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Everything You Need to Know About SaaS Affiliate Marketing

Growing Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) for a SaaS startup isn't a walk in the park.

It's more like running a marathon with a bag of bricks on your back.

You can pour endless hours and resources into traditional channels like advertising, SEO, and social media, but there's a more efficient and quicker path you might be missing out on - SaaS affiliate marketing.

Think of affiliate marketing as your next-door neighbor who happens to own a powerhouse lawnmower while you're still messing with scissors. Why not borrow some horsepower?

Many successful SaaS companies have embraced this wisdom. They've not just relied on their in-house tactics but have actively integrated affiliate marketing into their multi-channel growth strategies.

Case in point - ConvertKit, an email marketing platform. They shared in a 2019 interview that affiliates drove a whopping one-third of their revenue. Now, that's a stat hard to ignore.

Why invest your time in this blog? We're cutting through the noise to offer you a tailored guide specifically for B2B SaaS marketers like you. We'll explore what SaaS affiliate marketing is, how it functions in the B2B realm, and why it could be a substantial growth engine.

Quick Take: Your guide to mastering SaaS affiliate marketing

Want to boost your SaaS MRR significantly but don't have the resources to invest upfront? Consider tapping into affiliate marketing. This in-depth guide, specifically tailored for B2B SaaS marketers, unpacks the A to Z of this effective growth channel. Learn what SaaS affiliate marketing is, its benefits, challenges, and a step-by-step plan to implement it successfully. Plus, discover how Reditus can make managing your SaaS affiliate program a breeze.

What is SaaS affiliate marketing? A guiding definition for all

SaaS affiliate marketing is a growth strategy where software-as-a-service companies partner with individuals or other businesses to promote their software product/s. In exchange, these affiliates earn a commission for each sale or qualified lead they generate.

Think of your SaaS company as a property developer with a luxurious apartment. Your affiliates act like real estate agents. These agents know the market, have a list of clients looking for a perfect home, and understand what makes your apartment stand out. Every time they direct a client your way and a sale is closed, they get a percentage of the sale. Like a real estate agent opens doors, quite literally, to new homes for clients, your affiliates open doors to your software for businesses in need.

Unlike B2C affiliate marketing, which often revolves around impulsive buys and quick decisions, B2B affiliate marketing involves a more strategic, long-term relationship. It's not about luring window shoppers; it's about engaging decision-makers who see the long-term value in your software. That's where SaaS affiliates come in. They can vouch for you, present solid case studies, and give you a leg up in penetrating this multi-layered decision-making process.

Overall, affiliate marketing is a golden ticket for B2B SaaS startups. It allows you to tap into the established networks and credibility of an affiliate marketer like Pat Flynn, essentially outsourcing a part of your sales and marketing effort without any upfront costs. This strategy doesn't just supplement your existing channels; it opens up an entirely new revenue stream, one built on trust and mutual benefit.

Another case in point: Prospectss, a sales and marketing SaaS, generated over $25k in revenue via affiliates within a year. You can read this fascinating case study here.

How does SaaS affiliate marketing work? A value chain perspective

A simple illustration of how SaaS affiliate marketing works.

Caption - A simple illustration of how SaaS affiliate marketing works.

In the affiliate marketing industry, think of the setup as a value chain comprising three essential links: the SaaS company (you), the affiliate partner, and the software user or customer. Each link adds a distinct value, creating a symbiotic chain that propels growth for all involved.

  • The SaaS company: You're the origin point where the value starts, providing a tool that solves problems or enhances processes. You create an affiliate program, set the terms, and pave the way for others to share profits. This includes how much you'll pay per lead, per sale, or per click.
  • The affiliate partner: The affiliate partner acts as an amplifier in this chain. Leveraging their reach, platform, or influence, they introduce your software to a broader yet targeted audience. They share their unique affiliate link on various content channels, track interactions, and potentially earn a commission for successful conversions.
  • The customer: This is the end consumer, the business needing a solution like yours. They are likely already consuming content or engaging in networks where your affiliate partner has influence or reach.

Here's how the value flows:

  • Value to you (the SaaS company): You gain targeted exposure and revenue without making any upfront payments. Note: We cover many more benefits of leveraging affiliate marketing for you in a dedicated section below.
  • Value to affiliate partners: They earn commissions by promoting a quality product that their audience would find helpful.
  • Value to software buyers: They discover a vetted, useful tool that solves a problem or adds value to their business, all thanks to the recommendation of a trusted affiliate.

