Clari expands visibility into early stage sales accounts with new module for machine learning sales platform

Clari Team Activity provides visibility into additional prospects who are not yet considered as pipeline sales opportunities, enabling sales managers to deal with potential problems in real time. and funneling additional data back into a company's CRM system.


Clari, which offers an Opportunity-to-Close (OTC) platform which works with most CRM software, has announced their new Clari Team Activity product. It provides sales managers with real-time visibility where reps are spending time on sales accounts which are not yet defined as opportunities already in the pipeline. Pipeline opportunities previously had such visibility through the platform.

Clari started in January of 2013, and emerged from stealth a year later in 2014. Its technology inspiration was rooted in a previous company, Clearwell Systems, which the founders had also started and run.

“Clearwell made software that did natural language processing and machine learning for eDiscovery,” said Andy Byrne, Clari’s CEO and co-founder. “It was an early kind of AI. We took it to $100 million in revenue and were acquired by Symantec in 2011. After a year at Symantec, we got the team back together to start a new company, which was Clari.

The premise behind Clari was to apply machine learning/ AI concepts specifically to sales.

Andy Byrne, Clari’s CEO and co-founder

“Clearwell was our first run at machine learning, but we are really excited about what AI can do in sales,” Byrne said. “We thought that this was a really powerful way to use AI and connect it to enterprise repositories. It would allow sales teams to understand where they have risk and how they execute deals, and allow them to spot risks in sales forecasts. All this would ensure better results.”

Clari has continued to post strong growth. In 2017, they announced a 3x year-over-year growth of customers on their platform. The customer list includes large brands like GE, HPE, Box, Okta, Audi, Symantec and Palo Alto Networks.

Byrne said that the Clari platform is something that plays well with existing CRM products, rather than being an alternative to them.

“We peacefully coexist with CRMs, including Salesforce and Dynamics,” Byrne said. “We don’t support SAP Hybris yet – although that’s coming in the future. With us, the CRM doesn’t go away. The CRM is still a powerful foundation. Where we come in is being used as the primary interface to close deals faster, around new analyst category of ‘Opportunity to Close’. Thus, we aren’t a CRM ourselves, but we analyze the behavior of human beings on top of CRM, tracking the behavior of both sales reps and prospects. CRM is one of the signals that we track. We also harvest behavior from a myriad of other sources which include Gmail, Office 365, Exchange and DocuSign.”

Byrne said the CRM companies benefit by integrating with them as well.

“A side effect is that we increase the data quality that goes back into the CRM systems by an estimated 200-300 per cent,” he said. “Errors are reduced because the sales teams also no longer manually enter events. We automatically collect all of that.”

Customers use the Clari platform to do three things well, Byrne said.

“It gives their reps an experience to help them close deals faster,” he stated. “It gives sales managers new visibility into their pipeline, because we can show visibility into reps’ behavior and score how those deals are progressing. It also gives execs knowledge of where they have risks in their sales forecasts, so they can act to boost forecast accuracy.”

Clari, like most software vendors, started out selling direct, but has begun building out a channel.

“We went direct early on, and about 10 per cent of our go-to-market now is through the channel. We are looking to grow that significantly, possibly to 30 per cent by the end of this year, and 50 per cent by next year.”

Byrne said that VARs aren’t a significant player in the channel space where they operate.

“The channel story is super interesting,” he said. “While there is no channel of VARs in this space, what is there are system integrators who do CRM implementations, and sales consultants that offer customer solutions around workflows. We are seeing an evolution in both of these channels, for whom fairly recently the idea that they would be AI experts wasn’t even on the radar. These channel partners are in a mad rush to develop AI expertise, and we are partnering with them because they are moving from implementing BI to also providing AI.”

The new Team Activity Module expands AI facility on the Clari platform by extending visibility further back into the sales cycle, to cover companies which are not yet designated as opportunities in the sales pipeline.

“As we gained traction and the ability to track pipeline of opportunities to help customers understand where they have risk, they increasingly requested the ability to track all the other accounts,” Byrne said. “It’s all about being laser-focused on getting sales teams to execute.”

Team Activity will do two things for customers.

“It will eliminate blind spots about prospects that were not visible before, eliminating this white space so they can see all that activity,” Byrne stated. “In addition, because it is tied into Exchange and Office 365 and Gmail, our automated syncing will harvest this data and be able to push it back into CRM systems.”

Byrne said this will increase Ciari’s ability to increase sales productivity.

It will help in sales coaching, and rep productivity, show who is productive and who is not, and also shows where to spend time to get new reps to be more productive,” he indicated. “It also enhances the number of prospects that can be analyzed with machine learning to determine which ones are likely to convert.”

Clari Team Activity will be sold as a new module, adding to the handful of modules that previously existed for the platform.