Clari and the Rise of Revenue Operations
By Jim Goetz on behalf of Sequoia
In boardrooms across Sequoia’s portfolio, something is changing. Founders and other leaders who once struggled to forecast changes in revenue are now running it as an observable, instrumented and optimizable business process.
From established companies like Cisco, Okta, Palo Alto Networks and Zoom to recently public ones like Qualtrics and Unity Technologies to rising stars like Carbon and Confluent, go-to-market teams are enjoying unusually high levels of visibility, rigor and predictability — and continuous growth, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. At the heart of these results — and the mindset shift that enabled them — is Clari, the recognized leader in the revenue operations category.
A central hub for information gathered across a range of interactions with potential customers, Clari isn’t something these leaders look at once per quarter. For many of them, the platform is part of their daily routines — often the first thing they open each morning, even before email. As Okta COO and co-founder Freddy Kerrest shared with my fellow board member Aaref Hilaly, Clari has become a top source of insight into the health of the business.
The story of this cultural transformation begins with Clari’s leadership. We have seen again and again, across countless organizations, that attacking a personal pain point is often the best path for entrepreneurs looking to define and dominate a new category. And we’ve had the pleasure of watching CEO Andy Byrne do just that, as he’s grown over decades in sales, business development and marketing roles, first via early-market selling and later at several Sequoia-backed companies. Andy mastered Mark Leslie’s Sales Learning Curve and pioneered the concept of a Sales-Ready Product with his colleague Don Templeton. Over the years, he built valuable scar tissue — and walked in the shoes of the founders and sales leaders Clari now serves.
In the process, Andy, his co-founder Venkat Rangan and their team have helped codify a broader shift in Silicon Valley — with companies not only embracing a more connected, efficient and predictable revenue process, but beginning to do so far earlier. Where technology teams and other crossfunctional partners once waited until late in an organization’s life cycle to begin seeing their work through a go-to-market lens, Clari’s platform brings together sales with customer support, finance, product management and engineering, the executive team and more — enabling a combination of great technology and great go-to-market skills that is critical to long-term success. It’s no surprise the movement is taking off fast, with Gartner Research recently predicting that 75% of high-growth companies will move to a revenue operations model within the next four years.
In establishing and leading this new category, Clari is itself poised for growth. We are excited to collaborate with new partners from Silver Lake and B Capital Group, along with Clari’s other existing investors, all of whom are participating in this Series E round.
To anyone interested in joining a team that values authenticity and is fueled by a shared mission: Andy and Venkat would love to hear from you. And to everyone at Clari, from all of us at Sequoia: congratulations, and we look forward to seeing the positive change you’ll continue to make in the years and decades to come.