- Snowflake CMO Denise Persson started in 2016, before the company even hit $100 million in revenue.
- It is anticipated to hit $2.6 billion in revenue by the end of this year.
- Persson outlined her evolving marketing strategy, as Snowflake aims for $10 billion in revenue by 2029.
Denise Persson, CMO at Snowflake, faces a significant growth challenge.
Persson joined the company in 2016, when it advertised itself with a billboard along US Highway 101 in Silicon Valley, and its events were so heavily plastered with the Amazon Web Services logo, on which Snowflake had built its technology, that attendees frequently mistook them for an Amazon event.
“As a startup, you can’t do it alone,” Persson explained to Insider. “There’s always some company in your category that you can ride on their wake, and for us, it was AWS.”
Snowflake has risen to become a behemoth in its own right, with plans to expand exponentially further. According to its S-1 filing, its revenue in 2018 was $95.7 million, and it expects to earn $2.6 billion by the end of the year, with a goal of reaching $10 billion by 2029.
One of the key strategies Snowflake is using to meet this lofty goal is to sell versions of its products tailored to specific industries such as media and entertainment, financial services, and telecommunications.
Persson’s main task is to persuade the developer community to build industry-specific applications on top of Salesforce’s software, a strategy that has helped Salesforce become a tech behemoth.
Part of this is due to Snowflake’s continued investment in LinkedIn, which allows her to message people from various industries. “It really allows us to go in and target individuals in the most effective way,” said Persson. However, as the data giant focuses on connecting with developers across industries, Persson has expanded Snowflake’s outreach, for example, with an eight-month-old YouTube channel for developers.
Snowflake is also targeting the developer community with its numerous live events. “I’m a big believer in everything digital, but in B2B, it is still important for people to feel that energy from the people around them and talk to customers,” Persson went on to say.
The company held its annual dev-focused user summit in June, and it has a series of October events planned in cities such as New York, Mumbai, and Stockholm, with a focus on app development.
Companies that create industry-specific products benefit from being able to close deals faster, and those deals are frequently larger in size, according to Mizuho analyst Gregg Moskowitz.
Closing larger deals will be critical if Snowflake meets its ambitious $10 billion revenue target. Snowflake expects to have 1,400 customers spending more than $1 million by 2029, according to company CFO Michael Scarpelli, who spoke at an investor event last year. According to a 2021 investor presentation, it had 104 such customers two years ago, and it now has 402, according to a 2023 investor presentation.
According to Moskowitz, “based on the progression we’ve seen, I think it’s reasonable they get to 1,400” by 2029. “They have to continue to execute and broaden their platform, and have more use cases for customers.”
Staying out of the $100 million rut
Although Snowflake is still a long way from $10 billion in revenue, Persson has already helped guide the company from tens of millions to billions.
“A lot of companies get stuck at $100 million,” said Persson. Client references are critical for enterprise tech sales, but getting them takes time as companies grow, according to Persson. She assisted Snowflake in avoiding the $100 million rut in 2018 by implementing scheduled webinars where prospective buyers could speak with clients such as Glossier or Endeavor.
“You need to look at everything you’re doing today and ask: Will this scale a year from now or two years from now?” According to Persson.