11 Expert Tips on Launching a Successful B2B Affiliate Marketing Program

8 min read
Apr 28, 2022 12:00:00 AM

By Nick Cotter | April, 2022

Launching a successful B2B affiliate marketing program is no easy task. There are a lot of factors to consider, and you need to make sure everything is in place before you launch. To help make the process a little bit easier, I’ve gathered some expert tips from professionals who have experience in this area.

Keep reading for insights on everything from choosing an affiliate network to creating attractive offers. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to launching a successful B2B affiliate marketing program that your partners will love!

What is a B2B Affiliate Program?

A B2B affiliate program is a marketing arrangement whereby a company recruits affiliates to market and sell its products or services to other businesses. In exchange for each sale generated, the affiliate receives a commission. 

There are a few different B2B affiliate programs, but the most common is the revenue-sharing model. In this model, businesses earn a commission on sales generated by their affiliates. Other common models include the CPA (cost-per-action) and CPS (cost-per-sale) models.

B2B affiliate programs can be an effective way to generate new leads and sales for businesses. The programs offer an incentive for businesses to promote a product or service, and they can be a cost-effective marketing tool.

Should you Start a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program?

There are many reasons to start a B2B affiliate marketing program. It can help you reach new markets and expand your customer base. Additionally, it can also lead to increased sales and profits. However, before starting a B2B affiliate marketing program, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

  • You must have the infrastructure in place to support it. It includes a well-developed website, an effective marketing strategy, and a dedicated team to manage the program. 
  • You need to choose the right affiliate partners. They should be a good fit for your business and your target market.
  • You must put together an attractive and compelling offer that will motivate your affiliates to promote your products and services.

If you do all of these things, you’ll create a foundation for success for both you and your affiliates. 

What are the 11 Expert Tips on Starting an Affiliate Marketing Program for B2B?

Launching a successful B2B affiliate marketing program isn’t easy. But with the right approach, you can create a program that delivers results for your business. Here are 11 expert tips to help you get started:

1. Don’t Lead with Affiliate Marketing.

If you’re looking to launch a successful B2B affiliate marketing program, affiliate marketing shouldn’t be your only marketing channel of focus, especially if you’re a new founder with a B2B business. Instead, focus on creating a strong overall marketing strategy that will include affiliate marketing as one part of the larger picture. By doing this, you’ll be able to set realistic channel KPIs for your affiliate marketing program and ensure that it’s successful.

2. Set Realistic Channel KPIs.

When setting up your affiliate program, it’s important to set realistic KPIs for the channel. It will help you track your progress and ensure that you’re on track to reach your goals. By setting realistic KPIs, you’ll be able to gauge your affiliate marketing program’s success early on, and adjust strategy and projections accordingly.

Some ideas for business KPIs you may want to track include: 

  • Sales generated
  • Leads generated
  • Traffic generated
  • Conversion rate
  • Average order value

Some ideas for affiliate specific KPIs you may want to track include: 

  • Affiliate partners onboarded
  • Partner activity index
  • Time since last partner activity
  • Program earnings per click

3. Understand Affiliates’ Role in Marketing Funnel.

Before you launch your affiliate program, it’s important to understand how affiliates fit into your overall marketing funnel. It’s important to remember that affiliates are just one part of the larger equation and that they shouldn’t be relied on to drive all of your marketing results.

Affiliates can play several roles in your marketing funnel, such as: 

  • Prospecting new customers
  • Converting leads into paying customers
  • Increasing customer loyalty and retention
  • Acting as brand ambassadors

Pro tip: Have an upcoming marketing campaign or product launch? Leverage your affiliate partners as part of the distribution strategy! They’ll be able to help amplify the push.

4. Take Your Time Building a Commission Structure.

When you’re first starting, it’s important to take your time building a commission structure that will work for both you and your affiliates. This structure should be fair, competitive, and aligned with your overall marketing goals.

You need to consider what type of product or service you’re selling, the average order value, and what kind of margins you can afford to pay. By taking the time to build a strong commission structure, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a successful affiliate program.

Pro tip: Don’t price your program’s payout so high that your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is too high. You don’t want to get yourself in a situation where you have to tell partners you’re lowering their commission.

5. Pick out the Right Affiliate Network or Software.

Picking the right affiliate network or software is crucial. Not all affiliate networks and software are created equal. When setting up your B2B affiliate marketing program, it’s important to pick the right affiliate network or software. It will ensure access to all the features and tools you need to run a successful program.


