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Marketing has too many disconnected systems: Katrina Gosek, Vice President, Oracle

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Salespeople are getting left behind with traditional CRM systems. CRM systems were supposed to help sellers sell more to existing customers, and to close more deals with prospects. But it doesn’t do that. Instead, in many CRM systems, it has been observed that salespeople are forced to manually update the system at the end of every month, just to satisfy their managers. Katrina Gosek, Vice President, Product Strategy, Sales Portfolio, Oracle Advertising and CX, shares with us how the gaps in existing CRM systems can be addressed, and offers her perspective on some of the major trends that Oracle is seeing globally

Some edited excerpts:

Can you give us broad overview of some of the major trends that you are seeing globally as well as at an India level on the CRM side?
One of the biggest trends we’re seeing within the CRM space globally is that B2B selling is becoming increasingly digital, a change that has been heavily accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means marketers must in turn rely on digital technologies to help them do their jobs and to connect with their customers. The number of digital touchpoints has increased, the number of decision-makers has grown, and buyers are choosing to interact with salespeople later and later in the cycle. With this, marketers need to react more quickly, target prospects more effectively, and even launch ad campaigns seamlessly with as few points of friction as possible.

Please highlight some key challenges faced by marketers, sales and service across businesses in India and globally, specially post pandemic?

The disconnect between sales and marketing teams is a growing challenge as the B2B buying process becomes more complex. Customers and prospects are interacting with organizations across an increasingly broad range of digital channels, buyer expectations are growing, and the need to access information at any time means much of the purchasing decision is now made before a salesperson is engaged.

Have you seen a major shift within the CRM space, pre & post pandemic? Please share some of the key takeaways?
The age-old promise of a CRM was that it would automate the selling process, help salespeople keep track of their prospects, remind them of where they are in their sales pursuits, and generally turn a physical Rolodex card into an interactive tool that is perpetually up-to-date, accessible, and in the end helps a salesperson sell more. But the reality of this has fallen short, and the dream of salesforce automation has shifted to the nightmare of what some have called “salesforce administration.”

What is your outlook for CRM and how do you foresee businesses looking at CX in future?

To help marketers and sellers address these challenges and get back to what they do best: building relationships and closing deals, they need a better way to reduce the amount of time, overhead, and misalignment between marketing and sales content, and they need distributed, but coordinated, ownership of B2B sales campaigns. Marketers and sellers today require a system that does the heavy lifting to engineer and unify business across advertising, content and sales.

Basis your interactions with enterprises and customers, what are the gaps that Oracle has observed within the existing CRM technologies? What are some of the recent changes and updates that Oracle has specifically made within CRM given the current market dynamics and gaps?

There are several gaps that keep CRMs from helping marketers and sellers work together to get more sales:

1. Marketing has too many disconnected systems: Marketers struggle because audiences are digital and online. Buyers only spend 17% of their time with a sales person which means the role of the marketer becomes that much more important to effectively educate the buyer. The digital shift means that buyers are doing more research on their own, across more channels and marketers need tools to effectively meet buyers where they are, no matter the channel.

2. Sales receives too many unqualified leads: Sellers struggle with the amount of unqualified leads they receive. Often times we have junior team members making decisions about the ranking of leads based on incomplete information and gut instincts.

3. Salesforce automation has become too focused on administration: I mentioned earlier how sellers spend too time on administrative tasks in CRM, updating lists, entering activities and resolving data conflicts. Salesforce automation has become a tool for sales managers not sellers.

To help marketers execute campaigns that generate highly qualified sales opportunities and accelerate deal cycles, Oracle launched a new product called Oracle Fusion Marketing, the first solution in the market to fully automate lead generation and qualification for B2B.

We built Fusion Marketing to unify B2B marketing and sales into a single end-to-end business flow. It automates the process from audience segmentation all the way through to generating a conversation-ready opportunity in your CRM. Engineering these applications to work together eliminates silos, removes human errors and automates the mundane. This is the next generation of marketing and sales automation and is the first of many engineered experiences to come from Oracle Advertising and CX.

According to you what are the top 2 best practices that marketers must take to change their game and meet the overall goal?

1. Deliver More Personalized Campaign Content: As brands reevaluate strategies to adjust to industry changes, marketers are concentrating more on customer retention and growing deeper relationships with those customers. Delivering more personalized campaign content not only helps increase engagement and conversions, but also helps improve brand loyalty.
2. Extend Reach of Campaigns with B2B Advertising Channels: Reach and engage both customers and prospects across digital channels through B2B advertising. This helps marketers not only maximize campaign performance, but also helps deliver enhanced customer experiences that drive better business outcomes.

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