Q&A with Darryl Praill, Chief Revenue Officer at VanillaSoft

Darryl Praill, Chief Revenue Officer at VanillaSoft, is a veteran Vice President of Marketing, an occasional Vice President of Sales, and often a Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He understands quotas as well as strategy and tactics.

Those organizations who encourage their staff to participate in these communities will see dramatic growth in their people and their impact on corporate results.



MEDIA 7: Congratulations on being listed as one of the ‘Top 10 SaaS Branding Experts in 2020’! What inspired you to get into this industry?
DARRYL PRAILL:
Candidly, I more so fell into the industry. I’m a computer programmer by education. However, the more I created software, the more I wanted the world to know how amazing and impactful it was. To do that, I knew I needed to better understand the power of persuasion and influence. That led me on a career journey of discovery that started with becoming a Sales Engineer, then a Product Manager, then into Product Marketing, and ultimately, a Marketer. Once I arrived in that role, I knew I’d found my happy spot. It was about connecting with people where they’re at. It’s talking to them the same way I want to be talked to. It’s about trust and relationship and connection. And, candidly, that’s what branding is all about.


M7: What are the benefits of using SaaS CRM solutions?
DP:
SasS CRM solutions are powerful, potentially complex and definitely overwhelming but there are so many advantages as well. The Saas aspect allows users to spend their money only on the term (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.) and features they want. It minimizes financial risk and allows users to increase their investment as they become ready for more features. The CRM aspect also allow users to eliminate various spreadsheets, scraps of paper and daytimers as it consolidates the management of the customer relationship including conversations across all communications channels (phone, social, email, SMS, video, direct mail, etc.) so that the system guides them on how to develop and grow their business. It can manage the communications, the sales opportunities, post-sales service, and the ongoing upsells and cross-sells. Candidly, CRM is exactly what it claims to be — a Customer Relationship Management system. Without it, users will never successfully scale their business.


The work-from-home culture brought about by COVID will result in companies growing by utilizing more affordable talent outside of their borders and being exposed to processes that are utilized in different industries or regions.



M7: How does VanillaSoft’s sales engagement platform give sales teams the tools they need to engage, qualify and close their sales?
DP:
In its simplest form, VanillaSoft continuously tells the sales rep what their next action should be, and who it should be with. Nonstop. Over and over again, It ensures each sales rep engages with a potential customer by telling them the next step in their prospecting cadence (email, phone, social media touch, video, direct mail, etc.) ensuring that they do nine or 12 or 15 for 36 (you get the idea) attempts across multiple channels. It eliminates the constant complaint that sales reps do not make enough outreach attempts, do not follow-up on leads fast enough, do not utilize all channels of communication, and don't do enough prospecting activity. And it does it in a very user-friendly way. By eliminating the behaviors that are preventing a sales rep from achieving the massive success they seek, they are rewarded with that very success by using sales engagement software.


M7: What budget-related challenges do you face every day at VanillaSoft? What strategies do you bank on for overcoming those?
DP:
There are two big budget-related challenges we constantly navigate. The first is the cost of people. Currently, demand for quality people massively outstrips supply and as such the salaries for these people are dramatically increasing. That makes it difficult to grow an organization unless you’re massively venture-funded and have permission to lose money in the pursuit of growth. The second challenge is funding investment in a company’s brand and awareness to drive a constant stream of inbound sales leads. Branding requires a heavy investment in industry events, influencer marketing, and content creation. Again, venture-backed organizations can fund these activities however non-venture-backed teams, like VanillaSoft, need to constantly generate ROI from any investments they make. That makes it difficult to manage our budget while still growing our brand and attracting world-class employees. To overcome these issues, we have invested substantial time into developing our social followers, our opt-in database, and our overall community reach using personal relationships with key VanillaSoft employees. That’s essentially free but it does take time. By leveraging these relationships, we have achieved notable visibility at minimal expense. When it comes to hiring amazing talent, we continue to source job candidates who are not currently in the high-tech industry and are willing to accept a more palatable wage for the opportunity to enter the SaaS space.


Tech stacks continue to grow across companies and the money required to sustain and improve systems and processes are becoming a higher and higher line-item expense.



M7: What do you believe are the top three financial challenges for the companies that are ruling in the post COVID-19 era?
DP:
The top three financial challenges post-COVID-19, in my opinion, are:
1. The dramatic increase in the cost of hiring new employees. Salaries are dramatically increasing, and it typically takes six to twelve months before an employee starts contributing towards positive cash flow based on their impact.
2. Marketing budgets contracted substantially during COVID-19 and many companies ‘saved’ their way through this period. As things open up, there is now notable tension between corporate officers wanting to keep discretionary budgets low and Sales and Marketing leaders wanting to return to historical spend allocations to drive revenue growth. This likely will result in missed revenue growth in the short term as companies wait too long to invest in growth.
3. Tech stacks continue to grow across companies and the money required to sustain and improve systems and processes are becoming a higher and higher line-item expense. Organizations will need to rationalize their investments and that will result in discord among key employees and departments as they feel their success is impeded by these decisions, which may result in greater employee turnover.

M7: What are the top SaaS trends you are looking forward to in 2021 that will help in transforming your company?
DP:
Massive trends are reshaping companies in 2021, especially as we slowly leave COVID-19. Some include:
- The emergence of communities dedicated to specific skills such as Sales, Marketing, and Operations. Thousands of people are gathering to share knowledge, troubleshoot their issues, seek guidance, or look for new jobs. Those organizations who encourage their staff to participate in these communities will see dramatic growth in their people and their impact on corporate results. Further, it’s a brilliant way of creating awareness for your company by sponsoring or contributing knowledge to these specific communities.

