Oracle CEO: It takes 80 sales calls to close a deal and we've automated 30% of them

There’s a big debate going on right now in the enterprise software world: Do startups really need a high-paid, professional sales force to sell their apps?

Or can more companies model themselves after Atlassian or Slack and grow into big companies without a salesforce? These companies use self-service and automated processes to make sales online. No high-pressure tactics.

Oracle’s salesforce is one of the biggest, baddest, and most legendary in the software world.

Oracle sells complicated software products with even more complicated licensing schemes, and thanks in large part its crack sales force has grown into an enterprise software juggernaut with more than $38 billion in revenue every year.

But even Oracle is starting to use more automation to trim its sales needs, Mark Hurd said during a talk at Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference 2016 in San Francisco.

When asked to explain what Oracle was doing with one of its latest cloud computing products, Sales Cloud, Hurd mentioned how Oracle was using it internally to automate the sales process, mostly thanks to the marketing automation software Oracle got when it acquired Eloqua in 2012 for $871 million.

“It takes 80 sales calls to close an app deal,” Hurd said. “We’re doing 30% of them now automated on the web, having conversations with CIOs, all done using Eloqua as part of Oracle marketing cloud.”

So if a company like Oracle can automate one-third of its sales processes, that’s a strong indication that Atlassian and Slack won’t be isolated business models, but are the start of perhaps a new generation of self-service enterprise sales forces.

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