3 Tips for a Successful B2B Affiliate Program

affiliate marketing, B2B marketing

February 22, 2013 by

Affiliate programs have long been known in the B2C world for being able to provide a great value for growing your ecommerce business with a pay-for-performance model. For B2B marketers it isn’t as easy and obvious, but there are still great opportunities out there for those who are willing to give an affiliate program a try. Below are three tips to help you be successful in B2B affiliate marketing.

1. Find the Right Affiliates For Your Business and Aggressively Recruit Them

It will be crucial to your affiliate program that you target specific partners based on research and aggressively pursue those partners to become affiliates. Most B2B products and services have a limited scope in audience and you’ll want to make sure you are reaching the right customers. A big chunk of traditional affiliate partners have more of a B2C focus such as loyalty, deals and coupon sites that typically don’t work well in a lead generation B2B affiliate program. Once you have found the partners you’d like to target, it makes the most since for you to get in contact with them. This is true for all affiliate programs, but it is crucial for a B2B affiliate program because you are likely dealing with a limited audience.

2. Fully Inform Your Affiliates of Your Sales Cycle

Sales cycles in B2B can vary wildly and some can be very long. It will be crucial to inform your affiliates upfront of how long and how complex your sales cycle can be. This will help temper expectations and calm any tensions if they don’t see any commissions immediately after becoming an affiliate. The more communication with your affiliates on your sales cycle upfront could save headaches later on. If your affiliates are used to a simple B2C sales cycle, you must get them to be patient for a longer sales cycle, and remind them their patience will pay off.

RELATED CLASS: Affiliate Marketing 101

3. Find a Resource with Time to do Heavy Lifting — Or Hire One

It’s going to be important that either you or someone who knows something about affiliate marketing make time for your B2B affiliate program. As mentioned before, it will be important to do plenty of affiliate recruiting and affiliate communication. There is also tracking, reporting, order management and much more. All of this time adds up to be a significant amount and it might mean adding additional resources to your team. If you think this might be the case, do not be afraid to reach out to find an employee or agency partner to help you out.
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