Thursday Oct 17, 2013

Driving Growth through Smarter Selling

With the proliferation of social media and mobile technologies, the world of selling and buying has drastically changed, as buyers now have access to more information than they did in the past. In fact, studies have shown that buyers complete 60 percent of the buying process before they even engage with a salesperson. The old models of selling no longer work effectively; and the new way of selling is driven by customer insights. To succeed, sales need to be proactive, not reactive. They need to engage with the customer early, sometimes even before the customer’s needs are fully understood. In fact, the best sales reps prescribe a solution that the customer doesn't even know they need, often by leveraging social media to listen, engage and collaborate with peers. And they fully tap into the power of analytics and data to drive results.

 Let’s look at some stats regarding challenges facing sales today. According to recent studies, sales reps spend 78 percent of their time doing administrative things -- such as planning, searching for information, data entry -- and only 22 percent of the time actually selling. Furthermore, 40 percent of B2B sales reps miss their quota, and only 3 percent of companies can say with confidence that their forecasts are “always accurate.”

How do you drive growth in this modern day and age? It's not just getting your sales teams to work harder; it's helping them work smarter and providing them with a solution they want to use, on the device(s) they already know, giving them critical insights and tools to be more productive, increase win rates, and close deals faster.

Oracle Sales Cloud was designed to do exactly that. It enables smarter selling that allows reps to sell more, managers to know more, and companies to grow more.  Let’s face it—if all CRM solutions worked well, sales executives wouldn’t be having the same headaches as they had in the past.

Join Oracle’s Thomas Kurian and Doug Clemmans on Tuesday, October 22 as they explain:

• How today’s sales processes have rendered many CRM systems obsolete

• The secrets to smarter selling, leveraging mobile, social, and big data

• How Oracle Sales Cloud enables smarter selling—as proven by Oracle and its customers

Take the first step down the path toward smarter selling. With Oracle Sales Cloud, reps sell more, managers know more, and companies grow more.

Friday May 31, 2013

Improving Customer Experience for Segment of One Using Big Data

By Irem Radzik, Senior Principal Product Marketing Director -- Fusion Middleware

Customer experience has been one of the top focus areas for CIOs in the recent years. A key requirement for improving customer experience is understanding the customer: their past and current interactions with the company, their preferences, demographic information etc. This capability helps the organization tailor their service or products for different customer segments to maximize their satisfaction. This is not a new concept. However, there have been two parallel changes in how we approach and execute on this strategy.

First one is the big data phenomenon that brought the ability to obtain a much deeper understanding of customers, especially bringing in social data. As this Forbes article "Six Tips for Turning Big Data into Great Customer Experiences" mentions big data especially has transformed online marketing. With the volume and different types of data we have now available companies can run more sophisticated analysis, in a more granular way. This leads to the second change: the size of customer segments. It is shrinking down to one, where each individual customer is offered a personalized experience based on their individual needs and preferences. This notion brings more relevance into the day-to-day interactions with customers, and basically takes customers satisfaction and loyalty to a new level that was not possible before.

One of the key technology requirements to improve customer experience at such a granular level is to obtaining a complete and up-to-date view of the customer. And that requires integrating data across disparate systems and in a timely manner. Data integration solution should move and transform large data volumes stored in heterogeneous systems in geographically dispersed locations. Moving data with very low latency to the customer data repository or a data warehouse, enables companies to have a relevant and actionable insight for each customer. Instead of relying on yesterday's data, which may not be pertinent anymore, the solution should analyze latest information and turn them into a deeper understanding of that customer. With that knowledge the company can formulate real opportunities to drive higher customer satisfaction.

Real-time data integration is key enabling technology for real-time analytics. Oracle GoldenGate's real-time data integration technology has been used by many leading organizations to get the most out of their big data and build a closer relationship with customers.  One good example in the telecommunications industry is MegaFon. MegaFon is Russia's top provider of mobile internet solutions. The company deployed Oracle GoldenGate 11g to capture billions of monthly transactions from eight regional billing systems. The data was integrated and centralized onto Oracle Database 11g and distributed to business-critical subsystems. The unified and up-to-date view into customers enabled more sophisticated analysis of mobile usage information and facilitated more targeted customer marketing. As a result of  the company increased revenue generated from the current customer base. Many other telecommunications industry leaders, including DIRECTV, BT, TataSky, SK Telecom, Ufone, have improved customer experience by leveraging real-time data integration.

