The Ultimate List of Developer-Focused Sales and Marketing Resources

June 29, 2021

When it comes to selling and marketing software to developers, tried-and-true traditional B2B tactics just plain don’t work. Companies like Stripe, Snyk, MongoDB, and Datadog understand this, and it’s a big reason they’re so wildly successful.

But are these businesses following a playbook, and can others replicate their success? Yes and yes. After analyzing patterns in publicly traded companies and studying how developers buy software (hint: they don’t like to be sold to), we compiled our research into The Developer-Focused Go-to-Market Playbook. It’s a must-read for anyone in this space.

Since the response to our playbook has been so overwhelmingly positive, we wanted to follow up its release with a list of our favorite developer-focused sales and marketing resources. We’ll continue adding to this list as more stories and guides emerge, so make sure you bookmark it.

The basics

What Is Developer Marketing?
IronHorse’s quick overview of what developer marketing really is—and is not.

Marketing to Developers: Core Values and Tactical Tips from GitLab’s Former CMO
Key takeaways from an interview with angel investor and experienced engineering marketer Ashley Smith.

SaaS Companies Can Grow to $20M+ ARR by Selling Exclusively to Developers
In this TechCrunch article, OpenView’s Sam Richard explains how other companies can replicate Twilio’s secret sauce.

WTF Is “Developer-Focused”?
Adron Hall, a self-described “jovial coder,” shares his take on what exactly companies mean when they call themselves “developer-focused.”

How developers buy software

I Asked 50+ Developers How They Buy Software. Here’s What I Learned.
This OpenView article sums up key takeaways learned after speaking with developers in DevOps, DevSecOps, and generalist back-end roles about how they prefer to discover, try, and purchase software.

Why Developers Are Fueling The Next $1 Trillion Software Wave
This Forbes article talks about how, over the past two decades, two separate trillion-dollar enterprise software sectors have been created: SaaS software and public cloud. And today, we’re in the early innings of the next trillion-dollar software wave: developer-driven software.

Developers Now Control a Big Chunk of Enterprise Budgets; Here’s How To Reach Them
TechRepublic notes that developers have taken on more and more authority to not just influence budget decisions, but to actually decide how to spend it.

Why Market to Developers? Developers Have Influence
We’ll say it louder for the people in the back: Developers, not execs, are deciding what software to buy. This DeveloperMedia piece says that 60% of developers have the ability to approve or reject a tool purchase.

Proven tactics

The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing to Developers
Another classic from the OpenView blog. More successful exits of developer tools and API companies will produce more new startups—and investors who want to fund them. Yet, as many founders are finding, it’s difficult to find marketers who understand how to build and engage developer communities because the demand far exceeds supply. Check out some of the top tactics to implement when reaching out to developer-focused companies.

Your Developer Documentation Is a Conversion Tool, So Why Aren’t You Treating It Like One?
Your developer documentation is how people discover your product via organic search, StackOverflow, or other developer communities. It’s essentially the side door to your product, says OpenView’s Sam Richard. Here’s how to stop missing out on a huge opportunity.

A Guide to Developer Marketing in 2020
Sure, this is from last year, but these tips from GetStream are still relevant. They stress that marketing to developers means thinking like developers—you need to live, breathe, and think like a developer. Just don’t go overboard, or you’ll come across as desperate.

The Anatomy of a Great Developer Marketing Plan
Datadab shares the key ingredients they believe make up the perfect marketing plan.

From 💼 Top-down Sales to 📈Bottom-up 🔬Product-Led Growth
This Medium article shows how letting go of the top-down, “cookie-cutter path” of traditional go-to-market strategies and embracing product-led growth might be the key to success for a lot of tech-driven, developer-focused businesses.

5 Tips on How to Target Developers with Your Content Marketing
From writing generic development content to having an email newsletter, here are some ways to engage developers using content marketing.

What Makes Effective Developer-Focused Content Unique in Content Marketing?
Content must be both valuable and relevant for your audience or else it’s pointless. Effective content marketing for developers, according to ContentLab, is written from a technical point of view, with the technical details that developers need to succeed.

Success stories

An Inside Look at How Datadog Reached $500M in ARR (and Counting)
Datadog generates over half a billion dollars of revenue annually and had a massive IPO in 2019. On this episode of the OV BUILD podcast, Alex Rosemblat, Datadog’s VP of Marketing, explains the company’s go-to-market strategy.

An Inside Look at Snyk’s Product-Led Growth Strategy
Snyk puts developers first not only in terms of their cloud native application security product, but also in terms of how they market and sell that product. This episode of the OV BUILD podcast features wisdom from Francesca Krihely, Senior Director of Developer Experience and Growth at Snyk.

How Stripe Built a Sales Organization to Successfully Sell to Developers
Stripe is a company built by developers, for developers. The hard pitch, the feature list, rehearsed objection handling, competitor depositioning—none of these things matter when the buyer of a product is the person who builds with it, rather than a procurement professional. Go through some of the tricks of the trade with Stripe’s former Head of Growth, James Allgrove.

How to Bottle Community Lightning Like Datadog
Chris Gillespie dives deep into how Datadog’s community helps drive the product.

Blending Enterprise and PLG Sales: Lessons from Atlassian
Find out how tech-giant Atlassian shifted its sales model in this OpenView blog piece by Chris De Vylder.

Header photo by Mapbox on Unsplash

More ultimate guides from OpenView

VP of Growth<br>OpenView

Sam Richard is VP of Growth at OpenView, helping our portfolio accelerate top-line growth through establishing best practices and processes to support product led growth. At OpenView, Sam works closely with portfolio leadership teams to discover and implement the most impactful strategies for growth, including onboarding and retention optimization, expansion strategy, funnel optimization and channel/partner strategy.