When done right, it's a win-win-win scenario. You get increased sales, the affiliate earns commissions, and the end user finds a software solution that fits their needs.

7 compelling benefits of affiliate marketing for SaaS businesses

Earlier, we walked you through the value chain concept, showing how each player benefits from a well-executed B2B affiliate marketing strategy. Now, let's delve deeper into the specific gains you can achieve by making affiliate marketing a cornerstone of your SaaS company's growth plan.

#1 Performance-based Expenses: No more budget guesswork

Budgeting for marketing can often feel like a gamble. You allocate resources, hoping your chosen channels will generate enough signups and conversions to justify spending. But there's always a risk. What if the campaign doesn't bring enough ROI? What if you end up wasting valuable dollars on ineffective strategies?

Enter the pay-for-performance model of affiliate marketing. Here, you're not investing in uncertain variables. You pay strictly for results - the generated sales. No more throwing money at a wall to see what sticks.

With performance-based expenses, you replace budget uncertainty with financial accountability, turning your marketing spend into a calculated investment, not a hopeful gamble.

#2 Leverage Without the Baggage: Expansion on a shoestring

Scaling up a SaaS marketing engine usually means more complexity and heavier operational burdens. The more channels you want to dominate, the more teams you need, and suddenly, you're juggling a growing list of commitments and expenses.

Affiliate marketing is like hiring an expert team that comes without all the admin, HR overhead, or long-term commitments. You gain access to skilled marketers who are as invested in your success as you are. After all, they only get paid when they deliver. This lets you expand your reach without getting bogged down by additional complexities or costs.

#3 Simpler hiring process: Streamlined with the Reditus Marketplace

Hiring an in-house marketing team presents its own set of challenges. There's the endless search for the right talent, the steep costs of onboarding, and the time-consuming training processes. Not to mention, it's like building your army one soldier at a time.

On the flip side, utilizing a SaaS-focused affiliate management software like Reditus to assemble your external team of affiliate experts is akin to hiring a platoon of seasoned warriors all at once. All you have to do is approve their applications, and they're ready to fight your marketing battles.

The best part? These aren’t just any warriors; they specialize in the B2B SaaS terrain. So, while your competitors are still sifting through resumes, you already have a legion of experts amplifying your reach and driving your growth.

#4 Multi-channel Exposure: Increase your revenue channels

Expanding your revenue channels can feel like juggling too many balls simultaneously, especially in the competitive SaaS market. You might dabble on a few platforms, only to realize that you're not doing justice to any of them, given your limited focus and resources.

Now, imagine your affiliates as specialized fishermen who know the best spots and techniques to catch different types of fish. They help you build revenue through new channels that might be risky to explore yourself. Whether it's a niche blog, a podcast, or even a specialized industry forum, your affiliates know the terrain like the back of their hands. So, while you focus on perfecting your product or service, the core of your business, your affiliates open doors to revenue streams you wouldn't have dared to enter otherwise.

Ultimately, with an affiliate-powered multi-channel strategy, you're not just diversifying; you're fortifying your market presence without spreading yourself thin.

#5 Seal of Approval from the Experts: The trust multiplier

Trust is the cornerstone of any business, especially in the SaaS industry, where the product is often intangible. Gaining customer trust typically involves a long, arduous process of accumulating social proof through reviews, testimonials, and other endorsements. But what if you could fast-track this process?

When an industry expert or a trusted influencer becomes your affiliate, it's like getting a stamp of approval from someone who knows their stuff. Consider it as receiving a five-star review from a food critic if you're a restaurant. People often turn to these experts for advice, and their word carries substantial weight. By leveraging their standing in the industry, you're essentially piggybacking on their reputation to elevate your own.

In short, a nod from the right people can serve as a powerful trust multiplier, streamlining the process of gaining customer confidence and accelerating your path to market dominance.

#6 Always-on Marketing: Consistent brand exposure

Traditional advertising campaigns have a start and end date, offering only fleeting moments of brand exposure. Once the campaign's over, out of sight often means out of mind.

Here's where affiliate marketing shines with its always-on approach. Your affiliates aren't just promoting your product for a week or a month; they're in it for the long haul.

These always-on affiliates maintain a persistent presence, consistently sharing valuable content, social posts, or reviews about your SaaS offering. The result? Your brand remains top-of-mind, enjoying increased visibility and recall among your target customers. It's this continual exposure that helps cement your brand's place in the market, giving you a competitive edge that lasts.

