What is this Evangelism thing, anyway?
While out in Boston last week for my company’s end of year celebration, I had the opportunity to address the entire company for an hour and share my perspective on just what the role of Evangelism entails. It’s a great question – one which may have slightly different answers depending on the company, the industry, and the level of support from your leadership team. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that “gets it” and sees the direct link between product evangelism and company growth (i.e. increased sales).
First, there is a strong product management component. As an Evangelist, you spend a lot of time out in the field talking to people, learning, and sharing your insights with the rest of your team.
- Feedback loop from partner and customer into product
- Deeply involved with future versions
- Pioneer best practices to create collateral and help support customers
- Develop customer data and validate, provide gap analysis, provide design guidance and advocate for product changes
Second, you are essential to building/expanding the community in which you work. I am a big believer in community (in fact, I literally wrote the ebook on the topic).
- Enrich and expand the partner relationships
- Provide thought leadership
- Product champion and influence through blogs, forums, conferences, articles
- Build lasting connections with key leaders in the community
Third, you are uniquely positioned to identify and qualify strategic partners, and to build and maintain these relationships.
- Recruit partners (ISVs, SIs, professional service firms, independent consultants)
- Track and support partner activities and their customer needs
Finally, a key role of the Evangelist is to help with customer enablement – that is, to ensure that customers who purchase your products or services are using them and are happy with them.
- Work closely with customers on adopting and extending your tools or services
- Provide guidance to support, as needed, to help them understand the business issues a customer is trying to resolve
Depending on your company culture, your specific skill set and experience, or your product or service needs, the percentage of time you spend on each of these functions may vary, but in my experience this describes most evangelism roles.
I would love to hear your feedback.