GTM 51: A Dream to a Nightmare

GTM 51: A Dream to a Nightmare, and Now a Multi Million Dollar Company with James Isilay

James Isilay founded Cognism a B2B sales intelligence company together with Stjepan Buljat in 2015. James had previously worked as a quantitative trader and analyst and studied Information Systems Engineering. Cognism helps you identify your ideal customers globally, find others like them, and reach out when they are most likely to buy.

What You Will Learn:

  • The power of networking as you build your career.
  • The importance of making top-tier hires when scaling your business.
  • Scaling internationally is how you win in today’s market.
  • Why SDRs should be working in the office.


(3:05) James’ career journey that led him to become a founder.

(8:09) Factors that drew James into being a financial trader early on in his career.

(14:55) James’ inflection point quitting his 9-5 to start Cognism.

(18:12) James’ learnings from his early days building Cognism.

(20:33) How James calibrated excellence across his team.

(27:08) Cognism’s take on in-office vs remote work.

(31:28) Listener question: The “need to haves” on a go-to-market tech stack.

(36:40) Hot take: Every company should be expanding and building a sales capacity globally.

(42:38) Value loops and ungated content are the way to succeed.

Guest Speaker Links:
Cognism’s Website:

Host Speaker Links:

Referenced Resource:
Book by Alice de Courcy (Cognism): The Diary of a First Time CMO.

The GTM Podcast
Don’t miss The GTM Podcast dropping every Tuesday discussing true stories and experiences including trials and tribulations in the Go-To-Market world.

Before helping found GTMfund, Scott spent 4 years at Outreach as Director of Strategic Engagement. He was in charge of aligning key relationships with VCs, BoDs, ecosystem partners and community members to drive revenue and strategic initiatives across Outreach. Scott initially ran revenue/partnerships for Sales Hacker (which was acquired by Outreach in 2018). Prior to Sales Hacker, he led and built outbound Business Development teams at Payfirma and MediaValet. Scott also advises for a number of high growth start-ups and is the host/author of The GTM Podcast and The GTM Newsletter. At GTMfund, Scott leads all fundraising efforts and runs the media arm of the firm. He’s also responsible for assessing investments, team management, LP/community relationships and GTM support for founders.

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