Developer Focused Sales Funnels
Building a single sales view from a mix of a bottom's up developer purchase funnel and a top down conversational sales funnel
If you are focussing on developers for your product’s sales and marketing (for example if you are a developer tool, a commercial open source software or an API product with Developer self-serve trials being a major part of your growth strategy), you might have found it challenging to build a single view of your organisation’s sales pipeline.
This is because you will have a bottom’s up developer focused GTM motion, often driven by your devrel or marketing teams and a traditional top down sales led motion and these 2 funnels often end up looking very different. And like most of the developer tool companies, if your GTM motion is going to be a hybrid one, i.e. a mix of a top down and bottom’s up motion - you will need a single view of the account pipeline.
Hybrid GTM Motions
Your bottom’s up developer focused motion will have developers finding out about your product either organically, inorganically or through communities (Discover); learn about the product by going through docs or try out the product by playing around the free version or the open source community version (Evaluate); build certain prototypes or POCs to see the usability of the product (Build) and then you can use this organic growth opportunity to monetise the account with better upsale offering (Scale).
Your top down sales led motion will have your quota driven SDRs and AEs reaching out to decision makers (generally mid to senior folks with budgets) , qualifying and converting them into customer. This will be your traditional conversational pipeline where you have a potential customer who is not showing an interest in you yet (Prospect), someone who is showing interest in you (Lead), somewhere you see a fitment of need and budget (Opportunity) and finally somebody who agrees to sign your dotted line (Customer)
The Traditional B2B SaaS Sales Funnel
Building a Single Organization Revenue View
If, like me, you are crazy about data and about aligning the sales and marketing organisation across a single pipeline; you will like to interpret this hybrid motion in a single framework.
I have seen many organisations using the bottom’s up GTM motion to identify a Product Qualified Lead or Account (PQL or PQA) and use that to fill up the Opportunity bucket in their pipelines. This method works well if you are selling a B2B software but if it is a developer software, this methods ends up being inefficient. A qualified account in a developer software company will have a lot of developer activity and business teams would like to measure that to build account based strategies. For example, AEs (account executives) will like to know if there is a developer activity in their qualified accounts to learn whether the account is alive, since no developer software is purchased without developers in the team trying out the product or against their recommendations.
PLG funnel when used in Developer focused growth
Similarly, this model rules out the importance of intra team collaboration that is needed to close developer tool deals at scale. If you are not measuring developer activity at the qualified and high probability accounts, you can potentially overlook risks of the pitch failing in developer adoption within the org. But measuring it will ensure your Dev Relations team can highlight potential support questions from advanced pipeline accounts in communities, your marketing teams can create specialised nurture and educational campaigns, your sales engineering teams can study product usage patterns to understand risks and help out the more important user.
Using a two dimensional matrix view for hybrid pipelines
I will like to propose here that a better way to look at this hybrid pipeline is in a two dimensional matrix structure rather than a linear funnel view. It will help business teams derive better business strategies.
Once you plot your accounts across their top down conversational activities with the sales teams and developer activity based on bottom’s up adoption, you will start getting the full picture of your Go To Market efforts. Different teams can have different strategy views from such a matrix.
For example, Marketing teams can look at high developer activity accounts and run targeted campaigns to tech decision makers (CTOs, CPOs, Head of Engineering) within the organization. They can segment developers across quadrants to run specific nurture campaigns. DevRel Teams can identify power users amongst accounts in the bottom of the sales funnel and use them as evangelists in advocacy within the account. Similarly, they can identify accounts towards the bottom of sales funnel with low developer activity and run targeted efforts in activating them and seeing that the product gets the required bottom’s up activation.
Similarly AEs and CSMs can design account strategies based on the matrix. They can understand better which are their ‘star’ accounts that might be open to buy more, which opportunities are ready to get converted and identify risks in accounts that are at the bottom of the sales funnel but not getting the required developer adoption within the account.
Pipeline are often created to study clog and imbalances. If you plot all your accounts on this matrix, by studying the density, the RevOps / strategy teams can decode the imbalance and the reasons behind it. For example a higher density of accounts towards the X-axis below might mean a low adoption of the company’s developer driven motion which might be a gap in adoption or an un-optimised developer experience.
Note: The top down funnel will typically reside in your sales CRM. The bottom’s up pipeline might be tougher to get as the data will reside in multiple systems - your product database, our support community, developers going through your docs and others sources. But we are building something here to help developer focused companies see their true account pipeline.