I got a call from an ECM Solutions business-driver the other day; he asked me to advise him as to whether he should take a job building an ECM Practice or not. "Why wouldn't you?" was the first question I asked. I had watched him build two large ECM practices in the past dozen years (one during the .com crash), there was no doubt he could both architect great solutions and outsell most of the competition. "Because there doesn't seem to be much software being sold," he said. And when I asked him what "not much" meant, he answered in single digits.
Now, of course, I do know that there is a recession and that companies have substantially less money to spend; but, in the sales school I come from, an economic downturn that means that I have a little more time to understand my customers' business and their needs and to discover how the products and/or services I sell can produce a win for them.
Those of you who have been selling in the Document Management space for the last dozen years should be familiar with the sales and marketing strategies of Geoffrey Moore. His book Crossing the Chasm was required reading at many of the Documentum partner firms at which I placed executives from 1993-2000. Maybe it's time to look to him again for a strategy.
So, forget about the economy, forget about selling against the competition; focus instead on introducing your customers to solutions that are not "Nice to haves" but essential to the competetiveness of their businesses.