As of earlier this week, it’s official: we are so excited to welcome David Karel to the Clari team as our new CMO. In his first few days at Clari, Dave and I caught up about his background, trends in technology and how they’ve shaped the role of the marketer, and what those same trends can mean for the sales organization.
Our press announcement covered the basics, but I’d love to hear it from you too. Could you start by telling me a little bit about your background?
David: Absolutely. I’m originally a New Yorker and actually spent the first leg of my career working in and around Japan. I kicked-off my career in B2B tech in the late 1990s, when I moved out to the Bay Area to join Siebel Systems. I quickly gravitated toward marketing roles, initially growing up in product marketing then expanding my scope to lead the marketing function. Over the course of the past decade, I ran global product marketing for Successfactors, then built out the marketing effort at Bizo up until its acquisition by LinkedIn, and most recently was Head of B2B marketing for LinkedIn’s Marketing Solution business.
I really enjoy high-growth companies in “building mode,” where you really get the chance to roll up your sleeves and affect rapid change. For the last seven years, I’ve been marketing to the marketer audience. It’s interesting to see how things have now come full circle: with the Clari team, where I again find myself with a company providing cutting-edge solutions to the sales audience, as was the case when I was with Siebel in the late 90s.
As someone who’s spent a lot of time working in technology — and particularly in marketing technology, as you mentioned — what trends have you noticed over the years?
As a marketer, I’ve been fortunate to grow up in what’s been very much a renaissance for the function. The emergence of data-driven marketing and demand generation as a discipline has totally transformed marketing’s role and potential impact on the business.
Take the advent of marketing automation systems as an example. For the first time, marketers could start to put the right message in front of the right audience through email nurturing, to be relevant, and helpful. That’s really at the core of how great marketing is done: it’s about understanding who someone is and where they are in their buy process, and then it’s about data. With a new wealth of customer and prospect information at its fingertips, marketing found itself in a much stronger position to answer key questions like, “Where do my best leads come from? Which channels drive the most qualified pipeline? Who are my highest value customers?” This, in turn, helped marketers invest their team’s time and dollars more nimbly, for more success.
The punchline is that technology really put marketing in position to drive revenue. You always need great salespeople and a great product, but with the new technology, data-enabled marketing org, companies realized that with the right marketing approach, they could really scale revenue growth.
So what you brought you to Clari?
Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen firsthand how technology and applied data science are completely transforming how marketing is done.
Right now, there’s an even bigger data problem in sales. In large, dispersed sales organizations, you have even more information at play, even more team members to keep track of, even more decisions made each day without the benefit of data-driven insights. I see the sales org in the preliminary stages of it’s own revolution, and I think the Clari team and our platform will play a key role in how teams take sales execution to the next level.
Beyond that, it’s a great, talented team. This is hard stuff and this team really understands salespeople and their challenges -- and how to address them through data science. I’m really thrilled to be a part of it.
For more information on Dave’s role as CMO of Clari, check out the full press release.