Case Study

Marketing Master Secured in Ottawa

Position: Chief Marketing Officer
Industry: SAAS
Company: VanillaSoft


Darryl Praill is a highly regarded marketing executive who had worked with industry giants like SAP, IBM, Airbus, Kinaxis and UBM – along with helping raise millions in funding and taking companies public – before starting his own boutique marketing firm. 

By his own admission, Praill was very happy running his own shop. He wasn’t looking for a job. And although he’d been approached by recruiters countless times, Praill had always turned them down flat. “Every single time a recruiter had called me up, I’d actually said, ‘No, go away. I like my life,’” he says. “I had a good quality of life. I had a steady, predictable income. I had good relationships with my clients.” 

But then executive recruiter David Perry came calling. He was looking for a chief marketing officer role at up-and-coming software firm VanillaSoft and knew Praill was the perfect candidate. At the time, VanillaSoft was a relatively small but successful sales engagement company with around 750 global clients and superior technology but was dwarfed by some of its competitors. The company needed a top-tier marketing mind like Praill’s to help get it on the map. 

Little did Praill know at the time, but he also needed VanillaSoft. And even though he turned Perry-Martel down at first, he soon changed his mind. Because Perry-Martel’s entire approach to executive recruiting was different than anything he’d had ever experienced – and for all the right reasons


The first thing Praill noticed was Perry-Martel’s focus on job fit for both sides, not just the employer (not the case for most recruiters – after all, the employer is the one paying the bill). Perry-Martel’s one-year guarantee means it’s not just about filling a hiring requirement or ticking a box and moving on. Rather, the Perry-Martel Inside-Out approach is a systematic, sometimes grueling process that finds and engages the best talent and ensures a perfect cultural fit at the hiring organization for lasting impact.

“He’s far more candid and straight shooting with you as the prospect, the candidate, than any other recruiter I’ve been with before,” Praill says. “He’ll  tell you why you’re a good fit or why you’re not a good fit. And he will give you blunt, candid feedback throughout the process, which is often difficult to get out of other recruiters.”

Through extremely candid feedback and the most exhaustive vetting he’d ever experienced – including detailed emotional intelligence testing and several interviews – it became obvious that Praill was, indeed, the right fit for the role. But that didn’t mean the process was over.

Because even though Praill and VanillaSoft were both ready to sign on the dotted line, the Inside-Out process to determine cultural fit wasn’t quite complete. “He manages the expectations with the employer on how to properly manage the candidate, so the candidate will succeed,” Praill says. “He focuses on making sure there are no surprises for all parties. I like to think of him as part matchmaker and part counselor.”


Praill took the job, becoming VanillaSoft’s 24th employee. Two years later, says he’s having the most fun he’s had in decades.

He’s blown past all his KPI’s, including a 6x increase in blog engagement, 4x increase in overall social engagement, 4x increase in sales leads, and 3x increase in referrals. The company plans to hire more than 80 new staff (Perry-Martel is hiring the senior sales team and hired the Director of HR in early 2019) after receiving a $4M funding injection in early 2019, thanks in part to Praill’s marketing and engagement success. VanillaSoft is now well-recognized in the marketplace as a top company that punches above its weight class, without taking on too much debt and keeping its valuation high.

Praill, meanwhile, says he and his colleagues still marvel at just how well Perry-Martel’s well-defined process found the perfect fit between candidate and company. “It’s scary how well he did it,” says Praill. “I tell people the reason I’m having so much fun at VanillaSoft is because my colleagues and I are so much alike. We just get each other, you know?”

“They were overly prepared in all phases throughout the interviewing process when dealing with the candidates and our internal team. They not only said they cared but they took the time to show how much they cared with each member of the search team by getting to know our personalities, our communication style, and our passion for VanillaSoft.”

- Scott Amersn, Vice President of Sales, VanillaSoft


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