Case Study
With Clari, Udacity has decreased average deal cycle length by 15% and churn by 10%

Clari has been following Ben Merkley around for almost a decade.

Or maybe Ben has been chasing Clari.

Per Ben Merkley, Interim CRO & VP of Global Revenue Operations at Udacity, “Any company that had the foresight to use Clari was a big indicator in the value they put on their forecasting —the desire to drive business cadence and give their teams all the necessary tools to be successful.”

When Ben joined the company in April 2022, his team had already purchased Clari. He was thrilled. After all, Ben had used Clari (and been part of the evaluation process) at his previous three jobs.

“Clari has been instrumental in my past lives, helping drive revenue, creating a predictable revenue stream, analyzing our deals, driving one-on-ones, QBRs, and so on.”

So what has drawn Ben to Clari (and vice versa)?

Clari has helped Udacity decrease average deal cycle length by 15%

There is not one single factor that connects Ben with Clari (and Clari with Ben).

In fact, there are four:

1. Time savings; more automation: “With Clari, we spend significantly less time rolling up our forecast and more time being strategic,” says Ben.

Before Clari, the forecasting process was “all over the board ... very very manual,” said Ben. “Any changes became a hefty lift, and it was nearly impossible to look back at forecasting accuracy trends. Clari does that automatically.”

2. Accurate forecasting: To complicate matters further, each group within Udacity managed it differently — and very inefficiently.

  • The B2C group used a homegrown forecasting tool.
  • Part of the B2B group used Google Sheets, others had offline Excel sheets, and others cobbled through the forecast module within Salesforce.
  • The Government group used the Salesforce forecasting module.

Rolling up a worldwide forecast with all the business units took time and effort and was next to impossible. And automation? Forget about it.

This entire process took more than a full day and was still unreliable!

3. User Interface (UI): Udacity also fell in love with the easy-to-navigate UI. “Clari is simple to ‘slice and dice’ and has one of the best, most intuitive user interfaces I’ve ever seen,” says Ben.

4. Scalable and repeatable: Finally, Clari has further empowered Udacity to triangulate its forecast — in a quick and repeatable manner. Per Ben, Clari is a “powerful, sophisticated engine with more factors than simply using Salesforce probabilities or stages.”

But Clari is not just for new logos.

"Our forecast accuracy has certainly improved. Our average deal cycle has decreased by around 15%. We've improved our speed to commerce because of Clari. The CRM score has provided so many leading indicators of a deal that has some risks. Clari has provided tremendous value here."

Ben Merkley
Interim CRO & VP of Global Revenue Operations

Udacity churn is down 10% since implementing Clari

Sales is not the only team at Udacity taking advantage of Clari.

The Customer Success team has been using Clari for all QBRs and upsell opportunities. This has been a huge time-sizer — no more wasting time populating various PowerPoint decks.

And thanks to Clari, the customer service team is less reactionary and more proactive. This has led to a 10% reduction in churn since using Clari.

Clari is now part of the Udacity culture.

Ben and his team began seeing the benefits of Clari within the first quarter.

Sales reps love the bi-directional writing between Clari and Salesforce.

Ben loves the tracking — the analytics on emails sent, emails received, and the customer engagement level that “quite frankly just did not exist before.”

All new reps are trained on Clari immediately. The Clari usage report? Every single salesperson uses it daily.

“Clari is part of the Udacity culture,” said Ben.

Next up: Really leaning into the 13-week revenue cadence — building in a predictable, repeatable process as a motion throughout the quarter vs. waiting till the end.

“We are starting to use Clari to focus on linearity — looking at forecasting at a more granular level with the end goal of reducing time to close. As we all know, time kills all deals. We are working towards nurturing deals more consistently throughout the quarter.*

*Bonus: This will also increase forecast accuracy and build the top line.

After all, cash is king.

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