Understand Your Developer Audience
Selling any type of product to software developers is a challenge. To be successful, you must intimately understand your developer audience. Are you selling to the developer, or are you selling to the company the developer is working for? These are two different audiences, with different needs, triggers, and motivations. The primary motivation for a developer to consider purchasing a software tool or service is to solve a problem. The problem can take many forms, it can be a technical roadblock or it can be related to improving efficiency of a process, for example.
To be able to measure your success, you have to clearly define your sales expectations and align them with the needs of your developer audience.
Be the Developer
To be successful in the developer community, you have to be the developer. By this we mean that it is assumed that if you are selling to developers, you are a developer, have developers on your staff, or at the very least, have friends who are developers, which you can access for their expertise. Developers are skeptical and technical, much like scientists. To earn their respect, you have to speak their language, and earn their respect. Traditional marketing tactics will open doors, but once the cloche is lifted, there better be substance to your content, along with expertise and support for the inevitable questions that will follow. You typically have one chance in the developer community, so be prepared to defend your product.
A product trial and evaluation/endorsement from an independent developer will go a long way to build trust in the developer community, and that’s really what sells a product in any market, but especially in the developer community. Influencer marketing is a great way to promote your product because developers trust developers.
Some tips on content: Don’t write to the lowest common denominator, and don’t use marketing terms in your copy. Developers, in general, are well educated, experienced professionals so writing for developers should be functionally descriptive as to what your product does and the problems it solves, without marketing buzzwords. Your content should use developer friendly terms, and focus on solving the problems your products were designed for. Backup your content with proof statements in the form of data, (developers love data), testimonials, or trials written in the form of a case-study.
- Seek to understand your developer audience. The more you know, the better you will be able to serve them, and this will increase your chances of success.
- Developers trust developers, so the key to sales is to be part of the community, whatever form that takes. Leverage your relationships and appreciate your supporters!
- View your sales and marketing efforts holistically, and take into account your product, placement, promotion, and perspective. If you need help, consider partnering with a media professional that has the resources, experience and expertise to make your product a success.
Selling to Developers: Ten Lessons Learned
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