The Stage-by-Stage Guide to Nurturing Developer Leads
If nurturing your developer leads feels a little bit like dating, you’re doing it right.
Lead nurturing builds trust and connection with your prospects. Imagine you’re going on a date. If the other person were to immediately go in for a kiss as soon as you met, you’d be running for the hills even if you were interested in getting to know them. Lead nurturing matters for the same reason. How you nurture your leads determines the foundation for your growing relationship.
When the leads you are nurturing happen to be developers, this becomes just as crucial – and just as tricky. Developers are busy and not known to hang out in traditional business channels like their email inboxes. To nurture them, you must provide them with clear value that will help them do their jobs better.
Phase 1 – Build awareness by being where they are
One of the more challenging aspects of nurturing your developer leads is finding them. They aren’t necessarily hanging out on LinkedIn and Google. The best bet is establishing an authentic presence in the channels where developers hang out. D2D communities like HackerNews, StackOverflow, and DZone bring developers together in one place to compare notes, ask questions, and support one another. Attending developer conferences is another way to position yourself in front of this audience. The same advice applies in person.
Consider that your audience shows up to learn and connect. Adjust your approach accordingly and always lead with value – don’t show up without something they can actually use. Join ongoing conversations and offer relevant suggestions and perspectives. Bring assets that feel organic, concise, and hyper-focused on solving their problems.
For every audience, but for developers especially, resist making promises on behalf of your product that the product can’t back up. Engage authentically, truthfully, and at the right time and place. Be careful to remain in context with the broader conversations going on so you don’t look like a blinking neon billboard in the middle of a quiet library.
Use social listening tools to monitor forums for the right moment to engage. Build keyword lists that will surface questions and conversations relevant to your offering. These will help your retargeting campaigns, too!
Say you have a great new debugging tool. When a developer asks, “Bug in my code, but I can’t find it. What do I do?” you’re ready to jump into the conversation with a solution. (Don’t be afraid to tap your in-house developers for advice on how to talk about your products.)
Answer questions and, when appropriate, offer links to assets, demos, and dedicated landing pages that further illustrate your message. (More on that in the next section.)
Finally, don’t show up in these spaces alone. Third-party validation from respected technical thought leaders and other developers is a great way to get your foot in the door with a skeptical audience. Grab quotes from happy customers and insights from analysts and bake them into every asset to answer that crucial question, why should I care?
Phase 2 – Educate by proving that you’ve got the goods
Once you have captured their attention, your assets come into the mix. Have a bill of materials tailor-made for developers. These will look different than content developed for a business audience.
Developer-focused content leads with logic and is always solving a problem. Before you build, talk to your customers and get a clear understanding of their primary pain points. Why do they need your solution? Why did they choose yours over your competitors? Their answers may deviate from your standard marketing messaging! Use their real-world perspective to offer proof points built into assets like short videos, product documentation, and fact sheets.
Nurturing your developers is not the time to break out your 10-page whitepapers. Save these for your business audience. Keep them on hand in case you hear a developer say that they’re into your offering but need buy-in from their LOB management. Then you can arm them with industry perspectives and ebooks that help them get traction from buyers and help the buyers better understand their needs.
Finally, developers are busy. Keep your content quick, digestible, and tangible. Demos and documentation are must-haves. Your approach should demonstrate that you’ve got something that will make their lives easier and make it simple for them to execute solutions with clear and comprehensive documentation.
Phase 3 – Engage, don’t overwhelm
Your marketing content should include an opportunity to request a 1:1 conversation. Use scheduling tools to make it seamless, and connect developers directly with technical team members that will respect their time and answer their questions. If a developer has come to your website and filled out a contact form, then it’s time to show you’ve got what it takes. This is the Big Date.
Arm your team with FAQs and other developer-focused content to keep the conversation streamlined (and use these conversations to generate new and updated FAQs, too!)
Don’t book an hour when fifteen minutes will suffice, and do assume that the developer knows why they are there. Listen to their needs, and follow up accordingly. This is your chance to prove you can be a reliable and relevant partner for your developer leads and hopefully land a long-term relationship that works for both of you.
Closing the deal
Lead nurturing is a crucial bridge between marketing and sales, preventing you from wasting your own time and helping you take advantage of opportunities that arise. Like a relationship, it requires trust, mutual respect, and demonstrations of value.
As a marketer, you put hard work into researching and developing your content and messaging, so use these materials as you nurture your leads from awareness to education to engagement. Focus on honing your message and building concise and value-focused assets that give developers a clear path to follow.
If you show up where they are and demonstrate how you help them get their jobs done, they will come to you when they’re ready. Be prepared to demonstrate your value and be a good partner and developers will become some of your most powerful advocates.