When Alyssa Filter was named CFO of Clari, her strategic mind-set was the by-product of having been involved from early on in the development and growth of several of the Sunnyvale, Calif., software developer’s organizational functions.
Having first been hired as a consultant when Clari was still a pre-revenue company, Filter discovered that she was less tied to the specific expectations of a job description than she was to easing the growing company’s pain points.
Along the way, Filter says, she was able to grow with the company, and the more she took on, the more a finance leadership path became exposed for her.
Filter recalls: “These weren’t traditional finance and accounting projects. For example, I became involve in HR and sales operations, which required me to build new skillsets, dive right in, and get into the weeds in order to really understand what was needed in the company.”
Filter singles out her early involvement with sales operations as having helped her to understand some of the unique challenges from the revenue side.
“At one point, I was even helping reps to create quotes, just to understand how the systems worked and what types of support were needed,” remembers Filter, whose extra attention to the revenue side also served to sharpen her strategic sense around Clari’s own software, a sales operations platform that promises to shorten customer sales cycles, improve forecast accuracy, and grow revenue.
As Clari’s finance and sales functions have matured, Filter says, the two functions have been remarkably collaborative around commission plans, building quotas, and architecting the deal desk function.
Adds Filter: “We’ve built our teams around our strengths, so it hasn’t been like, ‘You own that and I own this.’ Instead, we’ve said, ‘Hey, my core team is really good at this piece, and your core team is really good at that piece.’ What we have is a strong support network of players on both of our teams.” –Jack Sweeney
Guest: Alyssa Filter
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, CA
An operating plan that keeps people top of mind.
CFOTL: Tell us about Clari’s response to the current environment in light of COVID’s persistent presence?
Filter: When we were talking at the executive staff level, it’s from a mindset of accelerating around the curve. And so I think our CEO has really coined that phrase, but that’s the lens that we’re looking through and the question we’re asking is what investments can we make now that will allow us not only to come out of this better, but accelerate around the curve. And allow us when we have changes in the macro environment to be tremendously successful.
… We just hired a Chief People Officer, but until three months ago, I was also leading the HR teams as well. In the current environment, human capital is more important than ever. And so (as we consider) our response to the current environment, and one of the most important things that we had to evaluate and really understand is where to place our bets on people.