Startup Spotlight Growth Series: Snowflake

December 11, 2020

Lars Christensen

LinkedIn Marketing can play an important role for B2B startups looking to scale. But what are the learnings and strategies fueling their growth? We’re excited to help answer this question with our new Growth Series: an inside look at startup marketers’ approach to successful growth. As your team builds your own marketing strategy, perhaps the perspectives shared here will help you optimize, learn, and grow faster.

In this installment of our Growth Series, we’ve interviewed Snowflake’s VP of Demand Generation, Lars Christensen.

LinkedIn: In a sentence, tell us about Snowflake. What is a fun fact about Snowflake that we wouldn’t find on your LinkedIn Page or website?

Lars Christensen: Snowflake was founded in 2012 as a cloud data platform with a focus on our first available workload – the data warehouse built for the cloud. Since then our offering has expanded to a full platform of offerings – data engineering, data lake, data warehouse, data science, data applications, and data sharing – enabling organizations to unleash the true value from their data. We call it the Data Cloud. Fun fact - it’s a great place to work. Our explosive growth has allowed me as a manager to promote star performers on the team and that is always satisfying.

LinkedIn: What does growth mean to your team? How does your team measure growth?

Lars Christensen: Early in the company’s history we decided to align our sales teams to named accounts. Marketing's success is for us to generate maximum engagement with the right titles in the accounts sales care about. The simple version of our growth engine – seed awareness, inspire engagement, nurture engaged accounts in tight partnership with sales, close business, and finally make the customer successful. It’s really quite simple.

LinkedIn: What’s something you wish you knew when first getting started with your paid growth strategy?

Lars Christensen: It took marketing too long to transition from measuring ourselves by the number of leads generated to talking about named account engagement. It’s the core of the disconnect you’ll see between marketing and sales: Marketing talks about leads, sales cares about accounts

LinkedIn: How did your team identify and optimize your ICP's buyer’s journey? 

Lars Christensen: The truth is always in the data. Intuitively, we always think a journey starts with a white paper and ends with free trial activation - not so fast. The journey is all over the place based on your prospect’s preferred learning style. We are looking at the broader engagement landscape in the account – the nature of the action, frequency, time, and titles. 

LinkedIn: What adjustments have you made to your growth strategy over time that have had a significant impact on results?

Lars Christensen: We are adjusting all the time. The great thing about B2B marketing today is that so many great technologies are being introduced to the marketplace all the time. We are nuts about automation and sophistication of what is possible. 

LinkedIn: How do you balance your sales cycle and measuring ROI from paid marketing initiatives?

Lars Christensen: B2B marketing moved out of the cost center and into the revenue-generating category many years ago. We have to prove ROI quarter over quarter. We are setting key objectives for all our marketing tactics and we scale what is meeting the objective and cutting what is not. We like to stay lean and well-optimized. 

LinkedIn: How do you achieve and measure successful alignment between sales and marketing?

Lars Christensen: We have five values on the Snowflake marketing team. The No. 1 value is “insane alignment with sales.” We are with them during their QBRs and a key partner in navigating go-to-market challenges.

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