VP Business Development, Clari
Clari scooped a major funding round this year, raising $35 million in financing led by Tenaya Capital. Following the funding round in March, the AI for Sales company is offering customers tools that take sales forecasting and leverage AI to add data-driven approaches to refine sales leads. To dive deeper into the core tenets driving Clari’s AI for Sales technology and the immediate roadmap for the Clari product marketing team, we spoke to Somrat Niyogi, VP Business Development, Clari.
Tell us about your role at Clari and the team/technology you handle.
I run business development for Clari. As part of that, I’m responsible for building our channel business as well as strategic partnerships with a range of applications, implementation and sales transformation partners.
At Clari, what are the core tenets driving your technology and product marketing teams?
Our mission as a company is to make selling easier and more predictable. At the core of that is our commitment to customer success and our deep partnership to drive measurable value through high agility of roadmap execution. At the core to our product innovation is our strong heritage in applying AI to solve enterprise problems and delivering predictive insights through a set of practical applications for every member of the sales organization.
Could you tell us more about your recent integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator?
Clari is among a very select group of partners that have access to Linkedin’s APIs, giving users faster access to LinkedIn company and profile data. As part of our initial integration with Sales Navigator, sales reps and managers can view the Linkedin profiles of accounts and contacts they are engaged with, directly from Clari, where they update their deals, manage their pipeline and call their number.
This is the first of a range of integrations with Linkedin designed to improve the way managers inspect the pipeline, how they collaborate with reps on plays and how they align on the key stakeholders. All critical components for driving accurate forecasts.
How would this integration help reps maximize their deal productivity?
With this integration, reps can do better prospecting into target accounts – they can immediately see where and how they are connected to expedite their way into the account or progress opportunities in flight. In addition, front-line managers get better visibility to inspect the pipeline and see how they can help move deals forward through their networks and connections. This ultimately improves the way sales teams collaborate on account-based strategies and joint plays:
- Reps and inside sales teams know who in the organization has access to the power base
- Reps can quickly identify key people to connect within their target accounts
- Sales management and reps are unified on their target account strategies
What is the “State of AI-driven Sales” technology in 2018? How would Data Science and AI/ML technologies influence better adoption and ROI from sales intelligence tools?
We are in the early days of how AI and machine learning are impacting the way we work and how sales teams operate. This is a massive and highly transformative change in the way teams process information, collaborate and make decisions. We’re seeing a shift from historical analysis, reports and queries to AI-based insights that push practical information and predictions into the hands of reps, managers and sales execs at key moments across the sales process.
For instance, Clari can help identify risk and upside on opportunities and project how the quarter will end. This not only transforms the way sales teams work together to drive their strategies but also the ability of business leaders to drive the actions needed to hit the number. With AI, we’re also able to project the forecast in future quarters and suggest the required pipeline to achieve those projections. The C-suite including COOs, CFOs, CMOs and CROs are now collaborating around the same set of data points and metrics in a far more integrated and productive way than ever before.
To what extent is this state influenced by the growing need to diversify CRMs and sales intelligence tools?
CRM is going through a renaissance. The original premise of CRM was around a single unified view of the customer – and at that time it was all about filling out forms and manually inputting data. Now data volumes are increasingly growing, coming from multiple sources outside of CRM. This is fueling a wave of new innovation in the way data is collected, analyzed and presented. It’s driving the unbundling of core sales processes and the emergence of new sales intelligence tools that leverage CRM data in addition to email, calendar and other data signals to drive better decision making in sales.
What are the major challenges that lie ahead for reps working without sales technologies? How do you think reps could better leverage Clari for their overall business goals?
Whether you’re a rep, manager, VP, or C-level exec, your goal is to grow efficient, predictable revenue for your business. Period. Specifically, reps need to understand where to strategically focus their increasingly limited sell time without getting bogged down by CRM updates.
Because Clari automatically captures rep activity and customer engagement data, it all but eliminates much of the administrative burden that typically bogs down the sales process and frustrates everyone.
With Clari, reps have fewer fields to fill and easier, more intuitive ways to document deal status on the fly. And, with fewer administrative tasks on their plate, reps have more time to do what they were hired to do in the first place — sell. The majority (91 percent) of reps we surveyed, said using Clari gives them time back to sell, with nearly one-third boasting two or more reclaimed hours of precious sell time per week!
But the value does not stop with the reps. Clari provides the kind of visibility and insights a manager and a sales exec needs to accurately gauge pipeline health, identify risk and effectively prioritize where to invest to get the team back on track to hit the number.
How does Clari fit into a modern CMO’s tech stack?
The lines of the CMO’s tech stack and CRO’s tech stack are blurring. CMOs are increasingly interested in tracking their impact to the forecast and revenue and CROs are getting more knowledgeable about the way marketing teams are contributing to the overall revenue funnel. We see this as an opportunity to improve the way sales and marketing teams get aligned to achieve revenue goals and increase forecast accuracy. As we all know, a predictable sales forecast affects the levers for increasing or decreasing marketing program spend. Vice versa, if sales doesn’t know where and how marketing is influencing accounts and opportunities, it may affect driving a predictable forecast.
We are starting to address this today by giving marketing visibility into sales activity and improving contact data so they can understand campaign influence and identify where they need to focus to design and execute more impactful programs that support sales efforts. At the same time, Clari gives sales visibility into customer marketing engagement activity so they can better evaluate the true state of the deal and forecast more accurately.
Thanks for chatting with us, Somrat.
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