Are affiliate programs suitable for B2B companies, and is there even such a thing as B2B affiliate marketing?  How to succeed when working in the B2B environment in 2022? Let’s find out!

Affiliate sales have always been common practice in business-to-business marketing. It is a known fact that affiliates are a significant contributor to growth. They are advantageous to all businesses. Most businesses rely on ad hoc recommendations, but very few have a strategy in place to assist them in generating sales.

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Affiliate marketing should be viewed as an extension of your existing business, not a replacement. When it comes to affiliate programs, you are almost always limited by how much work your existing customers are willing to put in. With affiliate marketing, you can choose from an almost infinite number of partners and third parties to generate leads and increase sales for your business.

This article looks at the relationship between affiliate marketing and business-to-business enterprises and discusses why it’s a good fit. To do this, we will present 5 simple and practical strategies you can use to leverage affiliate marketing in the business-to-business sector.

What Exactly is B2B Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of acquiring referrers who recommend a brand, product, or service. Affiliate marketing can be done through word of mouth, marketing influence, or an affiliate marketing program.

Because organic affiliates are infrequent and unpredictable, companies develop affiliate marketing programs to generate and measure referral sales within their customer base.

However, there is much less information on affiliate marketing tactics for B2B companies.

In this post, I will try to convince you that affiliate marketing works just as well for B2B as it does for B2C. However, certain conditions must be met for your affiliate program to be successful. These conditions also apply to any other affiliate program.

Make sure your affiliates understand how B2B works.

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The difference between B2C and B2B affiliate programs is significant. One of the most important differences is that sales cycles in B2B marketing are longer than in b2c marketing. 

If your affiliates are used to referring to B2B business, you should educate them about the complexity of B2B sales cycles. If you do not, your customers may become impatient and abandon the presentation prematurely. You must be willing to take the time to communicate with your partners. 

Although the sales cycle is longer, the profit margins are higher. That means partners earn more form conversions. Patience pays off physically. Just make sure they know what they are getting into.

Affiliate Marketing is a Great Way to Boost Your Lead Generation.

Everyone wants quality leads, including you. High-quality leads are more likely to convert into customers. There are numerous approaches to generating more high-quality leads with B2B affiliate marketing. Paid advertising, email newsletters, and social media efforts have all proven successful. Potentially. 

lead generation

When you use affiliate marketing to grow your B2B business, you generate leads from people outside your company. Because of your agreement with them; these affiliates are especially motivated to provide you with quality leads. 

If they only get paid when a lead takes a certain action, it’s not worth it for them to generate low-value leads. They will always strive to attract the highest quality leads because only then will they get paid.

Focus on more than just affiliate sales

Although your ultimate goal may be sales, that does not mean that all of your affiliates should focus solely on that goal. It would help if you examined your sales funnel and customer journey to see where your affiliates may provide actual value to your organization. 

You could, for example, leverage your affiliates to increase the size of your email database. The database can then be used to send out offers to potential clients. It is critical to obtain leads that are simple to convert for you. If you’re good at email marketing, having your affiliates help you expand your database is a terrific method to boost your revenue. 

If you’re not very good at email marketing but have a high-converting website, it could be wiser to use your affiliates to drive people to it.

Entice Your B2B Affiliates with the Right Motivation

When developing your B2B affiliate program, it’s critical to consider the fees and incentives you’ll provide to your affiliate partners. 

programmatic advertising

Consider it from their point of view: why should they promote your products and services rather than those of a competitor? 

After all, they can only join a limited number of affiliate programs.  

Focus on the top publishers

A frequent figure in affiliate marketing is that 10% of your affiliate partners account for 90% of your leads, conversions, and purchases. This is also true for business-to-business affiliate programs. 

The top affiliate marketers are in high demand and may be difficult to approach. It’s considerably more difficult to persuade them to join your affiliate program and maybe leave their present one. This is why it is critical for your offer to stand out from the competition’s offer. These top-level affiliate partners may receive more than 100 emails each day from companies requesting to join their affiliate program. 

If you want people to reply to your request, you must first provide them with an offer that grabs their attention.

Start with Recruiting the Right Affiliates.

Recruiting the proper affiliates is not only the most critical aspect of running an affiliate program; it is also one of the most time-consuming aspects of the business. You simply cannot expect the right affiliate partners to locate your program. 

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They most likely will not. What’s the harm? Because you are not looking for just anyone. You’re seeking particular partners who are seasoned experts in their respective fields. 

They are the cost, and you must work hard to get them. It’s critical to grasp the primary distinction between B2B and B2C affiliate programs. It has to do with the size of your audience. There are fewer prospective customers in business-to-business, but each customer is more valuable.

Finding the right partners takes time.

It is true that many affiliate marketers are primarily concerned with business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. B2C marketing is simpler and more accessible than B2B marketing. Thus it attracts more consumers. This is something to think about. 

It’s also an excellent reason to devote extra effort to choosing your company’s best affiliate partners. If you want to achieve the finest outcomes, you must conduct research and devote time to customization.

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Choose your affiliate software wisely.

Invest Everything

Running a successful affiliate network isn’t something you do on the side. It takes a lot of work, especially when it comes to B2B, which is often more difficult than B2C. 

You’re better off not bothering if you’re not all in. Creating a distinct landing page for your affiliate network is a good place to start, but there’s a lot more to it. However, you must always consider your resources, especially if your company is small. 

Even if your resources aren’t as restricted, you’ll need to determine whether or not an affiliate program is profitable enough for your B2B business. Do affiliate marketers have the potential to generate enough money, leads, or growth to make it worthwhile for you to invest your time and resources?

Gather Enough Resources to Make it a Success.

As mentioned earlier, running a successful affiliate business is a full-time job. Either go all out or do not go at all. Creating your own landing page for your affiliate network is a good start, but there’s a lot more to do.

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If your business is still small, you need to examine your available resources. Even if limited resources are not an issue, opportunity costs need to be considered. Consider whether affiliate marketing has enough potential to invest your time and money in it.

A well-established affiliate program requires actively recruiting affiliates and working with them on an ongoing basis. Then there’s reporting and tracking, as well as basic program management. All of this represents a significant time investment. You may need additional resources to make the program work.

Make Your Efforts Count.

Making a small profit or getting a few leads from an affiliate program is unlikely to be enough to make it financially viable for your company, even if the benefits appear to outweigh the costs. Why? Because an affiliate program is not self-sustaining. You must aggressively recruit affiliates and maintain consistent communication with them. 

There is reporting and tracking, and you must handle pay-outs as well as general administration. This can build up over a substantial period of time. And while that time may be well spent, if profits are low, it may not be. When switching from an affiliate software solution or an affiliate network solution, use our savings calculator to see how much you can save on your affiliate program.


Affiliate marketing works whether you run a business-to-business or a business-to-consumer affiliate network. 

It has proven to be a successful channel for generating leads, increasing sales, and driving growth. Nearly 90% of all advertisers consider affiliate marketing an important component of their marketing strategy. 

Applying the principles described above should help you set up a successful B2B affiliate program. But remember that an affiliate program is never ‘done.’ There will always be partners who leave the program, and there will always be better partners. Keep your eyes open for new strategies and better techniques to stay ahead of the competition.

Last Updated on September 7, 2023


Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.