SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Mary Pat Donnellon, Chief Revenue Officer at CallRail

Mary Pat Donnellon, Chief Revenue Officer at CallRail discusses the biggest business challenges that SMB marketing and sales teams face in this quick Q&A with SalesTechStar:



Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Mary Pat, tell us more about yourself and your role at CallRail?

I am the Chief Revenue Officer at CallRail, an Atlanta-based business analytics and communications platform, where I oversee marketing and sales. As a CRO with a unique level of in-depth marketing experience, I’ve seen firsthand how strong marketing strategy and execution plays a critical role in a successful sales cycle. For that reason, our marketing and sales functions are organized as one revenue-generating team, and work together closely on a daily basis to ensure CallRail is meeting its mission of helping small-to-medium sized businesses grow by improving their marketing performance and customer experience.

In your view, what are some of the basic factors that shape the typical B2B CROs work process and role? How are you seeing that evolve?

All CROs are going to be focused on attracting, engaging, converting and retaining customers, and the associated metrics and performance.

But I do see the role evolving to be more focused on creating great experiences for customers. This is certainly done in the way we market and sell, but also through the experience within the product, which also needs to be consistent and complementary. Marketing, sales, and product experiences are intertwined for customers and have to be viewed holistically to really understand and improve them. To do this well, we need to stay super tight with our customers and the market and listen to what they are telling us. We must build processes and systems so that we can do this at scale, and make needed changes quickly.

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At CallRail we have worked intentionally to build a marketing, sales and product partnership that is aligned around creating great customer experiences, and it has been a key driver of our growth and success.

We’d be interested in learning about CallRail’s latest research on how small businesses are navigating their marketing challenges today? Can you talk about the top sales challenges that SMBs typically face as well and how the right technologies are helping drive sales/marketing operations for these lean teams?

Absolutely! CallRail recently released a report based on new research showing how small businesses are navigating their marketing strategy in light of the pandemic. One of the key findings is that partnering with a marketing agency is a driver of small businesses’ ability to survive and even thrive through the pandemic.

  • SMB owners who use a marketing agency were 82% more likely than average to say that they were able to grow their business during the pandemic
  • Small business owners who don’t have a marketing strategy in place were 325% more likely than average to say that they feel their business will eventually fail on its current trajectory
  • 45% of small business marketers say that it’s highly likely they will hire an agency in the future
  • 67% of small business owners who hired internally for marketing agreed that they wish they’d hired an agency instead
  • 96% of respondents say that they would be willing to pay an agency for additional services to improve their business outside of marketing — such as customer service/sales training or brand coaching

We are seeing that small businesses are struggling to connect their marketing campaigns with results. At CallRail, we focus on helping businesses hone in on which marketing campaigns are garnering the best business opportunities, and then delivering the insights their teams need to convert and retain those customers. For example, CallRail’s Call Tracking attributes incoming phone calls to their marketing campaign origins, so that business owners can measure the success of their advertising and fine-tune their spending. From there, Lead Center provides real-time insights into how those phone calls are being handled by frontline teams so that businesses can convert more customers and deliver better customer experiences. Paired with integrated call analytics, these insights help businesses not only improve the quality of their conversations, but drive more of them.

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There is a clear opportunity not only for small businesses who are willing to dig into the analytics and make strategy improvements, but for marketing agencies who want to provide more consultative services to clients. Small businesses are telling us they are willing to make investments with a marketing agency to drive better business results. With the CallRail platform, agencies can not only prove the ROI of their marketing efforts for clients, but also share insights into the customer experience to help their clients improve it. Delivering this type of value positions agencies as trusted partners to their clients with opportunity for increased budget and retained services, translating to more revenue.

How can SMBs today navigate their business and operational challenges more effectively with the right team – technology alignment? A few marketing tools and sales tools that you feel SMBs should invest more in, in today’s environment? 

SMBs need to make sure they are effectively getting the word out to generate interest and drive leads. They need to convert their leads to customers, and then they need to take care of their customers so that they stay and come back again for more.

To do this, I think of a few critical tools/partnerships:

  1. Consider working with a marketing agency to help get the word out across online and offline channels.
  2. Use a platform like CallRail (haha!) to get clear insight into the ROI of these efforts. Invest in the high-return activities, and stop wasting time and money on low-return activities.
  3. Ensure all leads and customers are taken care of – don’t let anyone fall through the cracks. SMBs can use CallRail plus a CRM like HubSpot to do this really well. CallRail offers your inbound and outbound call and text capabilities, tracks your form submissions, and provides insights and analytics on all communications from a centralized inbox. Adding a CRM like HubSpot can ensure you track full prospect and customer pipelines, sales, retention and more. Getting pre-integrated solutions (like CallRail + Hubspot) can make this relatively easy for SMBs.

Can you share your thoughts on some of the online marketing and online sales channels (eg. Social media!) that marketing and sales teams at SMBs should be focusing more on, to drive growth and ROI?

SMBs should market where their customers are, and we do know that most everyone is online. We also know that in the current climate, many business activities that had been done in person have been moving to a digital format as well. The key is to figure out where the SMB’s desired market is and ensure that they are showing up in a relevant way for their potential customers. I think a well-rounded online strategy would include SEO optimization like a local search strategy with Google My Business, social media channels, and some level of paid search/paid media. I would also recommend cultivating a strong presence on online review sites. SMBs should identify the go-to review sites and platforms for their industry and actively encourage their customers to share their stories and success on them. This goes a long way in building trust and confidence in an SMB’s product or services, even before the potential customer engages with the business.

Some last thoughts for sales and marketing leaders in B2B

 It’s no secret that sales and marketing leaders have been faced with unexpected challenges, and some opportunities, over the last year and a half. Meeting your customers where they are and creating experiences that are personalized, thoughtful and memorable is key. Doing this requires a seamless partnership with marketing, sales and product. The teams that will be successful will break down old silos and put the customer at the center of everything they do.

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Founded in 2011, CallRail is a business analytics and communications platform that helps businesses improve customer experience and marketing performance. Serving more than 180,000 businesses, CallRail’s platform fits into existing workflows, integrates with several major marketing and sales solutions including HubSpot, Facebook, Salesforce, and Google Ads and Analytics, and scales with each customer’s needs as they grow.

The Atlanta-based company is powered by a community of over 200 passionate and hardworking employees. CallRail has been featured on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies and Deloitte Tech Fast 500 lists for multiple consecutive years. The company also earned a spot on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Top Workplaces list from 2017-2021, and the Forbes Best Startup Employers list in 2020.

Mary Pat Donnellon is the Chief Revenue Officer at CallRail

Catch the latest B2B Marketing and Sales Conversations with these latest episodes of The SalesStar Podcast!

Episode 93: How Do You Build An Impactful Customer Success Model: With Daljit Bamford, Tenth Revolution Group

Episode 92: B2B Marketing Learnings And Martech Tips With Jon Perera, CMO At HighSpot

Episode 91: Top Trends And Concerns Of B2B Revenue Teams: With Sylvia Ananicz, Head Of Revenue At Lilt



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