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Notes from Office Hours with Hollie Wegman

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Recently, we welcomed Hollie Wegman to SaaS Office Hours to talk about marketing to developers. It was our first virtual event, and we had hundreds of people attend. Given the success of the format, we are going to continue it.

During our chat, Hollie shared some valuable wisdom from her experience as a marketing leader at Segment, Envoy, Mulesoft, and Salesforce. Here are some of the highlights from the session. The full transcript is here

A recruiter in the audience submitted a question often discussed in startup boardrooms. The CEO wants to hire someone with demand generation experience. The head of product would prefer someone with product marketing experience. What’s your advice when hiring a CMO?

When you think about how to hire a really good CMO, you’re actually thinking about how to hire somebody that’s gonna do that. Not somebody that’s going to come in and fix a pillar level problem. And when I say pillar, I mean like a product marketing problem, a growth problem, or brand marketing problem. They may fix those problems, but they’re maybe going to do that through hiring.

If you’re hiring a sales leader, you don’t pass up an awesome sales leader that has a killer track record of closing deals just because in their previous company they sold success software, and then with your company, they’re going to sell MarTech. You know that they’re a great leader and that’s going to translate. You don’t pass up an engineering leader because he or she didn’t code in the language that your company codes in. A CMO is a company builder first. And so you hire for that. You hire for strategy.

How do you know when a company has established product-market fit? Do the metrics suddenly change?

Yeah, I think there’s a really strong tie between product market fit and inbound signal. If I’m not doing a lot to build the brand and I’m still getting inbound, then I’m like, wow, okay. We have some product market fit going here and you’re in happy days. I try to join companies that already have signaled product market fit because it makes my marketing job so much easier.

I think there’s definitely a relationship between product market fit and inbound. I don’t know that there’s some kind of magic moment where just having product market fit is going to cause my efficiency to be great. I suppose there’s definitely a relationship. I think things do catch fire and then acquisition will get more affordable.

Most developer focused companies use a two-prong go-to-market with potentially two very different marketing messages: one to the technical buyer and one to the business buyer. When you have one website, one marketing team, and one sales team, and you’ve got only one shot to talk about your product, how do you balance those two things?

Yes, this is a genuine challenge and I’ve faced it in basically all of my companies. I have this concept that I talk about called “The Developer Duplex.”

If you think about a duplex, the duplex is a house with two units and one roof. They share the same roof. It’s one building, but it is two separate units. In one unit, there’s a family with certain concerns, and in the other unit, there’s another family with different concerns. When you think about “The Developer Duplex,” one unit is the developer and the other unit is the business buyer.

They have different concerns so you are going to have to bifurcate your message. You’re going to have to message to the developer a little bit differently than the way you’d message to the business user, but the roof is the same. So there is some level of high level messaging about what your company does and what your product does, which is the roof over the top. And then, don’t be afraid to have different conversations with the two different units.

If you read through the transcript, you will see more detail on how to market to developers and technical audiences, an important topic for many startups' go-to-markets. I learned an incredible amount from Hollie, and feel very grateful that she joined us for an hour. Thank you, Hollie!