Telecommunications is not the only industry where single view of the customer drives more personalized interaction with customers. Woori Bank  implemented Oracle Exadata and Oracle GoldenGate.  In the past, it had been difficult for them to revise and incorporate changes to marketing campaigns in real time because they were working with the previous day’s data. Now, users can immediately access and analyze transactions for specific trends in the data mart access layer and adjust campaigns and strategies accordingly. Woori Bank can also send tailored offers to customers.

This is just one example of how real-time data integration can transform business operations and the way a company interacts with its customers. I would like to invite you to learn more about data integration facilitating improved customer experience by  reviewing our free resources here and following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday Feb 03, 2013

Find your Match!

Allison Kutz, Lindsay Richardson, Jennifer Rossbach

Card stores, jewelers and florists are preparing for their busiest season of the year. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you are giving extra attention to your loved ones. Your loved ones are the people who bring out the best in you, similar to how territory management systems are designed to bring out the best in each territory. Without a territory management system, chances are you wouldn’t know where to focus your attention, you wouldn’t be pairing the right rep with each territory, your expense account would be larger, and you would close fewer deals. You wouldn’t spend Valentine’s Day focusing on people who don’t bring out the best in you, so why spend time creating territories that don’t provide the best results? Instead of spending your Valentine’s Day thinking about the deals that got away; adopt a territory management system to find your match.

Get the most out of your relationship with better territory alignment

Today, over 40% of sales reps have a schedule that is either overbooked or under-scheduled. Even worse, those reps that are overbooked in the last three quarters of a fiscal year are often not busy during the first quarter. This first quarter lull, which many companies experience, is because reps haven’t been assigned a territory yet. An effective territory management solution allows sales reps to start their fiscal year running. When reps have all 52 weeks in the year to achieve their quota, the bottom line will increase. Correctly aligned territories spread high potential opportunities equally among reps and eliminate wasted time and resources.

Love deeper than the surface with advanced formulas

True love is certainly more than what you see at surface level, and a territory management system is no different. Leonard M Lodish, Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, created a mathematical model to determine maximal profit solutions. One way this model increases total profitability is by “taking sales time from territories with small marginal value and adding it to those of high marginal value”- i.e. changing territory boundaries. Every company has a unique set of best practices that wouldn’t work for another company the same way. Similarly, one standard territory assignment wouldn’t work the same way in multiple organizations. The advanced formulas working beneath the surface of a territory management system ensure that the territory boundaries are as effective as possible. These boundaries can apply not only to state lines, but to industries, product lines, and additional unique methods. Sales reps spend about 20% of their time traveling, often in an unorganized manner. Selecting a geographical territory alignment, for instance, would reduce the amount of time reps spend in cars and on airplanes, and in turn, increase the amount of time they spend selling and generating revenue.

Test your relationship before you commit with territory proposals

The future is scary to think about, especially for a sales organization with a volatile market. Finding the right territories for the present and future can help alleviate these fears. With Fusion Territory Management companies can manage their territories before they become permanent with live information and real production data. Eliminating ‘the guessing game’ allows users to evaluate territory alignment ideas and compare them to see which would be more productive. When managers have free time, they can formulate a territory proposal, and save it until they wish to use it days, weeks, and even months later. With a valuable territory management system companies can be sure all their customers are receiving the attention they deserve. Just like Valentine’s Day is for focusing on loved ones who bring out the best in you, territory management systems are used to bring out the best in each territory. This Valentine’s Day, don’t rely on a manual alignment of territories and risk letting a customer get away. Adopt a beneficial territory management solution to find your match.

Want to find out more? Join our webcast on February 15 from 10-10:30 am PST / 1-1:30 pm EST

Thursday Dec 06, 2012

BYOD-The Tablet Difference

By Allison Kutz, Lindsay Richardson, and Jennifer Rossbach, Sales Consultants

Less than three years ago, Apple introduced a new concept to the world: The Tablet. It’s hard to believe that in only 32 months, the iPad induced an entire new way to do business. Because of their mobility and ease-of-use, tablets have grown in popularity to keep up with the increasing “on the go” lifestyle, and their popularity isn’t expected to decrease any time soon. In fact, global tablet sales are expected to increase drastically within the next five years, from 56 million tablets to 375 million by 2016.

Tablets have been utilized for every function imaginable in today’s world. With over 730,000 active applications available for the iPad, these tablets are educational devices, portable book collections, gateways into social media, entertainment for children when Mom and Dad need a minute on their own, and so much more. It’s no wonder that 74% of those who own a tablet use it daily, 60% use it several times a day, and an average of 13.9 hours per week are spent tapping away.

