How software can support SaaS affiliate partner management

Software for SaaS is an important part of managing affiliate partnerships and should not be overlooked. Specialized software with automation can boost your partnership efforts. This blog looks at the different types of affiliate software for SaaS and the pros and cons of each.

Woman on laptop SaaS tools
Matt Moore
Matt Moore
Associate Manager of Product Marketing
Read time: 5 mins

SaaS affiliate marketing partnerships have a lot of moving parts. Most SaaS partnership programs still heavily rely on manual processes, but specialized software can give a massive boost to your efforts. Forrester notes that 65 percent of partnerships fail due largely to the lack of automated communication and neglecting to make repeatable processes out of relationships.

You need a tool built to handle referral partnerships while also helping to encourage partner retention. Partnership Management Platform like can help you discover, recruit, contract, track, and pay the partners who drive prospects into your sales funnel. 

The automation system enables you to find and connect with more partners, manage those relationships in less time, and drive more leads and qualified opportunities. 

This blog looks at the different types of affiliate software for SaaS companies, and which types of software can bolster your affiliate partnerships program. 

Is software for SaaS affiliate marketing partnerships worth the investment?

You’ve spent a good deal of your budget on software. So why add one more subscription to the list? Your partnership program may be running off an ad-hoc system of spreadsheets and emails. This system will slow you down and create silos, locking partnership data and institutional knowledge in the heads of just a few people.

Partnerships are an increasingly beneficial revenue channel, and they’re worth the extra attention. According to the 2022 Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey, 96 percent of respondents expect to increase revenue directly generated by their partner ecosystems in 2022. These companies are also expanding their partnerships program — 80 percent of respondents say they plan to increase the number of partners in their channel ecosystems.

Focus on more high-level priorities

When you get stuck in the minutia of day-to-day task management, you get pulled away from high-priority work. Zenefits relied on partnerships to grow, but they were bogged down by bottlenecks because of the manual nature of many of their processes. 

Every newly recruited partner put more strain on their system. When they implemented’s partnerships software that automated their systems, they grew their lead volume by 96 percent and achieved a return on ad spend three times higher than their paid search channel.

Referral partnership programs are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to convert leads into sales. They are a powerful tool for driving growth and keeping customers loyal. With the right software to automate critical processes, you can avoid failure and unlock enormous opportunities for growth.

What SaaS affiliate marketing software should I choose?

You need something better than email and spreadsheets, but you have a few options when choosing software to manage their partnerships program. 

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software. When managing partnerships, some companies turn to the same software they’ve been using to manage customers, like Salesforce or Oracle Sales. However, the partner lifecycle differs significantly from the customer lifecycle, so this solution leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Partner relationship management (PRM) software. This kind of software manages partnerships as its primary purpose. Unfortunately, they tend to be designed to serve one type of partnership: resellers. Despite some overlap, PRMs often fail to cater to the specific needs of referral partnerships.
  • Partnership management platform (PMP) software. This type of platform helps you manage and automate every part of the partner lifecycle, from contracting and payouts for current partners to the process of discovering and reaching out to new partners.

To get the most out of your referral partnerships, you need the right tool for the job. That means finding software that will help you manage and simplify the unique aspects of the referral partner relationship. 

Can I run everything with a PRM?

By overlooking the referral channel, PRMs often fail to serve key parts of the referral partnership model, making them unsuitable for this purpose. For example:

  • They may not provide you with a marketplace or set of discovery tools to find and recruit a wide array of SaaS partner types, from specialized publishers, influencers/super-connectors, training/education specialists, to affiliates focused on the B2B market.
  • They may lack native workflows for managing the creation, review, and approval of these contracts, meaning you’ll have to pull in your legal team every time you want to add a new partner.
  • They probably won’t have any ability to handle commissioning, currency conversion, or tax forms for global partners. 
  • They may fall short of the multi-touch attribution capabilities needed to stitch together the consumer’s journey as different partners and marketing initiatives drive them to your software solution. 
  • They may not be able to ferret out bad actors committing affiliate fraud or partners who are not in compliance with your brand guidelines or contract’s terms and conditions. 

Relying on your finance, legal or other departments to handle these processes can create bottlenecks that slow down your partnerships team. Partnership management platforms streamline contract workflows, automatically calculate partner compensation based on their payout rules, and pay them out in their preferred currency.

Giving credit where credit is due

The referral universe revolves around assigning credit for a conversion. Referral partners often drive prospects to convert directly from your company’s website. The partners that drive a customer to convert have to receive credit and, ultimately, a reward. 

PRMs are built for reseller partnerships, so they often lack a robust system for handling these attributions. A lack of attribution makes payment and fraud detection difficult. PRMs may also use slow and manual processes that become inefficient for managing a wide range of partners. Software focused on referral partnerships can give you all you need to manage this fast-growing channel in one package.

Partnerships are a powerful way to grow your business, and the right software can supercharge your partnership program. When you’re ready to harness that power for yourself, reach out at or request a demo.

For more ideas and guidance on SaaS affiliate marketing, check out these other resources for SaaS affiliate marketing and the basics behind successful affiliate marketing:

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