In this article, Sabrina Marechal, Senior Manager of Developer Community, and Jason Johl, Product Marketing Manager at MuleSoft, talk about how developer champions can drive product adoption. We’ll discuss how we generate evangelism, and how we surf the wave to even further promote our product launches.
Here are our main talking points:
- Our respective objectives and where we meet
- Our approach, community structure & enablement: enabling the enablers!
- Inbound & outbound collaboration
- Results: a win-win-win situation
Let’s go ahead and dive in 👇
Our respective objectives 🎯
From the product marketing side of the house, the main KPIs I'm considering are either the number of monthly active users on our platform, or the number of apps deployed on a certain deployment environment.
My day-to-day is made up of doing the go-to-market strategy for new products and new developments we're creating, executing on the launches of those new products, and then also enabling either our field or our customers on those new products.
On my side, the main KPIs I'm looking at are the number of champions, meaning the developers who evangelize for us that we can nurture over time to strong advocates for MuleSoft, and the number of meetups taking place because these showcase the vibrancy of our community.
My main focus is to source champions who are knowledgeable on the platform and are willing to be that brand because if they want to be that brand, they will want to evangelize for us and be visible by Mulesoft’s site.
The happy place where we meet is about our developer champions evangelizing either new product launches or the scaling out of our message and our enablement.
That's one of the greatest ways they can help from a product marketing perspective, because I'm only one person and so is Sabrina and having this whole community to understand why we're building a specific product and then help us scale out that message is really impactful for my side of the house.
While Jason sees champions as evangelists, I see product launches as opportunities to make more evangelists.
Launches are the opportunity for our champions to meet to learn more about the product, engage with us and go out there and spread the word for us, which ultimately leads to a deeper relationship with them.
MuleSoft community segments 👥
Our community is structured in multiple tiers, but when it comes to product launches, we focus on the three top tiers, who are the most engaged and knowledgeable members.
We start with the meetup leaders, the volunteers who organize MuleSoft events on a regular basis, either in the region or online. We have about 350 of them.
Then, we look at the mentors who are knowledgeable members engaged on several channels. They organize meetups, write content and help others on the forum so they’re present in several places.
Lastly, we have the top of the pyramid, which is the MuleSoft ambassadors. They are the MVPs of the community, the top members of the most recognized ones and their voice is strong in our community.
Two ways developer champions help with GTM 🧑💻
The inbound piece is centered around getting crucial feedback from our community members during the product development process.
We do this in a number of different ways, we'll run surveys and feedback of focus groups with members of the community. I was also able to develop a lot of personal relationships with the developers in our community, who are eager to learn and to take part in our product development process more on a design partnership aspect.
On the outbound front, our champions help us support our launches by organizing meetups, where they're gonna educate the attendees on new products or improvements.
They're going to create tutorials and write blogs either on our website or theirs. They’re also going to create videos, support our promotions on socials, and speak at third party events. They’re our microphones to the world, spreading the word on what we do.
For the inbound collaboration, I work with a ton of PMs and they're a great group of product leaders. Oftentimes, they ask me to test a question or an hypothesis, and so together, we'll work on building hypotheses or questions and use the community as input to answer those.
Depending on the question, we'll either do a survey to community members where we'll set up a feedback focus group of anywhere from five to 12 people. Or sometimes, if it's something I want to do quickly, I'll use some of the personal relationships I built.
For example, if I wanted to present quantitative metrics, like a certain percentage of our developers use a certain piece of our platform, I’d run a survey so I can get a large sample size and do more quantitative analysis.
If instead I wanted to ask a more qualitative question, like “tell me about your experience with the platform” or “tell me about the pain points you run into”, I'd set up a focus group or a Zoom meeting to get a bunch of people's opinion on either our existing product experience, or showcase a new product and a demo. When I just want to get someone's thoughts on something very quickly through personal relationships, I can use the Slack community created for community members.
This inbound collaboration piece has been key for me to help our PMs understand the landscape of our developer persona more effectively, help build go-to-market strategy documents and work on the strategy of our product development process.
On the outbound collaboration side, it all starts with quarterly planning where we plan our product launches together (PMM and community) and we align what we're going to launch and how much support we want from the community.
Usually, the enablement of our champion starts about one to two weeks before the launch, where we schedule enablement sessions on our online platform. The goal here is to have Q&A sessions and mini classes on what we're launching and answering questions our champions might have. We also give them what we call ‘content kits’ that include the slide deck with a talk track, cheat sheet, screenshots and everything they need to be ready to evangelize and also answer questions themselves.
As the launch date comes, all the comms start about the new product or improvements, both from MuleSoft and from the community. We see our champions starting to host events, publish content, advocate on social media, on everything we just announced. It's not just going to take place at the launch date, all of these activities are going to last at least a few months post-launch, as we see more events rolling out in regions, content going more and more in depth on the product and also champions answering questions popping up on socials so it's a long term game.
The result: Everybody wins! 🥳
It's good for the product marketing team, for the community team and it's also good for the community members. For the product marketing side of the house, we have both the inbound and outbound benefits. First, from the go-to-market input and feedback as we're working on strategy and then also the product evangelism and the adoption growth we see from the execution of all the various activities and content community members play a part of.
From my team's point of view, this leads to more vibrancy and peer-to-peer support, as we have these advocates creating content and supporting others around launches. Ultimately, it makes for a healthy and growing community which helps us grow as well.
On the committee members front, being able to participate in these launches and getting access to exclusive knowledge from us, they get to build a stronger reputation in our ecosystem which leads to personal growth as they get more knowledgeable on the product and more recognition from their peers as MuleSoft experts. Another benefit for them is that it gives them more opportunities in our ecosystem in terms of job opportunities.
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