Microsoft retools sales force under Judson Althoff to sell the cloud

Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s business sales chief is currently working on finding better ways to sell the company’s enterprise solutions. The new exec who replaced previous COO Kevin Turner in July gave an interesting interview to the Seattle Times this week where he explained that trying to bundle Azure with other Microsoft enterprise products was not a good sale strategy. “It was a flawed strategy to try to sell Azure like, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ But it isn’t our approach today,” he said.

Indeed, Microsoft’s previous strategy was inefficient as enterprise customers who used to buy Azure in a bundle including other business products from Redmond often didn’t know what to do with the cloud services. “Our sales approach has changed entirely,” explained Althoff, which you can tell by the fact that Microsoft has hired more than 1,000 salespeople specialized in the company’s cloud product over the last year. This new sales team is now perfectly prepared to explain to business customers how they can leverage Microsoft’s cloud technologies to accomplish their digital transformation.

In the end, the exec acknowledges that Azure has become “a bit of an anchor tenant” for his salespeople’s pitch, especially with customers interested in Microsoft’s machine-learning capabilities. “It really does put Azure at the center,” he added.

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Do you think Microsoft was right to adjust how it sells its Azure cloud services?