Who to address on the dev tool homepage?

Chat icon
Hey, I am Jakub Czakon. CMO at a dev tool startup, dev marketing advisor, admin of a dev marketing Slack, and creator of the dev marketing . I share insights from my experience, research, and talking to other practitioners.
Hey, I am Jakub Czakon. I am a CMO at a dev tool startup, dev tool marketing advisor, admin of a dev marketing Slack community, and I run a weekly developer marketing .

What I share on this blog comes from my experience, research, and talking to other practitioners.

Had a flavor of this discussion a few times recently:

“But CTO is the buyer, we should talk to them on the homepage”

Imho most of the time you shouldn’t.  You should speak to the champion. 

Here is why:

  • Traffic distribution: The vast majority of the traffic on your dev homepage is not the buyer persona. It is an individual contributor dev who may become your end user. 
  • CTOs don’t evaluate themselves: Most of the time the CTO appoints someone to run a proper evaluation. Typically the very dev who brought the problem/solution to them.
  • Homepage is not the medium: When convicting buyer personas (not end users) to buy, slide decks, ROI-heavy case studies, and sales calls seem to be the way to go. 

This is completely reversed for end-user devs. They visit homepages, they evaluate tools, and they like reading websites (and docs obviously). 

But if you “sell” the product to the end-user dev. If they become your champion. Well, they will sell it to the CTO. 

Traffic distribution

Who comes to your homepage? 

Directly it is hard to answer but indirectly you know:

  • If 90% of the traffic to your site comes from the super technical blog you run. It is likely that those are devs. 
  • If your devrels interact with dev communities on Slack and Discord. A lot of the direct traffic will be coming from there. Again devs
  • If all you do is answer questions and solve devs' issues on your public GitHub repo. You guessed it the traffic you get (direct or not) will be devs. 

Now, there are situations where this will not be devs of course:

  • Your entire GTM strategy at an early stage is to run outbound to CTOs at ICP companies your homepage traffic (direct again) will likely be CTOs.
  • You are getting close to an IPO and focus on public market consumer education with TV brand ads. Well a big part of your homepage traffic will be investors and interested consumers (not users or buyers) 

Be honest. Where do people come from and by extension who are they?

Proceed accordingly. 

CTOs don’t evaluate themselves

When picking tools there are two options:

  • The need comes bottom-up: IC devs at a team that reports to a team lead/director who reports to the CTO
  • The need comes top-down: CTO spoke to his buddy (also CTO) and heard about how they solved X problem. 

In either scenario, the CTO is either not looking at the homepage (most likely). 

Or if they do, thye look at it through a lens of an end user (not buyer). 

The end-user dev is evaluating or is heavily involved in the evaluation process. 

Just think about it, imagine CTOs running around and picking tools for the end users devs. Two or three layers below in the org structure. It sure would sound like a healthy and empowering org to me. 

“But they are making the final decision so you need to adress them” 

True but here comes the third point. 

Homepage is not the medium

It is true that you have to communicate organization-level value (not end-user value), return on investment considering your pricing, social proof from similar companies/dev orgs, product vision etc. 

But imho you don’t need to, or shouldn’t do that on the homepage. 

There are other pages like enterprise, case studies, pricing, about us where you can do that. There are slide decks and one pagers that are send around. There are sales conversations. 

And most importantly if you convince that end-user dev, who really feels that pain on a daily and they become your champion they convey that information for you. They are your actual in. Once you are in, you need to enable that champion with one pagers, ROI, case studies, and all that good stuff to get the buyer persona on board. 

But what if CTO is the end user too?

That happens of course. There are tools for managing eng organization with a focus on CTO. There are smaller startups where the CTO is a coding team lead. 

And that is great. You can just treat them like end users with more buying power. 

So summing up:

  • On the homepage focus on the dev champion not the CTO
  • Once you convince the champion they will talk to the CTO for you
  • You need to enable the champion with all the CTO-focused communication to close the deal.

Want more insights? Got more questions?

Subscribe to my newsletter -> get 3 dev marketing insights and 1 thing about pears every week.

Join our slack -> talk to me and 1500+ developer marketing practitioners.

Work with me -> I do dev marketing advising, teardowns, and on-demand workshops.

Reach out on Linkedin-> I answer every question and share insights daily.

Info icon
POWERUP: Learn how to set up the feedback form using custom code. View tutorial