2016 Expansion Report: Benchmarks for Sales

Editor’s NoteThe following is an excerpt from OpenView’s 2016 Expansion Report: Benchmarks for Sales. You can access the full report here. You can also check out this year’s Customer Success report here.

Sales teams have been a central part of a business’ Go–to–Market strategy for decades, but the maturation of the high–tech industry is causing them to evolve. The growth of inside sales and inbound marketing in particular are changing the way sales teams are structured and measured. These changes can make it hard for sales leaders to accurately assess the performance of their sales teams.

OpenView’s 2016 Benchmarks for Sales report, produced in partnership with InsightSquared, is designed to provide context to the tech sales landscape so sales leaders like you can benchmark your teams and answer questions like:

  • What types of roles are sales teams adding?
  • How does the performance of enterprise sales reps differ from that of their counterparts?
  • How long does it take sales reps to ramp for different roles?

Answering these questions will help sales leaders evaluate their team’s performance, and contextualize
and interpret the changes affecting their industries. Sales teams are not monoliths, where all members have
similar backgrounds and objectives – they are tightly structured groups of individuals with diverse skill sets and
responsibilities. Understanding how other businesses think about those roles is instrumental for designing a
sales team that helps your business grow and thrive.


Getting Started: Evaluating Sales Team Capacity

Before diving into the data, it’s important to understand where your organization compares in terms of capacity. The chart below shows the number of full–time employees, by ARR, within the sales organization. We found that sales teams steadily ramp headcount until they reach about $25M in ARR, at which point they start reducing the number of full–time employees (includes both quota bearing and non–quota bearing headcount) on their teams.

Sales FTEs

The $50M+ bucket is comprised of mostly transactional companies, hence why the number of full–time employees in Sales departments drops sharply. The reduction in full–time Sales employees starting at around $25M ARR suggests that larger companies focus on a smaller number of much larger deals or that the size of their sales team drops as the company’s focus shifts from acquisition to retention. You can learn more about customer retention in our Benchmarks for Customer Success report here.

To keep reading, access the full 2016 Benchmarks for Sales report here.

Liz Cain
Liz Cain

Liz Cain leads the firm’s Investment team and sits on the Investment Committee. Liz joined OpenView in 2016 to lead the Expansion Platform delivering recruiting, market insights and marketing/sales strategy services to our portfolio. Today, she manages the Investment team and focuses on developing the systems, processes and team to identify and win the best expansion stage software deals.
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