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Affiliate marketing has been a viable career path since the 90s, with affiliate managers overseeing traditional arrangements in which an advertiser pays a commission for leads or sales generated from affiliate referrals. But today with the advent of partnership automation, there’s a huge opportunity to build on this foundation of expertise and expand scope across the full breadth of partnerships. 

Partnerships drive up to 30% of revenue at some organizations, and the companies with the most robust programs are seeing gains across the performance spectrum. That makes partnership professionals very valuable and opens up new doors for affiliate managers to greatly expand their roles as an integral part of an organization’s revenue creation and success.

A career in partnerships incorporates affiliate marketing into a larger universe—one where partnerships with social influencers, B2B partners, and countless other performance-driven relationships can lead to lucrative opportunities.

But what if your organization doesn’t yet have a full-scale partnership program? How do you convince the business that investing in partnerships—and in you—will pay off? The good news is that there is plenty of data out there to support your cause. There is also management technology available to dramatically reduce the risk and costs of getting your program off the ground. In fact, your technology game-plan will be vital to convincing stakeholders that you are ready to launch and scale efficiently.

Increase your influence and overcome objections with the right message

To spearhead and lead a partnership program at your business, you’ll need to secure buy-in and resources, advocate for yourself, and demonstrate how you will move the entire business forward. Most important, you’ll need to communicate to internal teams about the benefits of partnerships. This in part means showing each group of stakeholders what’s in it for them. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Stakeholder What they care about What you can say
Your boss (and likely your boss’s boss) With these essential stakeholders, a good approach to getting buy-in is to help them understand how your partnership program will add value to them and their roles. This is definitely where you want to bring on the data! “I already have the technology tools in mind to deliver incremental value fast.” “The relationships I will pursue are nontraditional partnerships that can improve our customer experience.”“I can show you industry research showing how best-in-class partnership programs: …see 2x faster revenue growth …are 5x more likely to exceed expectations on metrics like stock price and profitability…report gains in competitive advantage and brand awareness”
Business development When getting buy-in from the business development team, you want to determine where certain types of deals drop-off because they are considered “too small” or don’t fit biz dev’s mold. These are the types of partnerships that would be ideal for your partnership program.You want to convey how your partnership program could support their brand-building efforts by taking on opportunities for which they don’t have bandwidth or that don’t meet their requirements. “I’ll support our branding goals by nurturing partners too small for our team—at scale.”“I will deploy an easy, ready-to-use way to contract with smaller partners, create commercial terms, and provide tracking and reporting.”“I can help efficiently test out new partners and deals to assess their potential.”
Finance team Finance pros deal with a lot of concrete, vital details. When you can clearly convey how your proposed platform will help finance become more flexible, your company’s money managers will be far more inclined to back your initiative. “My platform will eliminate added accounting headaches.”“Our flexible budget model will prevent cash-flow logjams and won’t fall under an open-ended marketing budget umbrella.”
Social media team Similar to the business development team, the social media team often manages its relationships on spreadsheets—they aren’t set up to manage thousands of partners or freebies for micro-influencers. Social media specialists primarily want to find the 20 or so major influencers and work with them in a deeper, more expanded way on the brand side—not manage hundreds or even thousands of individual partners. “If smaller partners approach us about promoting our brand in return for a flat fee or free product but are not aligned with our marketing strategies, let me know—they might be right for our partnership program.” “We’ve got a tracking platform that makes it possible to efficiently manage hundreds of micro influencers—people who normally require a lot of time to manage and probably only generate a few hundred dollars a month. But with our partnership technology, we can manage them with ease, which could result in significant revenue for our company—and make your day to day a heck of a lot easier.”

By connecting with key stakeholders in this way, you build awareness of what you’re doing and its value and contributions to the organization. And by spelling out the hows, whats, and whys of the channel, you provide a rationale for its existence. 

Once you have that promotion and new title, don’t stop the flow of communication. Be sure to share updates with marketing, business development, finance, and social media teams to maintain a regular dialogue.

Finally, remember that technology will be your best friend when it comes to partnerships and your ability to scale your program and grow revenue. 

Reach out to an Impact growth technologist at sales@impact.com for a demo to see how technology can get you up and running faster, attract more partners to your network, and streamline every step of the partnership lifecycle. Or take a look our eBook, How to Accelerate Your Career in Partnerships for more tips.

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