As the internet and technology continue to permeate every business function, tech leads are becoming key decision makers. Companies are leaning on technology to create innovation, minimize costs through efficiency, and most importantly to drive revenue growth. As a result, companies are seeking out new software and capabilities, but buying software in this tech-forward cloud-centric time is not as easy as defining a feature list and watching a demo. Any software or service acquired needs to be seamlessly integrated into the companies existing technology stack. As a result, business leaders are looking towards their developers to build these integrations and be part of the team evaluating new vendors. Programmers and developers are now key players in the sales process.
Traditional tactics are insufficient, programmers are immune to advertising and are hostile to conventional sales.
This has given rise to a new discipline, developer relations (DevRel).
What is DevRel?
Developer relations can encompass a large field of responsibilities, but at its core, DevRel professionals build authentic relationships within the programming community with the goal of educating and exciting developers around a product or solution.
In comparison to related fields:
Technical Trainers work to educate developers on a system, ensuring they can be productive after a software solution has been chosen. DevRel focuses on interacting with all developers, even if they have not purchased the software. DevRel also tries to drive excitement and not just proficiency.
Presales Engineers work to sell a product to prospects already in the sales funnel. They work 1-on-1 with both the business and developers to help a sales representative close the deal. DevRel does not carry a quota, and engages through a wide audience through conferences, online communities, content, and events.
DevRel programs sit at the intersection of engineering, product, and marketing. They employ tech professionals with excellent communication and a varied skillet. They contribute to content including blogs, videos, and tutorials. They write source-code. They collect provide feedback to the product team. They speak at events and conferences as industry professionals. They engage the developer community and help it thrive.
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.
The wide range of responsibilities and objectives means DevRel can live in different departments. Most often living in Product or Marketing.
Which companies benefit from DevRel?
Open-Source companies were the first to identify the need, starting with community managers, then moving to developer advocates. Software with programmers as the end consumer are the logical choice.
With the current transition towards API based offerings and a composable solution, more and more software requires developers for execution. With the tech team being pivotal to success of a project, having them excited and aware of a product can streamline the decision.
If your product requires integration, implementation, or customization, the company can benefit from hiring a DevRel team.