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February 26, 2016
Building the Next Great Enterprise S/W Company: Why I Joined Clari
I'm Marc Silberstrom, Clari's new WW VP of Sales. If you're reading this post, there's a good chance we'll meet in person before too long, but until then, I'd like to tell you why I joined. Two big reasons: I've needed what Clari offers for longer than Clari has been in business and I've worked so hard making my own sales teams better that I'm ready to make everybody's sales teams better.
The first reason starts with nearly 20 years in enterprise software sales using a dozen or more CRM systems. Like every sales VP I know, I felt an acute pain almost every day: How do I deliver a reliable forecast and understand the health of my sales team?
I didn't say the health of my deals. I didn't even say the health of my pipeline. I mean the health of every part of my team. Do I have the right people? Are they working the right deals? Are they following proven sales practices? Are they working their tails off?
For most of that 20 years, I already knew the problem was the information I needed was buried in lots of different sources.
My CRM systems were fine for what they were. But all they held was whatever my reps added manually. And sometimes that wasn't much. It's not like it would help to slam my top reps because their deals weren't up-to-date. I got snapshots in our QBR's, but I wanted to know what was happening every day. Phone calls were generally the best way to check on the team and understand if I could trust the forecast, but calls have no context or history. Obviously, I also had email, but my team and I were usually running too fast to use email to go deep.
There's nothing left. My IT team and what seems like 100 different vendors would harp on me that BI was the savior, but every attempt was six months of back-and-forth on specs with a whole lot of nothing on the end.
What didn't exist was something to tell me where reps focused their time, how they went after new prospects, who was cutting it, whether we were really going to make the number this quarter … and next, and our team's level of intensity.
My regional VPs and managers thought they should be able to give me anything I needed — and most of them were as good as anyone else out there — but I knew what I wanted and I never had it. I felt that every day.
Then Andy [Byrne, Clari CEO] called me out of the blue and showed me Clari.
In just a few minutes, it was obvious that if Clari did what it seemed to do, it was the right way to run an enterprise sales team. And to know whether it was real, all I had to do was hear Mike Gilley, the Sales VP over at Juniper say those magic words, "I run my team on Clari."
So that was the first reason: I can sell a product I've needed for 20 years. I don't need anybody to tell me that's a massive market opportunity.
The second reason: sales is hard and running a sales team is harder. My job is to create a world-class organization filled with only A players and lead them with an obsession on accountability. If you're a sales leader, none of that surprises you. But actually doing it can feel like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Everything I've sold in the past made somebody's life easier … but it didn't make life easier for people like me. Sales people. Right on Clari's website, I read: "Sales is hard. We make it easier." Turns out it's true. Running sales at Clari is a chance to beat my number and, along the way, change the way everyone else in my profession works. We're transforming the way sales teams run and elevating the way sales management teams are seen by the rest of the company. When you're sales guy, opportunities like that don't come around very often.
I promised two big reasons for joining Clari, but I'll end with a third: it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun. When I'm selling, I feel alive. And there is nothing like building the next great company with an amazing group of people and creating a whole new enterprise software category while you're at it. I am thrilled to be here and I'll leave you with one last message: if you are the best enterprise software sales person you know, give me a shout. We're in hyper-growth mode and you should be here.