In this interview, Shahzaib Javed, Head of Partnerships at Expandi, unfolds the remarkable evolution of their B2B partnership initiative. He takes us through the early stages of the program, its initial challenges, and the strategic pivot towards a more structured and scalable approach.
Shahzaib Javed, Head of Partnerships at Expandi, explained that his company was founded out of a necessity identified by its founders while running an outreach and lead generation agency.
They faced challenges with manual LinkedIn outreach, which required significant oversight. Dissatisfied with the existing solutions in the market, they developed Expandi to address these inefficiencies, aiming to streamline and automate LinkedIn outreach processes efficiently and safely, in compliance with LinkedIn's guidelines.
He highlighted its automated system that personalizes outreach efforts, making them more efficient and effective. Expandi is particularly noted for its ability to mimic human behavior, ensuring that its automated processes remain within LinkedIn's usage policies, thereby safeguarding users' accounts while maximizing their outreach and network expansion potential.
Shahzaib Javed built the foundation of their affiliate program on Reditus and FirstPromoter, two platforms that provided a comprehensive suite of features for managing partners, scalability, campaigns, and custom tiers for high-performing partners.
His experience with these platforms has been positive, emphasizing their effectiveness in managing the affiliate program's complexity. Reditus, in particular, was highlighted for its ease in managing incentives and its evolving partner recruitment marketplace impact, which contributed significantly to partner acquisition and revenue generation.
Shahzaib Javed shared that the Expandi partner program engages with a diverse array of partners, encompassing:
This diversity in partnerships reflects Expandi's broad applicability and impact across different sectors and use cases.
Shahzaib emphasized the importance of looking at the potential and the ability of partners to create impact within the constantly evolving ecosystem of Expandi. This approach underscores the program's focus on value and impact, catering to a wide range of use cases and fostering a diverse and dynamic partner network.
Shahzaib Javed highlighted a major challenge in establishing and scaling their affiliate program as managing the balance between delivering high-value partnerships and the limitations imposed by available resources.
He noted that despite having a significant marketing team of around 16 people, the pace of scalability seemed nearly impossible given the resource constraints.
This challenge was exacerbated by a long list of partners waiting to engage with them, indicating a demand that far outstripped their capacity to effectively manage and go to market with each partner.
To navigate these challenges, Shahzaib and his team focused on creating maximum impact by selectively inducting partners into their program based on potential value and impact rather than just increasing partner numbers.
This strategic decision-making process involved assessing opportunities collaboratively across various departments within the organization, thereby ensuring that resources were allocated to partnerships with the highest potential for mutual growth and success.
This approach required a shift from traditional partnership management strategies to a more nuanced and impact-focused model. By emphasizing the quality and potential impact of partnerships over sheer quantity, Shahzaib was able to navigate the resource constraints and scalability challenges, fostering a more sustainable and value-driven affiliate program.
One of the pivotal growth strategies Shahzaib Javed discussed was the creation and utilization of segmented case studies and targeted partner onboarding processes. He emphasized the importance of delivering tailored support to partners by understanding their specific industry and potential impact.
By categorizing case studies and segmenting partners, Shahzaib and his team were able to provide highly relevant and valuable resources, ensuring that partners could effectively communicate the benefits of their offerings to their respective audiences.
Furthermore, Shahzaib highlighted the development of a sophisticated onboarding process for high-performing partners, termed "Tier 3 VIP." This process is designed to be automated, allowing partners to easily integrate their value propositions and data into effective market strategies. The goal is to create an ecosystem where partners can collaborate and support each other, enhancing the overall value and impact of the affiliate program.
These strategies are underpinned by a focus on value creation and impact, rather than solely on quantitative metrics.
Shahzaib's approach involves a collaborative environment where various departments within the organization come together to assess and capitalize on opportunities, thereby fostering a culture of support and growth among partners. This holistic and value-centric approach has been instrumental in scaling the affiliate program and enhancing its effectiveness.
Shahzaib Javed highlighted that their approach to measuring the success of their affiliate program diverges from conventional reliance on hard KPIs.
Instead, they focus on a more holistic and collaborative evaluation of potential opportunities, which involves various departments like finance, marketing, and sales coming together to assess the impact of a partnership. This method is less about strict metrics and more about the overall growth and value brought by the partner.
Specifically, Shahzaib mentioned a few key points regarding their success measurements:
One particular milestone Shahzaib is proud of is their ability to foster growth among their partners, some of whom have been trained to scale their operations significantly within a short period, thanks to the support and tools provided by Shahzaib's team. This focus on partner success and growth, rather than just numbers, signifies a shift towards a more value-driven approach to affiliate marketing.
For B2B brands embarking on or refining their affiliate journey, Shahzaib Javed's experiences offer a wealth of insights. His approach emphasizes the critical importance of focusing on impact and value, advocating for a partnership strategy rooted in trust and mutual benefit.
Here's how Shahzaib sets the stage for a successful affiliate program, followed by his key advice in bullet points:
Setting the Stage:
Affiliate programs in the B2B space are more than just transactions; they're about building relationships that offer mutual growth and value. Shahzaib's journey underscores the importance of seeing beyond mere numbers to the deeper potential of each partnership. The essence of a thriving affiliate program lies in trust, impactful collaboration, and a shared vision for success.
Shahzaib's advice for B2B brands is grounded in the belief that affiliate programs should be built on a foundation of trust, strategic focus on high-impact partnerships, and a commitment to delivering mutual value. This approach is key to not only refining an existing program but also setting a new one on the path to success.