Why DevRel Should Know About Sales

Why DevRel Should Know About Sales

Like it or not, it is crucial.


4 min read

As a developer advocate, your role is centered around building community, improving developer experience, and driving the adoption of your product or platform. While you don't directly own revenue generation, having a good grasp of key sales concepts and metrics can make you more effective in your role.

Understanding the sales funnel and pipeline provides context on where prospects are in their journey to becoming customers. This helps you tailor your content and outreach accordingly.

So, let's crack open the code on some key financial/revenue metrics and see how they connect to our DevRel world.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP):

The archetype of your ideal customer that you want to attract and convert. Knowing your ICP helps you target your efforts, tailor your content, and attract developers who are more likely to convert into paying customers. By aligning your activities with the sales team's ICP, you ensure everyone's rowing in the same direction.

MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue):

This is the lifeblood of any SaaS business. It's the predictable, continuous revenue generated each month from existing subscriptions. As DevRel, understanding MRR helps you gauge the impact of your community building and developer engagement efforts. A thriving community with high adoption rates naturally translates to higher MRR, demonstrating the value you're bringing to the table.

ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue):

It's MRR's big brother, the annualized version of your predictable income stream. Knowing ARR helps you plan future initiatives, make resource allocation decisions, and set realistic goals for developer acquisition and engagement. When you showcase how your DevRel activities contribute to a healthy ARR and future growth, you gain even more respect and support from leadership.

LTV (Lifetime Value):

This metric goes beyond one month or one year. It predicts the total revenue a customer will generate for your product throughout their entire relationship with the platform. Understanding LTV allows you to prioritize engagement with high-value developers who have the potential to become long-term, loyal customers. By nurturing these relationships, you not only boost LTV but also create advocates who evangelize the product/company you represent within their circles.

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost):

How much does it cost to acquire a new customer? CAC tells you this story. As DevRel, understanding CAC helps you tailor your outreach strategies to maximize ROI. You can focus on activities that attract qualified developers at a lower cost, demonstrating your resourcefulness and efficiency to the sales team.

ROI (Return on Investment):

Remember, DevRel isn't just about swag and videos (though we love those too!). We need to prove our value, and ROI is the metric that speaks volumes. By understanding how your DevRel initiatives translate into increased revenue, you can advocate for your budget, secure resources, and demonstrate the strategic importance of your role.

TCV (Total Contract Value):

This is the overall value of a single sales deal. Understanding TCV helps you prioritize your engagement with potential customers who have the potential to bring in bigger contracts. By working closely with the sales team on high-value deals, you can showcase your technical expertise and influence, further solidifying your partnership.

ACV (Average Contract Value):

Think of this as the average size of your fish caught. ACV reflects the typical value of new contracts you bring in. As DevRel, focusing on attracting developers who convert into high-value contracts demonstrates your ability to identify and cultivate the right kind of users.

Pipelines and Funnels:

Imagine a journey โ€“ the path a developer takes from awareness to becoming a paying user. Sales pipelines and funnels map this journey, outlining the various stages a potential customer goes through. Understanding these stages allows you to align your activities with the right touchpoints in the sales cycle. You can create targeted content, host relevant webinars, and provide technical support at crucial points in the funnel, optimizing the conversion rate and increasing the number of paying customers.

Why are these metrics important for DevRel?

  • Strategic alignment: Knowing these metrics fosters closer collaboration with the sales team. You speak their language, understand their goals, and align your efforts to achieve shared objectives.

  • Impact measurement: By demonstrating how your DevRel activities contribute to key financial metrics, you showcase your value and secure continued support from leadership.

  • Resource allocation: Understanding costs and returns on investment helps you prioritize your activities and allocate resources efficiently.

  • Targeted engagement: You can focus your efforts on attracting high-value developers and nurturing relationships with potential customers with larger contract sizes.

  • Data-driven decisions: These metrics provide valuable insights to inform your content strategy, event planning, and community-building initiatives.


For DevRel professionals in the SaaS sector, understanding these sales-related concepts is crucial. It enhances the effectiveness of their community and developer engagement strategies and aligns their efforts with the broader business objectives. This knowledge ensures that DevRel activities are not just about building a community but also about contributing to the sustainable growth and success of the company. Let me know what you think!