A Slice of the Good Life: New York--Oracle Corp.

During the cab ride from his Upper West Side apartment to Oracle's Midtown offices, Khoury checks his voicemail. When he arrives at his corner cube, with sweeping views of Manhattan's East Side, he tosses his briefcase under his desk and turns on his computer. He hangs his dark blue suit jacket on a hook and, still standing, logs on to his computer. 

Like the large cup of Illy Italian coffee he places in easy reach of his keyboard, it is all just part of his morning ritual.

Khoury, applications sales manager, financial services, has worked in the high-tech industry for 20 years, spending the past eight at Oracle. His relaxed demeanor belies his high energy. Once seated, with five minutes to spare before his conference call, Khoury opens his MyOracle portal, which gives him access to all applications from Oracle's E-Business Suite, including Oracle Sales Online (OSO), as well as tools like email, the corporate directory, the corporate travel site, and the IT self-service page. He starts scanning through his email, deleting the junk.

He pauses to take the relevant files from his briefcase and to dial in to the conference call, but then continues checking email while beginning the call. Upon discovering that one of the participants is running a few minutes late, Khoury presses the hold button, plugs his cell phone's earpiece into his other ear, and makes a quick call to a colleague to check on the progress of a campaign they're working on.

"I do this all the time, have two calls going at once," he says. "Oracle is a busy place. Many things are planned; some things come out of left and right field." Multitasking is Khoury's strategy for keeping ahead of that fast pace.

Khoury clicks back into the conference call, but finds the conversation is not yet focused on the matter at hand: the new CIO at a key strategic account. So Khoury clicks into OSO and starts updating sales forecast information on his 10 accounts. "OSO is very visible inside Oracle, so it's vital we keep it up-to-date," he says.

When the discussion turns to strategy Khoury clicks from the forecast area of OSO to an opportunity worksheet and takes notes on the call. The team discusses what its strategy should be in working with the new CIO, what the client's new priorities are, and what Oracle's next steps should be. As a result of the conversation Khoury decides that the opportunity in progress at that account should be moved forward, and notes that in OSO.

The next step is to schedule a follow-up call with the account team, so Khoury launches ACT! "We need to work as a team on this, to harness all of our intellectual capital," he says to his coworkers.

As the conversation continues Khoury switches swiftly and easily between OSO, email, and ACT! It is a pattern he will repeat throughout his day.

After the call ends, at 9:40, Khoury goes back to his sales forecasts and opportunities screens in OSO. It is something he commits anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to update in detail on a weekly basis, depending on the amount of new pipeline information there is to enter or update. But he also updates his opportunities on the fly. For example, while filling in some information on a client Khoury makes a quick phone call to a consultant about a sales opportunity they are partnering on. While talking to the consultant Khoury logs notes about the client's knowledge of and comfort level with the pricing they had proposed.

The bulk of the morning includes more of the same: updating forecasts in OSO leads to phone calls that lead to more notes in the opportunities worksheet. "I'm comfortable with this system, because I've been doing it since 1995," Khoury says. "Some people are still comfortable with paper. I have close to 2,000 contacts in the system. It's priceless."

During a lengthy call with a client Khoury uses past notes in OSO to bring up some points from prior conversations, then types in new notes as he uncovers what Oracle needs to do to move the opportunity closer to a close. "We're not shy to compete," he says.

And not slow to compete either. Moments after Khoury says goodbye to his client he dashes off to a two-hour contract-planning meeting with his supervisor, Paul Seminara, vice president of North America application sales. "Everything is speed to market, getting things done," Khoury says.

That's why Khoury spends his lunch with a tuna sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, writing notes on the conclusions and next steps from the contract-planning session. He sets his pen down only long enough to take three successive calls on his mobile phone, including one from his wife, Konstantina.

Like his morning, Khoury's early afternoon is spent multitasking. Typing as fast as the best executive secretary, Khoury enters copious notes into OSO while jumping between email and ACT! to set up meetings, get questions answered, and finalize plans for upcoming projects and meetings. "There is a huge amount of information in OSO," Khoury says. "It's an important tool to keep track of overall account activity, monitor various activities in accounts and where you are with each of them, track your potential close rate in terms of forecasting, and track the best- and worst-case scenarios.

"It gives salespeople and management a common platform with a discussion point. We have weekly calls about what's in the pipeline, and using OSO everyone can look at the projections. If everyone is using it and updating it properly, it gives us a good view into the potential financial impact of opportunities."

At 3:30 p.m. Khoury stuffs some files into his briefcase and switches off his computer. He hails a cab on 53rd Street and speeds to a client meeting at the World Financial Center. En route he checks voicemail, returns a few calls, and receives a call from his client's secretary saying that his client is running 15 minutes late.

No worries. The get-together is more about relationship building than signing a new contract, and so is being held in the lounge at Southwest New York, a Tex-Mex restaurant in the south tower of the World Financial Center. Khoury arrives 20 minutes ahead of schedule ("I always leave time for unexpected traffic problems," he says), but is joined within five minutes by Seminara and HR Solutions Specialist Randy Schott, a coworker on the account team. They settle into comfy chairs, order drinks and snacks, and briefly discuss the strategy for when the gathering ultimately turns to a business discussion.

Shortly before the client joins them the three men learn of Oracle's positive earnings for the quarter and drink a toast to the company.

When the client arrives there is a round of enthusiastic hellos, followed by some humorous banter. The group briefly discusses business, then talks sports, family, current events. "It's a time to touch base with our main advocate on this account," Khoury says. "Having relaxing and social periods along with the intense business periods helps to round out the relationship." 

After one margarita Khoury switches to water. He has a long evening planned back at home. After feeding and bathing his daughter he'll check email, prepare for a 9 a.m. management meeting the next day, and review the materials for an online assessment test on Oracle's eBusiness Suite applications that members of Oracle's sales organization are required to take. He might even get some sleep....

Why CRM?

Nick Khoury uses CRM to:

  • keep track of more than 2,000 contacts made over the course of his career. Khoury says that building relationships is at the heart of his success
  • track sales opportunities in detail. Khoury keeps copious notes on all opportunities and uses that information to help advance and close the sale
  • update the pipeline and forecasts. This keeps the entire sales team, including management, up to date on the status of all sales opportunities, their probability to close, and the likely close date

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