Category: Sales

Oracle Sales Cloud (Fusion CRM) release 7, winning back core SFA!

Sales Cloud (Fusion CRM) release 7 is quite refreshing for those using the application since earlier releases. When I drove through the latest release 7, I knew the wait and the hype built around this release are justified.

Apart from bringing much anticipated enhancements around improving user experience, this release tried to take Mobile, Social & Analytics features to a new level.

From the perspective of an administrator, attempts made in the areas of Extensibility, Data Management and Environment Migration are appreciated.

Let me give you few specifics

User Experience: Navigation
Navigation was a major concern in previous releases. It was complicated and inconsistent or was just not there.

Now I see lot more availability and consistency in desktop UI.

Except Sales Calendar where the context of a calendar item isn’t completely built {this observation is addressed by FUSE (Simplified UI)}, navigation among core sales entities is fully enabled.

User Experience: Search
Enhancements in this area are focused around removing constraints, de-coupling search options and predefined lists and rectifying issues with filters etc.

Other notable improvements are role based saved searches (driven by admin), user level personalization of filters and introduction of record set attribute etc.

User Experience: Contextual Help
Contextual help is consistently available across all high use pages in the application. The help directory content is now fully aligned with the section form where it is invoked.

User Experience: FUSE
FUSE (Simplified UI) is for quick performance of regular tasks. A major enhancement to achieve buy-in from Sales folks.

You could perform all actions at par with desktop UI and can also quickly move to desktop UI to access more advanced features or more detailed information.

You could personalize the user experience by setting up required logo, theme etc. and setup a homepage announcement.

Though role based customization of simplified UI is possible, it is limited to overview/list pages only.

FUSE (Simplified UI) screenshot
FUSE (Simplified UI) screenshot

Core SFA: Sales Process Management
FUSE (Simplified UI) for quick action and Search, Navigation enhancements across core SFA modules brought this area back.

Other enhancements include
• Marketing insights for a Lead and Contact from Eloqua
• Customer Center Improvements –
> Competitive Presence – For Sales/Account Planning
> Graphical demonstration of Account Hierarchy (vs. Org. hierarchy)
> Tracking Contact ‘relationships’ by timeframe – An important detail sought by many customers/prospects alike.
• Lead Qualification/Management is now moved to Sales functional area

Core SFA: Sales Performance Management
Except few incremental improvements, enhancements in this area are minimal. From our experience simplification of Territory Management is very much required and it is a roadmap item.

Business Process Composer
Business Process composer is another big leap enhancement and kind of re-introduced in release 7.

As part of Oracle SOA Suite, the Oracle Business Process Management Suite contains a design-time tool for creating and adjusting BPMN 2.0 compliant BPEL processes, known as the Process Composer. Logically, as this tool can make significant changes to the way functionality runs, it is not therefore for use by normal end-users or administrators, and so is not found embedded inside Fusion Applications.

The Process Composer contains extensive options for creating new processes, as well as importing, adjusting, and redeploying the standard BPEL processes provided by Fusion Applications. Amongst other things, this includes support for manipulating Oracle Business Rules (OBR) to add complex conditional processing logic, as well as Human Workflow for interacting with users for hands-on activities, such as approvals.

Business process flows (e.g. approval flows) created using the process composer could be triggered using object workflows (e.g. of an Opportunity) that initiate based on some change in an object e.g. field update.

The seeded templates in Oracle Business Process Composer provide services, business rules, and tasks, which we can use for configuring customized processes.

Business Process Composer-Seeded flow screenshot
Business Process Composer-Seeded flow screenshot


Marketing: Eloqua Integration
Eloqua integration with Sales cloud is expected to augment customer interaction history in Sales Cloud, provide bi-directional lead nurturing between marketing and sales along with fully enabled Marketing automation and multi-channel campaign capabilities. Following table demonstrates what Eloqua Marketing cloud has to offer in comparison to Fusion Marketing (though it is purely driven by what is missing in Fusion Marketing)

Eloqua Marketing Cloud Vs. Fusion Marketing
Eloqua Marketing Cloud Vs. Fusion Marketing

Most anticipated feature in the area of reports is ability to drill/navigate from a report to a transactional record using Action Links and it is available in release 7. It is facilitated through calling web pages instead of using ADF contextual event.

