Sales Talk for CEOs: Leading with Empathy: How Cory Munchbach’s Journey from Analyst to CEO Shapes her Leadership Today (Ep118)

May 7, 2024 | Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast

How does a product marketer end up in the CEO seat?

Moving from being an analyst at Forrester to starting at BlueConic as a product marketer and doing many different jobs at the company over the years landed Cory Munchback the CEO seat.

Fully backed by the founder, Cory shares her remarkable journey from analyst to CEO, detailing the vital lessons learned and the strategies that have shaped her leadership.

Cory’s Path to CEO

Cory started her career at Forrester Research, gaining invaluable insights into marketing leadership and technology strategy. This foundational experience at Forrester was crucial as she transitioned to BlueConic, where she began as the Director of Product Marketing. Reflecting on her diverse roles within the company, Cory notes, “I’ve always been someone who feels how the system works.

Key Takeaways for CEOs

  1. Empathy and Understanding Across Roles: Cory emphasizes the importance of understanding every department’s role in achieving the company’s objectives. She shares, “I have a deep reverence and admiration for the skills that they bring, because I literally knew I wasn’t good enough at them or wasn’t passionate about them to do it myself.
  2. Replacing the Founder as CEO: Cory highlights the smooth transition from the founder being the CEO to her replacing him as a well-planned succession. “He was fully behind me. This was a thoughtful succession plan…me taking over was something he valued as part of his own legacy,” Cory explains, underscoring the significance of support and clear communication during leadership transitions.
  3. The Importance of Customer-Centric Leadership: The customer is at the core of Cory’s leadership philosophy. Coming from product marketing she knows better than most that you have to stay close to the customer.

Don’t miss the rapid fire session at the end of the episode where Cory shares her favorite books and podcasts that have influenced her career and leadership style.

For an in-depth understanding of Cory Munchbach’s strategic approaches and personal influences that have shaped her journey at BlueConic, listen to the full episode.

Watch the episode below or on our YouTube channel

Join us next week on Sales Talk for CEOs for more insights from top executives on driving growth and leadership effectiveness.


[00:00] Introduction – Unveiling the critical sales knowledge CEOs need to thrive in modern markets.

[00:03] Female CEO Spotlight – Kicking off with excitement for female CEOs and the fresh perspectives they bring to the table.

[01:05] Welcome Cory Munchbach – Introducing Cory Munchbach, CEO of Blueconic, and her unexpected career journey.

[01:29] Exploring Blueconic – Diving into what Blueconic does, its ideal customer profile, and how their tech drives business forward.

[02:26] The Importance of Consumer Insights – Discussing the necessity for brands to deeply understand consumer behaviors.

[02:44] Cory’s Path to CEO – A look at Cory’s progression within Blueconic and her transition to the CEO role.

[03:02] From Analyst to CEO – Tracing Cory’s professional roots from Forrester Research to her leadership position.

[05:03] The Lure to Blueconic – Cory shares what drew her to join a fresh, dynamic startup and tackle new challenges.

[06:07] The Marriage of Sales and Product Marketing – Understanding how product marketing works in unison with sales to achieve success.

[07:56] Initial Sales Struggles & Strategies – Reflecting on early sales efforts and the push for establishing brand credibility.

[08:05] Rapid Role Progression – Cory recounts the various roles she adapted on her way to the top.

[11:14] Cultivating Customer Success – Emphasizing the need for focusing on customer satisfaction to drive sales and business growth.

[14:15] Journey to CEO – Cory’s evolution within Blueconic and the responsibilities she accumulated along the way.

[17:11] Cory’s Role in Sales as CEO – Outlining how the CEO’s involvement can significantly impact sales initiatives.

About Guest

As the CEO of customer data platform BlueConic, Cory has spent her career on the cutting edge of marketing technology and has years of experience working with Fortune 500 clients from various industries. Before joining the BlueCrew, she was an analyst at Forrester Research where she covered business and consumer technology trends and the fast-moving marketing tech landscape. A sought-after speaker and industry voice, Cory’s work has been featured in Financial Times, Forbes, Raconteur, AdExchanger, The Drum, Venture Beat, Wired, AdAge, and Adweek. A life-long Bostonian, Cory has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College and spends a considerable amount of her non-work hours on various volunteer and philanthropic initiatives in the greater Boston community. The rest of that time is spent hanging with family and friends; running around with her rescue dog; or – most likely of all – reading.

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