I have been working with Oracle sales people for a very long time. In fact, it’s been almost 25 years. The first 15+ I was at Oracle, supporting sales and running Oracle’s contracts teams. The last 8+ years I’ve been at Palisade Compliance, supporting our clients in their dealings with Oracle. I know Oracle sales. I know how to motivate and demotivate Oracle sales. If anyone knows how aggressive Oracle sales can be, it’s me. I’ve seen it all (on both sides); the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, at least I thought I had seen it all until my client told me the following.
Let me set the stage. We were conducting a standard review meeting with a client. Oracle’s quarter had just ended, and I was expecting to discuss what transpired, negotiation overview, next steps to move forward, and continue the work with Oracle. Towards the end of the call, the client executive said something that literally stopped me in my tracks. He said:
“Craig, [the Oracle sales VP] has sent me over 800 texts and emails since December.”
It was an off-handed, throwaway comment. Like it was normal. Like there was nothing wrong with a sales person (or anyone) sending a client 800 texts/emails in that short period of time. I thought he was joking or at the very least exaggerating, so I let out a chuckle and tried to move on for details. When I pressed on the 800 number he told me has saved every email and text and the count is “over 800.” Wow, I knew Oracle was applying pressure; I just didn’t know it was to that extent.
Let’s put this in perspective. We’ll give the Oracle VP the benefit of the doubt and say this lasted for 3 months. Even in that extended timeframe, it’s more than 9 emails and text messages a day, 7 days a week, for 3 months. Count only business days, and it’s more than 13 emails/texts every business day since December 1. What would you do if a vendor sent you over 13 emails/texts a day for 3 months? And many of the emails/texts were not “warm and fuzzy”. Our client described them as “unprofessional” and “threatening”. All this doesn’t include the phone calls and meetings!
‘Brutal sales onslaught’
The thing that really worries me, besides the brutal Oracle sales onslaught, is that people think this is normal behavior. “It’s just Oracle being Oracle.” Let me be clear on what I think: This is not normal and acceptable behavior! Does it rise to the level of harassment? Bullying? I don’t know. But I do know it’s not normal, and it’s not something anyone should stand for. Even one outreach a day is a little over the top, never mind nine.
A plan to take back control
At Palisade Compliance, when we come across an Oracle sales person or an LMS auditor that is out of control with a client, we give the client a clear plan so they can take back control. Oracle is famous for giving clients timelines and schedules to get a deal done. Those are all based on Oracle’s world. We help clients develop their own timelines based on the client’s goals and deadlines and priorities. The client dictates the meeting frequency and schedule. The client dictates the communications. Oracle is the vendor. Oracle should take the client’s lead. Rest assured that’s what happened with our client and this particular Oracle sales VP!