20 February 2023


Working with Sales to help land a customer to purchase the product/service.

Also Known As:

Problem: Salespeople are, stereotypically speaking, not strong in technical skills. When selling or negotiating a deal or partnership, many issues of a technical nature will arise, and it can be difficult to ensure that reasonable solutions and/or promises are discussed as part of those negotiations.

Context: Given the complexities in most product/service offerings, it is unreasonable to expecting that salespeople will be able to be understand underlying details or nuances after a one- or two-hour technical briefing. (Frankly, this is true of many industries more than this one, yet it continues to permeate human society as a common myth.)

However, salespeople will often look for creative ways to get around potential-customer objections, both as a way to avoid obstacles that might prevent the deal, as well as part of the typical negotiation around things like price.

Solution: Ensure that somebody from the DevRel team is "in the room" (either figuratively or literally) to provide technical insight and "know-how" when questions around the product/service, its features, or its capabilities, arise.

Consequences: Just as salespeople are not technologists, most DevRel are not salespeople, and should therefore make sure they are "in sync" with the salesperson driving the meeting. Let the salespeople drive the meeting, and don't proffer ideas or suggestions without running them past the salespeople first--sometimes the salesperson will want to hold that idea or suggestion "in reserve", to use as a later point in the negotiation. Remember that concluding a deal is more of a competitive action than most engineering-types are accustomed to, and that the "win condition" isn't just solving the problem (like it is for many engineering issues).


Tags: devrel   patterns