[Editor’s note: This week we are introducing our new “Clari Sales Innovator” series, showcasing sales execs, sales ops specialists, sales managers, account execs, other sales professionals and thought leaders, who will share their ideas on career building, strategies for reinventing the opportunity-to-close (OTC) process, and how technology plays into the equation. We'll kick off the series by putting a bright spotlight on Candi Bashiri, an innovative sales leader!]
Host: I’m your host, Cristina Wong, Content Marketing Manager at Clari, and we are kicking off the very first segment of our “Clari Sales Innovator” blog series. Today, I’m excited to have, Candi Bashiri joining us, Director of WW Sales Business Applications at Wind River, a global leader in delivering software for intelligent connected systems.
Q: Candi, tell us a little bit about your career. How long have you been in sales operations and what do you do now?
A: I’ve been in sales operations for over 20 years. In my current role at Wind River, I support our sales executive vice president, our sales managers, and our regional sales people all around the world. Our sales organization totals to about 250 including supporting groups.
Q: During your tenure in sales operations, what’s changed the most?
A: In the beginning sales ops used to be more about — how do we process an order? Or, how do we capture a deal? The process was all very technical and system-oriented. That said, I think the role of sales operations has drastically shifted from being caught in the “land of the tactical” years ago to being a real strategic partner to the business, driving efficiencies and greater visibility into the sales execution process. The top-of-mind questions we ask ourselves today are more along the lines of — what is the right methodology, and how should we manage it? The focus now is helping sales reps, managers and the leadership team make better decisions throughout the sales cycle so they are better positioned to close more business, faster.
Q: How do you and your team think about the “opportunity-to-close (OTC) process”?
A: There are several key questions we’re trying to help the team answer to improve our overall opportunity-to-close process. Is the team focused on the right opportunities? How likely is a deal to close this quarter? What factors might help increase its likelihood of closing? Where do we have the biggest risk right now in pipeline? And, ultimately, will we hit the numbers we’ve forecast?
Q: How is your team using Clari today?
A: The first time I saw Clari, it was an awakening for me. I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, this is what I’ve been looking for all these years!” I use Clari everyday to check on deals and see where they are falling in the quarter. I look at whether the deals have changed this week, or whether they’ve changed this month. Each day, Clari gives us a fresh opportunity score and overall projection. This enables us to more accurately determine whether or not we’re closer to hitting our quotas and targets. Clari guides us, showing us the intel we need along the way.
Q: Can you think of one specific example that shows how your team leverages Clari?
A: Our head of sales for Japan regularly uses Clari to monitor the status of deals. When he talks to the VP of Sales, here in America, he is able to tell him which deals are moving and which ones have stalled. In that sense, Clari has changed the conversation from a general catch-up on pipeline to a very strategic discussion on the most critical deals — the largest deals, the deals with the highest probability deals, but also the ones where there is risk of slipping or an opportunity to pull it into the quarter.
Host: Thanks for sharing your valuable sales operations insights with us Candi!