Sales Awards Blog

Social Selling: What the Oracle Sales Team Is Learning from a Stevie Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 04:31 PM

Jill Rowley of Eloqua won the Gold Stevie Award for Sales Representative of the Year in the sales awards categories of the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top honors for sales, business development, contact center, and customer service professionals. (The entry deadline for the 2014 edition of the awards is November 13 - get your entry kit here.) Just before the award was presented in February 2013, Eloqua was acquired by Oracle Corporation .  Jill talked to us about the profound effect on her career that these two events have had.

1310RowleySail150Reaching the Pinnacle
After winning the Stevie Award for Sales Representative of the Year in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Jill Rowley had to ask herself: “Where do I go from here?”  She had reached the pinnacle of her profession by being recognized in a leading international awards competition.  With a trophy case that was already stuffed with awards, Jill realized that what she really wanted to do moving forward was not to win more awards, but to focus instead on helping others to achieve similar success.

At around the same time, Eloqua was being acquired by Oracle. To say that Jill was not excited when she first heard about this might be an understatement.  Being more of an entrepreneurial sales person, she had relished the ability to move quickly that Eloqua had offered her. Oracle, on the other hand, seemed like a big, political, hierarchical organization that would slow her down—or so she thought. Contrary to her expectations, Jill has found that working at Oracle has been a “shockingly awesome experience.”

Social Selling Training
Seeing that Jill’s expertise in “going social” had resulted in extraordinary sales at Eloqua, Oracle tasked her with educating their sales force in her award-winning methods.  She has now designed a social selling training program for Oracle sales staff, instructing on the why’s and how’s of leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

- The Why
Jill encourages sales people to read the same things that their buyers read, and to be in the same spaces.  She explains why:  “It’s all about changes in the buyers’ own circumstances. Nowadays they are online and self-educating via search and social networks, like using LinkedIn to find new staff.  Sales people need to be where their buyers are—offline and online.”

 At which point, adds Jill: “A light bulb goes on in their minds: Going social=building your sales pipeline!”

- The How
Having evangelized the why, Jill then moves on to the how.  For this, Jill has been put in charge of Social Selling & Social Business Evangelism and Enablement at Oracle, for which she is devising a series of training modules.

A Sense of Fulfillment
In less than a year, Jill has transferred from the small but successful company that was Eloqua—where she was the top sales rep and self-styled EloQueen--to the mega-company that is Oracle, with a worldwide salesforce of over 20,000.

Any change is hard, and at first Jill was hesitant to make the move, but she says: “Joining the Oracle team has evolved into an incredible opportunity to help other sales professionals modernize their beliefs and behaviors, something that I find incredibly rewarding.”

“The external valediction of the Stevie Awards, the recognition by others in my industry, has given me a sense of fulfillment.  I am now amped up and looking forward to helping others and to working on a much bigger playing field.”

Defining the Modern Sales Professional
Says Jill:  “Winning my Stevie Award back in February is partly what has allowed me to mentally shift gears. Instead of filling up my own trophy case, I am helping the sales people at Oracle to become modern sales professionals.  They are no longer selling to customers: they are helping their buyers to buy.”

Jill feels she is making real progress in her profession because she is helping other sales people to “go social.”  Not only is she helping to change the sales culture at Oracle, she is driving that transformation by being a thought leader in the space of social sales. 

Jill’s goal is to elevate the profession of salesperson worldwide. As she says, she is “shockingly surprised” at how well her new life is going.  In fact, she concludes, “I’m the luckiest girl at Oracle.”

Oracle and Eloqua
You can read more about Oracle and Eloqua on the Oracle Eloqua Blog.

About Jill Rowley
After six years in Consulting and thirteen years in Sales at and at Eloqua, Jill has made an about-turn in her career: She now leads the Oracle Social Selling initiative.  Jill is currently responsible for evangelizing and enabling Oracle's global sales team on the Why, What, and How of Social Selling.

As an award winning, top selling sales executive, Jill utilized social media in her selling process. She mastered the art, and as a result is one of the most referenced experts in today's shifting world of B2B sales and marketing. From LinkedIn to Twitter to YouTube to SlideShare to Facebook, Jill practices the ABCs of Social Selling: “Always Be Connecting and Curating” quality content.

Jill defines the modern sales professional as an information concierge, a content connoisseur, an insights professional, and a mini-marketer with a personal brand. 

About Oracle
Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit

Tags: sales excellence, customer service awards, business awards, sales awards, jill rowley, oracle