Tablets have become a critical part of a user’s personal life; but why stop there? Businesses today are taking major strides in implementing these devices, with the hopes of benefiting from efficiency and productivity gains. Limo and taxi drivers use tablets as payment devices instead of traditional cash transactions. Retail outlets use tablets to find the exact merchandise customers are looking for. Professors use tablets to teach their classes, and business professionals demonstrate solutions and review reports from tablets.

Since an overwhelming majority of tablet users have started to use their personal iPads, PlayBooks, Galaxys, etc. in the workforce, organizations have had to make a change. In many cases, companies are willing to make that change. In fact, 79% of companies are making new investments in mobility this year. Gartner reported that 90% of organizations are expected to support corporate applications on personal devices by 2014.

It’s not just companies that are changing. Business professionals have become accustomed to tablets making their personal lives easier, and want that same effect in the workplace. Professionals no longer want to waste time manually entering data in their computer, or worse yet in a notebook, especially when the data has to be later transcribed to an online system.

The response: the Bring Your Own Device phenomenon. According to Gartner, BYOD is “an alternative strategy allowing employees, business partners and other users to utilize a personally selected and purchased client device to execute enterprise applications and access data.” Employees whose companies embrace this trend are more efficient because they get to use devices they are already accustomed to.

Tablets change the game when it comes to how sales professionals perform their jobs. Sales reps can easily store and access customer information and analytics using tablet applications, such as Oracle Fusion Tap. This method is much more enticing for sales reps than spending time logging interactions on their (what seem to be outdated) computers. Forrester & IDC reported that on average sales reps spend 65% of their time on activities other than selling, so having a tablet application to use on the go is extremely powerful. In February, Information Week released a list of “9 Powerful Business Uses for Tablet Computers,” ranging from “enhancing the customer experience” to “improving data accuracy” to “eco-friendly motivations”. Tablets compliment the lifestyle of professionals who strive to be effective and efficient, both in the office and on the road.

Three Things Businesses Need to do to Embrace BYOD

  • Make customer-facing websites tablet-friendly for consistent user experiences
  • Develop tablet applications to continue to enhance the customer experience
  • Embrace and use the technology that comes with tablets

Almost 55 million people in the U.S. own tablets because they are convenient, easy, and powerful. These are qualities that companies strive to achieve with any piece of technology. The inherent power of the devices coupled with the growing number of business applications ensures that tablets will transform the way that companies and employees perform.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2012

Blink-Data vs Instinct?

In his landmark bestseller Blink, well-known author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell explores how human beings everyday make seemingly instantaneous choices --in the blink of an eye--and how we “think without thinking.”  These situations actually aren’t as simple as they seem, he postulates; and throughout the book, Gladwell seeks answers to questions such as:
1.    What makes some people good at thinking on their feet and making quick spontaneous decisions?
2.    Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others consistently seem to stumble into error?
3.    Why are some of the best decisions often those that are difficult to explain to others?


In Blink, Gladwell introduces us to the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance.
Ultimately, Blink reveals that great decision makers aren't those who spend the most time deliberating or analyzing information, but those who focus on key factors among an overwhelming number of variables-- i.e., those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing.”

In Data vs. Instinct: Perfecting Global Sales Performance, a new report sponsored by Oracle, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) explores the roles data and instinct play in decision-making by sales managers and discusses how sales executives can increase sales performance through more effective  territory planning and incentive/compensation strategies.

If you are a sales executive, ask yourself this:  “Do you rely on knowledge (data) when you plan out your sales strategy?  If you rely on data, how do you ensure that your data sources are reliable, up-to-date, and complete?  With the emergence of social media and the proliferation of both structured and unstructured data, how do you know that you are applying your information/data correctly and in-context?  

Three key findings in the report are:
•    Six out of ten executives say they rely more on data than instinct to drive decisions.
•    Nearly one half (48 percent) of incentive compensation plans do not achieve the desired results.
•    Senior sales executives rely more on current and historical data than on forecast data.


Strikingly similar to what Gladwell concludes in Blink
, the report’s authors succinctly sum up their findings: "The best outcome is a combination of timely information, insightful predictions, and support data."

Applying this insight is crucial to creating a sound sales plan that drives alignment and results.  In the area of sales performance management, “territory programs and incentive compensation continue to present particularly complex challenges in an increasingly globalized market," say the report’s authors. "It behooves companies to get a better handle on translating that data into actionable and effective plans."

