Andy Byrne, CEO of Clari: Most Companies Over Focus on Cutting Costs – And That’s a Mistake

Joining us this week we have Andy Byrne, CEO of RevOps leader Clari, to discuss the ongoing crises impacting the economy right now, and the role data visibility can play in overcoming them. Find out everything he had to say right here…

The cost of living crisis rolls on, and businesses around the world are being impacted as a result. Eyes are turning to where business leaders can react, looking for where they can save money and generate new income. Fortunately, there’s a new tool in the fight for improving revenue: RevOps.

To find out more about the RevOps landscape and why data visibility may be the key to overcoming the economic downturn, we spoke with Andy Byrne of Clari. Following a successful Series F funding round that saw Clari attract $225 million in investment, the FinTech startup is now valued at over $2.6 billion. Clearly there is value to be gained from a one-stop RevOps solution, so what’s the story here?

Meet Andy Byrne
CEO & Co-Founder of Clari

Andy Byrne brings over 19 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development and management to his position as CEO of Clari. Prior to Clari, Andy was part of the founding executive team at Clearwell Systems – Gartner’s highest ranking e-discovery company – which he helped grow from pre-product & pre-revenue in 2005 to $100million run rate until its acquisition by Symantec (SYMC) in Q2 2011. How did you get into the RevOps/RevCG world and become CEO of Clari?

Andy Byrne: “Myself and my co-founder (and longtime business partner) Venkat Rangan saw a huge gap in the market about 10 years ago. While almost every business process across companies was going through modernization and digital transformation, we saw that sales and revenue were largely left untouched. Manual processes hamper efficiency, data not being leveraged for forecast analysis, disaggregated technology making everyone’s lives harder.

“So, we started Clari on a mission to fill this gap. Helping companies realize that not only is revenue a business process, it is the most critical business process. It can and should be broken down into its component parts, modernized, and optimized. That’s what Clari does for our customers.”  

With ongoing crises such as the cost of living crisis impacting the economy, what can businesses do to enhance their resilience?

“I’ve lived through a handful of economic downturns and learned some key lessons first hand. I’ve also gotten incredible advice from some mentors and advisors. And, I’m lucky enough to work closely with some of the best revenue teams on the planet. So I have a strong sense of what the best companies do in times of uncertainty.

“The mistake most companies and executives make is that they over focus on cutting costs. But no one ever cost cut their way to greatness. Simply cutting costs alone is a survival strategy, but not a full strategy to truly thrive.

“A full strategy requires both optimizing cost as well as mastering revenue. Focusing the business on the industries, segments, and product lines, that provide the fastest path to pipeline and revenue. Inspecting the entire revenue process to understand where the leak exists, where things are falling out. And then implementing the right governed processes to stop that leak.

“Companies that do this well come out of the downturn with a sharpened perspective on how to win and more resilient revenue processes to carry that success into the future.”

How important is data visibility to modern enterprises?

“Extremely important. Much like the boom in available data for marketing teams 10-15 years ago, the same is happening for revenue teams now. Processes that used to rely on the “gut” or “hunches” of individual sellers can now be augmented or made much more reliable with an infusion of data.

“Take forecasting as an example. Traditional sales forecasting was a bottoms-up exercise where human judgement was the main driver. As a result, forecasts were inaccurate, unreliable, and nearly impossible to run your business with.

“But now, revenue teams can monitor historical trends, leverage machine learning and AI algorithms for predictive insights, apply human judgement and have an accurate, reliable forecasting process. All because of data availability and visibility.”

What’s the state of the RevOps/RevCG market in the UK and how is it evolving?

“It’s not terribly different in the UK versus the rest of the world. Companies and revenue teams are realizing that there’s a better way to run revenue, and are implementing that better way. Ensuring that all their revenue-critical employees are working out of unified systems. Standardizing best practices for easy replication and scale. Spotting areas of revenue leak and solving those problems areas in sustaining ways. 

“I expect the evolution to continue, and for revenue leaders to expect more from the technology they adopt. If the tech doesn’t allow for better collaboration and more reliable governance of key processes, then leaders will rightly identify it as non-essential. Which means there will be less reliance on current solutions, like spreadsheets and BI, since they are not purpose-built to run revenue and are often major sources of revenue leak.” 

A successful employee engagement strategy enables employees to communicate and collaborate effectively and easily – not only for work purposes but to form personal connections with team members too.

James Scott  CEO and Co-Founder, Thrive.App

How can RevCG help secure more sales, especially during the impending economic downturn?

“Fundamentally, Revenue Collaboration & Governance (RevCG) is all about stopping revenue leak. Identifying problem areas across the revenue process and helping revenue teams create and govern the solutions. 

“For example, a common area of revenue leak is committed deals whose close dates slip from one quarter to the next. Clari helps identify those deals, and allows for easy inspection by reps and managers to understand why deals are slipping, and then collaborate on the game plan to sure that deal up and even pull it back into the quarter. Common “slipped reasons” are identified, and the process to address those reasons is codified and shared across the rest of the revenue org.  

“Many deals are slipping in this environment because the CFO isn’t involved early enough in cycles. Clari helps identify if this is happening in your deals, helping identify patterns, run analyses, and diagnose. This allows teams to create the right processes, collateral, and sales materials to reactively and proactively address this slipped reason, and secure more sales.” 

What’s next for Clari and the future of RevCG?

“The goal for Clari is to help all B2B companies run revenue like a process. We know that we’re the only Revenue Platform built for this mission, and will continue to find ways to add value to revenue teams.

“Over the summer, we acquired a conversation intelligence company called Wingman and have been hard at work integrating its power across our core platform. The result is incredible value to our customers. We’re putting all the valuable conversational data to use across our platform, helping customers run revenue in ways they never thought possible.

“We’ll continue down this path. Continually finding new ways to make our customers’ lives easier – helping all revenue-critical employees collaborate and govern their revenue process.”

Learn More About Clari

Clari’s Revenue Operations Platform improves efficiency, predictability, and growth across the entire revenue process. Clari gives revenue teams total visibility into their business, to drive process rigor, spot risk and opportunity in the pipeline, increase forecast accuracy, and drive overall efficiency.

Thousands of sales, marketing, and customer success teams at leading companies, including Okta, Adobe, Workday, Zoom, and Finastra, use Clari’s execution insights to make their revenue process more connected, efficient, and predictable. Visit the company’s website.