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AI Integrations Help Sort Out Sales Signals

By Richard Adhikari
Oct 25, 2017 6:00 AM PT

Clari, which develops software focusing on the opportunity-to-close, or OTC, process, on Wednesday announced integrations with DocuSign, Clearslide and Xactly.

Clari's artificial-intelligence-powered OTC platform already integrates Google and Microsoft email and calendar activity, which gives sales teams immediate knowledge of sales reps' and prospects' behavior.

The new integrations will give sales reps insights into the following:

  • the degree to which a prospect engages with files, documents and presentations;
  • when prospects engage with documents, as well as the overall activity around files shared with them; and
  • how forecasted opportunities will impact their sales commissions.

"There's probably no stronger signal when you send a document and see there's no engagement with it," said Clari CMO David Karel.

"For example, a sales rep might think a (US)$100,000 deal will close this quarter -- but through Clari, the sales manager can see there's no comments on this," he told CRM Buyer.

Clari already gives users real-time insights at any given moment during the quarter, and lets users view all of their business activity using a single configurable dashboard.

"Even early in the quarter, we can help sales organizations forecast what the sales numbers will be, Karel said.

The integrations with Docusign and Clearslide "will give access to more buyer signals," he noted. "There's all this other buyer behavior locked up in other systems, like Docusign and Clearslide, that we can now unlock and give sales reps more access to."

More importantly, that information will be given in the context of the workflow, Karel pointed out. "That way, a sales manager has that extra signal to see the nature of the deal. It's not about putting 100 reports in front of you -- it's about a focused feed of relevant information."

Enhancing Salesforce's Abilities

Clari's product is a Software as a Service offering that "integrates very elegantly with Salesforce," Karel said.

"One hundred percent of our customers today are on Salesforce, which means they get value by adding Clari on top of Salesforce to help them with pipeline inspection and better forecasts," he noted.

Clari is "more of a prospect miner than a CRM platform, although there's a lot of overlap, especially since Salesforce went down the AI rabbit hole [with Einstein]," observed Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

"It's more about seeing the opportunities in the CRM dataset," he told CRM Buyer.

CRM packages are "limited fundamentally by reps providing information, which is always a struggle," Karel said. "We're not constrained to CRM information. From the early days, we were getting additional information from other systems like email and calendar, and we're really just scratching the surface."

Clari and AI

AI "is the core of our platform," Karel said. "We have in-house data scientists that are really putting in very practical applications with AI."

Clari has more than 100 sales organizations that use its practical applications of AI, he noted.

Among those applications is opportunity scoring. "We look at patterns that drive the likelihood of winning or losing [a sale]," said Karel.

"We're seeing increased attention on sales-enablement platforms," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

"The rise of AI has driven new and unproved capabilities and new vendors," she told CRM Buyer.

Many of these apps are being marketed as add-ons to CRM, "because it's an easier sale than replacing an existing sales force automation package," Wettemann observed, "but many also have core SFA capabilities as well."

While CRM vendors such as Salesforce offer their own AI-driven sales performance management features, niche players like Clari "often offer tools at a lower price," noted Wettemann, "with more prepackaged capabilities than the big vendors, which means less time-consuming admin work to set up."

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

NICE inContact February 12 webinar
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NICE inContact February 12 webinar