Before Oracle bought NetSuite in 2016 for $9.3 billion, NetSuite had completed its own big acquisition, buying commerce marketing platform Bronto for $200 million in 2015.
While Oracle and NetSuite are “still in the honeymoon phase,” Oracle’s relationship status with Bronto is a little more complicated. That’s because NetSuite and Oracle have worked out a sales structure to minimise conflict between products, whereas Bronto, which was never fully integrated into NetSuite, still competes with Oracle Marketing Cloud.
First some context, Oracle and NetSuite have a long shared history; many of the senior executives have worked from Oracle and founder and chairman Larry Ellison was NetSuite’s biggest shareholder. This made for an interesting dynamic.
As Which-50 reported back in 2015, “NetSuite is an aggressive and competitive marketer against companies like SAP and Microsoft, but conveniently ignores Oracle’s presence in much of its positioning in ERP and CRM markets.”
“Its recent purchase of marketing automation company Bronto will bring it into direct conflict with Oracle in the marketing tech world, where the latter is placing some very big bets.”
During the company’s annual event in Las Vegas this week, the question arose: what happens when there’s a conflict between Oracle and NetSuite?
Speaking to press at the SuiteWorld, Jason Maynard, SVP strategy and marketing, NetSuite said there’s “a single digit percentage of all the deals we are involved in where there’s a conflict between Oracle and NetSuite.”
“I think we get asked this question more in press conferences and analyst meetings than any place else,” he said.
When it does come up, Oracle and NetSuite’s sales teams get paid the same for selling either company’s products.
“If you are an Oracle sales rep or a NetSuite sales rep you get paid the exact same dollars for selling either Oracle or NetSuite,” said Jim McGeever, executive vice president of Oracle NetSuite.
“My sales team leads with NetSuite but if it’s not the right solution, we will bring the Oracle sales team in to help us out. We are seeing more and more cross referrals.”
“It’s surprising to me how relatively easy that process has been,” he added.
But Bronto is the exception to that rule. Despite being part of NetSuite, it has been largely run as its own separate entity.
“Bronto has its own sales team,” McGeever told Which-50.
“They are off selling business independently of the business we do and they also partner with the NetSuite sales team but they are really not integrated with the Oracle sales team.”
“So if Bronto competes against [Oracle] Marketing Cloud then it is like they are competing with a completely independent vendor … and every now and then I get a phone call.”
The plan is to now bring Bronto more closely in-line with the NetSuite product family, McGeever said.
“So you will see Bronto much more integrated than it has been. It really was run as a separate organisation until quite recently.”
Bronto will most likely continue to be positioned as a point solution for NetSuite’s retail clients, rather than as a broader marketing cloud offer provided by the likes of Oracle, Adobe, Salesforce and Marketo.