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Why I Joined Propel: My Journey from CIO to CRO to CEO

A message from Propel’s new CEO, Ross Meyercord.

I’m thrilled to introduce myself as the new CEO of Propel and in doing so, I’m humbled and honored to stand on the shoulders of the great founders who created the company. They were bold enough to gamble seven years ago on product data living in the cloud—and their brave decision resulted in a company that now delivers that vision to 200 customers. 

Every company goes through different phases or chapters in its history. As Propel begins this one with me at the helm, I’d like to first say that I am incredibly thankful for the vision and leadership Ray Hein and Ron Hess provided to get us to where we are today. 

Ray and Ron, together with an impressive group of investors, will continue to help guide the company as I add my expertise to the mix. I had the pleasure of meeting every Propel board member during the interview process, and I am deeply encouraged by their commitment to support Propel as our disruption of the industry reaches an inflection point.

But let’s not stop at disruption. Let’s rattle it to its core. Let’s expose the shortcomings of rigid legacy solutions (such as the ones I implemented for clients of Accenture 25 years ago) that are still there today. Modern companies deserve so much better. 

Let’s advance current thinking from technology for the business, to technology driving the business. 

Let’s accelerate our pace of innovation so that our customers can be more successful tomorrow than they are today. 

Innovation is at the core of Propel and our product value management (PVM) platform—a cloud native master product record that provides visibility, insight and collaboration across the entire value chain so companies can make smarter decisions faster. That is what today’s product companies need to meet the demands of their customers, and that is why Propel is displacing legacy product lifecycle management (PLM) and quality management (QMS) solutions at a record pace.

Technology is driving business outcomes like never before, requiring us all to think differently about how we work. The old days of operating in siloed departments are over—information and information sharing has become a powerful differentiator not only for SaaS companies like Propel, but also for the customers we serve. And that’s one of the main reasons why I chose to make the leap to Propel at this time. 

The big question most people have is why specifically did I choose to join Propel with so many opportunities in the market. The short answer is that Propel is a fast growing company where my experience is uniquely suited to help us capitalize on legacy industries that have reached a tipping point.  

Propel is an innovation leader, both in terms of our PVM platform as well as our dedication to future-proof it. Recent launches of our product information management (PIM) solution, supplier data intelligence, Slack integration for anytime and anywhere collaboration, and rich 2D and 3D visual imaging are just the beginning. And the upgrade to Salesforce’s Lightning Web Components in order to extend our no code/low code offering throughout our platform is an essential step to validate the extraordinary benefits of Propel’s cloud-based solution. 

Over the past 30 years I’ve had the opportunity to work for some amazing companies and, in doing so, have led and advised many high-profile global brands on large-scale technology investments. In addition, I’ve worked directly with manufacturers to implement PLM and QMS solutions, and have been instrumental in guiding customer-facing teams to mutually drive customer success and company growth.

During my time with Accenture, I saw firsthand the need for businesses of all sizes to continuously adapt to new conditions, and how technology can be a great asset in their transformation. 

At Salesforce, I witnessed the evolution of the CIO role from a tactical initiative to a core strategic business asset. As an early pioneer in Software as a Service, it was imperative Salesforce drove an end-to-end digital transformation of its internal systems. That digital transformation was the core of my strategy (and ultimately my legacy) during my time as CIO. 

Propel is an ideal solution for CIOs that value end-to-end product data visibility and collaboration. And we are a no brainer for product companies that have already chosen the Salesforce platform and want to unlock more value from their existing investment.

That last point brings me to my most recent experience as EVP of Sales at Salesforce and then Chief Revenue Officer at Pluralsight. In these roles, I operated from a customer centric/success perspective—focus first on what is best for the customer, thus becoming a trusted partner. Trusted partner relationships result in more revenue for the vendor, and greater ROI for the customer. 

One of the things that attracted me to Propel was how closely it embodies this ethos, with customer satisfaction scores off the charts, amazing retention rates, and expansion rates that are indicative of high-growth customers that want to reinvest in Propel to fuel their future strategy. And if we don’t get it right the first time, our customers know we will go the extra mile for them each and every time an issue arises.

One of the smartest decisions that business leaders can make today is investing in the cloud. A recent Gartner report stated that cloud application services (SaaS) will grow from $167B in 2022, to $195B in 2023—and that’s where Propel has a distinct advantage. 

As product companies are at a crossroads in their journey from legacy PLM and QMS solutions toward cloud native, we have the expertise to guide them as they course correct for the future. And the future is where we are all headed with the cloud. My appointment as CEO is part of our long-term commitment to delivering unparalleled value to our customers. 

As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, I’m energized by the possibilities ahead and look forward to working closely with our customers to help them optimize business outcomes. As for all of the incredibly talented Propellerheads, thanks for placing your bets on me.

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Ross Meyercord
CEO, Propel

Ross Meyercord is CEO of Propel Software, a SaaS provider dedicated to helping high tech, medtech and consumer goods companies build compelling and profitable products. Throughout his 30+ year career, Meyercord has worked in a variety of capacities, including directly with manufacturers to implement PLM and QMS solutions, managed global technology organizations, and has been instrumental in guiding customer-facing teams to increase customer success and drive corporate growth.

Fun Fact: When not working or with family, you will likely find Ross on the tennis courts.

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Ross Meyercord