The B2B Affiliate Exchange Series

From 0 to 50 Agency Partners in 7 Months: Unpacking AfterSell's Partner Program Growth Tactics

In this interview, Alicia Gan, Partnerships Manager at AfterSell, shares the compelling story of their B2B partner program's journey. Alicia discusses the program's inception, its transition from manual processes to a more structured framework, and the strategic objectives set for its growth.

Team size
1 Person
# Partnerships
50+
Partner platform
Interviewee
Alicia Gan
Company website
https://www.aftersell.com
Job title
Partnerships Manager
Commission structure
Percentage-Based
Company
Aftersell
Payout
15%

Key Highlights & Takeaways

Welcome to our 'Key Takeaways' segment from our B2B affiliate interview series. In these brief but insightful videos, we highlight the most impactful strategies and insights shared by industry experts.
This interview is Brought to you by
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Kiflo
Kiflo is a software product that offers a comprehensive partnership management solution, helping businesses to streamline their affiliate marketing, track partner performance, and grow their partnerships effectively.
See It in Action

Before we delve into the specifics of your partner program, can you provide our audience with a brief overview of your company?

Alicia Gan, Partnerships Manager at AfterSell, describes the company as a leader in post-purchase optimization for e-commerce platforms, with a special focus on Shopify stores.

AfterSell’s primary mission is to enhance the shopping experience by offering advanced upselling options after the initial purchase.

This strategy aims to not only increase sales but also to elevate the overall customer experience, thus fostering higher customer lifetime value. The essence of AfterSell's approach is to seamlessly integrate upselling into the shopping process, making it a natural part of the customer journey.

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What platform have you built the foundation of your partner program on? How has your experience been thus far?

Alicia, delved into the foundational aspects of their partnership and affiliate programs, focusing on the platforms they utilize and her experiences with them.

Her insights offer a glimpse into the strategic choices and operational dynamics behind their program's success.

Specifically, she discussed two main platforms, Kiflo and First Promoter, and elaborated on how they have shaped the effectiveness and efficiency of their partnership and affiliate engagements.

Here's a detailed look at each platform and Alicia's experience with them:

  • Kiflo: Alicia underscored the importance of Kiflo in managing their agency referral partnerships. Her experience with this platform has been overwhelmingly positive, emphasizing its role in streamlining interactions and simplifying processes. She particularly valued how Kiflo eliminated common logistical challenges, such as password management, and praised its seamless integration. The platform's user-friendly features and solutions have not only eased their internal processes but also been well-received by their agency partners, making it a valuable asset in managing these partnerships efficiently.
  • First Promoter: When discussing their affiliate program, Alicia highlighted the use of First Promoter. This tool was selected to add more sophistication and detail to their affiliate marketing efforts. Before First Promoter, their approach was more manual and lacked structure. The adoption of this platform marked a shift towards a more organized and effective affiliate program.

Alicia Gan's reflections on these platforms reveal a well-thought-out strategy for managing partnerships and affiliates.

Kiflo and FirstPromoter each serve distinct, crucial roles in the company's marketing and partnership framework, contributing to the overall success and smooth operation of their programs.

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Can you walk us through the inception of your B2B partner program? What motivated you to start and what initial objectives did you set?

The inception of AfterSell's B2B partner program, as recounted by Alicia, began when she joined the company and found that there was no formal partner program in place.

Initially, the company had established relationships with two to three agency partners, but these were not part of a structured program. These early relationships were based on specific benefits planned out by her boss, but Alicia felt that the approach might be unsustainable or challenging if expanded to a broader range of partners.

This realization motivated her to develop a more structured and scalable partner program. The initial objective was to create a program that could accommodate a larger and more diverse group of partners while maintaining the beneficial aspects of the existing relationships. This required a thoughtful approach to scaling the program, ensuring that it could grow without losing the essence of what made the initial agency partnerships successful.

Alicia's experience and insights played a key role in shaping the early stages of the program, focusing on refining and expanding the company's partner relations in a manageable and strategic way.

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Every growth journey has its set of hurdles. What were some of the primary challenges you faced in establishing and scaling your partner program, and how did you navigate them?

