SaaStr Annual Q&A: Denise Persson, CMO at Snowflake

March 5, 2020

In anticipation of SaaStr Annual this month, we’re publishing Q&A posts with selected SaaStr Annual speakers. Recently, SaaStr’s Jason Lemkin announced that the March conference has been rescheduled, due to the growing escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Jason, “SaaStr Annual must now be rescheduled and merged with our existing fall event into a new, less formal ‘SaaStr Bi-Annual’ to take place in September 2020.”

We’ll see you in September — and, we’re looking forward to the panel discussion moderated by Denise Persson (details below).

Tell us about your role at Snowflake?

I’m the CMO of Snowflake, where I oversee the company’s marketing functions.

Tell us about the panel you’re moderating at SaaStr Annual?

I’ll be moderating a discussion between Emil Eifrem (@emileifrem) and Spencer Kimball, both founders and CEOs of open source database companies. We’ll be discussing the shift from on-premises to cloud services, while staying true to the values of open source software. 

It’s a delicate balance, but a lot of companies are making great headway for catering to what developers need to be successful in developing cloud-based applications.

What are you most excited about at SaaStr Annual?

I am most excited to really learn. SaaStr Annual is a conference where everyone learns from others, where we’re all sharing best practices with others. It’s an opportunity to connect with other leaders in this space.

I cherish the chance to learn about similar opportunities and challenges I share with the others.  I’m excited also excited to moderate an interesting discussion with the CEOs of Neo4j and Cockroach Labs

Marketing a SaaS offering vs. marketing on-premises software. What are the differences and similarities?

There are several differences between them.

First, the sales cycle for SaaS offerings can be a lot shorter, which makes the time-to-value for customers also significantly shorter. Second, customers can easily get their hands on the product on a trial basis and try it before buying.

And finally, SaaS offerings provide greater, more seamless opportunities for expansion, so they can grow as you grow, while also enabling us–the vendor–to respond more quickly to customer needs. All of these factors make marketing a SaaS offering so much easier.

To what extent does your team interact with the product managers and engineers building the Snowflake platform?

There is a very close collaboration at the center of the build process for the Snowflake platform.

On the marketing side, we get feedback from our customers and pass it along to the product managers and engineers. We also hold Customer Advisory Board meetings twice a year to learn what features and functionality our customers are looking for.

This enables the build team to prioritize our roadmap because they know what’s important to the end user. It’s a very data-driven process. 

What’s the future of B2B marketing?

B2B marketing is becoming more and more analytics-driven every day, and it is moving from descriptive to predictive to prescriptive analytics.

I’m personally mostly excited about the highly personalized communications that is possible today thanks to technology. At Snowflake, our ABM team is running 2,500 campaigns with custom messaging targeting our key target accounts and we’re seeing great results thanks to the ability to personalize at scale. 

Where can folks go if they’re interested in learning more about you?

They can go to the Snowflake website for more information about the company and they can even download a demo of our cloud data platform.

For me, personally, they can go to the Snowflake website or visit my LinkedIn profile.

Thank you, Denise. See you at SaaStr Bi-Annual in September, if not before then!