Being a salesperson isn’t easy. I should know — I did it for over two decades. But one thing is sure.
The job is made harder by technologies that serve the executive team more than they do the salespeople who use them.
Today, Clari — a sales analytics and forecasting solution — is launching Connect, a messaging platform dedicated to solving some of the challenges, problems, and issues with the current crop of sales technologies.
In other words, Connect serves the salesperson first.
“Our strong belief…for traditional CRM is that it will continue to be a vital system of record and data platform for managing sales-related data. Salesforce and its competitors aren’t going anywhere,” Andy Byrne, CEO at Clari, told me, “but the future for sales itself is that intelligent platforms will be adopted by companies that want to go beyond a simple sales database to driving better sales performance, reducing risk, and improving forecast accuracy.”
Before we move on to why Connect matters, it is important to recap what Clari does right now.
A data science company, with its heritage in machine learning, Clari had been working to understand patterns in enterprise data. Its automated email discovery solutions were being used by regulatory bodies to help provide audits, balances, and checks. It is backed to the tune of $45 million by Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital Ventures, with headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
In 2014, Clari launched its sales productivity platform. It uses machine learning technology to sift through huge volumes of sales data in CRM systems, emails, calendars, and call center apps. Why? To help predict when to call prospects, determine what salespeople should be doing and when they should be doing it, provide high-quality advice on how to streamline activities, work out where roadblocks exist, and generate accurate sales forecasts.
After all, if you know when a prospect most often opens and reads emails and what device they do that on — and you have all the email and call center data to understand every communication — you can predict exactly when to contact them for best effect.
Clari combines mobile, great design, and data science to help salespeople close deals faster and reduce the drudgery of manual reporting, and yet it still provides executives with the insight they need. In fact, it does this more efficiently than a regular CRM, which relies heavily on manual entry.
Manual entry is a problem not just for salespeople, but for those that have to take the forecast to the bank. Why? Because salespeople are humans too, and predicted sales versus actual results deviate regularly. Fortunately, Clari knows this. Thanks to machine learning, it understands all the standard deviations in your data and will adjust the forecast and other insights to match each salesperson’s proclivity.
So how does Connect augment this existing solution, and why does it matter?
“Clari Connect is a purpose-built platform dedicated to solving the challenges in sales team communication and collaboration on deals,” Byrne said. “Simply put, the implication for businesses is that Connect takes analytic insights about sales that used to live in business intelligence reports and spreadsheets and makes them immediately available to the entire sales team — execs, managers, and reps — in a way that facilitates real-time action and collaboration.”
In other words, Connect is an enterprise messaging service. Not sexy enough for you? I know — there are a lot of those. This one is bot-enhanced though. Got your attention now? Good. Bots are all the rage these days.
Salespeople can share and receive information on their deals, coordinate meetings, make announcements (such as “BOOM — BIG WIN!”), and have all their business conversations (and probably some non-business ones too) in one place.
But that’s not where the magic happens. You can do that in any messaging platform. Where Clari Connect comes into its own is in the way its predictive technology joins in on the sales party.
That deal you’re chatting about in Connect? The “Claribot” will chime in at just the right time with helpful advice and nudges, such as “Hey — your last contact was 11 days ago: Why don’t we get in touch with them now?” or “Things seem quiet with this deal. Any next steps?”
And that’s not all (note: Please read that in an infomercial-style voice).
Connect stays true to its name and brings in information from everywhere across your business. Want to see customer service tickets alongside sales information? Done. Want to get executive sponsorship or alert the right people to impending discounts? Done.
It automatically syncs across mobile, desktop, and the web so salespeople can start a conversation on one device and continue it on another without loss of data or context.
If I were still in sales, this is exactly the kind of solution I’d want in my corner — something that takes existing communications, without forcing me to double-enter everything I say or do into another system, and then magically tells me what I should focus on next for best effect. Byrne thinks this category of sales technologies is the future, and I’m inclined to agree.
“Optimizing the ‘opportunity to close’ process will have a transformative effect on enterprise sales teams, much greater than the impact of CRM,” Byrne said.
Clari Connect is available now on the web, App Store, and Google Play from today via the company’s website, as an add-on to the Clari platform.