Yes, developers are a tough crowd. They hate being sold to, and it’s pretty easy for traditional marketing campaigns to fall flat with them because they’d much rather get a recommendation from a colleague. Failed campaign after failed campaign has led many software company executives to throw up their hands and declare all sales and marketing to be pointless.
And that’s just wrong. Selling to developers isn’t impossible — it’s just difficult. I cover why it’s difficult and offer examples of exceptional developer-focused marketing in my new playbook. Part of selling to developers involves balancing two things: building out a strong organic marketing function and targeting your audience with the right message at the right time throughout their buyer journey.
Selling to developers isn’t impossible — it’s just difficult.
Easier said than done, right?
Yep. I see it all the time. Part of what’s blocking marketers from widening the top of the funnel (driving more developers to sign up for their free tools) for their developer-focused businesses is ensuring they have the right data and measurement capabilities in place to understand how much impact their activities have on the business.
That’s mostly because these marketers, community managers and developer relations experts have the most luck with organic marketing. In this industry, organic marketing is one of the most challenging to measure.
Organic marketing means investing in channels like referrals, organic search, organic social (community) and direct traffic to your website (brand). New users from paid marketing, banner ads, events or sales reps (the most measurable channels) don’t count as organic. We measure the fruits of these efforts with a new metric called Natural Rate of Growth.
In a digital, multi-touch-point world, it’s getting more challenging to measure which users hear about your brand from which channels. That’s why tools like Orbit, Tribe and Mighty have gained traction so quickly.
That’s all good, and it’ll be a huge boon for community managers in time, but these tools still don’t solve some of the core data strategy issues I see developer-focused software companies fighting. These quick tips should help your team align around what needs to be done and what’s just a “nice to have” so that selling to developers feels less like a battle.
- Treat data like a product where a core end user is the go-to-market side of the team.
- Map your customer’s journey from discovery to expansion and track it religiously.
- Don’t overthink it.