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Diary of a first-time CMO - Don’t backslide

Hey B2B marketers

Here it is. Four years, $50m+ ARR and 200 pages later… My journey as a first-time CMO.

Covering the key learnings I've gathered in four years of leadership. This diary reveals the lessons that helped me scale Cognism from $3m to $50m ARR, build a team from 3 to 39, and transform our set-up from a classic lead gen function to a demand gen engine.

It’s my handbook for B2B marketers looking to thrive in leadership.

(especially if you’re as daunted as I was when I started out!) 

Diary of a first-time CMO by Alice De Courcy
By: Alice de Courcy
1 minute read

Don’t backslide

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Having operated in a pandemic and now a looming recession, I do feel I can speak from a point of experience here.

There’s no doubt that B2B marketing budgets will be tightened and you’ll be tasked to do more with less.

But this shouldn’t mean retreating back to purely capture demand activities.

At Cognism our general rule regarding budget split is 30% demand capture and 70% demand creation.

As budgets are squeezed, we’ll maintain this ratio.

Typically when you first get started running a create demand play, you’ll need to wait 2X your sales cycle length to start to see the benefits in terms of pipeline and revenue.

The compounding impact of its continued execution is how you really start to stack growth.

Retreating back to Google Ads and capture demand only activities will make life incredibly difficult when you get asked to do more again.

It’ll also make life much harder while you operate in an already difficult economic environment.

So my advice would be to hold your nerve.

Maintain your splits, but optimise. Optimise for CRM metrics and revenue. Reduce down any capture demand campaign that is not delivering in your CRM.

This will give you money back to continue to invest in creating demand.

I’d also use this time as an opportunity to focus on activities that are time heavy, not $ heavy.

How good are you at creating content in all of its formats?

Have you built a repeatable process around a live content event and the post-content production afterwards?

Are you maximising every content opportunity for the greatest output and gain?

Have you spent time on your website and landing page experiences?

Could you be creating better self-discovery journeys?

Is there room to improve your key funnel conversion metrics like demo:MA rate?

Could you launch a direct to AE routing experiment to increase this?

Audit all the possible areas of focus that don’t involve more $, but just more time.

Map them out in relation to effort versus impact and then start to work through them one item at a time.

You didn’t always have the budget you have today and you were still successful.

Chances are you have more resources in other ways available today. So make these work for you.

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