Atlassian: The $5 Billion Company Without a Sales Staff


For businesses, one of the most important concerns is reducing the costs needed to provide its products and services to their customers. For example, manufacturing businesses want to minimize the costs of manpower, materials, and overhead needed to keep their manufacturing lines up and running, while service providers want to minimize the costs of manpower, materials, and overhead needed to keep on providing their services to their clients. Furthermore, most businesses have what is called cost of sales, which lives up to its name by being the cost needed for the marketing used to turn interested individuals into actual paying customers. Unsurprisingly, cost of sales can be a surprisingly hefty presence on the income statement, meaning that it also takes up a surprisingly heft portion of businesses’ time and attention as a direct consequence.

The Exception to the Rule

One of the reasons that cloud computing has become so popular is because of its benefits for the service provider as much as the client. For example, providing a service through cloud computing tends to result in significant savings for the service provider compared to traditional production and distribution methods. After all, cloud computing means that there is no need to print copies of software onto disks. Not to mention that there is no need to distribute those disks to stores situated throughout the country, which is something that takes significant expense, both because of the logistics involved in transporting them and the analyses needed to figure out what locations will need them in what numbers. In contrast, cloud computing lets service providers put their software on a network of inter-connected servers, which will provide that information to people whenever and wherever they need it so long as they have something capable of connecting to the Internet. Not only does this eliminate an enormous percentage of the service provider’s cost of sales in a single stroke, but it also prevents the possibility of catastrophic consequences in case the service provider makes a mistake about where its software will be most wanted, which was once a very real danger because of how a lack of physical product meant a lack of sales.

However, it is important to note that this eliminates no more than a part of a business’s cost of sales, which is why it is so interesting that Atlassian takes it a step further by being a business without a sales staff. Something that can seem almost unimaginable to people who are used to more commonplace forms of businesses, but has nonetheless proven to be an enormous success, as shown by how it is worth an astonishing $5 billion, which makes it one of the most respectable names in its particular niche of project management software and chat apps. (1)

How Does Atlassian Manage without a Sales Team?

Of course, just because Atlassian does not have a sales team, it does not mean that it does not have marketing for its products and services. After all, while businesses can do without what are believed to be the traditional components of its marketing, all but an extremely number of them operating under extremely rare and unusual circumstances must play that game if they want to secure the actual paying customers that they need to pay the revenues that keep their operations up and running.

First, Atlassian relies on its website to provide information to interested individuals, which is not actually particularly unusual. After all, a lot of businesses have websites to serve that same purpose. However, where Atlassian differs from them is how it makes its website the primary source of information, whereas other businesses tend to use their websites as a supplement to their sales teams, whether as a way of convincing their potential customers to contact their sales teams or as a way to handle the less complicated and time-consuming questions that can be handled with relative ease. Like them, Atlassian uses its website to handle a lot of the less serious questions that interested individuals might have about its products and services, but unlike them, it refuses to force the rest of that information onto its potential clients, which is something that tends to irritate the targeted audience. After all, it does not just cost them valuable time and effort to listen, but it can also irritate them through repetition.

Second, Atlassian relies on a concept of word-of-mouth marketing, which has been gaining a lot of ground in recent times. (2) Like the name suggests, word-of-mouth marketing means relying on those who are satisfied with its products and services to pass that information onto those of their acquaintances who are working in the same field, who are important because they are also potential customers for the same products and services. Unlike more traditional forms of marketing, it has a much easier time making its way through most people’s built-up barriers against marketing because it comes from people that they trust a lot more than what businesses with obvious financial incentives are willing to say to them. However, it should also be noted that word-of-mouth marketing is particularly powerful when combined with the social media sites that dominate much of the digital marketing for software, both because it can reach further and deeper in less time than otherwise possible and because it can boost a website’s search result rankings at the same time. After all, if a lot of people are talking up a particular business a lot of time, chances are good that it is offering something that is worth talking up, which is exactly what search engines want as close to the top of their search results as possible.

Further Considerations

Atlassian’s remarkable achievement is not something that can be accomplished by businesses of all sizes and all sectors. For example, imagine how a department store would fare if it decided that it no longer needed a sales team even though its customers expect such service. However, Atlassian’s achievement can be accomplished by other businesses in the same sector, which is something that could have interesting implications for the future. While it is improbable that the practice will spread to all other software companies, its lasting power suggests that it will spread further than most people could have predicted, thus making it one more example of how modern techniques and technologies are changing age-old business practices

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