What I proposed to Sean for his feedback is a scenario wherein a SaaS startup goes to market in a similar way to most new eCommerce products.
There's a way to do it successfully, but Sean pointed out some of the issues that would make him weary if a founder planned to make partnerships GTM their exclsive launch strategy.
The difficulties with a partnerships GTM strategy for a brand new saas:
- New SaaS typically don't have clout to gain the influential thought leaders' support in their launch (i.e. providing content or being involved in events).
- Resource constraints (mainly around the production quality potential).
- Difficulty to execute - lots of moving parts - considering multiple third parties, needing both product and marketing involvement...
Ironically, it's cheaper than a traditional GTM. And in my opinion, completely achievable for a small team - I've done it with multiple startups with succes.
But again, it requires commitment and effort.
Here's how to accomplish a partnerships-led GTM product launch:
First step - Find your thought leader partners.
Search your keyword hashtags on LinkedIn. Search for most-viewed writers under a topic of interest to your ICP's on Quora:
Step 2 - Ccompile a list and enrich it with contact info and keywords
Step 3 - Get together with your marketing team and create your budget and opportunities
You'll need something to attract these individuals to be involved in your launch. Here are some ideas:
- Hire ghost writers to pre-write really good articles, and offer the experts to put their name and finishing touches on them.
- Create a multi-channel multi-content-type media plan and budget to drive awareness, with experts at the center.
- Come up with a micro-podcast explaining a difficult topic for your buyer persona to understand (i.e. Chat CPT for ___, zero party data, CDPs, new social platforms, compliance...) and interview one expert per episode.
When you have your list of opportunities and dates / needs / budget etc... put the names of the experts you plan to offer those opportunities to next to them in a sheet or airtable or in Partnerhub® as a Memo on their profile (also add a tag and set their project to "Co-marketing."
Step 4 - Now, get with your product team and discuss adding partners-souced templates to an area of the site that can potentially be deployed by users
Companies like Databox, Airtable, Miro and Jasper do this in their funnels so they can both bring expert third parties into their growth strategy, and provide their users with expert-sourced examples of how to use their product that the user can actually start with.
Example: Our Partner Enablement Miro bored
Example: Our PRM template for Airtable
Step 5 - Start outreach to these experts with the specific ideas
Include exactly what your agenda is, budget, reach, and audience. I always suggest you also include an offer to set them up with a free account on your software if you believe they can use it.
Earmark each expert to a campaign. Get them started.
Step 6 - Finish the content creation, and include custom assets for the expert to help promote it
This is crucial - make sure to include a large profile picture of the expert + their logo and title in the asset. Not just their logo. This will help increae the chances they share it in more ways. Also, creating a custom video for them is more beneficial for you then giving them just a jpeg to post.
And, most important, include the example post copy in the email with the custom asset that also includes the people tags and hashtags (compose in a linkedin post - then copy/paste it in the email body).
Let me know if you have done this with success or failure in the comments 🙏
I hope this was helpful!