Sesame Street and organizations like the Salvation Army might tell you that sharing is caring, but there are people you shouldn’t open up to. Examples might include the local busybody who peers in her neighbors’ windows, your co-worker who just might be gunning for the same promotion as you, and, most importantly, your Oracle sales rep.
“The thing to remember is; they’re not your friend,” says Michael Corey, co-founder and chief operating officer of LicenseFortress. Always remember, this is a business relationship. And no matter how much your Oracle rep might personally like you, they are inextricably linked to Oracle.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget. Chances are that you have an Oracle sales rep you work with pretty regularly. You may meet them for a business dinner, drinks, or coffee annually and have frequent phone calls. It’s likely they make the trek out to your office semi-regularly, too. The relationship can start to feel familiar especially when it lasts for years, as business relationships with good Oracle sales reps often do.
But it’s important to remember that there are certain things you should never, never say to an Oracle employee – including your rep.
Don’t Say That!
Here’s a short list of phrases no Oracle sales rep ever needs to hear you, your colleagues, or your employees say. This list is not exhaustive, but here are our top three:
“We’re considering moving off of Oracle hardware.”
Your Oracle sales rep is keenly aware that Oracle hardware products have a pre-determined lifespan. He or she is probably well-aware that you’re nearing the end of it. Furthermore, they will absolutely find it a bit funny if you aren’t talking about how you’re going to handle this situation. But there’s no need to spell this out for them or tell them that you’re looking at competitors’ offerings.
“We’re nervous about our Oracle compliance.”
Why would you be nervous if you have nothing to hide? This is a red flag to Oracle employees that something is amiss – something that might help earn them a fat bonus. While your sales rep isn’t responsible for audits, they are still part of the Oracle Corporation – and you just indicated to them that you might have a problem that could be fixed by spending money (such as signing on to a ULA in order to stay compliant). Even if they don’t think they could sell you something, they might be able to make life easier for a friend in the LMS department. Don’t put your Oracle rep in this position. Keep your compliance concerns to yourself or call LicenseFortress to have them evaluated.
“Our company doubled in size last year.”
How could this be problematic? Well, if you’re growing so quickly, you’ve been buying lots of Oracle software and user licenses to match, right? Wrong? Well, that’s a red flag for Oracle. It’s alright to say that your company is doing well, but watch bringing in numbers. If they don’t match what Oracle’s seeing in your Oracle footprint, it could lead to trouble.
Be Personable, but Don’t Make it Personal
Additionally, it’s wise to keep personal accomplishments, stories, and facts to yourself. In other words, your Oracle rep doesn’t need to know you just bought a house, your wife had a baby, or you’ve been diagnosed with gout.
“It’s problematic,” says Corey. “From a CEO/Corporate perspective, you do not recognize the business relationship. They’re a vendor,” he says. Your rep might be very nice, but it’s important to recognize that it’s a business relationship, not personal, and to minimize personal conversation. Use every moment with your rep to maximize your Oracle relationship, whether it’s by learning about the products your company uses, finding out more about upcoming Oracle offerings, or seeing if there are any upcoming pieces of training or events you or your colleagues could consider attending.
Say the Right Thing
“How can we better use our Oracle products?”
If you have a problem and you think you can use Oracle’s technology stack to solve it, there’s no reason not to clue your Oracle rep in.“It’s ok to have strategic discussions about how to solve [technology] problems,” says Corey. Trying to improve your Point-of-Sale interface? Trying to streamline processing? Run your shop more efficiently? This is literally your Oracle rep’s job to help you find a solution. Telling them about the need to up your game will likely get their attention and their help – and it won’t turn any heads at Oracle.
“This Oracle product isn’t working for us!”
Again, this is literally your rep’s job. They have the ability to connect you with internal experts, set up tutorials, and get experts to visit your organization. This is definitely a situation where you should say something, and it shouldn’t generate any negative consequences for your organization. The key is to remember the purpose of your relationship with your Oracle rep. They are there to sell Oracle products and clue Oracle in about anything that might impact their vendor relationship with your organization. Anything else is just window dressing. “It’s a balancing act,” says Corey. “But the thing to remember is that they’re not your friend.”