Innovation in technology has played a critical role in accelerating the growth of business. From managing the functions and operations of business to actually being the product of the organization, technology is a key to an organization maintaining their market dominance.
Efficiently integrating proven principles with innovation for growth, is often an art accomplished by an adaptable leader. The Founder and CEO of The Vanella Group, Inc., Mari Anne Vanella understands such balance and firmly believes in delivering the best experience to her clients, especially to those looking for best-in-class skills for their prospects and clients. With a strong grit and zeal to make a difference, her tech-savvy organization has disrupted the traditional ways of performing outsourced services with her ® outbound Telesales2.0 technology.
Woman Leaders Making a Difference issue solely focuses on the contribution made by such leaders and takes pride to feature Mari Anne Vanella in this special edition.
Below are the highlights of an interview conducted between CIOLook and Mari Anne which reflects her imperative attributes of becoming an avid leader:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient leader.
Leadership is really about personal development. It’s not your title; title and effective leadership can be two different things. All of us have had experiences with bad leaders, and over the years all of us make mistakes to some degree. But the key is to learn and apply the lessons from those. Seeing the lesson is knowledge, applying it is wisdom. I also believe a big component to where I am now is to be willing to dive in and continually learn and expose myself to new things. Everything moves so fast in today’s business climate, if you are hesitating or waiting for a perfect set of conditions to magically appear, you’ll miss the window of entry.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal the target audience?
Over the years my client profile has changed quite a bit. When I started this company, many of my enterprise tech clients had sales teams that had little automation. Even though they were selling complex technology solutions, their internal selling environment was really very manual. In recent years, automation has become a dominant factor in how we design our workflow. Now we have fine-tuned our outbound ® model into the Telesales 2.0 methodology that has many levels of moving parts that include a CRM best-practices model, marketing automation practice, low-touch relationship management add-ons, and delivering information in formats friendly to mobile.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every business personnel should possess.
Willingness to go above and beyond for the clients! This isn’t just a “service” like dry cleaning, i.e. you wanted us to call people, and we did, pay us. It’s about delivering value.
That reaches into messaging, discovering what works for the client and playing an active part in their success. I am really thankful for the team we have here that really shows their commitment to excellence. They own it. Skills you can train, the character reflects core values I look for that in people.
As per your opinion, what roadblocks or challenges are faced by women in a corporate business?
And what is your advice to overcome them? I have always looked at my place in corporate America as an executive, not a “woman” executive. I don’t think it forges change to separate or isolate ourselves as a group, and then say we want to be treated equal. There’s plenty of research out there that shows how having a balance of male and female leadership creates success. Revenue growth is impacted positively, company culture is, and balanced leadership permeates the business in a positive way. Not all businesses understand or are aware of their laggard position, or they are hiring more along the lines of “sameness.” I don’t avoid organizations that are a bit behind in their blended leadership, I just provide a different experience for them than what they expect and give them a new reference point so they have more awareness when they think of leadership and inclusion.
Have you in any ways contributed towards the cause of women empowerment.
I believe having examples and mentors is important. I am thankful for people that helped me during my career development, and it is an equal base of men and women. I help others early in their careers to understand how to manage situations and discover opportunities for personal development. I firmly believe anyone that has achieved a level of success, it is important to pay it forward.
What are your insights on the necessity of ’Women in position of power’?
And, how could it bring out a change in traditional male dominated industries? As I mentioned before, it adds balance to the team. I know there are some industries that are not as modernized as others, they may or may not catch up anytime soon. A key element for change is for the CSuite to stay current on what results are possible, where they stack up against those organizations and how they can better align with models that work. It has to start at the top. The end result and change will be bottom line results, those numbers will speak louder than anything else. I think if you look at performance impact and growth alone, it clearly makes financial sense to widen out.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market?
I look at what is really happening out in the market. We have maintained our place as a premium provider of outbound teleservices, and that is a key differentiator of ours. But as the activities of sales teams evolve, we stay current with those changes.
I have the background of being in roles where I was a consumer of outbound teleservices, so that gives me an advantage of seeing requirements from an internal vantage point as well—so we can be very precise in what we are delivering.
How do you upgrade yourself with volatile technological trends to boost your personal growth?
I have always been an early adopter of technology, and that extends to entire team at The Vanella Group, Inc. Being in front of mass adoption is important to maintain your position as relevant. It also enables me to be in a role where I can recommend tech tools that really make a difference for my clients. There are so many cool platforms on the horizon, and already we see AI making inroads in sales and marketing organizations in a very impactful way. Also, personal tech and wearable tech makes us more productive in both our professional and personal environments. I am just a tech geek so I really enjoy experiencing new possibilities for growth.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
We just released a new service tier called White Glove VIP Relationship Management. That was based on what we consistently see happening with sales and marketing organizations with the demands they have on them today. We often identify large B2B tech sales cycles, but reps are juggling late stage deals, early stage, new relationships, existing accounts, etc. We want to add a level of interaction and visibility to pipeline management that keeps prospects moving along and not getting lost in the shuffle. It includes 7 different monitoring methods and live discussion that enable our clients to stay in front of any changes.
My company is focused on B2B enterprise tech–narrowing our focus enabled me to be very specific in how I develop our solutions.