Your DevRel Funnel is a Sieve

By admin
In Developer Relations or product marketing, there is a lot of talk of the product funnel, and how we can best guide potential customers through the funnel – from learning about the product to becoming a customer.


acquisition models

In this section, I’ll briefly discuss a couple of popular models that describe the process of making developers aware of your product.

Phil Leggetter

introduced the


model of the funnel. Here’s his talk at DevRelCon discussing it in detail. I have always visualized this model as follows:

At the top of the funnel, you have those who are “aware” of your product. This is the largest number of users, and we want them to slide down the funnel to become a customer (somewhere in the neck of the funnel is where the customer adds a credit card and becomes a customer).

Another popular model comes from


. The orbit model has a lot of people in your “outer orbit”, and you work to bring them into a closer orbit (and at some point on their journey through your solar system, they become a paying customer).

The ideal model

In the ideal model, the end of the funnel (or the center of our orbit galaxy) would have a black hole:

Public domain image from




If this were the case, as soon as a developer becomes aware of our product, they are sucked right through the funnel and become a happy paying customer! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

The DevRel Sieve

We all know that the “black hole” model is unrealistic – most users will do a bit more research and ‘kick the tires’ a bit. Every step they take, there is a chance we can lose them. As a result, the funnel is not a funnel, it’s a sieve. Any issue or unclear step and they fall through holes in the funnel, and don’t make it to the end as a paying customer.

What is causing the holes?

Digging through your analytics and usage data can shine some insights into where in the process you are losing developers. Question everything.

Is the sign-up process too long?

When a new customer lands in the dashboard, is it empty, or is there a call to action to get started?

Is there a bad link?

Is there a poorly worded step in the tutorial?

Is there a step that can be removed?

Do your blog posts direct customers to try out the product?

Do you have a good email follow up process?

If you can find a culprit (or a few culprits), we can then begin proposing fixes to mend the funnel.

Mending the Sieve

As fixes are made to solve the holes in your sieve, you’ll hopefully be able to measure a corresponding increase in customer acquisition.




, Repeat.

The process of mending your DevRel funnel is never complete. Some fixes may expose new holes. Iterate over each one, and watch as your customer acquisition numbers improve.

Imaging the process as a developer who isn’t super excited about trying out another tool. See where you get stuck. Is there a confusing step? Now, work to iron it out.


The DevRel team is unlikely to own all of the steps in the developer acquisition funnel. But, they are probably the team with the most holistic view over the entire process. As an advocate for the developer, it is important to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. And


of the best ways to do that is to plug the holes in your sieve.

Are you looking to improve your

Developer Relations

funnel? As I write this post (

October 2023

), I am looking for my next developer relations role. Maybe I can help your team mend their funnel. Reach out, and let’s chat.


Funnel as a sieve isn’t an original idea, but I haven’t seen it applied to


(that I can recall). Here are some posts from a sales point of view: