Featured Sales Innovator: Mert Unsal, Sr. Sales Operations Business Analyst, Palo Alto Networks, EMEA

[Editor’s note: Let’s continue the conversation on career-building, sales best practices, thought leadership, opportunity to close (OTC), and technology! Here is another segment of “Clari Sales Innovator,” an ongoing blog series, putting a bright spotlight on talented sales professionals and leaders.] 


Host: I’m your host Cristina Wong, Content Marketing Manager at Clari, and we’re back for another segment of “Clari Sales Innovator.” Let’s welcome, Mert Unsal, Senior Sales Operations Business Analyst, from Palo Alto Networks, EMEA! 

Q: Mert, how would you describe your background and current role in sales operations?

A: Previously, I studied information systems and received a Masters in Business. As I grew in my career, I became immersed in the “numbers” aspect of the sales and commercial world — which eventually inspired me to pursue various business intelligence, marketing and sales analytics roles. A year and a half ago, I moved to Palo Alto Networks, where I am now responsible for the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa). My role in sales operations primarily focuses on data analytics, reporting and forecasting. I also help our organization drive better forecasting, and provide sales reps (a team of 150+), managers and VPs, the insights and business advice they need from a data perspective.

Q: What do you love most about being in sales ops?

A: I’m continuously exposed to complex data, innovative tools and new technology like Clari, which is what I love about being in a sales ops role. I also enjoy working with sales leaders and I take pride every day in being a significant contributor and making a positive impact on the organization by providing insights the team needs to be more strategic in their approach to the business. Innovative solutions such as Clari, enable me to do all this.

Q: During your tenure in sales ops, what’s changed the most?

A: Big data is impacting the sales operations world and we are becoming more data-driven. Tools with advanced technology like Clari give us more visibility into the business and change the way we do sales operations. Overtime, I have seen sales managers and VPs using Clari to overcome a lot of forecasting challenges, make better decisions, help us remain globally consistent, and confidently drive the business in the right direction.  

Q: Can you think of one specific example that shows how your team leverages Clari?

A: After we implemented Clari, we began to keep a close eye on our conversion rates and within the last ten days of the quarter we realized our conversion rates were not optimal. Clari helped us keep a close eye on deals in commit and teach our sales teams across the region to be more diligent in forecasting. Using Clari, we’ve been able to gradually increase our conversion rates, which have gone up by 1-2% in the past two quarters. This translates into a really significant impact on the organization. Now, when there is a change in conversion rates, our sales leaders ask us, “What’s causing it?” Ultimately, Clari helps us to better monitor the business, increase forecasting accuracy and drive high-quality pipeline inspection.

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