Mary Pat Donnellon from CallRail talks about the role of Data & AI in today’s marketing strategies & why human touch is still important in the Martech Industry
“Technology is enabling marketers to better serve customers with better, more relevant experiences. That said, the art of marketing is still as important as the science”
1. Can you tell us about your role at CallRail?
I am CallRail’s Chief Revenue Officer, and lead marketing and sales for our business. Having marketing and sales together makes a lot of sense in a high-velocity business like ours. We are able to cohesively focus on attracting, engaging, converting and cultivating customers throughout their lifecycle. CallRail has great products that customers get huge value from, so if we do our job well, the revenue growth naturally follows.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I’ve always liked technology and understanding how to solve business problems with technology. My first job outside of college was as a systems engineer. I learned early on, however, that I didn’t want to be a coder or developer. Where I thrive most is working with clients to understand their problems, and then collaborating with product teams to solve these problems through technology.
From there, I took this interest and leveraged it in the social good space, working directly for a nonprofit, as leader of a fundraising software startup, and then as VP of Marketing for Blackbaud, a larger public company that primarily serves larger social good organizations.
Since joining CallRail, I now get the opportunity to help small businesses grow and be successful. With CallRail’s products, our customers get the solutions and insights needed to grow better and faster. Helping connect the dots between what they need and what we offer is a large part of my role and is truly fun and inspiring.
3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?
Marketing is only becoming more data-driven. We have data on who we should prospect to and why, we can track the digital behavior of prospects and customers, and we know how our customers are using our products to get specific results. As marketers, we need technology to help us interpret, harness and leverage this data to better serve our customers.
Technology is enabling marketers to better serve customers with better, more relevant experiences. That said, the art of marketing is still as important as the science.
We need to also have genuine empathy and care for our customers for this to really work well.
4. How has the integration of AI enhanced marketing strategies?
AI is one of the primary drivers behind the removal of manual processes and inefficiencies in marketing. AI is now used throughout marketing efforts, from automated pay-per-click advertising bidding, content creation, and personalization. We can use AI to predict customer behavior and churn risk. At CallRail, we now offer AI-powered call analysis which automatically qualifies phone leads and transcribes inbound calls.
5. Can you explain how your Conversational Intelligence solution empowers marketing professionals?
According to CallRail’s research, 53% of customers prefer phone calls over other forms of communication when contacting a business, and we’re finding this is especially true in a socially distant world. Conversation Intelligence was created to help businesses gain key insights into the critical conversations happening with customers every day, and to save businesses resources and hours of manual work every week so they can be more efficient and productive. Using specific details from phone calls, Conversation Intelligence can show which calls are leads and which keywords were used during calls. If a marketer spends time and money to create a lead, it’s imperative to make sure that the lead is properly handled and qualified once it comes in. Conversation Intelligence helps marketers do this at scale, enabling them to take action that can meaningfully improve both marketing activities and customer satisfaction.
6. What features of your marketing analytics solution differentiates it in the market?
We know that marketers today have a huge lack of insight into what is performing well in their marketing efforts, meaning they often don’t know which tactics to deploy. CallRail is addressing this lack of insight by giving SMBs and digital marketing agencies the complete picture of their marketing efforts by including all lead types in one platform — connecting data from phone calls, online forms, chat and more. By analyzing how much they’re spending on each marketing source and how many leads each marketing source is driving, marketers can decide where to allocate their budget. CallRail also seamlessly routes leads and integrates with several major marketing and sales platforms including HubSpot, Facebook, Salesforce, and Google Ads and Analytics.
7. What advice would you like to give to startups?
One of my passions is mentoring other women in business, and it’s been incredibly inspiring to watch women from early to mid-level career stages advocate for themselves and bring their unique perspective to solving business challenges. However, there’s still a ways to go, particularly in the technology space.
It’s critical that technology startups focus on prioritizing gender and racial diversity, and understand that better decisions are made when you have diverse voices at the table.
8. What work-related hack do you follow to enjoy maximum productivity?
I’m a true believer that we have to unplug after work hours as much as possible to bring our most productive selves to the work day. Coming back to my work refreshed and fueled by time spent with family, reading or even going for a run, yields much higher productivity than trying to work 24/7. An ‘always on’ mindset is a quick path to burnout, so instead, I like to focus on being out in the world and bringing new ideas and experiences I have outside of work to my role as CRO at CallRail.
Helping teams ‘turn off’ after work is a value that our leadership team takes to heart — especially during remote work when employees are susceptible to working longer days compared to working in the office. This type of culture is only achievable when leaders set an example, and consistently give transparency and respect.
9. How do businesses prepare for an AI-centric world?
It’s important that businesses do not fear AI becoming mainstream, but instead embrace and invest in the technology. AI offers many benefits, including eliminating mundane tasks so that employees can focus on more valuable aspects of their role. As our world becomes increasingly data-driven, AI will help marketers make sense of all of the data they are collecting and use this to make better decisions.
10. What are the major developments you are planning at CallRail?
Maintaining a culture of innovation is vital to CallRail’s growth. When our customers succeed, we succeed as well. We’ve most recently announced our Lead Center product to help small businesses with both communication and with lead management. Our commitment to customer success means we’re always seeking new ways to enhance our products based on trends we’re seeing in the market, as well as through actively listening to customer feedback. Over the next year, we will continue to enhance our technology based on what’s most valuable to our customers.
11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I genuinely love my team, and get energy from working with such talented partners. My team is very accountable for our performance and for doing their jobs well, so I feel very well supported in achieving our mutual goals. I see my job as helping to set the vision. I then work to foster strong communication across teams, help secure resources, and occasionally break down the inevitable roadblocks that occur.
12. What movie inspires you the most?
This is a tough one for me, as I am more of a book-lover. Let’s just say that I like any story where a person figures out how to do something they never thought possible. I love biographies for the true versions of these stories.
13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
We will share photos of our culture and collaboration from when we were in the office, however, our work culture has looked quite different for some time now and will continue to stay that way in the near future. A few things we put in place to ensure people remain connected and feel close are encouraging our employees to expect (and welcome) disruptions during meetings and resetting expectations on deadlines with empathy and respect for each other’s unique circumstances. Additionally, CallRail offers employees an office stipend to cover the cost of setting up a comfortable space to work from home — one of many ways the company has stepped up to support employees during the pandemic.