5 Components of Successful B2B Affiliate Marketing
With the right strategy, B2B Affiliate Marketing can be an awesome tactic to increase your leads and boost your sales team performance. This is also a unique opportunity for brands on tight budgets to only pay for performance by setting guidelines with affiliates for the KPIs that matter most to your bottom line.
If you’re looking to optimize an existing B2B affiliate program, or are curious what is needed to launch, read below for our tips:
Multiple Affiliate Partners
A strong program will have many affiliate partners, which can be used to compare traffic quality and potentially allow for more competitive CPL rates. Additionally, if a top partner suddenly drops out of the program—or has a slow month and can't deliver the leads that your brand is relying on—Rise can shift budget quickly to another high-performing partner to deliver the leads.
Budget to Test
However, to have a high-quality repertoire of affiliate partners, a brand needs the budget to test the quality of leads that each partner can deliver. When testing a partner, most affiliates require a minimum of $5,000 to run a campaign. If successful, a B2B team will determine how much additional budget should be allocated towards that partner.
Don’t fall for the sales gimmick; work with partners that have a campaign manager as strong as the sales person. If the campaign manager isn’t showing you thoughtfulness and attention to detail in response, the partnership won’t be as effective as you deserve. You want partners that are strong on delivering the campaigns and promises from their sales stories.
The Right Team
Choosing the right team to run a successful campaign is crucial. You want a team that has the experience, historical relationships, bandwidth to execute, and organization for everything to run smoothly.
- Historical Relationships: A team that already has many B2B relationships and partners will be beneficial for quick onboarding and a fast-tracked RFP process. At Rise, we have an internal CRM of partners and an in-depth Vendor Matrix that compares the different partner’s audiences and vertical specialites.
- Frequent Communication: To best monitor progress, you’ll need to communicate with your partners on a near-daily basis. Frequent communication with partners optimizes the program and can result in better CPLs with month to month contracts. From swapping reports and optimizing assets, to signed contracts and finance, it’s best to go with a strong team that has the resources and bandwidth that can be allocated to the detailed initiative.
- Organization to Streamline and Automate: It’s extremely important that a team is organized and has the tools built out to manage a multitude of partners. For example, Rise has reliable processes for tracking all partners’ statuses in the RFP process, receiving and processing leads in a compliant way, and concise briefs for evaluating each campaign.
One of the largest mistakes I see with B2B Affiliate Programs is brands that send budgets to partners for leads without optimizing based on the lead quality. It’s extremely important to continually optimize towards your goals to get the best leads.
- Clearly Defined Goals: Before your campaign is active, clearly define what KPIs are important to your brand—such as Sales Qualified Leads and Market Qualified Leads—to help inform how you’ll evaluate partner performance.Then, define whether the focus is quality or quantity. Some brands are determined to grow their lead list to the maximum amount, while other brands are focused on a smaller set of very qualified leads. Determining this goal will help choose the right partners for you and allocate the campaign budget correctly.
- Leverage multiple assets: Your partners will give you feedback on how your assets are being received from the audience. Don’t be afraid to tweak your assets when something is not working. If your white paper is not strong enough to acquire the leads you are looking for, consider combining 3 or 4 white papers into an online ebook. More material and content is instantly more attractive and can reach a broader audience.
- Measurement tools: Rise has built a proprietary report card that cross-analyzes partners to grade them based on the quality of their traffic and comparative performance. Grades are given with some KPIs weighing heavier on the result, and it’s modifiable based on campaign to deliver the insights that matter most to a brand’s goals. If you’re running a B2B affiliate campaign, a sophisticated measurement process like this is crucial to make sure you’re not continuously paying for leads that aren’t qualified for sales conversations. Partners making the biggest business impact should be allocated a larger amount of the budget, and that requires a reliable data configuration to support your decisions.
- Lead Nurturing: Leads are top- to mid-funnel. They need to be nurtured by a strong drip email campaign built out by your team. Partners can provide best practices for a strong email campaign; Rise’s email team can also help build one for you, if needed.
- Frequent Communication from Sales team: This will be a major success factor for your program. Usually, it takes a minimum of three months to determine the quality of a lead. Your sales team needs to communicate to the team managing your program about the quality and success of the leads. The B2B team can map the leads back to the partners and determine additional performance metrics for each partner, as well as refining the form fields and target audience based on the feedback from them.
We’re confident that affiliate’s only-pay-for-performance model can make a difference for brands concerned about budgets. If you are looking for more information on a B2B affiliate marketing campaign to boost your sales funnel, reach out to Rise!