#7 Community Building and Collaborative Growth: More than just sales

In the SaaS ecosystem, closing a sale isn't the end game - it's just the beginning of a relationship. And that's where affiliate marketing proves to be a double whammy. Not only does it drive sales, but it also opens doors for community building and collaborative growth.

Think of your affiliates as more than just your external sales team; they're your brand advocates who serve as a bridge between you and your community. They regularly produce invaluable content like product reviews and tutorials, which do two things. First, it showcases your product's features and benefits, serving as a soft sales pitch. Second, it engages your audience, offering them useful advice and how-tos.

And the cherry on top? When these affiliate relationships flourish, they often evolve into partnerships beyond the affiliate scope. Imagine co-hosting webinars or jointly publishing an industry report. This isn't just marketing; it's co-creating value with others in your ecosystem.

7 concerns that deter some SaaS companies from even trying affiliate marketing: Solutions offered

We're big fans of affiliate marketing and built Reditus, a SaaS affiliate platform, to help B2B SaaS companies set up and manage their affiliate programs. Still, we have noticed some SaaS companies holding themselves back from this lucrative revenue stream. Often, this hesitance is fueled by common concerns or fears.

In this section, we'll not only address these apprehensions but also provide actionable solutions. Our aim? To encourage every SaaS business to give affiliate marketing a legitimate shot at driving success.

Concern #1: "We're already at the top of our game. Do we really need affiliate marketing?"

Some companies that have achieved market leadership might think that affiliate marketing won't add much to their growth strategy. They worry that the cost of paying affiliates will eat into their profits without providing significant value.

While it's true that you might already have a winning formula, dismissing affiliate marketing could mean missing out on new avenues for expansion. Even industry giants like HubSpot and Adobe have affiliate programs, signaling that there's always room to grow.

Actionable solution:

Consider starting a pilot affiliate program to test its impact on profits. Tools like Reditus make it simple to set up and manage such programs, allowing you to take a low-risk, high-reward approach to diversify your growth channels.

Concern #2: "We've worked hard to maintain a consistent brand image. Will affiliate marketing jeopardize that?"

Many SaaS companies invest a lot of time and effort into building and maintaining a consistent brand image. Understandably, the thought of entrusting that image to external affiliates can raise concerns.

However, it's a misconception that affiliate marketing is a free-for-all that will tarnish your carefully built brand image.

Actionable solution:

Initiate your affiliate program with a small, vetted group that aligns with your brand. Monitor the program's impact on brand consistency and refine your approach before scaling up. This way, you ensure alignment without stifling the program's potential.

Concern #3: "We're running on limited resources. Can we manage an affiliate program?"

Many SaaS companies hesitate to venture into affiliate marketing because they believe it would be too resource-intensive. The truth is starting an affiliate program doesn't require a lot of resources from your end.

Actionable solution:

By using a dedicated platform like Reditus, you can effortlessly launch your affiliate program in less than 30 minutes, covering everything from technical setup to tracking and payments. This makes affiliate marketing an accessible channel, even for companies operating with lean teams and limited resources.

Concern #4: "We have a niche target audience. Is affiliate marketing the right choice?"

When your software caters to a specialized audience, you might wonder if affiliate marketing can effectively reach this narrow customer base. While it's true that a wider affiliate network may not hone in on your niche, that doesn't mean you should rule out affiliate marketing altogether.

Actionable solution:

Use platforms like Reditus that not only help you find specialized SaaS-focused affiliates but also offer a Done-For-You affiliate recruitment service. This way, you don’t have to worry about searching for affiliates who understand your niche.

Concern #5: "How can affiliate marketing align with our multi-stage, complex sales process?"

For SaaS companies with intricate sales cycles involving multiple steps like in-depth demos, specialized onboarding, and high-touch sales, the utility of affiliate marketing may come into question. Affiliates may find it difficult to promote such nuanced products effectively, and tracking the sales journey can become complex, opening up room for payment disputes.

Actionable solution:

In cases with complicated sales processes, consider offering affiliate commissions for intermediary yet valuable steps like booked demos or webinar registrations rather than finalized sales. This approach can incentivize affiliates while fitting into your more complex sales model.

Concern #6: "Is affiliate marketing feasible in highly regulated industries?"

Navigating affiliate marketing in highly regulated sectors like healthcare or finance brings unique challenges. This could range from unauthorized use of customer testimonials to non-compliant advertising methods such as making unverified claims or failing to include mandatory disclaimers.

Actionable solution:

Before diving into affiliate marketing, consult with legal experts familiar with your industry's regulations. These specialists can help outline the do's and don'ts for your affiliate program, creating a framework that minimizes risk.

