According to Stack Overflow, more than half of developers now have influence in their company’s buying process for tools, so it’s absolutely essential you build a great experience for developers into your sales process.
Here are five developer focused companies which I think do a great job selling to developers.
I've used Algolia for search and it's incredible for giving a very high quality search experience fast. The product is great, the docs are great but one thing I noticed is that it gets shared around the web by a lot of authoritative sources. Firebase for instance, even recommend it in their own docs.
Content for every use case
Another thing they do really well is SEO - as OpenView partners puts it, Algolia are "widely applicable to about a billion use cases. So to make sure people stumble upon them when trying to solve for these use cases, Algolia has created landing pages for every single customer and use case they’ve seen."
Ambassadors - developer influencers
One of the reasons I have such a good image of Algolia is because one of the best developers I ever worked with was an Algolia ambassador. Long before I knew what Algolia was, having my friend's name attached to their brand made me think they must be pretty great.
GitLab is often compared to GitHub but GitLab call themselves 'The DevOps Platform'. GitLab empowers organizations to maximize the overall return on software development by delivering software faster and efficiently, while strengthening security and compliance.
GitLab hosted my first ever Git Repo on their free student plan (before GitHub had free private repos). They're a brilliant tool which I've used in a 'real' company since and I absolutely loved reading their remote manifesto (way before covid hit) and open culture. They have a great brand with developers.
Focus on usefulness
GitLab's former CMO, Ashley Smith says one of the keys to GitLab's success is usefulness.
“You have to make sure that the marketing materials you’re putting out into the world are actually helpful. Engineers are naturally curious people who will be far more interested in content that teaches them something rather than just trying to get them to buy.”
– Kyle Lacy, Marketing to Developers: Core Values and Tactical Tips from GitLab’s Former CMO
RevenueCat makes it easy to implement and manage in-app subscriptions, analyze customer data, and grow recurring revenue on iOS, Android, and the web.
I've used RevenueCat and it's fantastic, they have incredible guides on everything you need to know and more. Plus their founder Jacob writes hilarious emails and sends you great swag on the basis that you can become a "walking billboard" for RevenueCat (Jacob's words).
RevenueCat are part of the mobile developer community
Corey Rabazinski, Head of Marketing at RevenueCat says the key to RevenueCat's success is becoming part of the community:
"What turns an average experience into an amazing one is being embedded in the communities you're building for. At RevenueCat, we've done a great job hiring folks who genuinely love creating products that make mobile developers' lives easier. Our team deeply understands the pain points that our product solves and is consistently looking to opportunities in product, engineering, and content to continue to solve that pain".
Stripe the 'payment structure for the internet' allows business owners to accept payments from credit and debit cards and processes those payments.
Not only have I used Stripe in the past, I've persuaded my clients to move to Stripe because of how easy and powerful it is and how clear their documentation is. I personally am a big fan of Stripe.
Stripe are great at community
Stripe are very savvy in developer communities like Hacker News and they also have their own technical publisher and own Indie Hackers - a platform where entrepreneurial developers hang out and share their 'Stripe verified' revenue.
Stripe are known for supporting the developer community by actively contributing to open-source projects. Stripe give back to the community through development, patches and sponsorships.
Stripe's success with the developer community on Hacker News has been so strong that it even recently experienced complaints from a competitor. A heated discussion ensued where a moderator justified Stripe's 'darling' status in the community because they are:
- Producing products that the community considers good
- Producing articles that the community finds interesting
- Mastering the art of interacting with the community
Stripe have techy salespeople
Stripe's Former Head of Revenue, James Allgrove notes that Stripe's salespeople also need to be technical.
“To work successfully with the discerning developer audience, you need salespeople who have sufficient technical prowess in order to earn their trust.”
- James Allgrove, How Stripe Built a Sales Organization to Successfully Sell to Developers
If you want to make calls or send text messages in your app, you'll probably use Twilio. Twilio is used by hundreds of thousands of businesses and more than ten million developers worldwide to build unique, personalized experiences for their customers.
I've used Twilio for toy projects and it is a very powerful tool with lot's of documentations and tutorials. I noticed they're really good at having a lot of YouTube tutorials.
Glenn Weinsten, Chief Customer Officer at Twilio explains their success:
"Our success is built on the hard work of developers, leaders across industries, nonprofit visionaries, and our growing community of more than 7,000 Twilions. We approach our work in a way that prioritizes trust, privacy, inclusion, and the call to create a better world through communications".
- Glein Weinstein, Chief Customer Officer at Twilio, What is Twilio? An introduction to the leading customer engagement platform
Twilio cover all the bases
While this quote is a little more difficult to take direct action from, it's clear that Twilio seem to be doing all the basics really well: good product, good documentation and engagement with the community.
Let me know if there are any companies with a great developer experience you'd like me to look into.
If you're interested in how DevTools grow big, you might enjoy our Developer Marketing newsletter