Why traditional affiliates and B2B SaaS brands work great together — research debunks three major myths 

Did you think affiliate marketing and B2B SaaS don’t mix? Bust that myth right now — traditional affiliate marketing techniques like loyalty and coupons work well with B2B SaaS brands. Find out how here.

Marc Sachdev Principal Product Marketing Manager, and Brian Marcus, Senior Director, Marketplace Growth
Marc Sachdev Principal Product Marketing Manager
and Brian Marcus, Senior Director, Marketplace Growth
Read time: 5 mins

Partnerships drive growth and offer a great way to reach new audiences — B2B  brands, and B2B SaaS in particular, know this. However, B2B brands also tend to stick with what they know, typically focusing on a narrow range of upper-funnel content and referral partners . . . which is understandable, given that B2B products and services have a longer sales cycle and are not as driven by price. 

If upper funnel has been your primary marketing strategy, you’re probably missing out on a great growth opportunity by leaving out the lower funnel traditional affiliates. Let’s take a look at why.

B2B SaaS — upper funnel versus lower funnel 

Many SaaS brands establish partnerships with an eye toward in-depth software reviews or posts from tech experts. Using this tactic, you gain credibility and sales leads for business products. But too many SaaS companies stop there. They overlook lower-funnel opportunities with more “traditional” affiliates like loyalty and coupon sites. That’s a mistake — because deal sites can be a great source of new business for SaaS. 

Here’s how deal sites may fit into the SaaS purchase cycl: 

  • A business purchaser or IT manager may start by researching business publications and industry blogs for cloud solutions to their particular issue. 
  • They might then check the opinions of trusted influencers on Linkedin or Reddit. 
  • But they also have budgets to manage, so they may then also do what many online shoppers do — go to blogs, where opinions and discussions can be found, or head to deal / coupon sites like RetaiMeNot to look for discounts that make business budgets go further. 

And that’s where a SaaS company can stand out and close the deal. Many SaaS products are purchased on a credit card by an employee.  They operate in many ways just like a consumer product.  Hence, some of the traditional affiliate publishers are well equipped to “warm up” and close a SaaS sale via content, coupons, or loyalty programs.

SaaS buyers are humans too — they like deals also

The deal / coupon and loyalty / rewards sites in the impact.com Marketplace drive significant earnings both for themselves and for the SaaS brands they support. Publishers earn significant commissions, particularly when they are deeply invested in a particular program. .

 A large number of affiliates earn up to a six-figure payouts from B2B SaaS brands alone. These companies don’t even market themselves as focused on B2B. Instead, they describe themselves in ways that include “A comparison site that has a goal of helping consumers find quality brands” and “the #1 Affiliate Plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce.”

The same people looking for deals and rebates in their personal lives are seeking the same in their business roles. The value these kinds of partners can deliver to SaaS brands is significant and proven, so if you’re leaving them out of your partnership mix, you’re leaving money on the table. 

Traditional affiliates and B2B SaaS: three myths debunked

Why the aversion to these types of lower-funnel partners? It’s fueled by a number of outdated assumptions about traditional affiliate sites and SaaS buyers. To understand the different channels and sources of revenue, impact.com conducted a study of more than 86,000 publishers with global operations for the year ending June 30, 2022. Here are three big myths about SaaS and traditional affiliates — and the research that debunks them. 

Myth: “Traditional affiliates are only for B2C.”

Fact: An estimated 73 percent of business buyers say they find the web more convenient for making purchases From business security software to IT service management platforms to SaaS business products from Adobe and Microsoft, business buyers can find loads of coupon codes and special offers on sites like RetailMeNot, Honey, and eBates.

Myth: “Traditional affiliates can’t adapt to the different world of B2B.”

Fact: One affiliate on the impact.com Marketplace is part of a multi-channel network and makes more than 90 percent of its earnings from B2B SaaS yet is only working with 15 percent of eligible B2B SaaS brand programs. They’ve clearly adapted by becoming deeply invested in partnering with these brands — and there’s room for growth for them and others to do the same

Myth: “Traditional affiliates don’t want to work with B2B partners.”

Fact: Coupon / deal, loyalty sites, content networks, and search arbitragers love B2B SaaS. Our analysis shows that B2B SaaS brands drive significant revenue for loyalty and coupon affiliates, with 75 percent of the top 20 performers working with B2B SaaS brands in the impact.com Marketplace capturing at least 25 percent of their total earnings from B2B. Rest assured these affiliate partners want to work with you and will collaborate to meet your needs.

Find SaaS-savvy partners in the impact.com Marketplace

To find the perfect partner to help you reach business customers, head straight to the impact.com Partner Marketplace. Start with a look at these publishers that are top performers for B2B SaaS brands:

For a crash course on how to grow your SaaS business with all kinds of partnerships, download Ultimate guide to SaaS Affiliate Marketing.

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