Recent reports came out that Microsoft (MSFT) is laying off thousands of employees. This news by itself is not such a big deal given employers are always laying off, re-organizing business and cutting costs.
However, what makes this different is when you read rest of the story; as it gives details on how most of the layoffs are going to be in sales. This makes this news very different as this is not about divesting from a particular business or a widget that did not succeed in the market. Microsoft also clarifies that this is not about cost reduction. This implies that business in the age of Cloud and Apps is going to be very different than traditional Enterprise sales.
As most SaaS, IaaS or PaaS based cloud providers make it extremely easy for end customers to consume their service by using credit card or even uploading Purchase Order. This does mean that sales staff, by and large become irrelevant.
What does this mean for an account rep that has been making a living in enterprise sale in the tech industry? Are they a vanishing breed and industry will continue to grow without traditional sales model? I think not. However,r sales in the age of Cloud and Apps, will shift to a more involved and engaged relation. It will also mean that deals will no longer be made over steak dinner and rounds of golfs. We will see an end to forcing products to customer to close a quota and that ultimately ends up sitting on shelf. This will also mean the lines between technical sales and account management will converge.
More importantly, cloud vendors have opened up a new GTM channel with cloud that disintermediates channel.