Action Links are available for the following objects:
• Customer
• Contact
• Lead
• Opportunity

Other enhancements include
> Use alerts to proactively detect issues and business potential (condition based report scheduling)
> Add enhanced visualizations, like a waterfall chart to your reports
> Embedding OSN conversations in custom report/dashboard (i.e. see all conversations for a record in one place using report view)

Environment Migration
This allows export and import of setup data and customizations across Oracle Sales Cloud environments on the same release and patch.

Life Cycle Management
Life Cycle Management

Functional Setup Manager (FSM) is used to migrate setup data.
Customizations Migration used to migrate:
• All Sales Cloud customizations, including
> Customizations created with Application Composer, and Page Composer
> Sales Cloud security changes (role hierarchy changes)
• Customizations for other Fusion Applications (not just Sales and Marketing)

Currently available ‘Extensions Manager’ used to migrate customizations created with Application Composer (Sales and Marketing only) would be phased out.

Refer to My Oracle Support Doc ID 1534289.1 (for Setup Data) and Oracle Fusion Applications Extensibility Guide(for Customizations) migration possibilities.

Modularity Consolidation
Now we can
> Call attributes from one object to the other. This is limited to ‘Common’ application area and limited to Sales Account.
> Build relationships among objects from across application areas e.g. now we can connect a custom object created under Sales application area with a custom object created under ‘common’ application area.
> Build cross application validations e.g. When a sales account (Customer Center application area) status is turned ‘Inactive’ prevent sales user from creating an opportunity (sales application area)

Brief detail of other enhancements

Groovy Web Services Invocation
This is great. Now we could invoke a web service using the groovy in object workflows.

E.g. when an opportunity has reached ‘Closed/Won’ stage, invoke a service to create a quotation through Big Machine and update finally approved quote value back to sales cloud.

Mobile: Fusion Mobile Sales (SMARTPHONE)
Oracle Fusion Mobile Sales includes several enhancements in Release 7, including:

• Child Objects for Leads
• Forecasts
• Contact Photo
• Android Support

Mobile: Fusion TAP
Oracle Sales Cloud on iPad using Fusion Tap has become ‘general availability’ from release 7 which is a specialized application for tablet devices.
With Release 7, Oracle Fusion Tap is available in 21 languages.

Mobile Analytics: Fusion Mobile Sales
Apart from 6 standard reports, release 7 allows users to access custom reports as part of Mobile Sales application. Users can change report views and apply report filters.

Mobile Analytics: Fusion TAP
From release 7, users can access custom reports.

Social Network (OSN)
Social objects available to be enabled in Release 7 are Customer, Opportunity, Lead, Partner Account, Reference, Competitor, Organization, Person and Group. Sales Cloud administration can decide which objects to enable as social, and which fields to expose on the objects’ Wall.

Desktop UI Configuration
In Release 7, we can edit subtabs using Page Composer.

In summary, Oracle Sales Cloud release 7 is simple to use, considerably improved and strengthened its core SFA solution and ahead of competition in providing Sales Performance Management and Customer Data Management functionalists.

I would like to thank my colleagues at CRMIT Solutions for their support in writing this article.

Senior Principle Business Consultant, CRMIT

Originally Published on Ahmed’s Blog

Stop Typing and Start Speaking to your CRM

Does it sound interesting? Yes, it is  fact that Oracle is working on a new app “Oracle Voice” that works with Oracle Sales Cloud facilitating data entry / update in CRM by Sales team over voice than typing it out …


As you see over there some of the most common tasks like contact creation, task creation, opportunity update, meeting notes etc can all be entered by speaking over to your phone than typing it.  The added advantage over here as you see in the right side of the image is an interactive step by step Wizard where the system speaks to you to gather info in a logical manner to update it in CRM ….

