DC 2015 - Program


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How to make sales and marketing not suck?

Facilitator: Derek Weeks, Sonatype

Scribe: Julian Dunn, Chef


  • Derek Weeks, Sonatype
  • Julian - scribe
  • Martin Folkoff - Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Mark Wainwright - Excella
  • Henry Harding - Luminal/Fugue
  • Peter Haggerty
  • Stefan Glomazic
  • Ben Morse - CA

  • Henry - so much marketing is that it's "easy"

  • Derek - blog post about the origin of images (traceability) - reference architectures
  • Information being very raw makes it credible
  • It's more about "who's posting helpful information out there" without it being so heavy-handed with branding and * turning it into lead gen
  • One helpful thing we got from Atlassian -- the tour of the factory floor. What do we (Sonatype) use internally for * our devops practices? (What do we use, how do we release, etc.) No marketing people were on it and it generated a * lot of leads (800 people signed up for the webinar). Feet on the street, I'm not gonna be pitched, our engineers are * not marketing guys. WE coached them beforehand to be themselves and that's how they can be credible.
  • Now that said, you have to put engineers who can communicate effectively - not everyone is suitable.
  • Atlassian did this with 1800+ attendees on a webinar.

Ben from CA - joined from ITKO. Did a lot of research showing that openness sells -- users are technology enthusiasts, buyers (cheque signers) must be worked through tech enthusiasts first. You can't send letters or cold call executives. Nielsen(?) 96-97% of C-level execs will not respond to unsolicited adverts; the only way to get to them is to have the enthusiasts introduce them. And a tech enthusiast wants to know "how are you going to solve my problem" and thought leadership. Kill the PowerPoint. The first conversation is just to get alignment between the problem and the solution; eventually once you're aligned, 2nd or 3rd meeting might be with C-level.

Selling to Veto - Anthony Parnella book is obsolete. That doesn't work anymore. Chief Digital Officers actually respond to Twitter. LinkedIn InMail is far more effective. Sales Navigator + LinkedIn is very effective at mining a social network to reach individuals (this person and that person worked together at X company and that can help). Personalized emails of "we solved this problem for someone in your industry/segment, do you want to hear about it?" are very effective.

Mark Wainwright from Excella - hosting meetups is very effective. Give people something of value of no cost breaks down the barrier. We're investing in them and it shows commitment to the prospect.

Mentioned DO meetups that are not just about their business but about tech in general. Also the food is awesome.

Mark - DC Tech Talk is like that.

Ben - Jeff Gallimore mentioned that they don't compete with Accenture, Deloitte, etc. because they're not part of this community, and that's the price of entry. We (CA) don't see other big vendors in the community aside from IBM sometimes, but they also don't have the vision and the execution. Excella is selling to people the way that they want to be sold to.

Mark - That's been our approach from our founding.

Ben - meetups are also a good recruiting opportunity :-)

Stefan - do you find a difference between selling to government versus commercial?

Mark - yes, federal side has a looong cycle associated with it. Commercial is more competitive but you have a shorter cycle.

Stefan - frustrating to see how government is forced to keep you at arms length even if you are just trying to help. Also, it seems like if you challenge the customer they kick you out. Also see a lot of companies adopting key terms but not really adopting the practices. We find government customers get confused all the time - "we need a devops implementation"

Martin - ok, when a proposal comes out for "devops", how do you present & market that?

Stefan - I think quite a few people are trying to figure that out. Like USPTO put out an RFI, of how to structure things like contracts & procurement to be "devops" Also, some technical proposal writeups are nonsensical to start with so how do you form a cogent response to that? The government often issues RFPs/RFIs based on how someone has marketed it to them.

Derek Weeks - is anyone aware of a DevOps Maturity Model?

Martin - we have one

Mark - we have one about good software engineering model. You may not need "10 deploys a day" but you need things like, do you have tests?

I showed the Chef customer success journey:


Derek - is this public? Yeah, eventually we will blog about this.

Stefan - a lot of people know what Devops is, but aren't practicing so they're messing everything up.

Derek - I think everyone is trying to figure out where do I sit as respects to other folks. As consultants coming in, being able to assess where you are in the journey is important.

Martin - Agile has the SAFE framework, Devops is missing this - no framework to "implement DevOps". So it's very difficult for a CIO to know how to do this, how is it going to affect my bottom line, and it's currently too complicated. This is why a lot of proposals come out saying "I WANT JENKINS" instead of what they really needs which is DevOps. It would help me tremendously to have a model.

Platinum & Venue Sponsor


Platinum Sponsors

Excella Consulting Sumo Logic Netuitive Ansible Chef CustomInk Delphix Red Hat Elastic VictorOps Fugue Sonatype FireEye

Gold Sponsors

InfoZen Comcast Circonus Opus Group, LLC BlackMesh PagerDuty govready

Silver Sponsors

Puppet Labs