How to Know it’s Time to Change Your Sales Strategy

When’s the last time you changed your sales strategy?  Do you even have one?  Do you build it once a year or is more dynamic than that?  Is your sales strategy even still relevant?

Most sales organizations don’t have specific sales strategies. Those that do, they normally aren’t very flexible and that’s a problem.

Your sales strategy should be dynamic and keenly tied to capitalizing on market conditions.

I couldn’t help but notice Forbes article last week on cloud computing; Interest in Cloud Computing has Peaked.  If you sell cloud computing solutions or products this article should have caught your attention.


Because it impacts your sales strategy.

According to the article,  interest in the web search terms “cloud computing” and “the cloud” are down. Interest has peaked and is now sitting at 2010 levels and dropping fast. According to Gartner and the Gartner hype cycle, cloud computing has passed the Peak of Inflated Expectations and has entered the Trough of Disillusionment. The trough is when the reality of a new technology settles in. The technology has failed to meet the hype. The product is no longer hip and press coverage wanes. It’s no longer the cool new thing.

 Selling cloud or any other product or service while it is in the Peak of Inflated Expectations is VERY different than selling it in the trough. When in the peak, it’s the hot new thing. Like a hot stock, everyone has to have it. The buyer’s mindset is focused on why they have to have it, not why they shouldn’t. The peak creates market momentum. Interest is high. Everyone feels they need to be, at the very least, evaluating it. Press mentions are constant. You can’t go anywhere without being bombarded with a frenzy of publicity and chatter. There are few stories of failure. Enough time hasn’t passed for the problems to surface. Risk plays a small or non-existent role in the selling process. When you’re selling at the peak, you’re selling in an over-hyped environment with few detractions or perceived risks.

Selling in the trough, however, is entirely different. Failures have surfaced. The horror stories are making their rounds. Expected results are not being realized. Reality has set in. The luster has worn off. Risk has become a real part of the selling process as buyers are now guarding against the new tales of failure. Selling in the trough requires a different sales strategy than what is required for selling at the peak.

If I’m selling “cloud” today, I’m changing my strategy. A peak strategy will not be effective in the trough. If I’m selling “cloud” today, I’m developing a new strategy that takes into consideration the new environment. I’m asking marketing to develop answers to the known failures. I’m equipping my salespeople with information that will allow them to address the realities of the cloud marketplace and TEACH their prospects how to avoid the mistakes of early adopters. I’m looking for the success stories and identifying common themes and sharing the findings with my prospects. I’m going to build a NEW strategy that takes into consideration the new environment and allows my sales people to better compete. To ignore or even worse to be oblivious to the changes in the environment and not make adjustments to your sales strategy puts your sales team at a decided disadvantage.

A great sales strategy is aligned with the market and the opportunities the market affords. Therefore, when the market changes, so should your sales strategy as the opportunities have shifted.

Cloud or not, you should be asking yourself; how well is your sales strategy aligned with the current market state of your technology and product or services? Are you developing your sales strategy with an eye on what’s coming or where the market is?

If you DO sell cloud, how does the Forbes article change your sales strategy?

Strategy Assessment:

  1. Did you build your strategy with current or future market challenges or opportunities in mind?
  2. Is your strategy aligned with specific and identifiable market elements?
  3. Is the strategy flexible?
  4. Do you have a review process in place to ensure it is still relevant?
  5. Are you capable of executing on your strategy?
  6. Does the sales team have what it needs to compete in today’s selling environment?