Understanding the developer buying process - Part 3

Emerald Bull by, Pablo Picasso | What’s with the random art?

There is a common belief in enterprise tech marketing circles that developers do not have a budget or purchasing ability. This assumption is based on standard enterprise sales processes focused on driving high ACV with multi-year terms. In many organizations this assumption holds true, however, it’s changing quickly driven by fundamental shifts in how buyers interact with enterprise software. To stay ahead of this shift, developer marketers need to understand why that assumption originated, what’s driving the change, and how to stay ahead of it.

Developers and BANT

BANT is a sales qualification acronym for budget, authority, need, and timing. It allows sales reps to quickly qualify new leads and opportunities. It’s by far the most popular qualification criteria but isn’t the only one (check out GPCTBA/C&I).

In the past, developers had the need and timeline but lacked the budget or authority, which meant that developers were not the primary contact on an opportunity. However, it quickly became clear that though you could leave developers out of a deal and still get it closed, your ability to drive usage, renewals, and account expansion is almost impossible.

This is where developer marketers and developer relations folks saw their rise to fame. Developers became a key audience member in a successful enterprise sale and ensuring the overall health/retention of the account. Fast forward fifteen years and the enterprise tech sales landscape is changing at the same pace as the technology that is being sold. To maintain a strong position in the market, enterprise software providers need to recognize the evolution and adopt.

Public cloud providers changed the game

With the rise of public cloud providers, software has fundamentally changed and so have the techniques and tools used to create it. Developers no longer work in environments hosted on local resources, they’re moving to the cloud, and so are the tools and applications that they use.

To provide a ‘developer-friendly’ experience, cloud providers have integrated developer tools directly into their offering. Providing a one-stop-shop experience where developers can build a stack à la carte with the click of a button. Along with configuration simplicity, cloud providers offer metered pricing and a self-service checkout experience.

The ability to enter their credit card information and have a small reoccurring payment that automatically scales with their needs has shifted the power back into the hands of developers, making the BANT argument largely irrelevant. According to a recent Evans Data survey, 58% of developers indicate that they have budget and authority, not just budget influence. Organizations that are reluctant to move away from the classic enterprise sale process should be warned.

It's the cloud's world we just live in it

Cloud providers have made developer marketing more important. Persuading developers away from the expanding list of native product offerings included with a cloud subscription is difficult. Not to mention providing a self-serve purchasing experience that warrents retention and expansion without the help of an account manager is a challenge that only a few companies have figured out.

Developer facing companies need to evolve quickly or risk extinction. They must acknowledge that developers do have a budget, and when it’s easy, they will spend it.