How to Launch a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program in 2022?

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In recent years we have seen, that affiliate marketing is not limited to B2C eCommerce companies anymore. If you create an affiliate program rightly, your B2B will have a reliable avenue for generating leads and sales. After all, affiliates are typically regarded as reliable content generators in your niche (like influential industry bloggers and social media personalities).

When they advertise your products or services on their websites, potential customers pay attention. They are more likely to notice what you have to offer. According to Business Insider, affiliate marketing accounts for 15% of digital marketing revenue in 2021.

By paying your affiliates a commission on every sale, you incentivize them to help your business expand even more.

Here are a few figures that will demonstrate why you should not overlook B2B affiliate marketing: affiliate marketing in the United States grows by 10% each year. Moreover, affiliate marketing spending is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2022.

Even though the concept appears straightforward, creating and running a successful affiliate program necessitates several strategic decisions. 

You must locate and train affiliates, as well as establish a competitive and sustainable commission structure. You must also track the ROI of your affiliates and ensure that they follow all of the rules when promoting your product.

How To Reverse Negative ROI In Affiliate Marketing

How do you tell if a B2B affiliate program is good for your business? And what are the best strategies for launching a B2B affiliate program, recruiting affiliates, and determining commissions?

Let’s find out. We’ll begin by discussing the primary advantages of a B2B affiliate program.

Here are a few reasons how affiliate programs can help B2B marketers:

  • High-quality leads through your sales funnel: Affiliates can assist you in moving high-quality leads through your sales funnel. Choose affiliates who have already grabbed your target audience and are well-known in your industry, and B2B decision-makers will be compelled to listen.
  • Leverage trusted voices: Affiliate marketing is a word-of-mouth powerhouse because consumers trust industry authority and peers more than communications from brands. Furthermore, these customers are more inclined to spread the word to their family and friends.
  • Low-cost and low-risk: Because affiliates are only paid when they successfully generate a qualified lead or a sale, affiliate marketing generates results with less risk for your business.
  • Quantitative word of mouth: All business-to-business marketing initiatives should be measurable and data-driven. However, word of mouth can be difficult to track. However, when you set up an affiliate program, you will be able to attribute a sale to the specific affiliate responsible, know how many sales occurred from a given affiliate link, and keep track of how much you’ve paid out in affiliate commissions. This makes calculating the ROI of your B2B affiliate program a breeze.
  • More leads and sales: Because affiliate marketing is so adaptable, you can ask affiliates to direct potential buyers to any page on your website. You can immediately generate high-quality B2B leads by linking affiliates to a tailored landing page optimized for your program. You can also customize the landing page layout based on the audience of each affiliate partner.

Affiliate Marketing Tips for a B2B Environment

Once you’ve decided that an affiliate program is right for you, use these guidelines to get it off to a good start. We also have step-by-step instructions on how to launch an affiliate program, whether you’re a B2B or B2C business.

The following are the best tips for B2B affiliate programs:

1. Choose the best affiliate marketing software.

When establishing an affiliate network, affiliate marketing software is a must. It allows you to automate your program and track critical metrics in real-time. 

By utilizing affiliate marketing software such as Scaleo, you will always know which affiliates are accountable for which sales, you will be able to automate your payouts, and you will be able to improve your best affiliate offers.

Affiliate software provides you with complete control over all parts of your program. It often includes a dashboard or portal where affiliates may track their success. It also helps to keep affiliates motivated by streamlining all contact and assistance.

Furthermore, affiliate software is typically significantly less expensive per year than the fees paid to an existing affiliate network.

Check out our complete affiliate marketing software guide, which will teach you everything you need to know.

2. Create your own affiliate network.

It may appear that using an existing affiliate network will save you time and effort. And that might be a good idea if you’re just starting off.

However, cutting out the middlemen and creating your own affiliate network is far more effective for long-term affiliate marketing. You may save money and have greater control over your affiliate program by recruiting your own affiliates.

Yes, an affiliate network will help you find and manage affiliates. They do, however, collect their own fees (often as much as 30%) on top of the commission you give affiliates directly.

You will not have to pay those additional fees if you create your own network. You’ll have immediate access to all of your affiliate data, which will make data tracking easier and faster. You may make quick, data-driven changes to improve the performance of your program.

You’ll also be able to cultivate more genuine relationships with your affiliates and optimize your affiliate network to appeal to all of your audience segments.

3. Determine how affiliates will fit into the buyer’s journey.

The primary distinction between B2C and B2B affiliate programs is that the B2B sales cycle is longer and more intensive.

Compared to B2C buyers, B2B decision-makers undertake far more research on products or services before purchasing. They frequently consult with multiple other stakeholders during the purchasing process. It is unusual for a B2B to agree to an immediate transaction. B2B buyers prefer long-term contracts that last at least a few years.

Furthermore, B2B buyers frequently demand a highly tailored experience. They want to know exactly how your product or service will satisfy their needs, and they want to get hands-on help at every stage of the sales process.

What role do B2B affiliates play in this process? 

Affiliates help to develop trust among prospective purchasers because they are trusted authorities in your niche. They are most effective at generating qualified leads and sales.

Depending on your affiliate marketing objectives, you can create landing pages for affiliates to link to, such as pages with a direct sales offer or a call to action promoting email sign-ups. Personalize these pages based on your target audience’s needs, and urge your affiliates to meet these needs when you include your link.

4. Don’t forget about your existing clients.

The most common B2B affiliate program blunder is failing to invite existing clients to become affiliates.

Affiliates are not required to use your product or service regularly. They should, however, be reputable content developers who are respected by other B2B customers.

Why not think about your current customers? Existing customers can sometimes be a powerful voice in the B2B arena, with a large audience that could tremendously benefit from your product.

