Atlassian doubles revenue despite no sales staff

Australian software giant Atlassian has revealed it doesn’t employ salespeople among its 450-strong workforce, but has still managed to almost double its revenue over the past 18 months.


Founded in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, the Sydney-based company makes business enterprise software, targeted at software developers.


In 2010, Atlassian received $60 million in funding from US-based firm Accel Partners, and has since grown its workforce from 220 employees to 450, located in offices throughout the world.



“We have about 200 people in Sydney and we’ve just expanded our office in San Francisco – we’ve got about 120 and we’re looking for another 70,” Farquhar told TechCrunch.


“We sell to 17,000 companies in 130 countries around the world. We have somewhere between five and 10 million users on a daily basis.”


In mid 2010, when the company filed its financial results with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, it listed total revenues of $63.4 million for the year ended June 30, 2012, up 23.1% on the previous year.


In that year, the company made profits of $6.9 million (up from $2.1 million in 2009), with its major expenses being employee costs ($34 million) and the cost of sales ($19.5 million).


In Atlassian’s ASIC statements, the company said it spent just $109,200 on marketing activities in 2010.


“In the calendar year just finished, we did about $102 million in sales. It’s up about 35%… We’ve had 40 straight quarters of profitability,” Farquhar said.


But according to Farquhar, Atlassian employs no sales staff, instead relying on marketing and good customer service to ensure its users have “a great experience with the Atlassian brand”.


“Instead of a sales guy calling them up and saying ‘When are you going to buy?’ this week, next week, the week after, we allow all our customers to evaluate the software themselves,” he said.


“We’re at the end of the phone if they have any questions but we’re not going to badger them, trying to get them across the line.”


According to Atlassian president Jay Simons, most businesses don’t provide enough information about their products, instead hoarding information so customers are forced to consult sales staff.


“What we’ve chosen to do is publish the price list. Let people know exactly what it costs,” he says.


“You don’t need to discount then – it is what it is – and then you just make the experience and the product easy to try and easy to buy.”


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