Is Oracle serious about changing its sales culture to a more customer-focused approach? One that helps customers leverage the full suite of Oracle solutions? More specifically, will the software giant abandon what one customer recently described as a strategy of “constant attack” from multiple sales people pitching multiple products?
It’s a tall order. Commission-based revenue chasing is a longstanding problem for Oracle, one that has only gotten worse as the product portfolio has expanded. By its own admission, Oracle has on a regular basis shifted, changed, reorganized and retooled its sales strategy, teams and methods – to the point that the process has become something of an annual rite of spring.
Will things be different this time?
Incentives based on a regional and vertical focus can go a long way toward improving the reward structure and reversing the practice of throwing lots of stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. The Key Accounts Program can also help, but should become a catalyst for the norm, rather than special treatment proffered on a handful of strategic accounts.
On the other hand, the current executive structure and supporting organizations are non-traditional Oracle, and many top sales executives have a background in hardware and, arguably, commodity sales. In the scramble for revenue during the past few years, Oracle has lost many talented professionals who were experts at complex solution-oriented sales and who were true advocates for the company and its vision. The gap left by their departure remains difficult to fill, especially when a culture of commission chasing continues to prevail in many quarters.
Ultimately, while Oracle’s leadership may be well intentioned and committed to driving a more customer-oriented sales strategy, the reality is that this is a very large company with a deeply entrenched culture. Think battleship in a bathtub.