The nicest advantage about having an existing customer join your affiliate program is that they can truly and directly communicate how your product benefits them and may benefit other businesses. In fact, customer affiliates are likely to be your most loyal fans.

5. Increase your lead generation by utilizing affiliate marketing.

Every business wants high-quality leads. There are numerous ways to generate more prospective leads, from paid advertising to email newsletters and social media initiatives.

The advantage of affiliate marketing is that it allows you to generate more leads for your business by utilizing third-party partners. These affiliates are likewise driven to deliver you potential leads because they only get paid when the required action occurs.

You get exactly what you pay for when you only pay for conversions. Of course, investing your resources in recruiting the wrong type of affiliates can also be detrimental to your business. That is, assuming the opportunity costs are taken into account. It is consequently critical that you do not waste time reaching out to unpromising affiliates.

When it comes to lead creation, your affiliates’ goal may be more than just sales. You must consider your sales funnel and determine what is valuable to you. Perhaps you want your affiliates to help you build your email list by having individuals fill out a sign-up form.

It is critical that you make it simple for these leads to convert. If you pay your affiliates for leads, it is your responsibility to ensure that they readily convert into consumers. This necessitates a user-friendly affiliate page with easy access to the sign-up form.

6. Provide sufficient incentive to your affiliates

Offer what incentives you can provide to your affiliates while developing your program. Why should these folks advocate your products over your competitors’ products? An affiliate can only participate in a certain number of affiliate programs.

Fewer than 10% of affiliates account for 90% of all conversions and sales in most affiliate programs. This means that the best affiliates are always in high demand and difficult to reach. Your offer should stand out from the competition in some way.

It is not an exaggeration to state that most top affiliates receive more than 100 outreach emails every day, many of which are partnership requests. This is why your message must grab their attention right away.

7. Amass sufficient resources to ensure success.

As previously said, running a successful affiliate program is a full-time job. You must either go all in or don’t bother at all. Creating a distinct landing page for your affiliate program is an excellent place to start, but there’s much more to it than that.

If your business is small, you must examine your resources. Even if limited resources are not an issue, opportunity costs must be considered. Consider whether affiliate marketing has enough potential for you to put your resources in it.

A well-established affiliate program necessitates active affiliate recruiting and ongoing engagement with them. In addition, there is reporting and tracking, as well as basic program administration. All of this adds up to a large amount of time. You may require additional resources to get things up and to run.

8. Recruit only the best affiliates for your business

This is, without a doubt, the most time-consuming aspect of running an affiliate program. You can’t expect the proper affiliates to discover your program on their own. Because you are only interested in specific partners who are well-established professionals in their field, you should be actively seeking them.

The primary distinction between B2B and B2C affiliate programs is the size of your target audience. In B2B, there are fewer potential clients, but their lifetime worth is greater.

True, most affiliate marketers, such as those dealing with coupons, have a B2C focus. And these aren’t usually compatible with B2B marketing. This is something to consider, and it’s an excellent incentive to devote enough effort to attracting the ideal affiliates. This necessitates additional investigation and customization.

Learn about the most effective ways to recruit B2B affiliates here.

9. Make certain that your affiliates are aware of your sales cycle.

This is one of the most significant distinctions between B2B and B2C affiliate programs. It is commonly known that sales cycles in B2B are substantially longer than in B2C.

Suppose you’re recruiting affiliates who are only used to pushing B2C deals. In that case, it’s a good idea to educate them on the complexities of B2B sales cycles right away. They will be more patient and will not lose interest in the program too soon if they do so. For you, this means being prepared to communicate frequently with your affiliates.

Because B2B sales ties last longer, conversions offer a bigger earning potential for your affiliates as well. As a result, being patient typically pays off.

Affiliate marketing, in general, is a successful promotional channel for generating leads and increasing sales. Almost 90% of advertisers regard affiliate marketing to be a significant part of their marketing strategy. These approaches should assist you in developing a profitable B2B affiliate program. To keep ahead of your rivals, you must continuously look for fresh methods and techniques.

How to identify if a B2B affiliate marketing business is right for You?

While affiliate marketing can be a powerful digital marketing approach for your B2B, it must meet several criteria in order to be successful and sustainable. Before launching an affiliate program, make certain that:

  • You’ve identified your primary target audience and have a good notion of which niche content creators they trust the most. It may also benefit if you already have a relationship with some of these content creators, making it easy to build an affiliate agreement.
  • You have strong customer retention rates: Because you’ll be paying affiliates a percentage of every sale they bring in, it’s more sustainable if these sales result in long-term client connections and ongoing earnings for your business.
  • You are willing to offer competitive affiliate commissions in cash each time an affiliate assists you in making a sale.
  • You have a reasonable profit margin: Affiliate programs are most effective for enterprises with strong profit margins, such as software corporations and subscription-based businesses.
  • You can locate additional relevant affiliates to advertise your business through their own channels and direct traffic to your website.
  • By promoting your product/service within their content, these affiliate marketers can reach consumers they don’t know directly in an indirect way.
  • You know where and how your affiliate program will fit into your B2B sales cycle, including how long an affiliate can earn a commission once someone clicks on their affiliate link.

If an affiliate program isn’t suited for your business, think about a referral program. A referral program encourages existing consumers to promote your product to individuals they know. Learn how to create a fantastic referral program for your B2B business.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned the best B2B affiliate program tips look for ways to put them into action and help your affiliate program succeed.

Please take a look at our guide on launching your affiliate program for a refresher on affiliate program principles.

And, if you’re looking for the best affiliate marketing software to handle your B2B affiliate program, give Scaleo a trial with a 14-days trial, which you can start right away, no credit card required.

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Elizabeth Sramek
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.
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