Web 2.0 Powers CRM for Sales

Oracle Social CRM bringS powerful collaboration features to sales and marketing.

by Monica Mehta, May 2008

Salespeople want to sell, not spend hours managing and tracking the sales pipeline with customer relationship management (CRM) systems. But the implementation of Web 2.0 technologies within sales processes—or social CRM—is actually saving sales team members time by cutting down on data management and helping them use CRM to complete a sale.

Oracle Social CRM applications, which are built on Oracle Fusion Middleware, are productivity applications that pull from the collective knowledge of the broader sales community. By making the process collaborative, social CRM applications are mirroring the social nature of sales activities—from generating leads to closing a deal. The Oracle Social CRM offerings include Oracle Sales Prospector, Oracle Sales Campaigns, Oracle Sales Library, Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant, and Oracle Deal Management.

Generating leads used to be a fairly random process, driven by luck and word of mouth. Oracle Sales Prospector turns this process into a science, pinpointing what to sell to specific potential prospects based on the buying patterns of similar customers, and providing a mashup of knowledge from within the company and on the internet.

Creating targeted, customized e-mail campaigns is another focus of the new software. Oracle Sales Campaigns employs user ratings and historical response rates to determine the most effective e-mail campaigns. Oracle Sales Library provides a shared library to facilitate finding and sharing sales content.

Because much of a sales team's work is done on the go, they need to be able to interact with information while they're away from the office. Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant enables users to collaborate with team members, communicate with customers, and update leads and opportunities within an easy-to-use interface.

Oracle Deal Management provides best-in-class pricing capabilities to support the negotiation process. "Traditional CRM systems will take you up to the opportunity and the quote," says David Trice, Oracle's vice president of product strategy for price management. "There has been a gap in the solutions that aid the decision process that surrounds negotiation, and that's where our deal management product comes in—to ensure the right price is offered on every deal."

All these sales processes are accomplished using intuitive interfaces that have already gotten rave reviews from users. "From a user standpoint, we have focused on designing our applications so they are simple, easy to consume, and appealing," says Tara Roberts, vice president of product management for Oracle Social CRM applications. "Our goal is to help sales reps be more productive by providing social applications rich with data. When they first see the interface, people say, 'Wow, this is gorgeous.'"

Oracle is building on previous investments in business intelligence and data mining. "What's available in the market often looks like technology in search of a problem," says Jean-Marie Flexer, Oracle's product manager of mobile CRM products. "Here, we've listened to our customers and then geared our design to meet their needs."

Oracle Social CRM applications integrate with CRM and ERP systems and are available standalone as well. Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant was released in March 2008; the other applications will be available later this year.

Oracle Sales Library
Social capabilities are embedded into Oracle Sales Library.

For More Information

Getting ROI from CRM
Oracle Customer Relationship Management

Monica Mehta is a California-based writer who specializes in business and technology.
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