 4 Cs 👇
The 4 Cs
1 - Company
“It’s about identifying the prospects that have a high propensity to buy Snowflake.”
2 - Contact
“Figure out who you need to talk to. This is where research via social media, even through customer success, comes in handy.”
3 - Communication
“You need to understand what’s going to trigger the interest of the contact.”
4 - Control
“This is important, regardless of whether you start inbound or outbound. You need to have all of the sequences to make sure contact is maintained and the door is open. As a rep, you’re the CEO of your own deal.”
“There’s consistency in the process, which means things don’t slip through the cracks. It’s vital to have consistent messaging, a consistent cadence, a consistent understanding of the math of what’s happening.”
The key takeaway?
Simplicity is the secret to success when it comes to ramping productivity.
So take Marc’s advice and don’t overthink things.
Last, but certainly not least.
This is the stage where things are taken up…just a notch. Well, okay let’s not understate here. More than a notch… 😂
What was top of mind for Marc at the IPO stage?
“I’ll start with my personal mindset. I want my team to grow faster than Snowflake, every day. And that means improving and refining our process every day. And pushing the boundaries of professionalism every day.”
Something stood out for Marc during IPO:
“For me, it’s gratifying to see careers grow. That’s what makes me feel happy. Once you’re in my team for a second, you’re in it forever.”
After all, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing people you’ve mentored grow into the best version of themselves.
We stan self-improvement and growth in outbound sales teams!
Listen to the podcast
We’ve only scratched the surface of Ryan and Marc’s conversation.
Check out the full episode below - just press ▶️ to tune in!