No budget for paid ads in your Go-to-Market as a new SaaS founder? No problem.
While social media, SEO, cold DMs and emails are all effective means of lead generation, you're most likely overlooking one of the cheapest lead generation methods that (assuming you targeted the proper markets to begin with) also has some of the highest conversion rates.
What exactly is this wonderful low-cost, high impact method?
Partnerships - ie. borrowing credibility 🔥
In other words, taking someone else's light and shining it on yourself.
In the same way that having Google, Amazon, Goldman Sachs or McKinsey on your CV confers a halo effect on a jobseeker, borrowing credibility as a startup means taking on the goodwill of another entity that has accumulated more goodwill, more trust or more reputation than you have right now.
For a software dev tools company I worked with, this meant partnering with a well-known industry conference to give exclusive complimentary access to my client's product. Qualified leads would be onboarded onto the software and an upsell would be made several weeks later once users had been acquainted with the platform.
For the conference organizer, this meant they could sweeten the attendee goodie bag and thus provide an additional incentive to help push would-be attendees into buying a ticket.
For my client it meant a low cost way to generate qualified leads in reasonable volume with a minimum of ongoing work because he intelligently leveraged the reputation and credibility of the conference organizer.
End result: a win-win for both parties.
By the way, notice I said that partnerships are one of the CHEAPEST ways of generating leads for your GTM.
I DIDN'T say it's one of the "easiest" - and that's because if you don't already have a warm contact to hit up, it requires that you go out and find qualified partners by doing Big Scary Cold Outreach 👺😱
But you know what? That just means plenty more for you if you're willing to take a tiny step outside your comfort zone because other new SaaS founders will be too scared to pluck what is essentially lower-hanging fruit.
Will you go out to harvest these easier pickings for a low cost high leverage result by stepping outside your known knowns into the known unknowns and unknown unknowns?
The decision is entirely up to you.
But it's almost certain that you and your business will end up for the better for it if you can handle this upfront bit of social pressure.