Oracle Fusion Marketing reduces the role of traditional CRMs
Larry Ellison: "What we want to do is build systems that help you sell more." Updated.
Oracle today announced the launch of Oracle Fusion Marketing, part of Oracle Advertising and CX. The new product tracks account engagement with both email and advertising channels, uses AI to score leads and predict opportunity for sales engagement, then delivers the qualified opportunity to any CRM system. The offering seeks to automate the B2B lead generation and qualification process and push the outcomes directly into the systems used by sales representatives.
“Salesforce automation has left sellers behind and has become about salesforce automation,” said Nate Skinner, Global SVP of Marketing for Oracle Advertising and CX (referring to CRM across the board, not just — but clearly including — Salesforce.com). “Very few traditional CRM systems actually help sellers sell. They help them track their contacts, but they don’t do things that help them get back to selling.”
Where’s the automation? Modern marketing compels engagement with many different solutions within the marketing stack, and for many marketers not everything is automated. “We have to create segments manually, we have to supply content for our sellers manually, depending on the technology we often have to route leads manually,” said Skinner. “Meanwhile sellers are receiving way to many unqualified leads.”
In a world where most of the buyer journey takes place as self-service, the pressure on B2B marketers to identify and deliver qualified leads only increases. “Salesforce as a category was intended to automate the work for sellers; it’s become administration. I have never met a seller that likes to use their salesforce automation system — they see it as an oversight tool for their managers. We’ve got to give them product that powers their ability to sell.”
Across email, ads and social. Fusion Marketing tracks campaigns across not only email but the full range of advertising channels including social. Buyer behavior drives automated identification of qualified leads and delivers them into the CRM as opportunities, together with a view of the actions (clicks, downloads) which qualified them.
“We have an Oracle CRM product, but of course lots of people use Salesforce, and that’s fine. Whatever that system is, automating the lead generation and qualification of opportunities is what happens before they becomer something your sellers have to manage.”
This new offering delivers leads based on behavior across email and advertising, two major B2B channels, but omits webinars, for example, and in-person events when they return. “That’s a leading question,” said Skinner. “This is the first deposit and there are more coming.”
It’s just computers. At a virtual meeting following the announcement, Oracle founder, Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison explained the motivation for the new offering. “A sales automation system has value. It keeps track of your opportunities, keeps track of your contacts, and it allows you to communicate with management and say, I expect these deals to close in the quarter. It’s really a management tool for individual sales people and their bosses.”
But the sales system does not increase or automate sales, he continued. “It automates sales forecasting and improves communication. What we want to do is build systems that help you sell more. It’s that simple. We realized we couldn’t do just a second generation sales automation system, we had to also include the precursor to selling, which is marketing — to generate and, most important of all, to qualify leads.”
The lead generation and qualification, he emphasized, is fully automated. “It’s just computers.”
The future of CRM? Even if the perfectly qualified opportunity lands in a CRM with all the supporting information, there’s surely CRM admin left over to do for the sales reps? “Of course they need to close the opportunity, generate a quote, do the CPQ stuff. It’s the system of record for opportunities and forecasts. We’re trying to eliminate the tasks and mundane activity that has to occur before you even get to the stage where you can close an opportunity.”
Why we care. Does this step on the feet of Salesforce — and we mean Salesforce.com with a capital “S”, not just all those salesforce admin systems out there? Yes, and it’s plainly intended to. If successful, it pushes CRMs into being a system of record for the last lap of the sale, the quote and the closing. It takes the spotlight off of the CRM as a key sales enablement solution.
At the same time, it’s not yet clear whether it provides a clear alternative to stacks which stitch together sales enablement solutions (and there are many) with CRMs. But as Oracle is saying, there’s more to come.