Dremio is a next-generation data lake engine that liberates its customers’ data with live, interactive queries. Its SQL Lakehouse Platform enables high-performing business intelligence (BI) dashboards and interactive analytics directly on the data lake while eliminating the need for data warehouses.
While the software is free to download and test, Dremio’s high-friction and multi-step installation process limited the volume of sign-ups. After downloading the software, developers also didn’t have access to any documentation or support. With these two issues, it was clear to Dremio’s marketing team that they needed a frictionless and scalable way to show developers how to use their product and educate them on its features and technical functions.
Challenges – Educate Developers and Reduce Product Friction
Developers are a tough crowd, and they don’t like marketers who use traditional sales tactics to pitch them a product. They don’t respond well to cold calls and sales demos.
73% of developers want to learn about products through how-to articles, tutorials, APIs, SDKs, and a self-help knowledge base (Source)
This was Dremio’s main challenge: how to increase their product’s awareness with developers without directly selling the product to them. Dremio also wanted to accelerate the sales cycle, reduce the friction between developers and Dremio’s products, and build a body of technical documentation to help developers educate themselves and experience all the capabilities of their product. At the time, the product was free to download, but documentation was scant. And to trial Dremio’s products, developers also had to go through a high-friction, multi-step installation process that launched a blank, un-configured product. The high-friction installation process acted as a bottleneck for Dremio’s pipeline, while the blank and un-configured product (when finally launched) created a steep learning curve that separated developers from experiencing Dremio’s features and seeing its capabilities.
Dremio needed a solution that would help them educate developers and reduce product friction, without appearing like they were giving developers the “hard sell.” After spending several years with these issues, they partnered with Appsembler to create Dremio University.
The Solution – Dremio University Hands-On Experience
Dremio University offers free and frictionless online courses that show developers how to optimize the data lake, as well as providing interactive documentation to help developers gain a better understanding of Dremio’s products and how to take advantage of all of its features. The Dremio University also included hands-on courses to cater to the 61% of developers that want software vendors to provide hands-on labs (Source).
The company created courses not just for Dremio users, but for the data analytics industry in general. For example, they created courses for data scientists to learn more about SQL and statistics courses for database developers. At the end of the course, the company added a snippet that explained how developers and data analysts could use Dremio University to continue their work with SQL.
“Dremio University ended up being like an awareness tool where people could learn about SQL and see what they could do with it. The idea was to get people hooked on our product through taking the courses, and then we could continue the sales cycle from there. This would make the sales calls easier. They’ve already been through a Dremio University course, so they are familiar with the product.” – Lucio Daza, Dremio’s former Director of Technical Marketing
In terms of support documentation, Dremio also wanted to create a centralized portal where developers could access all of their technical courses and product sandboxes. “We wanted everything to be maintained in one, central place, rather than developers having to consult YouTube and forums and have different versions of our documentation,” says Daza. In short, Dremio wanted to create a “single source of truth” that housed all of the educational material aimed at technical buyers and developers, who are key influencers in technology purchases (Source) such as Dremio.
Dremio chose to build and house their educational experiences on Appsembler with the goal of increasing the volume of product trials. As part of the project, Dremio also worked with Appsembler to implement Dremio test-drive, which launched a frictionless instance of Dremio’s software, giving developers immediate access to Dremio’s products. At the same time, Dremio’s marketing automation system received the user’s contact information and enrolled them into appropriate campaigns. The end goal, which Dremio accomplished, was to generate leads and increase revenue, but not in a way that deterred technical buyers and developers.
“We wanted them to join the university and enjoy the courses, which meant we had to take a cautious approach and not just present a product page,” says Daza.
Results – Increase in Adoption and Decrease in Sales Cycle
Since launching Dremio University with Appsembler, there are expectations for Dremio University to accelerate the sales and customer onboarding times. For example, the sales cycle at Dremio normally takes ~90 days, and the goal is to reduce it to 30 days.
“The reason why it was taking so long, people didn’t know what Dremio was, they didn’t know how to use it, and they didn’t have a way to try it,” says Daza. “It was free to download, but there was nothing to tell them, as soon as you download it, this is what you should do.”
With Appsembler, the pre-sales experience for prospective buyers will be more in-depth, allowing buyers to gain better product knowledge before engaging Dremio’s sales team. So instead of asking Dremio what their product did and what were its main features, prospective buyers should begin asking questions that signal higher buying intent and implementation commitment. This can come in the form of technical questions, such as “Can I deploy this on AWS?” or “Is your product capable of doing this and, if so, how can I do this?”
In short, Dremio University will enable the company’s sales team to do less product education, and act more as consultants and advisors. The hours spent by sales representatives answering low-intent questions can be reused to cover higher intent questions and agreeing on implementation details.
Appsembler expects Dremio University’s monthly active users (MAUs) and sessions to materially increase, and product adoption to improve – all while providing Dremio’s developers with a hands-on, educational opportunity.