- Account-Based Marketing is evolving into Account-Based Marketing/Sales/Success/Support/Etc. The approach is evolving beyond just targeting new sales using dedicated targeted advertising. This approach will transform organizations' market penetration and growth as they adopt it and apply it across their entire organization and entire customer lifecycle.

- The ability to hire people regardless of their location on this planet. The work-from-home culture brought about by COVID-19 will result in companies growing by utilizing more affordable talent outside of their borders and being exposed to processes that are utilized in different industries or regions. The ability to increase work-life balance while attracting world-class talent is going to change how companies fundamentally operate and it’s available to all companies of all sizes. It is a serious game-changer.


M7: You are a radio show host, producer, and public speaker as well! What is your secret to juggling all these roles along with a successful career?
DP:
I have done, and continue to do all of these things. Juggling it is hard. I rely on an amazing team who help manage the logistics and keep me focused by helping me manage my calendar. If you don’t have staff to help then seriously consider utilizing virtual assistants. It’s the only way you can scale and still do the key things that help you generate revenue and grow your business.

ABOUT VANILLASOFT

VanillaSoft, the industry’s most successful sales engagement platform, helps sales development teams engage over 15,000,000 contacts every month. Used standalone, or in combination with existing traditional CRM systems, VanillaSoft empowers sales reps to respond to new leads faster, interact with leads more consistently, across more channels, and generate more qualified sales opportunities. Thousands of users around the globe use VanillaSoft's queue-based sales engine and intelligent routing to implement sales cadence automation, resulting in substantial improvements in speed-to-lead, persistency, productivity, and revenue-per-rep. VanillaSoft is a privately held company headquartered in Plano, Texas, USA. To learn more, visit www.vanillasoft.com.

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Read More

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Announced during AWS re:Invent 2023, the Geo and Global AWS Distributor Partner of the Year Awards shine the spotlight on Ingram Micro’s high-performing team and continued investments in advanced AWS technical talent, professional services and cloud migration competencies. “Through a strategic alliance with AWS, Ingram Micro has played a pivotal role in empowering Keystone Technologies to take the lead in healthcare EHR data solutions,” says Andy Belval, Chief Revenue Officer, Keystone Technologies. “Ingram Micro’s expertise in cloud solutions, coupled with a dedicated relational partner approach, not only enhances their own business value but also significantly contributes to Keystone Technologies’ ability to deliver better outcomes and cost savings for our healthcare customers.” In 2023, Ingram Micro’s AWS business continued to grow with more and more partners leveraging Ingram Micro to progress through their AWS Partner Network (APN) journey. Ingram Micro navigates AWS partners through APN programs while also expanding their services capabilities including assessment, design, deployment, and management of cloud migrations with greater speed. Additional differentiators to Ingram Micro’s success with AWS channel partners include its wide and deep executive relationships, as well as its Center of Excellence, strategic acquisitions of technical talent, and expansion of its Professional Services portfolio as it relates to cloud and migration services. “Ingram Micro’s early adoption of Cloud, understanding of an entrepreneur's needs and focus on the success for us to become one of their largest AWS resellers is what we were looking for in a distribution partner to grow our business and improve our value in the eyes of our customers,” says Dao Jensen, CEO of Oak Rocket. Ingram Micro provides channel partners access to experienced talent and professional services that can help them accelerate the customer cloud adoption journey including the technical personnel, tools, education, technology, and technical support needed to ideate, deploy, and manage AWS solutions. “AWS is a gold mine of opportunity for an MSP yet remains a heavy lift for most,” says Duncan Robinson, vice president, growth partnerships, Ingram Micro. “We’re here to help our channel partners optimize their sales cycle and effectively design, deploy, and manage AWS solutions that improve the customer’s experience, performance, reliability, and agility, while reducing the total cost of ownership.” Ingram Micro’s long-standing and successful relationship with AWS includes earning several AWS Competency and AWS Service Delivery designations in recent years, including being the first global distributor to earn the AWS Migration Competency and more recently being awarded the AWS Data & Analytics Competency. Other designations include the AWS Cloud Management Tools (CMT) Competency, the AWS DevOps Consulting Competency, and the AWS Config Service Delivery designation. “The experience that Mxmart has had working with Ingram Micro as a strategic partner of AWS has been fundamental for our growth,” says Dario Gomez, CEO Mxmart Solutions. “The support we’ve received technically, commercially, and via programs has added invaluable strength to our company.” About Ingram Micro Ingram Micro is the business behind the world’s brands with the ability to reach nearly 90 percent of the world’s population. Our diverse solutions portfolio includes advanced and specialty solutions, cloud, mobility, and commercial/consumer technologies, while enabling a global circular economy with full-service IT Asset Disposition and reverse logistics and repair services. Leveraging investments in technical, financial, and marketing resources, Ingram Micro helps customers run their businesses better and grow their technology practices faster. Ingram Micro operates in 59 countries and reaches close to 200 countries. We have approximately 26,000 associates committed to providing our more than 161,000 customers and 1,500 vendor partners worldwide with a superior experience. Our fully digital, AI-driven business platform, known as Ingram Micro Xvantage™, eliminates the friction of doing business in IT and allows our customers to have a more insightful experience both buying and managing technology. We are also fully committed to being a global steward with world-class ESG practices.

Read More