The economy finished a 5 year boom cycle of expansion that made it easy to sell technology products. If one customer was not buying your product you could move to the next customer as all companies had access to debt and required products to fuel expansion. This strategy is what I consider a “wide strategy“ all companies buying products at the same time so the sales and marketing goal is to touch many companies.
As the economy continues to weaken, job losses mount and stock prices plunge sales people need to get focused, set goals and measure success. In a weak economy sales people need to focus on vertical selling, this forces the sales person and marketing departments to focus on solution selling. In weak economy companies need solutions to help manage reduced access to debt, reduced staff and mounting pressures to cut cost. I consider this selling a “deep & wide strategy“ working a vertical segment deep across all market segments in the vertical and wide touching multiple contacts with-in each account.
Sales people need to pick a vertical and commit the effort to go “deep and wide“ in the vertical identifying the opportunities that are repeatable. Companies in the vertical often face similar challenges and sales people need to identify the customer requirement and translate the customer need into a product offered by your company. In the case of oil & gas companies reduced access to capital could mean a reduction in the exploration budget and increased budget allocated to maintain production of existing properties. The production manager is asked to improve production, but he is unable to add new people to his staff. This forces the company to evaluate how technology can help him improve employee productivity, thus creating opportunity for technology companies.
If a sales person wants to prosper in a tough economic climate they must adopt vertical selling, get focused on solution selling and sell deep and wide wide.