Following the Footsteps of Top Sales Reps

Hi, my name is John Kim. I am the product manager for Oracle Sales Prospector. I have been working very hard here in Redwood City to ship my product. Yes, I am almost at the finish line now. I am pleased to announce that we shipped Oracle Sales Prospector on June 30th.

In my spare(?) time between reviewing test results, and finalizing the training materials, time to time, I browse the web and look at press and blog articles on Oracle Sales Prospector that turn up on Google Alert. One article that caught my eyes was an article titled, “Problem with ‘Social’ CRM: Salespeople Want Commissions, not ‘Community' It suggests that the competitive nature of salespersons may hinder the adoption of social networks in the enterprise setting, making it difficult to sustain themselves in the long run. Having read the article, I hoed and hummed, came to understand why this issue was raised, and want to share some of my thoughts on that.


Even if some sales reps keep information close to their vest, a lot of information does get entered, either by them or by others, as a result of normal course of business in the enterprise. Sales reps do want to get paid and customers want to receive what they bought from those reps, so orders get created on the enterprise system for fulfillment. In addition, most companies keep information on their customers, and products. Furthermore, the company can set up the initial layer of enterprise social networks, based on the company formal work groups. They can be something like North American Sales, Oil and Gas Accounts Reps, etc. By knitting order, customer, and product information within these groups, the enterprise can assemble a large amount of information as a starting point for collaboration for its reps.

Yes, I see that salespersons may not actively seek out or offer help with one another. They may be the life of the party in real life, but the perfect wall flowers online. This is where the power of data mining by Oracle Data Mining comes in. The top salespersons leave their fingerprints all over the enterprise system in the form of closed orders. Similar to how Amazon.com makes recommends shoppers what they might like based on what products customers like them have purchased, Oracle Sales Prospector makes prospecting recommendations based on what the salesperson’s peers sold to customers similar to the ones he/she is going after. Here, as the similar shoppers would stay anonymous, so would the peer salespersons. By mimicking targeting moves by the top salespersons, an average salesperson can increase his/her own effectiveness. This enterprise-sponsored social learning network can accelerate the diffusion of best sales targeting practices within the enterprise.

If you can mimic dance on Dance Dance Revolution, play Aerosmith on Guitar Hero or follow Tiger’s moves on Golf Channel, you will see how an average sales rep can increase his/her win rate by mimicking the targeting techniques of the top salespersons. For an average person, this is much better than creating his own dance moves, would-be hit songs, and a first-tried golf stance. You can unleash your inner salesperson with Oracle Sales Prospector.


Oh, one more thing. Happy Canada Day to my friends up north, and Happy Fourth of July for us in the States! Later.

Comments:

The biggest problem with vague generalizations like "salespeople want commissions, not community" is that they're not true in the most absolute form. Granted, salespeople want that almighty dollar, that piece o' meat. But the culture of a company, not to mention a sales team, plus characteristics like products/services being sold, commission structures, etc., will determine the extent to which salespeople play nice or clash with each other. Among sales folks I talk to at large companies, both traits prevail, often simultaneously. But pssssttt...they're already collaborating with each other--they just don't have SW that helps them do that. Therefore it'll be interesting to see how & to what extent apps like this are used by sales teams.

Posted by Derek on July 12, 2008 at 07:26 PM PDT #

The notion of sales reps leaving their fingerprints all around the system and using that information to accelerate sales targeting practices within the enterprise is a very powerful one. To add to that power you would need to convert that mass information into collaborative experiences that provides more value to the user. Could you aggregate sales rep experiences and feedback to vet in an open source manner? It would also be interesting to know who the top sales reps are if I'm going to mimic their moves. I may start building a trusted network of people that I want to follow more....

Posted by Alicia Wu on July 13, 2008 at 02:17 PM PDT #

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