For disruptive technology companies, maturity is often accompanied by the realization that customer retention and expansion are as important as a new logo acquisition. Arriving at this realization is one thing; reorienting your organization to it is another. The necessity of aligning revenue-generating functions in business-to-business technology has been common knowledge for quite some time. Still, organizations have only recently begun to implement dedicated, centralized revenue functions.
Ventana Research has identified the need for unified revenue management practices and supporting applications as a future game-changer for customers and vendors alike. The market for technology to support revenue operations is still nascent — but effective — and rapidly growing to assist the larger need for revenue management as outlined in this Analyst Perspective.
Once an organization establishes a central revenue leadership role, often called a CRO, it typically adopts supplementary functions in the form of revenue operations. Revenue operations help coordinate and orchestrate revenue teams behind unified metrics and clean data practices, driving optimal insights. In addition, these teams are responsible for the governance of operational processes to support the needs of the CEO. Ventana Research asserts that by 2023, almost one-quarter of organizations will establish a chief revenue officer leadership role. As the practice of revenue management grows, so will the need for revenue operations applications.
Clari provides what it calls a revenue operations platform that includes sales forecasting, pipeline inspection, revenue intelligence, customer relationship management automation, artificial intelligence-driven analytics and account engagement capabilities. Clari partners with market leaders in CRM, sales engagement and marketing automation platforms such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Outreach, Gong, Showpad, Highspot and Dialpad — though some of them are also providing competitive approaches. Thanks to a more unified approach with other vendors, Clari delivers more comprehensive coordination for CROs, sales management and customer success.
Clari has advanced its AI capabilities to support real-time and historical data across the entire revenue organization to provide actionable insights for customers. Clari's focus on leadership and operations makes it very effective in high-level orchestration, forecasting and analytics. This increases leadership consideration for Clari, but it can lead to a disconnect between leadership and junior members of the sales and marketing teams, as both groups require support in unison. Clari recently acquired DealPoint, which is expected to bolster its value throughout the entire revenue organization. The acquisition will deliver conversational intelligence, relationship insights and deal momentum indicators. Clari's initiative in providing more representative-centric approaches is a legitimate response to competition. Direct support for sales engagement activities enables Clari to meet the needs of revenue leaders, operations and junior members to shrink sales cycles.
Ultimately, Clari appears to understand its strengths and weaknesses, and despite ambitions for providing value to revenue leadership — and now sales professionals — Clari has not yet proven unified success to both areas. Because of this, organizations that require more advanced sales engagement approaches should closely evaluate how Clari compares to other platforms. On the other hand, Clari should be considered by revenue operations teams that need to increase confidence in their revenue forecast and identify actions for improvement. We believe that a focus on sales professionals is a sound approach for Clari, and an emphasis on usability and the impact of that approach should be a high priority. It is also important to ensure that Clari can support the broader revenue management agenda and types of revenue — including renewals — to new client growth through business development, to other channels through commerce, and to indirect revenue through partners. Clari’s new approach will bolster its market presence, deliver value, and increase its ability to sell to the entire revenue organization, from the CRO to the sales rep.
Any organization that strives to be data-driven should consider revenue operations platforms necessary in supporting unified revenue efforts for improved outcomes in what we call revenue performance management. Based on the growth and B2B market success of vendors like Clari, we believe that these platforms will grow to be crucial for every centralized approach to revenue management and the mission to not just improve performance, but manage it.