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Diary of a first-time CMO - Making predictions

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

Making predictions

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It’s so interesting to look back at this and see how far we have come with the three points I mention in this post. It’s a little mind-boggling how much the industry as a whole has changed in this time as well.

My take today (October 2022), all three of these are happening, but only in organisations with forward-thinking marketers.

I believe there’s still an opportunity for other marketers to embrace these ideas. In fact, I feel that soon, they’ll become as normal as gated e-books were two years ago.

For us at Cognism specifically, we have fully embraced all three of these and it has enabled us to deliver record revenue and pipeline quarters throughout the year.

We don’t run any lead generation plays anymore. We focus only on capturing existing high-intent demand and creating demand in order to drive more high-intent demo requests.

The results? 

Our high-intent demo requests have increased month on month, proving the success of the shift away from MQLs.

We can now confidently say we don’t miss MQLs in our B2B marketing mix.

We now use all the time and spend from MQLs and direct it towards creating demand initiatives. That has proven to be game-changing for us. It’s far more scalable.

The second prediction - the rise of subject matter experts. This has been a huge part of how we have shifted time and spend in new ways since departing from running lead generation.

So let’s take a look at what we have done here at Cognism.

We’ve now taken on multiple subject matter experts (SMEs) across our two core personas (sales and marketing) and have been working with them consistently across 2022.

Sales SMEs

  • David Bentham, Dave is Director, Sales Development @ Cognism.
  • Morgan Ingram, Morgan is a renowned Sales Development expert.
  • Ryan Reisert, Ryan is another renowned Cold Calling expert and also founder of Phone Ready Leads. 

Marketing SMEs

So what have we been doing with these SMEs?

We have been committing to consistent high-quality content output week in week out, in multiple formats: 

  • Live cold calling training.
  • Short top tip videos for SDRs.
  • Weekly interviews for new topics for our blog and sales newsletter.
  • TikToks.
  • Development of their own personal LinkedIn organic channel through consistent posting (Dave Bentham). 

So what sort of results has this work been driving?

Dark social engagement

We have daily and weekly examples of SDRs posting or messaging our SMEs to thank them for their content and its helpfulness.

This same content has been able to be repurposed for the Cognism company page which has seen a record year for growth in followers and engagement.

Finally, we have seen our SMEs being listed on our human attribution form on our demo thank you page as the reason for requesting a demo of Cognism. 

Paid social performance 

We now run a fully ungated and engagement-focused paid social strategy; our priority is quality and truly valuable content.

We have to consistently produce this type of content in a repeatable and sustainable manner. Having SMEs to drive this has been the key for being able to do so.

Blog engagement 

The posts we write based on our SME content and insights are nearly always those that deliver benchmark-beating stats in terms of time on page (5-6 mins) and views.

We are building a media machine that will see Cognism as THE go-to resource for content that will actually help you if you are a B2B sales or marketing professional. SME content and insights are a critical part of enabling us to deliver that.

Owned channel growth

Whether it’s:

  • Website traffic.
  • YouTube subscribers.
  • LinkedIn followers.
  • Podcast listeners.
  • Or newsletter subscribers.
Our SMEs have enabled us to build our own owned audience of loyal listeners and readers.

Want to keep up with Alice's latest CMO advice?

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