The developer tools category of software has exploded in the last ten years as every company has become a software company and cloud computing has increased the pace and complexity of development. Developers are using more and more tools to make their workflows more efficient, monitor the software they’re building, provide security and solve many other problems that come with building complex software.
Moving from Sales-Driven to Product-Driven
The primary method for selling software to developers has shifted from a sales-driven approach to a product-driven approach.
This means that many developer tools are free or open source and only after you’ve started to see value with the product will you hit gated paid features. Some examples of companies with this model include Datadog for infrastructure monitoring, MongoDB for database software, Twilio for text/voice APIs and Elastic for security.
For these very successful public companies, the go-to-market motion looks very different today than that of Enterprise software companies in the past.
Some of the key differences include:
- They all have a free or very low priced self-service product that’s either open source or SaaS vs. an expensive multi-year enterprise contract before you can use the product.
- Sales teams are often focused on identifying inbound opportunities (talking to people who have used the product) vs. cold calling or outbound prospecting.
- The free or low initial price point means sales teams focus on a “land and expand” model where most of the revenue accrues over time vs. upfront in the initial sales process.
- These companies all have active communities and public documentation which helps developers become successful on their own vs. private docs and an opaque process for being successful with the old enterprise model.
So what does it take to be successful as a sales and go-to-market team at these types of companies? In particular what sorts of sales emails successfully convert customers at developer tools companies? Let’s take a look at three examples from developer tools that our engineering team at Correlated Labs have evaluated and/or are actually using and paying for.
What To Include In Your Sales Email to a Developer
Offer engineering assistance
In this example the person reaching out from Rockset indicates they’re not even in sales! They offer direct engineering support and assistance to help our developer team get going. This is very common in marketing campaigns and it’s becoming more popular as a personalized sales tactic as well.
Social proof and architectural diagrams
The theme of being helpful and adding value is in each of these examples, but it’s worth noting in this email from Auth0. Here the salesperson shows other major companies using their product and provides an architectural overview of how Auth0 would fit into our product and how we handle IAM.
Using product data to inform the discussion
Correlated helps companies use product data to increase upsell and expansion opportunities, but this example from Datadog is the leading edge of how developer tools sales teams can add value and increase their odds of success. The salesperson at Datadog alerted us to a usage spike and proactively reached out to understand how we were using the product.
Every company should be able to seamlessly incorporate product usage data into their sales workflows. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you do that, let us know!