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  • Marketing for devtools, since devs hate feeling sold to

    updated 1 week ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • FrederickDanzoy

    Member
    November 24, 2022 at 11:33 am

    I’ve heard from various clients selling tools for software engineers that “marketing doesn’t work on developers”. While I understand the sentiment, I figured I’d write out some advice for how I’ve helped SaaS companies finetune pitch their devtools. First, I think it helps to specify what specifically gets an eye roll from developers: Overhype and fluffy statements, like “the no.1 tool for…” Unrealistic claims, such as “will save you 500hrs a day!” Generic or bland statements, like the classic “grow your business” Buzzwords with opaque meanings, such as “modernize your stack” My theory is that people write these due to not sufficiently pinning down the problem being solved and the solution on offer. That might sound obvious, but efforts to be specific can also miss the mark. It often leads to dry statements about the functionality of the tool, such as “halve your server costs with our autoscaling”. So with that established, here is advice on what to do instead… Think through their current situation I find that a big part of nailing a relevant problem/solution, is to first pinpoint the context. For example, are they Ignoring the pain point as not a big deal or are they looking to solve it? Already using an alternative (incl. open source) or doing nothing? Buying for the first time, or are they skeptical from past disappointments? These different contexts require subtly different marketing approaches. For example, I once consulted with VMWare about a monitoring tool. Their core pitch for it boiled down to “spot issues with our monitoring tool”. Which is true, but wasn’t resonating with prospects. When talking through the buying context, it turned out their ideal prospects were enterprises upgrading from a cheaper alternative. We discussed the pain points from using unsuitable monitoring tools, which lead to relevant messaging around “monitoring that scales to 200k+ containers”. The pitch switched from being about the core functionality of the product (spotting outages) to solving the problem with their current setup (couldn’t keep up with the volume). Other common buyer scenarios Just to go through a few other common contexts Eagerly looking for a solution People write for this situation by default. The classic advice of “don’t sell the drill, sell the hole” is only relevant for folk that don’t have a drill and already want a hole. It’s good advice for some scenarios, but not most of them. Oblivious to the issue Some folk won’t even know they have a problem. In that case, you need to start by helping them discover the blind spot. Show them how to check if the issue exists for them and help them understand the implications. Burned by past attempts Skepticism is inevitable if your prospects have been burned by a past attempt. Maybe they tried an alternative that caused more headaches than it solved, in which case you need to explain reasons why that won’t be the case this time Thinks current headaches are inevitable If you’re pitching an upgrade, this one is likely relevant. Like the VMWare example above, it’s about relating to the issues with the current implementation, not on the actual outcome of the tool. Each of these will require a whole different set of details and approach to how you are presenting the product, that aren’t necessarily just “sell the hole”. Next, write the no-BS pitch If you nail that context, the rest should become a whole lot easier. If necessary, I like talking it through with sales or customer service people within the company to hear about the issues or concerns that users have. Plan out the questions that they would want answering for their scenario and the relevant details to build the desire for the software. Note: You can’t talk to multiple contexts at once As a final note, things get bland and buzzwordy if a page is trying to address multiple buyer groups at once, e.g, both first-timers and people upgrading. Keep each piece of marketing material focused only on one buyer type. End note I hope that’s been useful. In theory the advice applies to any industry, but it seems to be particularly challenging for devtools. If you have any questions about how it applies to your particular situation feel free to drop me a DM or a comment below. – by /hq/ZMech – –

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