How to Build a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program in 11 Steps

Learn how to create a successful B2B affiliate marketing program in 11 steps. This comprehensive guide will help you establish a lucrative partnership network.
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By Nick Cotter
Updated Jan 10, 2024

How to Build a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program in 11 Steps
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Are you attempting to grow your B2B company? Using affiliate marketing to increase sales and revenue may be quite successful. We will provide you with a thorough introduction to B2B affiliate marketing in this comprehensive book, along with success-oriented advice from industry professionals.

Regardless of your level of experience or familiarity with affiliate marketing, this guide will offer you insightful information and practical advice to help you realize your business objectives.


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What’s the Definition of a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program?

In a business-to-business affiliate program, a firm hires affiliates to promote and sell its goods and services to other companies. A commission is given to the affiliate for each sale that results.

Although there are a few other B2B affiliate programs, the revenue-sharing model is the most popular. Businesses profit from affiliate sales under this strategy by receiving a commission. The CPA (cost-per-action) and CPS (cost-per-sale) models are two other popular models.

B2B affiliate programs may be a useful tool for organizations looking to increase revenue and lead generation. The initiatives provide motivation for companies to advertise a good or service, and they may be an economical marketing tactic.

What is the difference between B2C & B2B Affiliate Marketing Programs?

Although both B2C and B2B affiliate marketing programs fall under the umbrella of affiliate marketing, their target markets are different. Programs for B2C affiliate marketing are intended to target consumers, whilst those for B2B affiliate marketing are intended to target corporations.

According to Adam Westreich - Founder of Westreich Consulting:

One of the biggest differences between e-commerce and B2B is the revenue potential for affiliates since B2B products tend to sell for significantly more than, say, a pair of jeans. That being said, it’s worth exploring whether affiliate marketing is a viable option for your B2B product.

How do I find affiliate partners for B2B?

To find B2B affiliate partners, you could try the following strategies:

  1. Ask for an introduction.
  2. Reach out to customer service specialists.
  3. Be responsive to comments on your blog and social media posts.
  4. Connect with your competitors' affiliate partners.
  5. Attend conferences and industry events.
  6. Connect with current customers.
  7. Include a link to your affiliate program in the footer of your website.
  8. Include a link to your affiliate program within customer emails.
  9. Include a link to your affiliate program on receipts for purchases.
  10. Run Google ads for people looking for affiliate programs to promote for their blog.
  11. Leverage affiliate networks.
  12. Research affiliates advertising on Google.
  13. Identify content creators across social media.

Does affiliate marketing work for B2B?

Yes, B2B companies may launch affiliate marketing campaigns. A sort of performance-based marketing called affiliate marketing pays one or more affiliates for each client acquired as a result of the affiliate's own marketing efforts. 

Using this kind of marketing can help B2B companies contact new clients and broaden their market. To ensure that their affiliate marketing program is as successful as possible, B2B companies should take their target market and the affiliates they choose to work with into careful consideration.

10 Prominent Examples of B2B Affiliate Marketing Programs.

  • affiliate program.
  • Capsulink affiliate program.
  • BigCommerce affiliate program.
  • Shopify affiliate program.
  • Webflow affiliate program.
  • Looka affiliate program.
  • Square affiliate program.
  • SEMrush affiliate program.
  • Freshbooks affiliate program.
  • Fiverr affiliate program.

How to Start a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program:

It takes work to start a successful B2B affiliate marketing campaign. However, if you take the appropriate approach, you may develop a program that benefits your company. Here are 11 professional pointers to get you going:

1. Don't Use Affiliate Marketing as Your Lead Marketing Channel.

Affiliate marketing shouldn't be your primary marketing channel of attention if you want to start a successful B2B affiliate marketing program, especially if you're a new creator with a B2B firm. Instead, concentrate on developing a solid overall marketing plan that will use affiliate marketing as a component of the entire approach. By doing this, you can make sure that your affiliate marketing program is effective and set realistic channel KPIs for it.

2. Make your channel KPIs realistic.

Setting realistic KPIs for the channel is crucial when setting up your affiliate program. You may monitor your development and make sure you're on the right path to achieving your objectives. Setting realistic KPIs will enable you to assess the early effectiveness of your affiliate marketing business and make any adjustments to strategy and estimates.

Some ideas for business KPIs you may want to track include: 

  • Sales generated
  • Leads generated
  • Traffic generated
  • Conversion rate
  • Average order value

Some ideas for affiliate specific KPIs you may want to track include: 

  • Affiliate partners onboarded
  • Partner activity index
  • Time since last partner activity
  • Program earnings per click

3. Know your place in the marketing funnel as an affiliate.

Understand how affiliates fit into your whole marketing funnel before launching your affiliate program. It's crucial to keep in mind that affiliates are only one component of the bigger picture and shouldn't be counted on to produce all of your marketing outcomes.

Several responsibilities for affiliates in your marketing funnel include:

  • Pursuing potential new clients
  • Converting prospects into paying clients
  • Increasing client retention and loyalty
  • Serving as brand representatives

Have a product launch or marketing campaign coming up? Utilize your affiliate partners as a component of your distribution plan! They will be able to strengthen the push.

4. Build a commission structure gradually.

It's crucial to take your time initially when developing a compensation structure that would benefit both you and your affiliates. This framework must be reasonable, competitive, and in line with your overarching marketing objectives.

You should think about the kind of goods or services you're offering, the typical order value, and the margins you can afford. You'll be establishing the foundation for a fruitful affiliate program by taking the time to develop a solid commission structure.

