Data science and mobility: The trends that will transform the next decade of CRM

Announcing our newest investment in Clari

I spent my first eight years in the enterprise software business during the birth of the CRM industry beginning in 1994. Prior to companies like Siebel, Aurum, and Vantive who were all started in this era, “sales force automation” consisted of a CD-ROM used by an individual salesperson to track their contacts and opportunities.

The revolution that Siebel ushered in was the concept that sales contacts and opportunities were an enterprise asset that should be tracked and stored centrally. And that selling was really a team sport and had to be jointly managed by groups of salespeople, sales managers, and sales operations.

What made this all possible was the confluence of two factors: client-server technology and laptop penetration. And as a result, the CRM industry went from a sleepy collection of hundreds of point vendors to the largest space in enterprise software. Salesforce.com subsequently took the leadership mantle from Siebel by significantly lowering the total cost of ownership by leveraging the cloud and a multi-tenant architecture.

We believe the next wave of innovation is about to happen in the CRM space thanks to the confluence of two new factors: mobility and data science. And we’re thrilled to announce our funding of the company that is leading this charge: Clari.

We are excited to be backing the world-class Clari founders, Andy Byrne and Venkat Rangan, and the amazing team they have assembled. They have completely reimagined the CRM experience for sales reps with a mobile app that quickly and easily captures the critical information about pipeline progress while focusing the rep on the high value tasks required to win and close business. Clari’s mobile app changes how sales data is captured by dramatically simplifying data entry and enabling passive capture of many other signals. Data science is what allows this data (much of which is unstructured) to be structured and analyzed, leading to predictive insights in sales which have never before been possible. Lastly, Clari is built in such a way that it leverages and improves upon the existing CRM investments that enterprises have made – no need to discard the underlying CRM infrastructure.

We have been really impressed with the quality of the team at Clari and have been truly blown away by their product roadmap. This team is absolutely committed to re-inventing CRM by putting the sales rep at the center of their solution. While sales managers love Clari, the key to Clari’s success is the engagement by individual sales executives who use Clari to spend their time on the highest and most productive selling activities.

Like laptops and client-server in the 1990s, mobility and data science as harnessed by the team at Clari will lead to the next revolution in CRM. We are proud to welcome Clari as our newest portfolio company at Bain Capital Ventures!

2 Comments »

  1. Clari is doing some great things with the mobile platform that helps the Salesforce experience by a hundred fold (goodness knows they need it). I love a lot about what they’re doing, and they definitely have a winning formula for sales teams who are constantly on the go.

    I’m not sure if a mobile-only approach is right just yet, as there is still great need for an office experience where you can also have that same streamlined interface on a desktop or laptop, but perhaps Windows 8 will grow enough to get this kind of app on the platform natively.

    • Hi Brad,
      Clari does have a browser based client for inside sales and other users that work internally as opposed to out in the field. Plus field reps can use the browser version also if they are on a laptop or desktop.
      Ajay

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