Alicia mentioned that while building and expanding AfterSell's partner program, she encountered several notable challenges.

Initially – No structure

One of the primary hurdles was the absence of a structured partner program when she initially joined the company. This meant that there was a need to create a cohesive framework from scratch.

Could it scale?

Another challenge she highlighted was the need to ensure that the benefits and incentives offered to early agency partners could be scaled effectively to accommodate a larger and more diverse group of partners.

Maintaining the essence of successful early relationships while expanding the program was a strategic challenge.

Navigating these challenges required a thoughtful approach. Alicia played a pivotal role in developing a more structured and scalable partner program. This involved creating a framework that could accommodate a broader range of partners while preserving the beneficial aspects of existing relationships

 It required a balance between scaling the program and maintaining the unique value propositions that had initially attracted partners.

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Partner programs require a mix of strategy and execution. Could you share one or two growth strategies that you believe were instrumental in taking your program to the next level?

Gan shared insights into the growth strategies that played a pivotal role in elevating After Sell's affiliate program.

Two key strategies were highlighted:

  • Structured Partner Program Development: Alicia emphasized the importance of creating a structured and scalable partner program from the ground up. This strategic move involved laying a strong foundation that could accommodate a wider range of partners while retaining the core benefits and incentives that attracted early agency partners. The development of this structured program allowed for more efficient management and scaling of affiliate partnerships.
  • Balancing Scaling with Unique Value: Another critical strategy was to strike a balance between scaling the program and preserving the unique value propositions that initially attracted partners. This involved careful consideration of how to expand the program's reach without diluting its essence. Alicia's approach ensured that as the program grew, it continued to offer partners the compelling benefits and incentives that made it attractive in the first place.

These strategies highlight the importance of thoughtful program development and maintaining the core value that partners seek.

Alicia's approach combined strategic planning with effective execution to drive the partner program's success and take it to the next level.

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How do you measure the success of your partner program? Are there specific KPIs or milestones that you're particularly proud of achieving?

Alicia measures the success of her affiliate program by focusing on a few key aspects:

  • Partner Acquisition: She tracks the number of partners brought in each month or quarter. This metric helps assess the growth and expansion of the program.
  • Referral Generation: Alicia monitors how many referrals each partner brings in. This metric is crucial for understanding the program's reach and the effectiveness of the partners in promoting the product.
  • Revenue Contribution: She looks at the revenue generated from these referrals, assessing the commissions being paid out to partners as well.
  • Retention and Quality of Referrals: It's not just about the number of referrals but also about their quality and the retention rate. Alicia ensures that the referrals are successful and continuous, contributing positively to the business over time.
  • Engagement with Partners: Ensuring good relationships with partners is key. She emphasizes the importance of a two-way relationship and regular engagement with partners.

By focusing on these areas, Alicia aims to build a robust and successful partnership program that benefits both the company and its partners.

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Alicia emphasizes the importance of being adaptive and experimental in developing partner programs.

Recognizing that the journey is not always straightforward, she advises brands to be prepared to 'make it up as they go,' learning and evolving based on feedback and experiences.

This approach is crucial for identifying ideal partners – those that align well with your brand and customer needs, and contribute to the 'stickiness' of your business.

Brands starting a program

For brands starting out, Alicia suggests embracing the experimental nature of partner programs. Rather than seeing these programs as fixed entities, she encourages brands to view them as evolving platforms where continuous improvement is possible. This mindset allows for flexibility and adaptability, ensuring the programs stay relevant and effective over time.

Growth strategies

When it comes to growth strategies, Alicia highlights the importance of being strategic yet open to adjustments. She underscores that creating a partner program is an ongoing process that may require tweaks and refinements. It's about finding the right balance and continually enhancing the program to benefit partners.

Alicia also acknowledges the challenges inherent in building a partner program, such as managing a large ecosystem of partners and ensuring they are integrated effectively with the internal team.

She advocates for starting with basic initiatives, like co-marketing efforts, to gauge each partner's capabilities and fit. This approach not only helps in understanding each partnership's unique dynamics but also builds a foundation for strong, mutually beneficial relationships.

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