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June 10, 2019

Five Questions with… Clari CEO Andy Byrne

"Air taxis will be the greatest technological advancement of our time"

By CBR Staff Writer

Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a C-suite tech industry interviewee. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Clari CEO Andy Byrne.

Biggest Challenge for your Clients?

Revenue operations is the most critical, yet the most inefficient process across most companies. For so many organizations, revenue operations teams — sales, marketing, and customer success — are disconnected, operating in their own silos and not aligned throughout the buyer’s journey. These teams have no shared view of the business, and so they often make critical business decisions blindly. CRM systems are at the very core of this problem.

CRM systems are great for keeping track of contacts and transactions, but revenue teams have always had a love/hate relationship with them. They’re not actually designed to make sales easier or more productive, and they consume astronomical amounts of time due to the manual data entry required to get any value out of them. The reality is that no one updates their CRM systems, which means teams end up assessing risk and making decisions based on little to no information.

Clari CEOLuckily, AI and machine learning are game changers for revenue operations.

We use AI and automation to automatically update the CRM system so we can show sellers, marketers and customer success leaders where there’s risk and upside in the business. A single, accurate view of all revenue operations so the teams can collectively take action to impact revenue for current and future quarters is transformational on a cultural level. It drives accountability, which creates trust. And trust is the lifeblood of an organization.

Technology that Excites You Most?

Hands down, air taxis will be the greatest technological advancement of our time. Not self-driving cars, but air taxis.

I once heard a presentation by renowned architect Sir Norman Foster — also the recipient of The Pritzker Architecture Prize — around the inefficiencies of current day transportation — i.e. cars. He cited that the average speed of traffic in London is seven miles per hour and four miles per hour in NYC. He then went on to talk about climate change and the amount of congestion clogging our city streets. It all made for a compelling argument that motor vehicles are a failed experiment. As a former pilot, I am all in on this idea.

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I can imagine a future where transportation is all aerial and battery powered — with AI and machine learning acting as the self-driving pilot. It’s a future like you’d see in sci-fi movies like Blade Runner or The Fifth Element. It’s exciting stuff!

Greatest Success?

We took a massive risk entering a market dominated by CRM incumbents like Salesforce. It was risky battling the status quo and convincing sales leaders and CROs they needed a Revenue Operations platform to drive predictable revenue — a value proposition mistakenly expected to be fulfilled by CRM systems.

Today, Clari is moving fast. In under 5 years, the company has raised $75 million from leading investors, including Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital Ventures. We have hundreds of marquee enterprise customers — Lenovo, Adobe, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dropbox, Palo Alto Networks, Okta and more — that place Clari on the list of their top three most strategic Enterprise SaaS solutions. And we’re only just getting started.

Worst Failure?

In the early days of Clari, our go-to-market strategy wasn’t sticking. We had a product, we had a team, but lacked the insights to close deals in a predictable way. We went through a fair amount of churn in terms of reps, thinking the talent was the problem when it really wasn’t.

Then we started eating our own dog food, and suddenly we started to see traction. We began to clearly see where the risk and upside was, insights we used to make decisions around product development, hiring, and go-to-market strategy that were critical for the growth of our business. Shortly after, the revenue engine kicked in. Essentially, we were customer zero for our own Revenue Operations platform and it was eye-opening to live through what our first customers would soon be experiencing.

In Another Life, I’d Be…

….a full-time skier and mountain biker living in a mountain town, making music locally for a living. I am in love with the outdoors, always have been, and me and my guitar are inseparable. Too bad it doesn’t pay the bills!

See also: Five Questions with… MuleSoft CTO Uri Sarid

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