Atlanta sales benchmarks and closing time recap

Last week the Zendesk Sell Closing Time tour stopped in Atlanta which is stop number five in our tour across the US. We had a packed house – thanks to all the sales leaders who came out to the Atlanta Tech Village to say hello!

We kicked off the night with networking over food and drinks where we met some amazing companies, to highlight a few:

  • Mailchimp- specializing in marketing automation and an email marketing services. 
  • MarketSource – an alternative to traditional outsourced sales, with a proprietary process to improve any sales funnel and deliver better sales.
  • SendSafely – an End-to-End Encryption Platform for Secure File Exchange and Confidential Email.

After everyone got to know each other, Todd Caponi walked us through how to use brain science in our sales process which is highlighted in his new book, The Transparency Sale. Todd also shared his strategies for building trust with buyers and how to handle negotiations once you’ve built up trust with your buyer. His talk prompted a spirited conversation with questions including:

How do you get the attention of a SVP or C- level executive as a sales rep?

By being concise and avoiding the sympathy card or over using “I”. Executives have limited time and reps with the best approach gain trust. Executives don’t have time to respond to everything so make sure your email or call stands out. Try sharing something of value rather than just asking for an answer or a meeting right away.

Does your negotiation strategy work for startups or just established technology companies?

Todd’s approach to negotiation is full transparency. Sales people spend the entire sales cycle building trust. Why should negotiation be any different? Yes, this applies to both large and small companies alike. Sales people who maintain trust throughout the entire sales cycles are those who are the most successful. For startups, it’s especially important to be transparent from the beginning. This means if a big opportunity arises, share that you’re an early stage startup rather than working the deal only to lose at the buzzer.

The Atlanta Sales Benchmark

As we stop in each city, we’re anonymously collecting sales benchmarks and comparing them with the rest of the country. Here’s how Atlanta stacks up:

Unsurprisingly, growth is the clear challenge for 59% of the businesses we spoke to in 2019. Rep enablement came in at a distant second with 14%.

Atlanta sales headcount

While most of the companies expected their sales headcount to expand or remain the same in 2019, there are some who see a decline ahead.

The growth ahead for the businesses we spoke to in Atlanta was encouraging with 50% of the businesses expecting sales headcount to grow by 25% or more.

As we looked into this quarter’s performance, a majority of the businesses were forecasting at or above target which is great to see. Finish strong!

Finally we wanted to understand how Atlanta sales reps are being compensated. It was reported that 28% of the businesses had their #1 sales rep taking hope between 76k and 100k. While this can be impacted by many factors, we believe a high number of early stage companies that are still figuring out their revenue channels can be a contributor to these results. On the other end of the spectrum, 21% of the businesses saw their #1 sales rep taking home over 401k.

We’ll continue to collect and aggregate these sales benchmarks as we head across the country. Come visit us at one of our upcoming stops.

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