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Deloitte Digital teams up with Clari to instrument revenue management. Here's why...

Katy Ring Profile picture for user Katy Ring May 2, 2024
Summary:
A deep dive into the alliance between Deloitte Digital and Clari.

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It is often said that AI can be used to free up and enhance the time of employees so that they can focus on the more interesting aspects of their job. Sometimes this makes sense and sometimes we probably all think that headcount cuts will necessarily ensue.

Clari’s use of AI falls into the former category. For example, one of the key issues that Deloitte Digital’s Sales Excellence practice examines when working with clients is allowing sales staff to spend time selling. This you might think is so obvious it scarcely needs calling out. However, sales professionals continue to spend a lot of time in internal meetings talking about potential revenue with management. This is arguably where a unified revenue management platform such as Clari can help.

Monitoring and managing revenue can be a dark art

Many organizations continue to manage revenue operations using a patchwork of spreadsheets, BI tools, CRM and other apps. In order for an organization to determine fairly accurate forecasts of sales, the sales team itself has to spend a significant part of its working week gathering, curating and explaining sales data. When sales teams are not devoting time to this activity, the business’s forecasting tends to have high margins of error.

However, entering the data into this patchwork of systems is typically a painful, slow experience and so is avoided as much as possible by sales professionals. This behavior typically results in the calling of internal sales meetings to try and understand with greater accuracy the pipeline and revenue operations in order for the business to plan strategically.

Given this challenge, sales leaders need to invest in transforming the sales function. Among other things, this means moving non-selling activities from sales people, rationalising reporting activity to what is critical and putting an end to shadow reporting. In order for this to be pursued effectively, other parts of the organization need to endorse the approach by moving to a process that is more efficient, and pleases other parts of the business, most notably, revenue operations. 

According to Paul Vinogradov, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Digital: 

To truly master revenue, you need a combination of best-in-class revenue process expertise and the most advanced instrumentation available in the market.

Deloitte Digital has access to a wide range of technology alliances in order to assist its consultants in their sales transformation projects, and so it is interesting that it has spotted a gap that it feels Clari is best positioned to fill. 

Aligning people, process and policy with Clari 

The attractiveness of the Clari platform for consultancies and system integrators is that it helps advisory teams to work with the client organization to create a cross-organizational standard of revenue management best practice. This can be used to align different teams and persuade sales leaders to let go of their personal management techniques and fall into line with the new process. 

The intelligence in the Clari platform enables analytical patterns to surface that can then inform sales cycles and rectify deals that are slipping. With this type of capability pipeline cleanliness becomes a default standard within the business. According to Clari’s own customer data, companies are, on average, losing 14.9% of their revenue every year to revenue leak, and reduced friction in the revenue process can help organisations tackle this by mitigating slipped deals, missed upsell or cross-sell opportunities and unforeseen customer churn.

As R.J. Filipski, Global VP Ecosystem and Alliances at Clari argues:

For too long, revenue leaders have struggled with disconnected legacy systems and loose processes in the pursuit of answering the most critical questions in their business.

Once an organization has confidence in its revenue forecasting, this enables senior leaders to look ahead and think more strategically about budgets, growth, investments and resource allocations. This confidence also makes leaders more decisive about the strategies to pursue and creates the ability to be more agile in their actions. This is because the platform-supported transformation begins to take away the need to “wait and see” how revenue will evolve, as it provides much greater visibility and accuracy into the process.

The issue, of course, is that change management is at the crux of all this – technology alone won’t move stakeholders from their tried and trusted revenue management black arts. Hence, the Digital Deloitte and Clari alliance under which the two will collaborate in developing service offerings around Clari’s Revenue Cadences. These are the ongoing motion of revenue moments that revenue teams play across quarters to deliver predictable, repeatable revenue processes. Deloitte Digital will blueprint and then instrument these revenue cadences on the Clari platform to help clients streamline their revenue operations. 

My take

It is interesting to note that two of Clari’s biggest competitors are Salesforce and Zoho (both already key alliance partners with Deloitte). However, Clari’s positioning is as a complementary platform to such well-established CRM players, since the Clari platform engine helps organizations collect data from sources such as CRM systems, sales systems, emails, files, calendars and news.

This will be music to the ears of consultancies and system integrators as it provides a technology that can slot smoothly into many advisory projects. To date, the Clari ecosystem consists of software vendors with whom the platform has partnered to develop integrations. Deloitte is its first professional service partner, but it is unlikely to be the last.

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