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Diary of a first-time CMO - Sourcing subject matter experts

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

Sourcing subject matter experts

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Subject matter experts. I touched on this earlier on, but what I didn’t talk about is how to go about hiring or finding people to work with.

On the marketing side, this was relatively easy for us, because we could lean on our internal expertise.

When it came to sales it was more difficult.

At the start, there was a certain level of scepticism internally, especially within the sales org in relation to how valuable this could really be. Was it really worth any internal B2B sales experts giving up time for this type of activity?

This led me to look externally for someone I could work with to prove the impact of the role.

Now it is very important when looking for an SME, that you find someone who is still doing the work they talk about.


Because it means they are still learning and they will have a consistent flow of learnings to bring to the content they produce with you.

You’re also likely to be budget constrained; you’re not going to be able to work with one of the top 10 influencers in your space straight away for example.

The sweet spot is finding someone who is regularly engaging in your audience's community and channels already, but who has not hit the heights of full influencer status yet.

We found our perfect match with Ryan Reisert here.

Ryan loved cold calling, he still does. And he is doing the job daily, making his insights so valuable.

He was equally bought into the idea of being an SME and the business impact this could have. So he was very committed. This is very important as consistency is what will truly drive success.

Top tip:

Set clear KPIs for what you want to achieve with your SME. Here are the KPIs that I set with Ryan:


  1. Scale LinkedIn followers to over 24K by the end of June 22. Adding 1K a month​.
  2. Contributing to an uplift in organic unique blog views of 25% every quarter.
  3. Become the voice of the sales newsletter, with subscribers increased by 50% every quarter.
  4. Become the host of the Revenue Champions Podcast, sourcing influential and interesting speakers on a weekly basis and helping to scale regular active listeners to 150, from 35. Host an episode every week.​
  5. Produce regular video content to help drive YouTube subscribers up and to keep our always-on sales content paid social buckets performing above benchmarks.​
  6. Run regular live events​. Minimum of 1 every other week. 

testimonial from Brian Fischer

testimonial image from Miriam Owusu


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