The TAS Group Forms as Oracle Sheds OnTarget
Oracle has unloaded the OnTarget sales methodology business it inherited from its Siebel Systems megadeal, selling it to sales methodology and training provider Select Selling for an undisclosed amount. The combined company now operates as The TAS (Target Account Selling) Group. Select Selling acquired most of the global assets of the OnTarget sales methodology division on June 30, but the deal excludes France and Italy, allowing the OnTarget businesses in those countries to operate as usual.
The TAS Group will market OnTarget solutions and continue to offer Select Selling methodologies, and sales forecasting and pipeline management tools based on the Select Selling Dealmaker software platform. Dealmaker will support each of the OnTarget methodologies, while existing OnTarget customers will have the option to integrate their sales effectiveness solutions with their CRM systems, according to the newly formed company. Select Selling customers will have immediate access to OnTarget solutions, the company added.
Donal Daly, CEO of The TAS Group and former CEO of Select Selling, notes that TAS, which has helped more than 400 customers and trained more than 400,000 salespeople, will have more than 100 partners worldwide to service its customers. "We're trying to raise the benchmark in this marketplace, which is--depending on whose numbers you believe--between $5 and $7 billion [in the U.S.], but there isn't any big monster player," he says. "Putting [these capabilities] together gives us the opportunity to raise the bar in terms of the value that we deliver to customers and achieve a dominant position in the market." In a customer information update posted on the company's Web site, Daly contends that the company's objective is to be the de facto provider of sales effectiveness solutions by 2008.
OnTarget offered several sales methodologies including its Target Account Selling approach, a program that arms sales professionals with a structured and repeatable process for analyzing, pursuing, and winning sales opportunities, and can be offered through instructor-led training, e-learning, or a combination of both. Additional methodologies under the OnTarget umbrella included Enterprise Selling Process, Portfolio Management Process, Territory Management Process, Create and Win for Inside Sales, Value Driven Selling, and Channel and Alliance Management Process (CHAMP). OnTarget's primary verticals included business services, high tech, and telecommunications.
Siebel acquired the sales methodology consultancy in 1999. But after the Oracle-Siebel transaction closed, Oracle announced in February 2006 that it would divest OnTarget, which at the time was part of Siebel University, because it was not core to Oracle's business strategy. However, Douglas Kehring, Oracle's senior vice president of corporate development, did note in a statement that Oracle is "looking forward to maintaining a strong relationship with The TAS Group as a key sales methodology partner for Oracle and our customers."
Liz Roche, managing partner at CRM research and consulting firm Customers Incorporated, categorizes the acquisition as a good move for Oracle as it continues its rationalization efforts, and a great move for the sales effectiveness discipline. "The TAS Group will have the resources to bring a renewed focus to the importance of sales methodology, which is an element of sales effectiveness."
Roche contends that The TAS Group's challenge will lie in integrating the methodologies and redesigning the way they're delivered so they can be tightly integrated into sales automation apps. But she notes the promise of being able to expand the use of the methodologies to members of the extended selling team like customer service and marketing. "It would be great for when customer service picks up a lead through the context of a support call to be able to pass it on to sales and have the right process and language to communicate that."
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