4 affiliate mythbusters: Networks v. in-house v. SaaS — what you need to know

Change is inevitable. As humans, we still don’t like it. It was not so long ago that our office walls were lined with filing cabinets and fax machines. Now, we all know that digital folders in the cloud and emails or DMs (direct messages) are more efficient.  As ever-present as DMs and emails are today, […]

Tom Armstrong
Corporate Account Executive

Change is inevitable. As humans, we still don’t like it. It was not so long ago that our office walls were lined with filing cabinets and fax machines. Now, we all know that digital folders in the cloud and emails or DMs (direct messages) are more efficient.  As ever-present as DMs and emails are today, many of us were slow to pick them up. Every wave of technology is met with  resistance at first. Myths are born and shared to sustain that resistance and they hold us back from growth. Great technology always wins out, though, and it’s better for your business to have been an early adopter than a holdout. 

SaaS platforms, (software as a service) are not new, and the SaaS industry is growing rapidly with an estimated market value of $132 billion. In 2020, more than 73% of the companies expected all their apps to be SaaS by 2021. Now, brands cite SaaS as an easy-to-use, innovative, secure, and affordable solution. 

Time to breakthrough technology resistance

In the realm of affiliate partnerships however, SaaS platform solutions still experience that same new technology resistance. . Many organizations still fear the repercussions of migrating from a network to a SaaS because it is new or they don’t understand it.. And, that’s understandable. However,  if you want to turn your affiliates into true partners, grow into more diverse partnerships and track incrementality – you need full control of your affiliate program. In fact, TUI recently experienced 49% revenue growth in the month after migration. Meanwhile, Let’sGetChecked made the switch to SaaS and grew their affiliate program by 1,896% in revenue and 3,692% in sales volume. 

That data shows us that if you want to automate and scale up your affiliate program, SaaS deserves a seat at the table. So, today we’re going to bust the myths about migrating from an affiliate network to a SaaS solution. Once you have all the information, you can then decide if you want to stick with your affiliate network or tap into the full potential of an automated affiliate program.

Myth One: Moving to SaaS is complex and difficult

One of the top myths about migrating from an affiliate network to a SaaS platform is that it’s a difficult and complex task. Concerns range from having to go offline during migration, manual work moving or aligning data points, and lags caused by learning a new process. 

In practice, migrating from an affiliate network to a SaaS platform is simple. And, like any new adventure, you just need to make the leap. Pete Zeiner, the Director of eBusiness at Traffic Generation Advance Auto Parts made the switch to SaaS: 

“When you have a partner program generating sales like ours was, the fear of screwing up that revenue source can make the status quo seem pretty appealing, but we pulled the trigger and crossed our fingers — and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

At Impact, a dedicated project manager will ensure the process is as smooth as possible. We  work with you from start to finish, taking the hassle out of the transition. The entire process can take a matter of weeks or up to 90 days from start to finish but the experience for you is simple and effortless because of the  support we offer every step of the way.

Myth 2: A SaaS platform requires more work than an affiliate network

At a time when we are all keen to work smarter (not harder), migrating an affiliate program to a SaaS platform feels like adding more work to the list. 

To help debunk this myth, let’s first consider the level of work you’re already putting in with an affiliate network. When faced with any change, we tend to underestimate the work we already do and overestimate the work our new system will cause.  In your current affiliate network, do you sign up with a network, sit back, and watch the money roll in? Maybe at first, but based on the experience of many brands that come to us eventually there is a lot of manual work required to optimize your affiliate program, even with an affiliate network. There’s less automation and autonomy than you will find with a SaaS. .

To get the best out of an affiliate network, you need a great account manager. Because you’ll be relying on the account manager a lot, you need them to perform. If you’re a big name brand that garners the attention of a top-notch account manager, then your experience of an affiliate network will be smoother.  This is true at least in terms of the level of service — otherwise brands will still experience limitations with a network over time. However, for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), startups, scale-ups –the affiliate network and the account manager may not reap the same rewards..  Over time you may get less attention or be assigned to a junior account manager with limited knowledge.

