How to Create an Affiliate Program For Your B2B SaaS Business
Setting up an affiliate program for your B2B SaaS business can be a great way to increase sales and grow your user base. But how do you go about creating an affiliate program that’s right for your company?
In this article, we’ll outline some of the key factors to consider when creating an affiliate program for your B2B SaaS company. Let’s get started.
What is a B2B SaaS Affiliate Program?
A B2B SaaS affiliate program is an arrangement between a software company and its partners whereby the SaaS company pays the partner a commission for referring customers to their software.
The affiliate partner can be an influencer, blogger, media outlet or even another SaaS company. The important thing is that they have an audience that could be interested in the SaaS company’s product.
The benefit of a B2B SaaS affiliate program is that it provides a mutually beneficial way for a SaaS company to market their tool. The SaaS company also gains exposure to new potential customers, and the partner earns a commission for helping to promote their SaaS product.
B2B SaaS affiliate programs are not a new concept. In fact, they have been around for quite some time. However, with the rise of the internet and social media, they have become more popular in recent years. According to Astute Analytica, affiliate marketing will grow to $37 billion by 2030, up from $19 billion in 2021.
This growth is due, in part, to the fact that affiliate programs have become more sophisticated and targeted. In the past, companies would simply pay a set commission for each new customer.
How Does an Affiliate Program Benefit a SaaS Business?
There are several ways in which a B2B SaaS affiliate program can benefit a SaaS company:
First, it can help to increase exposure to the SaaS company’s product. If the affiliate partner has a large audience, then this can lead to a significant increase in awareness of the SaaS tool.
Affiliate programs also help in generating leads for the SaaS company. The affiliate partner will be given a referral link to the SaaS company’s website. If someone clicks on this link and goes on to subscribe to the SaaS, then the affiliate partner will receive a commission.
A good B2B SaaS affiliate program will result in the company being able to target a specific audience, ideally their target customers. This is because the affiliate partner will promote the SaaS products to a large but relevant audience.
A successful B2B SaaS affiliate program will lead to an increase in revenue for the SaaS company. This is because the affiliate partner will only receive a commission if they generate new customers for the SaaS company. Consequently, the SaaS company only pays out commissions when it results in new business.
A B2B SaaS affiliate program can also help to build and strengthen relationships between the SaaS company and its partners. This is because the affiliate program will encourage communication and collaboration between the two parties. If the affiliate partner is a fellow software company, then this can lead to a productive business relationship.
Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way to market the product. The SaaS company only pays the partner a commission if they are successful in generating a sale, so there is no cost if the marketing campaign is unsuccessful.
Effective Content Marketing Tool
With a B2B SaaS affiliate program, the affiliate partner will often create blog posts, social media posts or even videos about your SaaS product. This can help to improve the search engine ranking of the software company’s website and also generate organic traffic.
Affiliate marketing can be easily scaled up or down depending on the SaaS company’s needs. If the SaaS company wants to increase its marketing budget, then it can simply add more partners to the program. Conversely, if the budget needs to be reduced, then the number of partners can be decreased.
New Traffic Channels
Affiliate marketing can help to open up new traffic channels for the SaaS company. If the affiliate partner has a large audience, then this can lead to a significant increase in traffic to the SaaS company’s website.
This is especially beneficial if the partner has an audience that is not reached by the company’s existing marketing channels.
Free Trial Users
Affiliate marketing can help to increase the number of free trial users. This is because the affiliate partner can offer a free trial of the product to their audience. This can help to increase conversion rates as people are more likely to subscribe to the SaaS if they have already tried it out.
Increased Recurring Revenue
B2B SaaS affiliate programs often result in recurring revenue for the SaaS company. This is because the affiliate partner will receive a commission every time someone they refer subscribes to the SaaS product. Consequently, the affiliate partner has a vested interest in ensuring that the customer remains a paying subscriber.
Ultimately, the goal of any marketing campaign is to increase sales. A B2B SaaS affiliate program can help to achieve this by generating new customers for the SaaS company. As long as the affiliate partner is able to generate new business, then the program will be considered a success.
How is Affiliate Marketing Different For B2B SaaS Businesses?
Affiliate marketing for B2B SaaS businesses is different from other types of affiliate programs in several key ways:
- The products are usually more expensive: The average price of a B2B SaaS product is $100-$200 per month. This is much higher than the average price of a physical product, which is around $30. Consequently, the commissions paid out by B2B SaaS companies are also higher, typically 10-20%.
- The sales cycle is longer: The sales cycle for a B2B SaaS product is usually much longer than other types of products. This is because it can take weeks or even months for a business to make a decision about which software to purchase. Consequently, the affiliate partner needs to be patient and continue marketing the product even if there are no immediate sales.
