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How MHR keeps a tight grip on its sales performance figures as a data-driven business

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels April 29, 2024
Summary:
The software specialist uses Clari technology and data visibility to support rapid business growth and exploration into new services.

gripping

UK-based MHR already provides HR, payroll and finance systems support to over half the local councils in Britain, but has ambitious growth plans, as Tim Lancelot, Head of Sales Enablement, explains: 

For our business to grow, we had to diversify into other territories, such as the US. That growth strategy meant things that had worked well for several years needed to change. 

That meant looking again at the sales performance tools the firm had in place, he adds: 

The technology we provided to customers was cutting-edge, but the technology we used to govern ourselves as a sales organization was lagging behind.”

Forecasting predictions were often made on spreadsheets passed to senior management. This time-consuming process constrained visibility. MHR wanted to deploy an easy-to-use solution that integrated tightly with Salesforce technology. After an evaluation process, they selected the Clari Revenue Platform offering which was implemented in 2022. It’s provided clear benefits, according to Lancelot: 

It takes away a lot of noise and draws attention to the things that need our focus, which makes far better use of people’s time. The technology has been a catalyst for a cultural change in the business. We’ve pivoted to a more open culture. We know about things earlier, we can help each other and we can crowdsource solutions.

Expansion

One year later, with the first set of targets hit, Lancelot began exploring how the feature set could be extended. After evaluating other products on the market, MHR implemented a range of products through 2023, including Clari Copilot, which provides conversational intelligence; Clari Align, which supports mutual action plans; and Clari Capture, which ensures access to high-quality data:

The business benefits of Clari meant we started looking at other areas we wanted to address. For all these things, we could potentially have gone to a different vendor for each point technology. But we've wrapped this up into what we call Clari Phase Two. So, now we've got the full portfolio. This all takes us to the next level.

Phase Two is intended to solve a new set of business problems. For example, Clari Copilot was deployed to help provide a deeper understanding of the conversations the team has with customers:

That technology is helping us to continue our journey of being a data-driven organization. We capture all customer conversations. Clari technology uses AI to summarize and then gives smart actions that integrate into Salesforce. That approach has taken us up a gear. We can meet a customer and then, almost instantaneously, provide a smart summary and action points for both parties.

It was the ability of Clari Copilot to provide clear summaries of sales meetings that proved the benefits of the technology to the senior business team. With buy-in for the solution secured, his team started to explore other areas where conversational intelligence could produce dividends, particularly around proactive customer service:

We can now look for trends across the business. We can look for sentiment and then react to that information quickly. If our customer success teams get an inkling there might be negative customer sentiment on their calls, they can be pro-active on an issue before it turns into anything problematic.

The company can also use the information it collects through Clari Revenue Platform and its associated range of products, including Clari Copilot, to ensure staff serve customers in the best possible way, explains Lancelot:

If we're bringing in new products, we can see which of our account managers are having great conversations about them. And we can address any gaps with training, so whenever a customer interacts with one of our team, they get a consistently high-quality approach. And we couldn't do that before because we didn't have the visibility of all of these conversations.

It’s now two years on from the original implementation of Clari. MHR had its most successful sales year in 2023 and a record-breaking first quarter this year. The visibility Clari provides into sales figures supports this growth with the platform providing a clear and consolidated view of performance, says Lancelot: 

Our executives can see the business at a glance. They can also drill down into figures.

Implementing 

In Lancelot’s experience, introducing any new technology brings implementation and adoption challenges.  Focus on the bigger picture, he advises:

Don't start with a solution and then try and find a problem to fix. Prioritize the areas that make the biggest difference and work with the vendor to say, ‘This is what we're trying to achieve.’ Then get them to demonstrate their approach and reference other companies where they have solved that problem as proof points.

For its part, MHR ensures each new technology implementation is accompanied by senior team buy-in and business-wide conversations. The company uses workshops and project champions to show the benefits. 

With Clari’s technology now embedded in the business, there are plans to do more:

The north star for us as a company is that every business decision is data-driven. We want to harness all the data signals, whether that's from conversational intelligence or CRM, and we want to avoid technical and people silos. We want consistency across the different teams and for our customers.

To that end, Lancelot spent time with Clari’s Chief Product Officer recently to explore how the vendor intends to provide more data-enabled services in other business areas, including marketing: 

That's key for us because we see that whole customer journey, from awareness to implementation and onto growth and expansion, as being data-driven. It’s about moving to one layer that uses data to provide consistency of experiences across the whole customer journey.

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