There’s a big new trend when it comes to selling enterprise tech, a concept called “social selling.” One of the gurus of social selling is former Eloqua star salesperson Jill Rowley.
Until last week, Rowley was leading an effort to train about 23,000 Oracle salespeople in the technique, which uses social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to work with prospects and customers. Social selling is all about “social proximity,” or degrees of separation based on social networking, rather than geography, she tells Business Insider.
But Oracle fired her after she talked to a reporter at Advertising Age for a story about how Oracle is training its salespeople to use their Twitter accounts to interact and help with customers, Rowley told Business Insider. “Just because he was a reporter, I violated social media participation policy. I was fired,” Rowley told us.
Oracle declined to comment on the situation.
Rowley has developed a pretty good following in this new world of social selling and will instantly land on her feet. On Tuesday she’ll launch her own consultant company, and she’s not at all bitter. In fact she says she’s got Oracle to thank for it.
“I spent an amazing 10 months and 17 days there. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish in terms of designing and deploying adoption of a global social selling program,” she says. “At Eloqua I trained 100 reps. At Oracle, 23,000. What’s next is 200,000 and then maybe 2 million? I see a major revolution in the sales world and I get to be the forefront and I thank Oracle for that.”
Rowley believes that social selling is “transforming the sleazy, slimy, slicked-back hairdo image of sales” into one where salespeople are there to help companies solve their IT problems.
It’s the next big thing in the enterprise tech world because IT professionals lean heavily on social networks to research tech products and to work with vendors, research finds.
It’s also really important for selling cloud-computing services. Traditional software contracts tend to be focused on closing a sale and then getting out. The opposite is needed for the cloud: Software-as-a-service is a long-term partnership thing, so sales incentives need to be structured around making customers happy so they stick around and keep paying for the service.
As we previously reported, Oracle isn’t the only one trying to figure out this transition. Microsoft has got similar issues with its own sales force.
We understand from a source that there are some people who might want to hire Rowley as a consultant for Oracle, even if she’s no longer a full timer.