The application is expected to be available soon, stay tuned …

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Guest Post : The CRM and the pre-contact data challenge

I recently faced a data challenge that almost disturbed a whole organisation. My aims were honorable, I insist, but this was something so new, so unprecedented that it nearly didn’t happen. When it did, it revolutionized the marketing to sales hand-off, and a number of processes in between. It gave us an extra layer of rich detail that enhanced our marketing and sales processes, with market information that gave us real focus.

Stage 1 – get the data

There are a host of IP tracking software programs available, some better than others. We selected one which provided a short piece of code to put on our website, which tracked the IP address of the businesses surfing our website, and matched them to Dunn & Bradstreet databases, as well as LinkedIn. Immediately, we had a flow of data; from the 1500 visitors who hit the site each day, we could identify at least 300 of them. The system would give us key contact data from LinkedIn – in our case, we wanted the Human Resources and the Finance Directors, as well as managers.

However, it would also give us an extra rich seam of data to work with – what pages they were looking at, which search terms they had used, how long they had been on the site, and how many times they had visited in total. These metrics allowed us to gauge their level of engagement with the website, but also what they were interested in. When a leading airline came on looking specifically for what we provided, we knew there were something powerful here.

Stage 2 – filter the data

What we quickly realised was that the data we were getting through was of huge value, but only if we were able to quickly filter through it for opportunities. We extracted our own database into .csv format and filtered that into customers, prospects (i.e. leads) and suspects (i.e. no contact has been made). Within customers, we broke that up into international, safe and at risk, so that we could better understand why our customers were on the website.

That data was then uploaded into the system with a match against business name, and each organisation was then tagged appropriately. Naturally, data sets include variants, so a secondary match was made for those with no match, against the business address, in order to ensure that as many of the organisations as possible were tagged. We used a colour-coding system to quickly identify our web visitors.

Stage 3 – identify what matters

We set up a steering committee to understand exactly what we wanted to get out of this data, and how we were going to use it. For the first time, we were able to identify when a potential lead made first contact – but we needed to identify exactly what we required, and how we would use it.

Clearly, search information was key – this gave us an idea of the user’s intent. In one instance, we identified a leading hospitality chain before they went out to tender, knowing exactly what they were looking for before they told us. That allowed us to approach them. Therefore, matching a business name to a keyword was crucial.

Engagement metrics were equally key – we didn’t want to know a business who had left after just one page, or one that had not returned. Therefore, we needed to filter the data into the “most engaged” businesses, using number of visits, number of pages, and equally using triggers to see businesses who had visited certain pages.

Stage 4 – set up the CRM to drive the project

We were using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which allowed us to create bespoke events that would be visible in the 360 degree dashboard. Of course, this would have to be at organisation level, as IP addresses cannot be matched to contacts directly. What we needed was a new “web visit” event matched against organisations, with key information such as keyword, titles of pages visited, depth of visit, total number of visits.

Rather than setting triggers up in the tracking software itself, we used the CRM to automatically trigger an alert to the appropriate business development manager whenever a web visit was triggered in the system. So, for example, if a business of 500 employees in the South-East recorded a 6-page visit on a key search phrase, then the South-East mid-corporate business development manager was alerted.

Stage 5 – getting the data back into the CRM

The key here was automating the process – and required a little bit of trickery in the background to ensure that it worked seamlessly. On a daily basis, the system would do a batch data upload into the CRM using a cross-match of data fields that transferred vital information from the tracking system online, into the CRM.

Equally, where contacts were missing from an organisation, we would receive an alert that would allow us to manually update the contacts ourselves at a later date.

Stage 6 – getting buy-in & refining the process

There were bound to be initial problems – for example, some sales representatives resented receiving too much information about potential prospects they had no interest in. However, upon receiving the aforementioned tip-off about the hospitality chain, a salesperson decided to act, and was able to use the search phrase information to build a conversation with the business.

Sales agreed that it was best to collect data over the long-term and get a better appreciation of the prospect’s buying process. For example, contacting the prospect too soon in the process could potentially be a negative – the CRM was throwing up extra intelligence that showed prospects were likely to visit the website at least five times before making an enquiry. What we needed was a trigger to say “this business should have contacted us by now” – and that was when we had to act.