- There is more competition: The B2B SaaS market is crowded with thousands of companies all vying for attention. This means that the affiliate partner needs to be extra creative in their marketing efforts in order to stand out from the crowd.
- The audience are smarter and more skeptical: The audience for B2B SaaS products is typically composed of business decision-makers who are quite sophisticated and have a lot of experience with software. Consequently, they are often more skeptical about new products and require more convincing before they make a purchase.
- The commission structure is different: Most B2B SaaS affiliate programs use a hybrid commission structure that combines a flat fee with a percentage of the sale. This is because the products are usually more expensive and the sales cycle is longer, so the affiliate partner needs to be compensated for their time and effort.
How to Implement an Affiliate Program for Your SaaS Business
Now that you know the benefits of a B2B SaaS affiliate program, it’s time to learn how to implement one. Here are the steps you need to take:
1) Do a Research To Know Your Target Customers
As a B2B SaaS company, it’s important that you first do your research and know your target customers. This will help you to identify which affiliate programs will be the most beneficial for your business.
For example, if you sell project management software, then your target customer is likely to be a small business owner or a project manager. In this case, you would want to choose an affiliate partner who has a similar target audience.
On the other hand, if you sell enterprise software, then your target customer is likely to be a large corporation. In this case, you would want to choose an affiliate partner who has experience marketing to large businesses.
2) Set up Your Affiliate Program
Once you’ve done your research and know your target customers, it’s time to set up your affiliate program. There are a few things you need to do in order to get started:
Choose the right affiliate marketing platform
The first step is to choose the right platform for your affiliate program. There are many different options available, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that’s right for you. The right platform will depend on factors such as the size of your business, your budget, and your needs.
Establish Sales Tracking
The next step is to establish sales tracking. This is important because it will allow you to track the performance of your affiliate partners and see which ones are generating the most sales.
There are a number of ways to track sales that come through your affiliate program. The most common method is to use a unique URL for each affiliate partner. This URL can be used to track the number of sales that are generated and attribute them to the correct affiliate partner.
Establish Payment Methods
Once you’ve established sales tracking, the next step is to establish payment methods. There are a few different options available, but the most common is to pay affiliates on a commission basis. This means that you will only pay them when they generate a sale.
Another option is to pay affiliates on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis. This means that you will pay them each time someone takes a specific action, such as filling out a form or subscribing to a newsletter.
The method you choose will depend on your business needs and preferences.
Establish a Solid Commission Structure
Once you have a list of qualified affiliate partners, it’s important to establish a solid commission structure. This will ensure that both you and your affiliate partners are happy with the arrangement.
As mentioned earlier, most B2B SaaS affiliate programs use a hybrid commission structure that combines a flat fee with a percentage of the sale. This is because the products are usually more expensive and the sales cycle is longer, so the affiliate partner needs to be compensated for their time and effort.
You should also consider offering bonuses or commissions for achieving certain milestones. For example, you could offer a higher commission rate for affiliates who generate a certain amount of sales within a certain period of time.
Create Marketing Materials
After you’ve established the basics of your affiliate program, it’s time to start marketing it. This is where you’ll need to create marketing materials, such as banners and landing pages. These materials will be used by your affiliate partners to promote your business.
It’s important that you create high-quality materials that are effective in promoting your SaaS product. If you don’t, then your affiliate partners will likely not generate many sales.
3) Reach Out to Potential Affiliate Partners
One key way to grow your software as a service business is to develop relationships with other businesses that might be interested in promoting your product. This can be done through email outreach. You can also search for affiliates on social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
When reaching out to potential affiliates, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
First, you want to make sure that your product is a good fit for the affiliate’s audience. There’s no point in trying to promote a product to people who wouldn’t be interested in it.
Second, you need to have a strong offer in place. This could be a commission on sales, or some other type of incentive.
Third, you need to be clear about what you expect from the affiliate. Will you be providing them with creative materials, or will they be responsible for generating their own?
Finally, it’s important to build a relationship with the affiliate. This means being responsive to their questions and concerns, and keeping them updated on your product.
Once you’ve found some potential affiliates, reach out to them and pitch your affiliate program. Make sure to include information about your commission rates, payment structure, and any other important details.
4) Know the Size and Quality of the Affiliate Partner’s Audience
Once you have a list of potential affiliates that you think would be a good fit for your product, the next step is to make sure that their audience is sizable and of good quality.
Ideally, you want to choose an affiliate partner who has a large audience that is relevant to your target customer.
For example, if you are a SaaS company that sells email marketing software, it would make sense to partner with an affiliate who has a large audience of small business owners or entrepreneurs.
Note though that It’s not just about quantity, it’s also about quality. If the partner has a high-quality audience, then they’re more likely to be interested in your SaaS product. In order to check the quality of the audience, you can look at their engagement rates.
