Software marketplace AppSumo tapped into affiliate tracking software to manage their referral partner relationships and payouts. But that platform couldn’t keep up with the complexity and growth of the company’s program.
The team decided to switch to impact.com to manage affiliate partnerships. They soon achieved an incredible 255 percent year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth.
To see the payoff from SaaS marketing partners, you should prioritize connections and build mutually beneficial relationships through trust and appreciation. A partnership management platform can help you achieve this outcome.
AppSumo isn’t an outlier. You can achieve similar results using the tips below.
Set the stage for a long-lasting relationship with streamlined onboarding and automation
Cast a wide net to recruit and onboard the right SaaS partners
On the impact.com platform, you gain access to global partners of all types and sizes with Enhanced Discovery. You can search by brand to see who is driving traffic for your competitors and use content-based discovery to align search with substance.
You’ll also find an option to identify partners by content based on search rankings to ensure optimal collaboration. Reach out to affiliates that align with your brand’s goals and niche for the best chance of success.
Keep affiliates engaged with automated messaging
Affiliate marketing eliminates brand bias that typically goes hand-in-hand with sales and marketing messaging. By keeping communication open with trusted partners, potential customers are primed to learn about your brand. When industry authorities and peers share stories, perspectives, and opinions authentically, it can boost consumer confidence and encourage word-of-mouth marketing.
With impact.com’s platform, you can open lines of communication by automatically sending emails, creating tasks, and changing the partner stage when your partners perform (or fall behind on) specific actions.
You can also streamline and host processes for partner content proposals, back-and-forth negotiations, content approvals, and proof of post. With constant automated communication, your partners stay on track and get help when they’re stuck.
Although messages can be automated, be sure to personalize them by:
- Including personal information, like their first names in bulk emails
- Segmenting partners into niche-specific groups to provide targeted communication
- Personally congratulating affiliates after reaching milestones or goals
Reward SaaS partners with special incentives, and always keep them in the loop
Create an incentive structure that rewards them for achieving certain goals or milestones. For example, give affiliates a performance boost or raise their commission rate when they reach a specific conversion rate or bring in a certain amount of new business. Setting goals for affiliates keeps them engaged while rewarding partners deeply invested in your growth.
Tailor agreements based on performance
If your affiliate program favors one side or is too complex to be successful, partners may feel taken advantage of. They can also feel like it’s not worth the effort to participate. To make sure all parties are valued, establish an agreement that covers the needs of everyone involved.
Set expectations by creating strategic affiliate key performance indicators (KPIs) that are measurable and data-driven. These KPIs act as transparent success indicators that show your team and your partner’s goal tracking, so there are no surprises or miscommunications.
KPIs to focus on might include:
- Per-quarter or annual revenue per affiliate
- Number of qualified leads per affiliate
The impact.com platform has contract templates that allow you to outline all agreements and expectations.
With the flexible contracting tool, you can configure higher payout rates to incentivize partners to drive identified actions for your program (i.e., pay more for a closed won opportunity vs. free trial signup).
You can also create tiered performance bonuses based on monthly revenue or actions.
For example, if a default payout is 10 percent of each order, you can add a performance incentive where a partner will receive 20 percent of the sale amount if the revenue they drive reaches $25,000.
Rates and terms should be competitive with the rest of the partnership economy, and payments should be quick and timely.
Keep SaaS partners engaged with educational tools
Invest time and effort to ensure partners have the resources they need to succeed in your partnership program. This effort will keep them engaged, active, and interested in participating.
Educational tools can include:
- Newsletters with company updates and news
- Training certifications for new product features
- Latest promotional assets or new sign-up deals
A platform like impact.com helps you distribute and manage the educational content you share with your partners. Use impact.com to send out messages, personalize the content you’re distributing to partners, and control who has access to what information. The impact.com platform is a hub to manage your content and ensure your affiliates always use the most updated and relevant brand info.
When distributing educational content, consider how your affiliates fit your buyer’s journey. The B2B buyer’s journey is typically longer and involves more research than B2C buyers.
For this reason, customers will likely have multiple touchpoints with your brand or affiliates as they move through the sales funnel. Provide educational materials for affiliates that allow them to support their audience through all phases of the buyer’s journey.
Promote affiliate partners through win-win marketing efforts
A good idea would be to promote your affiliate’s brands instead of just expecting your partners to show off your products or services. To strengthen the relationships with your affiliates, invest in marketing campaigns that highlight the benefits of working with your partnership brands.
For example, Shopify provides users with in-depth instructions on how they can use one of their affiliates, Canva, to create a company logo. This quick course introduces Shopify users to the Canva product by showcasing how they can use the tool to enhance their Shopify business presence.
This kind of product-led marketing effort is more encouraging than simply suggesting Shopify users consider Canva for all their design needs, creating a win-win scenario for both Shopify and Canva.
Look for opportunities to connect with your audience by highlighting your affiliates’ strengths. When your partners see that you’re equally invested in their success, they’ll be more likely to invest in you.
Want to learn more about nurturing your affiliate relationships? See how technology brand Podium successfully used impact.com to scale and manage its affiliate relationships.
For more ideas and guidance on SaaS affiliate marketing, check out these other impact.com resources for SaaS affiliate marketing and the basics behind successful affiliate marketing:
- Partnerships drive SaaS growth (one-sheet)
- Drive growth with SaaS partnerships (video)
- How to evaluate partnership compatibility (worksheet)
- How to manage a successful affiliate program today (ebook)