To help solve this challenge, CRM Oracle Fusion integrates forecasting, quotas, compensation, and territories into a single system.   For example, Oracle Fusion CRM provides a natural integration between territories, which define the sales targets (e.g., collection of accounts) for the sales force, and quotas, which quantify the sales targets. In fact, territory hierarchy is a core analytic dimension to slice and dice sales results, using sales analytics and alerts to help you identify where problems are occurring. This makes territories

Start tapping into both data and instinct effectively today with Oracle Fusion CRM.   Here is a short video to provide you with a snapshot of how it can help you optimize your sales performance.  

Monday Oct 01, 2012

Mark Hurd on Oracle's Strategy to Be the Best

Mark Hurd, President of Oracle, energized a packed audience this Monday morning at OpenWorld with his keynote outlining Oracle’s four-pillar strategy:

  • Be the leader at every level of the technology stack—applications, middleware, database, operating system, virtual machine, servers, and storage
  • Vertically integrate these levels into differentiated solutions
  • Offer Fusion, the next generation of applications, which are modular and can run in the cloud, on-premise, or both (hybrid)
  • Deliver this technology portfolio through industry lenses to help Oracle customers solve their problems while innovating and becoming more efficient.

Hurd’s message resonated throughout Monday’s Customer Experience (CX) sessions as we learned about Oracle’s investment in integrating its best-of-breed CX solutions to deliver an end-to-end suite that addresses every part of the customer lifecycle. For example, in the area of customer service, Oracle is developing enhancements to help contact center agents:

  • Better understand customer needs through social listening tools that are integrated with knowledge management
  • Empower themselves with internal collaboration and mobility tools
  • Adapt to customer needs by engaging them through chat during a service or commerce interaction so they can deliver a great customer experience while transforming from a cost- into a profit center.

Thursday May 24, 2012

Combine Customer Experience with Sales Automation

       A few days ago, Oracle unveiled the availability of RightNow Cloud Service integrated with our Fusion CRM products. With this integration, sales reps now have more visibility into service interactions and can better sell and service their customers.

      “Every interaction is a relationship opportunity to grow your business. When these interactions are relevant and add value for customers, customers are more likely to trust the relationship and seek purchase advice,” said David Vap, group vice president, Oracle. “This customer trust provides an opportunity to increase customer product adoption and to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, thereby increasing company profitability.”

For more information about RightNow Cloud Service and Oracle Fusion CRM: 

RightNow CX Cloud Service May 2012 Release - Partner Webcast Registration
RightNow CX Cloud Service May 2012 Release - Customer Webcast Registration

Wednesday Apr 18, 2012

See Oracle CX and CRM at Collaborate 2012 in Las Vegas

The Collaborate conference takes place next week, April 22-26, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. You'll see some great speakers, such as Oracle's CIO, Mark Sunday, speaking on IT at Oracle: The Art of IT Transformation to Enable Business Growth. Another great speaker is Captain Mark Kelly, Commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

But that's not all. We will have great CRM/CX sessions and product demos. Our sessions will present overviews and roadmaps about Fusion, Siebel, and mobile CRM applications. Our demos will present Fusion CRM and Oracle Optimized Solutions, Customer Experience (CX) for Commerce and Marketing, and CX for Service and Support. The CX demos will showcase Oracle Commerce (ATG), Oracle Guided Search and Navigation (Endeca), Oracle Knowledge (InQuira), and RightNow CX.

Learn more and plan to join us!

Thursday Sep 15, 2011

Focus On CRM at Oracle OpenWorld


Oracle OpenWorld 2011 is starting soon -- October 2 through 6 in San Francisco. Be sure to attend the many sessions, live demos, partner pavilion, and other events where you will learn more about the three core objectives that drive the design of Oracle CRM solutions:

•Make you smarter
•Make you more productive
•Provide you with the best value

With nearly 120 sessions, the CRM tracks at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 will provide unprecedented insight into Oracle’s CRM portfolio—including the latest developments in Oracle Fusion CRM, cloud-based CRM, and key acquisitions such as ATG and InQuira.

The CRM General Session, scheduled for Monday, is always a crowd favorite. You can expect some leading edge ideas and useful insights from Anthony Lye and his guests! Other favorites are the product overview and roadmap sessions, taking place on Monday and Tuesday. And, we have several customer panel sessions where customers talk about their experiences deploying our software. They will share useful lessons learned. In addition to these top favorites of attendees, we will have many additional, informative sessions.

Find out more about OpenWorld, scan the Focus On CRM overview, and browse the online Content Catalog.

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