5) Check Their Engagement Rate
Engagement rate is a measure of how engaged an audience is with the content that they’re consuming. If someone is subscribed to a list, but never opens or clicks on the emails, then they’re not very engaged.
The best way to determine engagement is to look at the interaction that the affiliate has with their audience. For example, if the partner has a blog, check to see how many comments their posts get. If they have a large following but very little engagement, then it’s likely that their audience is not high quality.
To help you more in deciding, ask: Do they regularly post new content? Do they respond to comments and questions? The more engaged the partner is with their audience, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to generate sales for your SaaS product.
6) Check the Quality of the Affiliate Partner’s Website
When choosing an affiliate partner, it’s important to check the quality of their website. This will give you an indication of how well they will be able to market your SaaS product.
For example, if the affiliate partner’s website is poorly designed and has outdated information, then it’s likely that they won’t be able to effectively market your product.
On the other hand, if the affiliate partner’s website is well-designed and has up-to-date information, then it’s likely that they will be able to effectively market and sell your software tool.
7) Inquire About the Affiliate Partner’s Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve shortlisted a few potential affiliate partners, it’s important to inquire about their marketing strategy. This will give you an idea of how they plan to promote your SaaS product.
For example, if the affiliate partner plans to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, then you need to make sure that they are experienced in this area and that they have a good track record.
On the other hand, if the affiliate partner plans to use content marketing, then you need to make sure that they are experienced in creating high-quality content that will appeal to your target customers.
You should also inquire about the affiliate partner’s experience in promoting SaaS products. This will give you an idea of whether they are familiar with the challenges and complexities of selling software tools.
8) Recruit an Affiliate Partner Who Fits Your SaaS Brand
It’s important to choose an affiliate partner who fits your SaaS brand. This means that they should have a similar target audience and be able to promote your product in a way that is consistent with your brand identity.
For example, if you have a business SaaS product, then you should look for an affiliate partner who has a business audience. Similarly, if you have a consumer SaaS product, then you should look for an affiliate partner who has a consumer audience.
You should also make sure that the affiliate partner’s website and marketing materials are consistent with your brand identity. This will ensure that your customers will have a positive experience when they visit the affiliate partner’s website and that they will be more likely to purchase your product.
9) Monitor your results and make changes as needed
Make sure you set up a system where you can track the sales that the affiliate partner generates. This will help you to determine whether the partnership is successful and whether it’s worth continuing.
Some key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep track are as follows:
- Number of sales per affiliate: This is the most important metric to track, as it will tell you how well your product is selling per affiliate.
- Number of clicks: This will tell you how many people are clicking on your affiliate links.
- Number of sign-ups: This will tell you how many people are signing up for your product.
- Number of leads: This will tell you how many people are interested in your product.
- Conversion rate: This will tell you how many people are buying your product.
- Average order value: This will tell you how much people are spending on your product.
- Lifetime value: This will tell you how much revenue you can expect to generate from each customer.
- Return on investment (ROI): This will tell you how much profit you are making from your affiliate program.
- Customer Acquisition Cost: This will tell you how much it costs to acquire each customer.
- Affiliate revenue per quarter or year: This will give you an idea of how much revenue your affiliate program is generating.
- Percentage of active affiliates: This will tell you how many affiliates are actively promoting your product.
- Percentage of inactive affiliates: This will tell you how many affiliates are no longer promoting your product.
You should also have a contract in place that stipulates how long the partnership will last and what will happen if either party is unhappy with the arrangement.
If you find that the partnership is not working out, then don’t be afraid to make changes. For example, you could change the commission structure or the type of marketing that the affiliate partner is doing. You can also try different affiliate partners, adjust your marketing strategy, or make changes to your SaaS product. OR you could also choose to end the partnership altogether.
Affiliate Marketing Software
There are a number of affiliate software programs that can help you manage your affiliate marketing program. Below are some of the most popular ones:
These tools can help you automate tasks, such as tracking sales and affiliate payments, and managing your affiliates. They can also provide detailed reports, so you can see how well your affiliate program is performing.
Choosing the right affiliate marketing software for your business can be a challenge, as there are a lot of options to choose from. Be sure to do your research and compare features to find the one that best meets your needs.
Final Thoughts about B2B SaaS Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to grow your SaaS business. By partnering with other businesses and influential individuals, you can reach new customers and generate more sales for your SaaS company. But it’s important to choose the right affiliate partners and to have a solid plan in place.
By following these steps, you can launch a successful affiliate marketing program for your SaaS business. Note though that it’s important to continually monitor and adjust your program as needed in order to keep it running smoothly. Be sure to visit our SaaS marketing blog for more resources on how to grow and market your SaaS product today.