Finding a great technical marketer is like finding Excalibur.

Why Do Enterprise SaaS Companies Need Technical Marketers?

Note: This story is based on my own personal experience as a software engineer going into marketing. Technical marketers come from all walks of life.

Many curious developers have asked me about technical marketing. For a hardcore developer, the word “marketing” can evoke emotions of fear, disinterest, and sometimes even condescension. But the truth is, finding a good technical marketer is like finding a secret weapon. I should know — I managed the development team within product marketing at Salesforce for five years (2010–2015). Hiring a good developer in a competitive market is already hard to do, imagine trying to hire a good developer with a passion for marketing. Good luck!

Power up your marketing organization.

Technical marketers are like power-ups for your marketing team. They can do things that would take a marketing person a much longer time to do without getting an assist from engineering or IT. In the fast-paced world of SaaS, being agile is more critical than ever. Whatever a marketing person can dream of, a technical marketer can literally build it and make sure it resonates with prospects and customers.

Whereas regular developers are focused on the challenges of security and scale, technical marketers are focused on creating tools and assets that marketing and sales teams need to go out and crush competitors. Here are the top three reasons why enterprise SaaS companies should consider creating a technical marketing team today.

Build Better Integrations and Tools

No app is an island, entire of itself. Every app is a piece of the marketing automation landscape, a part of the main.

How many times have marketing departments tried to integrate an expensive piece of software only to discover that they need to hire an outsourced team of developers to write a pile of middleware? The engagement drags on because the person from IT doesn’t truly understand the needs of marketing and the non-technical marketing person’s eyes glaze over every time they need to read through a REST API doc.

This type of project is perfect for a technical marketer who has experience building applications and designing user interfaces. Because this person sits in marketing, we can be sure that she has experienced the customer pain firsthand. SaaS solutions are never an exact fit. Use a technical marketer to create the tool that your department needs vs. trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Create More Engaging Customer Stories (aka demos)

At Salesforce my team spent time watching product keynotes from other companies within our industry. I can’t tell you how many times we sat through glorified feature announcements or watched demos fail on-stage. The demo portion of a keynote is always the most engaging part of the show. It makes sense doesn’t it? People want to see what they are buying. This is the best chance you have to wow your customers. The best way to convey your message is to show a vision of customer success and tell a story about how one of your customers is taking full advantage of all your neat new features.

Highly recommended read for marketing folks.

These announcements are always forward looking. That means these features may not be generally available yet. The default option is to throw a product manager on stage to show a “lorem ipsum demo” out of a staging environment. Bad move. It’s lazy and unprofessional.

This is where a technical marketer can come in and build the assets your team needs to paint the vision. You will need desktop apps, mobile apps, and even connected devices like watches and household appliances (crazy!).

All of this applies to sales as well. Sales engineers should be able to show great demos and take their customers on a journey. Technical marketers can help translate new features into exciting sales content that can be taken into screencasts and sales meetings.

Make Sense of All The Data

Your business collects a lot of data from many sources. There’s drip campaign metrics, website analytics, LTV/CAC/Churn, SEO, lead/pipeline data, CRM data, etc. The list goes on. There are many reasons why you might want to analyze data as a marketing department but it’s very likely this data will need to be fed into a database of some sort.

Excel spreadsheets are useful, but they break down quickly when there are multiple sets of related data or when you need to share access with multiple users. This is where a technical marketer can step in and really flex their engineering muscles to set up a database and create efficient queries. Tons of startups have materialized to solve this problem and their existence should only reaffirm the need for technical marketing.

Whosoever hires this technical marketer, if she be worthy, shall possess the power of Engineering.

If you’re a developer looking to learn more about the business side of things, technical marketing is a great way to get your feet wet while leveraging all of your existing skills. If you’re a CMO or a VP of Marketing, hopefully I’ve given you a few reasons to think about expanding your team.