Lovely Chef Vishal wrote in with a reply to a recent message giving me some great feedback (shared with permission, bold mine):
"I would rather say in DevRel, we would not sell at all and it is rather a by-product of the efforts we put in through education, inspiration, outreach, community, etc. as you mentioned.
So, I would say selling isn't the main goal at any point but rather helping people solve a problem and building a relationship is the way to go."
I totally agree – and my mistake because in the original message, I said this (bold added):
"In DevRel, you sell developers on your product – through education, inspiration, outreach, community, etc."
I said it backward, oops!
In fact, I wanted to share a helpful reframing of sales taken straight from Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Red Book of Selling which I am currently reading, in which he says:
"The subtle difference in sales between the successful and unsuccessful is the difference between trying to sell what you have and creating an atmosphere where the prospect will want to buy what you have."
Gitomer's mantra is "Nobody likes to be sold to, but people love to buy" and what he means is that nobody likes to be pushed into buying but they love to buy when they like and trust you enough. You can't "make" someone like you, which is why Gitomer espouses long-term thinking and cultivating relationships to build trust. Sounds like... DevRel, huh?
Incorporating Chef Vishal's feedback, I would rephrase it like this:
DevRel creates an atmosphere where developers will want to buy your product. In other words, you don't "sell to" developers, sales are a by-product of a successful DevRel effort.
In effect, leveraging DevRel is a sales enablement strategy that accelerates adoption.
Have a lovely day,