Stage 7 – building intelligence into marketing efforts

Events and triggers from the Dynamics CRM allowed us to better inform sales of when a potentially sales-ready prospect had been on our website, but there was a further layer of information that we could use here – the pre-contact buying process. We had learned that contacts were using key phrases of a generic nature in order to find out about the service in general, and then they were diving into deeper information, with white papers and PDF downloads being crucial at this stage. At a later date, they would return with a brand phrase – either brand alone or brand + service.

We could then take this information to make a soft contact with the organisation, either by direct mail or telemarketing, in order to gauge their true level of interest. We would never mention the fact that we knew what they had been looking at (it sounds a little big brother!), but our conversion rates on direct and telemarketing rose substantially as a result of this intelligence.

The CRM allowed us to extract data according to most recent visit and number of visits to the site, and we could then prioritize our efforts according to depth of visit and keyword intent, personalising the message further. The additional data provided by the system, cross-fed into the CRM, allowed us to further enhance our contact possibilities.

And at the heart of this…

We believe that CRM is the cultural glue to an organisation. You only get out what you put in, and that was the mantra that every department in our business repeated – from the quality of the data, to the depth and richness of that data. By adding in a layer of pre-contact intelligence, and looking at the models of engagement with our website, we were able to build an observe-and-contact model that both sales and marketing could use in order to better understand and approach a potential prospect with a view to getting a face-to-face appointment.

As we go on, we are beginning to weave new aspects into our contact strategy, from building in social media feeds to getting a greater appreciation of customer needs. For example, there is potential for upsell when a customer visits the website, looking at extra product or service pages. We did not have that capability before because it was not spoken.

At the very heart of this, was the CRM. The glue that binds the organisation, the tool with which to interpret and communicate this intelligence, and drive what ultimately became a stellar year for sales.

Gareth Cartman

GarethCartman Gareth Cartman writes frequently on business, HR and CRM topics, and works with MS Dynamics partner Preact, who are based in the UK and were recently awarded President’s Club status by Microsoft.

Hidden Pricing Power

Donald V. Potter discusses many tips on pricing, in his classic article “Discovering Hidden Pricing Power”, published in “Business Horizons” magazine, during November, December 2000. His inputs to go beyond the standard rate cards, % discounting, fixed price and T&M models, so that you have the edge when trying to make that sale.

Here are some useful tips from this wonderful article:

  • Bundle Benefits
  • Unbundle Benefits
  • Offer alternative service levels and price points
  • Link Future Purchases to Current Transaction
  • Understand the components of the cost better to keep cost and price moving together
  • Shift some of the price to suppliers
  • Set Prices Selectively, Not across the board
  • Move Prices in Smaller Increments
  • Raise Invisible Prices
  • Match Price Moves to the Market
  • Use Discounts strategically to build relationship with important clients
  • Price Against The Leader (Price it down when leader is reluctant)
  • Follow the leader (Move the prices up, if leader increases)
  • Seek out new segments that tolerate high prices

Venkatesan Sundaram,

Senior Director, CRMIT

CRMOD Safari @ Africa

One of our biggest customers in African region went live this week. Great to see them running their insurance sales processes using Oracle CRM On Demand #CRMOD customized and implemented by our wonderful team.

As always, our customer sent these bouquets of appreciation about our work, Sharing the excitement with you:


We went live yesterday with our Sales Force Automation project using CRM on Demand.

Whilst this project had its typical challenges, the overall experience has been very good, the objectives of this initial phase have been achieved and particularly, we are very motivated and excited about this journey. I particularly wanted to thank those people who worked hard to support this initiative and ensure its success and also wanted to give you a view of how we are embracing this solution and the change it precipitates.


I know this was a demanding project for you and had its moments of conflict and stress with tight timelines. It’s exciting to see the hard work come “to life” and know that our sales teams are motivated and positive about the transformative capability this solution will help them achieve.


A huge thanks for your effort. I know the road was bumpy at times. but we did it and it looks great. You don’t know how this will transform some of the inner workings of our Sales Teams.