CATEGORY

B2B Vanguards

Michelle Cirocco

Chief Responsibility Officer

Michelle Cirocco is the definition of the Vanguard Award, as illustrated by her work and continual commitment to social responsibility. During her 20 years at Televerde, 12 of which were in leadership positions, Cirocco has overseen close to 100 staff members, of which:

  • 90% were women;
  • Most have been incarcerated; and
  • 60% started in entry-level positions.

Cirocco climbed the corporate ladder from contact center employee to one of the first female executives to chief responsibility officer at Televerde. She has promoted 40+ employees into leadership positions and has mentored six employees into director and VP positions at Televerde.

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?

One of my biggest achievements this year is having created and hosted TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional. I believe that we must remove the stigma of incarceration and reduce recidivism rates by providing jobs, training and education that lead to meaningful careers for incarcerated women. The goal with hosting TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional was to create a new understanding of what it means to change and to challenge the preconceived notions attendees had. I am proud of what TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional stands for and the light it has shown, and continues to shine, on this topic.

In addition to TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional, I have been leading Televerde’s brand refresh. While the specifics aren’t yet public, this will make Televerde’s message and differentiators much clearer and reminiscent of who we are and what we represent as a purpose-driven company.

I also led the internal implementation of Marketo and built out a global demand generation engine that’s a model of what we recommend and manage for our customers.

How have you helped try to foster a culture of innovation within your team and organization?

It’s important to me to make sure that people have strategic direction, are empowered and have the tools they need to do their jobs. Beyond that, my responsibility should be to move obstacles out of people’s way and let them do what they were hired to do. Ultimately, this is the most effective way to foster innovation within the company and within my team.

A few of the specific things I’ve done around innovation are:

  • I helped to create the Arouet Foundation, an organization that focuses on helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women re-enter society and reduce their likelihood to recidivate;
  • When I was promoted to Televerde’s Director of Sales Operations, I wanted to truly understand the processes involved in customer management and growth so I could effectively impact sales. By doing this, I achieved a 38% increase in average deal size and a 30% shortened sales cycle by implementing new sales structure, standardizing pricing, proposal and contract processes. I also evaluated, selected and implemented Salesforce.com which resulted in a 20% productivity increase;
  • My next role at Televerde was to create and run Televerde’s client success department. I built the 60-person department from the ground up, creating a 35% reduction in customer churn/attrition through improved account management and project management initiatives. This led to a $14M four-year compounded increase in sales revenue and a 40% growth of strategic accounts through improved hiring, training and account planning practices; and
  • Now, as Televerde’s head of global marketing, I get to take the knowledge I learned from working closely with clients and use it to redefine Televerde’s brand. I’ve also been able to create a video and social selling service offering for clients.

Any fun facts/interesting personal notes you would share that other B2B peers may find interesting?

This year, I dedicated a lot of my time out of the office to planning TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional. I’ve talked a lot about the experience, but it truly was my passion project and I’m now moving towards starting to plan the next one. I’m also passionate about being involved in and giving back to the community and I volunteer at several organizations outside the office, including the Phoenix Rescue Mission, Gina’s Team, Arouet Foundation and more.

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Stephanie Ragozzino

EVP of Product

Stephanie Ragozzino of PERQ spearheaded a key initiative for the company — incorporating AI and machine learning into the company’s offering to help customers predict each consumer’s next best step, driving an even more interactive, individualized consumer experience. 

With carefully-curated data insights, combined with an understanding of the consumer’s online journey, Ragozzino and her team engineered the AI solution to more precisely and smoothly predict each consumer step and personalize each website experience — ultimately, leading to an in-person interaction with a leasing agent, armed with data to close the deal. The automated interactions resulted in more leads and created greater engagement on property management sites, increasing conversions to rent/purchase. Similar results were achieved for automotive and home furnishing retailers.

Ultimately, PERQ increased its new client base by more than 72% and saw triple-digit revenue growth thanks to the initiative.

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role (new campaigns, partnering with sales, new tech deployed or growth initiatives supported)?

A large and difficult achievement that I am most proud of has been smart growth. In the last three years, we have built and scaled a product that has turned into a relied-upon solution in three different markets. As a cross-departmental team, we have learned the problems and challenges faced by each industry, created a unique market solution and scaled the solution in each market.

We went from market exploration for market/product fit, to a sellable product with a cross-country sales team, client success teams and implementation support. These markets grew to $5 million in revenue in two years. A large part of this success has been staying focused in these markets, and not getting off track with opportunities outside of our focus markets. We have been very smart with growth and are constantly taking client feedback to evolve the solutions created from our technology, while continuing to explore the next market ripe for innovation.

Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How has your whole team helped achieve results?

PERQ’s success is not one person, but the passion and collaboration of the PERQ team. It is really 1 + 1 = 3 when talking about the power of the PERQ team. One of my favorite examples is the advancement of our AI solution.

We leverage the power of data, taking over 10 million data points on consumer behavior from website sessions, shopping behavior and purchases and adding AI and machine learning to predict each consumer’s next best step. It drives an even more interactive, individualized consumer experience, while arming the retailer/business with specific information to better convert consumers in store. Our customers were already seeing more than a 400% lift in website visitors becoming a lead. With AI we’re seeing an additional 50% lift in conversion. This innovation took a combination of product marketers, product managers, data scientists, UX designers, software engineers, quality assurance, marketing & sales teams working very closely together to dream, build, design, test and deliver this innovation. While this innovation was driven by the members of my team, none of this would have been possible without a true PERQ team effort.

How have you helped try to foster a culture of innovation within your team and organization?

I am so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a creative, passionate and talented team. I hired each of them for how they uniquely make me and PERQ better every day. I talk to my team every day. We brainstorm weekly and can fill a room full of whiteboards in an hour. My role is usually to challenge the status quo, be their biggest cheerleader in researching new ideas, help them think outside the box when new ideas become challenging and secure resources and funding when necessary to push the envelope. I challenge them a lot on “Why? Why should we do this? Why can’t we do that? Why will this make our business and shoppers better?” I really believe that an individual, creative idea becomes an innovative idea when you collaborate with a team of people whose culture and passion is to innovate.

Any fun facts/interesting personal notes you would share that other B2B peers may find interesting?

On a personal note, I have a wonderful husband and three amazing kids. We love to travel, play board games and attend/play any sports event. As a family, we really enjoy tinkering with new technology, cardboard and anything we have around the house building, inventions like a candy machine and arcade to foster creative and innovative thinking. My kids love trying new things and I am very proud when my 10-year-old son tells everyone he wants to be an inventor when he grows up.

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