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Diary of a first-time CMO - Quality over quantity

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

Quality over quantity

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Sometimes, it’s not always the best decision to do what your competition is doing. Of course, the opposite can also be true - you can learn from your competition.

But there was a tactic that most of our competitors were using that I was getting a lot of internal pressure to implement at Cognism. But I just didn’t feel it aligned with goals.

What was this tactic?

Well, essentially they’d index their databases and get SEO rankings for pages that showcased their contact and company data. Meaning they’d have individual profile pages generated online via their data engine.

It meant they had thousands of visitors per month, and lots of SEO rankings.

But I never pursued that project. Why?

Because every time I took a deep dive into the traffic health and value, I could not align the data with our Cognism strategy. I mean, we’re talking about their top ranking being for McDonald’s phone number or something similar.

And that to me just doesn’t align with what I consider Cognism to be. We’re a premium sales intelligence solution, with premium data. Compliance and quality are our core values. That’s what we are about.

I didn’t feel that tactic would ever result in traffic that would be serious about buying Cognism.

Remember, we were also limited on resources at this point. We had one content writer. I didn’t want to waste time on a tactic that wasn't laser-focused on building quality high-intent demand.

The most important being ranking for high commercial intent keywords. The type of keywords where we know they’re in the market for a product like Cognism when they search. These people have a far higher likelihood of being a better fit for us.

And I believe that tactic and approach has paid off for us. We’ve seen $250,000 value in traffic that comes to our website organically which is a massive win. We also don’t get as much of the junk to filter out, which means we have great conversion rates.

And I believe that stems from focusing on quality, not quantity.

Going back to the competitors’ tactic and my decision to drop it…

It wasn’t an easy decision to make when there was so much pressure to give it a go. But I really believed it wasn’t the right move, so I backed myself and I’m really glad I did.

Interested in some quick wins for high intent, quality traffic? Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • Make sure you cover your bases with your competitors, e.g. SEO ranking pages detailing you vs. your competitors. Plus your competitor vs another competitor. People searching for that kind of information are likely in the market to buy right now and are evaluating their options.
  • Do your research. Find every possible keyword you can rank for and bucket them into the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. What’s their ease for ranking? What do you believe their commercial intent is? Remember, some of this is more of an art than a science. 
  • Analyse your Google ads. What are the keywords that are driving conversions here? More importantly, conversions that result in revenue? For example, for us, terms like ‘B2B contact data’, or ‘top B2B contact provider’ are key revenue generating terms.
  • Use this information to inform which keywords you want to target for organic traffic.
  • Track the success of each of your pages. Which are driving the most demo requests? This helps you to decide which pages to focus on building out, and updating, and which maybe don’t have the high intent traffic you initially thought. 

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

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