Some things to consider when choosing an affiliate network or software include: 

  • Ease of use
  • Pricing model: Monthly or annual contracts
  • Affiliate tracking and reporting
  • Customization options
  • Support and customer service
  • Affiliate recruitment capabilities
  • Payout tracking

6. Set up an Affiliate Program Launch Plan.

Launching a successful affiliate program is no easy task. It takes time, effort, and planning, but it can be a huge help to your business with the right planning and execution. Before you launch your affiliate marketing program, create a detailed launch plan. It will help ensure that your program is successful and that affiliates can start generating leads and sales right away.

Some things to include in your affiliate program launch plan include: 

  • Creating promotional materials (e.g., banners, emails, blog posts)
  • Reaching out to affiliates and recruiting them to join your program
  • Hosting a webinar or other training materials to help affiliates get started
  • Setting up a system for tracking leads and sales
  • Launch a paid media buy for publications affiliates are a part of
  • Set up an onboarding nurture campaign emails for affiliates

7. Ensure Your Affiliate Terms & Conditions are Buttoned up.

When launching a new affiliate program, it’s important to have all your terms and conditions in order. It will ensure that both you and your affiliates are on the same page from the start and avoid any confusion or legal issues down the road. 

Make sure to clearly state:

  • The products or services you’re promoting
  • What type of affiliates you’re looking for (e.g., bloggers, social media influencers, etc.)
  • How commissions will be paid
  • Any restrictions on how or where the affiliate can market your product or service
  • What happens if an affiliate violates your terms and conditions

Important: This is not legal advice. These are solely recommendations we suggest looking into when building out your terms and conditions. Always advise legal counsel before publishing any form of legal documentation.

8. Create an Affiliate Onboarding Nurture Cadance.

One of the keys to a successful affiliate program is ensuring your affiliates are properly onboarded and nurtured from the start. This means providing them with all the necessary information and resources they need to start promoting your products or services.

A good way to do this is through an affiliate onboarding nurture cadence. It will provide affiliates with a step-by-step guide on how to get started and regular updates on new offers, promotions, and other news. By taking the time to onboard and nurture your affiliates, you’ll help ensure their success in promoting your products or services.

Here are a few email campaigns you’ll want active:

  • Welcome email series
  • Your first lead/conversion email
  • Your first sale email
  • 30-60-90 day check in emails

9. Set up Challenges and Goals for Affiliates.

Giving affiliates challenges and goals is a great way to set your affiliate program up for success. This will help keep them motivated and engaged and ensure they’re promoting your products or services in the most effective way possible.


Image source: https://partnerstack.com/platform

Some ideas for challenges and goals include:

  • Meeting a certain sales target within a certain timeframe
  • Generating a certain number of leads in a given period
  • Creating a specific number of social media posts or blog articles about your product or service
  • Generating a certain amount of traffic to your website

Always make sure your additional reward with challenges is in alignment with your channel CAC goals!

10. Build Strong Relationships with Top Affiliates.

One of the best ways to set your affiliate program up for success is to build strong relationships with your top affiliates. It makes it certain that they’re promoting your products or services in the best way possible and gives you a group of ambassadors who can help promote your brand.  By building strong relationships with your top affiliates, you’ll help ensure their success in promoting your products or services.


Image source: https://partnerstack.com/platform

There are a few ways to build strong relationships with your top affiliates, such as:

  • Providing them with exclusive offers and promotions
  • Recognizing their achievements publicly
  • Giving them early access to new products or services
  • Inviting them to events or meetups

11. Leverage Data and Continue to Iterate on Strategy

Data is essential for any successful B2B affiliate marketing program. Use it to track the performance of your affiliates. It’ll ensure that your program is always evolving and improving and what marketing channels generate the most traffic and sales.

It’s important to regularly review this data and use it to iterate on your strategy. It may involve changing your commission structure, altering your marketing mix, or trying a new creative approach. By leveraging data and continually repeating your strategy, you can keep your affiliate program fresh and successful.

Launching a B2B Affiliate Marketing Program

Launching a B2B affiliate marketing program can be daunting, but with careful planning and execution, your program can become a valuable part of your sales and marketing mix. By following these tips, you’ll be on the right track to building a successful program that generates leads and revenue for your business.