Source: Tony Webster, Flickr | CC-BY 2.0

Amazon is reportedly planning to double its AWS sales team as Microsoft continues to chip away at its market share. The Information says the plans were shared with it by four people – one who had direct knowledge and three who had been briefed.

AWS apparently aims to complete the growth by the end of the year and announced the hiring spree at a sales kickoff meeting in Chicago this January. Though Amazon is still the number one cloud provider by market share, it has lost some key battles to Azure in recent times, one of them being a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract, JEDI.

AWS’ sales staff will seemingly focus on some of the areas Microsoft excels in – artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data analytics. It’s looking for employees with deep technical knowledge to close “large corporate deals”, answer technical questions, and generally speed up the sales process.

The tactic is nothing new, and indeed, teams at Microsoft and other software companies do the exact same thing. The problem is often providing the customer with these experts without confusing them by switching out multiple salespeople and forcing a re-explanation. Amazon reportedly has plans to mitigate this issue, but sources didn’t share exactly how it would do so.

Either way, some employees told The Information that AWS has previously struggled to keep up with demand due to insufficient sales staff that meet its customer’s needs. One says the company is shifting the burden to sales staff for adoption, rather than the previous focus of drawing in customers via new services.

Currently, though, it’s unclear if coronavirus will impact on these plans. Concerns are rising about a global pandemic, which could lead to travel restrictions, quarantine, and other issues that would impact Amazon’s plans. Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft responds with a beef-up of its own or just continues with its already successful strategy.