Recommendation: Avoid setting your program's payout so high that it causes your customer acquisition cost (CAC) to be excessive. You don't want to find yourself in the position of having to inform partners that your commission is being reduced.

5. Choose the appropriate affiliate network or program.

It's important to choose the best affiliate network or program. Affiliate programs and software are not all made equal. It's crucial to choose the best affiliate network or software when starting up your B2B affiliate marketing campaign. It will guarantee that you have access to all the functions and resources required to operate a productive application.

Some things to consider when choosing an affiliate network or software include: 

  • Ease of use
  • Pricing model: Monthly or annual contracts
  • Affiliate tracking and reporting
  • Customization options
  • Support and customer service
  • Affiliate recruitment capabilities
  • Payout tracking

6. Create a launch plan for your affiliate program.

It takes a lot of work to start a successful affiliate program. It requires time, effort, and preparation, but with the appropriate strategy and execution, it may greatly benefit your organization. Make a thorough launch plan before you begin your affiliate marketing campaign. It will contribute to the success of your program and enable affiliates to produce leads and revenues straight immediately.

Your launch strategy for your affiliate program should contain the following:

  • Making advertising materials (e.g., banners, emails, blog posts)
  • Contacting affiliates and inviting them to sign up for your program.
  • Putting on a webinar or other forms of training to assist affiliates in getting started
  • Establishing a system for monitoring sales and leads.
  • Make a paid media purchase for publications that affiliates are a part of.
  • Create an affiliate onboarding nurturing campaign with emails.

7. Make certain that your affiliate terms and conditions are in order.

Having your terms and conditions in place is crucial before starting a new affiliate program. By doing this, you can make sure that you and your affiliates are on the same page from away and steer clear of any misunderstandings or any legal problems.

Make certain to state:

  • What you're advertising in terms of goods or services.
  • What kind of affiliates are you seeking? (e.g., bloggers, social media influencers, etc.).
  • The method of commission payment.
  • Any limitations on the affiliate's ability to promote your goods or services anywhere or in any way.
  • If an affiliate breaches your terms and conditions, what happens.

Important: This is not legal advice. These are solely recommendations we suggest looking into when building out your terms and conditions. Always advise legal counsel before publishing any form of legal documentation.

8. Establish an affiliate onboarding and nurturing cycle.

Making sure your affiliates are properly onboarded and nurtured from the beginning is one of the keys to a successful affiliate program. This entails giving them all the knowledge and tools they require in order for them to begin marketing your goods or services.

Utilizing an affiliate onboarding nurturing cadence is a useful approach to do this. Affiliates will receive frequent updates on new deals, promotions, and other news as well as a step-by-step manual on how to get started. Your affiliates will succeed in advertising your goods or services if you take the time to onboard and support them.

Here are a few email campaigns you’ll want active:

  • Welcome email series
  • Your first lead/conversion email
  • Your first sale email
  • 30-60-90 day check in emails

9. Create objectives and challenges for affiliates.

Setting goals and challenges for affiliates is a wonderful approach to ensure the success of your affiliate program. This will maintain them inspired and involved and guarantee that they're pushing your goods or services as effectively as they possibly can.

Image of b2b affiliate marketing Partnerstack
Image source:

Some ideas for challenges and goals include:

  • Meeting a certain sales target within a certain timeframe
  • Generating a certain number of leads in a given period
  • Creating a specific number of social media posts or blog articles about your product or service
  • Generating a certain amount of traffic to your website

Always make sure your additional reward with challenges is in alignment with your channel CAC goals!

10. Create enduring connections with leading affiliates.

Building solid relationships with your top affiliates is one of the greatest ways to position your affiliate program for success. It provides you a group of ambassadors who can assist market your brand and ensures that they're advertising your goods or services in the best way possible. You may assure your top affiliates' success in advertising your goods or services by developing strong ties with them.

Image of b2b affiliate marketing Partnerstack
Image source:

There are a few ways to build strong relationships with your top affiliates, such as:

  • Providing them with exclusive offers and promotions
  • Recognizing their achievements publicly
  • Giving them early access to new products or services
  • Inviting them to events or meetups

11. Utilize Data and Keep Optimizing Your Approach.

Any effective B2B affiliate marketing program requires data. Utilize it to monitor your affiliates' progress. Your program will be constantly improved and updated, and you'll know which marketing channels bring in the most customers and revenue.

It's critical to periodically analyze this data and utilize it to refine your approach. It can entail adjusting your compensation structure, your marketing strategy, or testing a fresh creative idea. You may maintain a dynamic and profitable affiliate network by utilizing data and repeating your technique over and over again.

Wrapping Up B2B Affiliate Marketing Strategies.

In conclusion, B2B affiliate marketing may be a successful tactic for companies trying to increase their clientele and boost revenue. B2B affiliates can generate commissions and increase income for both sides by collaborating with other companies and marketing their goods or services. 

To achieve success, you should carefully choose your affiliate partners and periodically monitor and assess the results of your affiliate marketing initiatives. Businesses may successfully adopt a B2B affiliate marketing campaign and get noticeable results by adhering to the tactics described in this article and maintaining current with industry trends.

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Nick Cotter

Nick Cotter

Founder & CEO

With over 7 years navigating the intricate realms of marketing, and specifically B2B partner marketing, Nick has forged collaborations with top-tier tech brands, prominent agencies, and some of the industry's foremost B2B publishers and content creators. His deep immersion in both marketing landscapes showcases a trajectory of expertise and innovation. Identifying a significant void in specialized resources, he founded Growann.The aspiration? Deliver unparalleled insights and guidance, carving out a dedicated space where the broader marketing and B2B partner marketing communities can flourish.