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Denise Persson, CMO of Snowflake, On Maximizing Strengths and Owning Pipeline

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Denise Persson
Denise Persson

Chief Marketing Officer at Snowflake

Marketing leaders are inspired to enter the marketing world for a variety of reasons. Denise Persson took inspiration from the commercials about a pack of gum.In her native Sweden, she soaked up advertisements that rolled before movies screened at the local theatre. “The Juicy Fruit commercials featuring surfers in the California sunshine made an impression. I was fascinated by how you could evoke lifestyle and emotion through chewing gum.”Bitten by the marketing bug, she was determined to become a product manager at Procter & Gamble. But that all changed when she landed a job at Commodore Computers during her gap year between high school and university. Getting an inside view of the company responsible for what was then the world’s best-selling desktop computer, the Commodore 64, opened up a new world for Denise. “I realized tech was the place to be.”

The ultimate validation is when customers talk about you. That’s where you get the multiplier effect across all your marketing.

Once she graduated university, a friend of Denise’s older sister convinced her to interview for the startup where she worked: Genesys. This was the early 1990s, and Genesys had created the equivalent of Zoom: the first automated conferencing service. “It was quite a game changer at that time, so I joined the company in 1996 and have been in the tech startup space ever since.”The rapidly growing Genesys took note of Denise and promoted her several times, ultimately installing her as global VP of Marketing when she was 27. After nearly 12 years at Genesys, Denise moved on to become CMO of ON24, then of Apigee, and now for Snowflake. All four companies went public during her stints, partly due to Denise’s ability to quickly scale marketing teams without compromising quality or impact.Now at Snowflake, Denise continues leading the marketing charge for this widely loved company on a rocket-ship trajectory. “The ultimate validation is when customers talk about you. That’s where you get the multiplier effect across all your marketing.”Some of Denise’s other keys to success:

  • Staying agile. Every quarter, Denise’s teams calibrate their plans to make sure they’re doing everything to maximize their impact on sales.
  • Getting granular on pipeline. Since aggregate pipeline can be misleading, Denise charges her field marketing teams with making sure not a single rep falls behind.
  • Focusing on strengths. Denise knows outperforming the competition is a matter of maximizing every employees’ superpowers and strengths.

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