In an affiliate network versus SaaS podcast, Impact’s Cofounder Todd Crawford explained:

“A SaaS provider drives revenue by licensing its technology and profits 

from good results that lead to upgrades and renewals. It’s in their 

interest to drive revenue for advertisers.”

A SaaS platform account manager wants to drive revenue for your business. They can recognize and create distinct opportunities driven by your own data. A SaaS account manager can provide a tailored and intelligent approach to commissions, which will drive up sales, reduce CPA, and free up more time for you. If you make the move to SaaS, you’ll have automation in areas that were once time-consuming. You’ll also be able to:

  • Run your own custom performance reports
  • View and analyze data whenever you need to
  • Automate mass communications to your affiliate partners
  • Customize contracts and payouts across partnership type
  • Curate the types of content and campaigns available to partners
  • Discover and recruit new affiliate partners through our network

A robust partnership SaaS platform is designed to streamline the whole process and bridge the gap between sales and support.

Myth 3: During migration, we could lose revenue and high-value partnerships

Many are under the misconception that transitioning to SaaS will lead to a loss of revenue and high-value partnerships. 

In fact, SaaS has been found to vastly grow the earnings for those that make the switch. Take TUI for example. TUI migrated to Impact’s partnership platform in just four weeks and experienced 49% revenue growth within one month. TUI was also able to migrate 95% of revenue-driving partners in half of the targeted time period.

Based on companies like TUI, making the switch means you will eventually see growth, but not during the switch itself.  While you are migrating, we work with you to iron out the creases and set you up for success. As with anything that is worth having, it can take a little time but is well worth it in the end. SaaS is a system that will set you up for the future, giving you ample opportunity to really expand and boost revenue in ways you mightn’t have been able to before.

Partnerships are extremely valuable to businesses, so it is understandable that you want to keep them working for you. . Impact has you covered. By running a partner scrub, it is easy to identify which affiliates are already on the Impact platform (this is usually the top partners.) We have the tools to aid migration and onboard new partners, re-engaging with those that might have been lying dormant. You can let partners know of new opportunities, bring yourself to the forefront of their minds and increase your credibility with transparent communication. 

Myth 4: A SaaS platform is more expensive than in-house tech

Many believe a SaaS platform solution will be more expensive than an in-house solution.Developing in-house software may have started as a play to save money, but eventually, the costs add up. You are not only paying for the development itself, but the monthly wages of the team to create and maintain it. Ongoing expenses to maintain the stability of the platform and its cost on servers can end up being extremely costly even when you set out to save money. 

Meanwhile, specialist partnership SaaS platform providers have tried, tested, and optimized robust technology that can drive revenue, efficiency, and save you money. Customer stories prove that it works, and a customer success manager is on hand to help you get the best from the platform. Find the right provider, and there shouldn’t be any hidden costs to making the switch, just an upfront premium, and a whole lot of benefits..  

A SaaS platform solution enables better control and visibility of your costs and a full view on your entire sales funnel. You will be paying affiliates with incrementality in mind and based on real value — you know that you are paying for something that you are genuinely getting a return on. Not only does a SaaS make you more money, but also saves you on spending costs too. A few examples of brands making the switch and saving money below:

Affiliate SaaS platform myths busted — are you ready to level up?

It’s part of human nature to drag our feet when change comes around, believing the myths that keep us filing manila folders and entering numbers into spreadsheets by hand long after we should be. Once the myths are busted and we see how beneficial it is to move on to the new, better way of working, we can more easily make the switch.  Once you make the decision to move to a SaaS, you are on the path to leveraging your affiliate programs and gaining new control. Soon you will be improving your ROI, transparency with partners, and the incrementality around your affiliate program. It won’t be long before you see what a difference a SaaS makes in paving the way to growth in your business.You will be setting yourself up for success that grows and thrives over time. 

We’ve successfully migrated some of the world’s biggest affiliate programs away from affiliate networks and onto Impact’s Partnership Management Platform. We’ve even won an award for our recent work migrating the TUI affiliate program onto Impact. 

Get in touch to find out how to take your partnerships to the next level at grow@impact.com.

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