Concern #7: "Is affiliate marketing right for a product still in the MVP stage?"

If your SaaS product is still in the MVP stage, you might be cautious about diving into affiliate marketing, and rightfully so. Directing a high volume of users to an unpolished product can tarnish your brand reputation. At this stage, gathering quality feedback for product refinement is crucial.

Actionable solution:

Before introducing your affiliate marketing, consider a beta launch aimed at a controlled number of users. Use this as an opportunity to gather vital feedback and make necessary improvements. Once your product is stable and you've incorporated early user feedback, that will be the ideal time to leverage affiliate marketing for user growth.

Setting up and managing a successful SaaS affiliate program: 7 roadblocks you may encounter

So, you've finally recognized the massive potential and decided to dive into affiliate marketing. Excellent! But let's be clear - the journey to running a successful affiliate program isn't without its challenges. In this section, we'll take you through the potential roadblocks you may encounter.

#1 Navigating Competition: The battle for recruiting the best affiliate partners

In the crowded SaaS landscape, grabbing the attention of high-quality affiliates is almost like a competitive sport. Everyone wants the star players on their team, but there's only so much talent to go around.

Affiliates are aware of their value and have the luxury to pick and choose among various programs, often leaning toward those with higher commissions or better brand recognition.

However, it's not just a numbers game of who offers the highest commissions. The decision often boils down to your product's uniqueness, ease of promotion, and overall fit with the affiliate's target audience. Your challenge? Make your affiliate program stand out amidst a sea of options. Ignoring the competitive aspect can mean missing out on quality partners, limiting the effectiveness of your program.

#2 Sustained Engagement: Beyond the initial handshake

Clearing the first hurdle of attracting top-tier affiliates might feel like a win, but your work is far from over. Maintaining a high level of engagement with your affiliates is a continuous endeavor.

Affiliates are in constant contact with multiple programs, and their motivation can fluctuate based on the rewards and engagement they receive. It's not just about sending them a monthly newsletter or an occasional high-five for hitting milestones. Effective engagement requires regular, value-packed communication, insightful performance analytics, and responsive support.

In a landscape where affiliates have numerous opportunities, keeping them motivated and committed to your program is crucial. Lack of consistent engagement can lead to dwindling interest, resulting in missed revenue opportunities and reduced ROI from your affiliate program.

#3 Revenue Attribution: Assigning credit with transparency

The modern software buying journey is like a winding maze, often involving a mix of affiliate and non-affiliate touchpoints. In such a complex environment, ensuring each affiliate gets accurate credit for their role in conversions becomes a logistical nightmare. Your affiliates aren't just passing out business cards - they're generating content, sending targeted emails, and tapping into their networks. So when a sale does happen, who gets the credit?

Without a robust attribution system, you could find yourself in muddy waters. Affiliates might question the fairness of your program, causing mistrust and, ultimately, disengagement. The lack of transparency isn't just a thorn in the side - it could be a deal-breaker.

#4 Brand Consistency: Maintaining a balance

You might wonder, "Why not let affiliates do their own thing? Isn't variety the spice of life?" While there's merit to individuality, it can also be a double-edged sword with brand messaging. Think of your brand as a finely orchestrated symphony; one rogue musician can throw off the entire performance.

In the context of your SaaS affiliate program, inconsistent messaging from diverse affiliates can muddle your brand's story. When different affiliates add their twists to your messaging, the core values and benefits of your SaaS product can become distorted.

Inconsistency can lead to customer confusion, erode trust, and even jeopardize your company's reputation. Therefore, maintaining a balance in how your brand is presented across various affiliate channels is not just advisable; it's critical.

#5 Fraudulent Activities: Navigating the dark corners

Just as a bustling marketplace attracts all sorts of buyers, a thriving affiliate program can attract various types of affiliates, including those with less-than-honorable intentions. Yes, we're talking about click fraud, fake leads, and the infamous cookie stuffing. These fraudulent activities don't just drain your marketing budget; they compromise the integrity of your program.

In essence, these fraudulent activities are revenue leaks that you end up paying for without any real gain. It's like having a hole in your wallet; you think you're investing in partnerships that will grow your revenue, but instead, you're just losing money without getting anything valuable in return. Failing to plug these leaks can gradually erode the profitability and effectiveness of your affiliate program.

#6 Regulatory Compliance: Following the rules

Remember the importance of legal compliance we mentioned earlier? Well, that doesn't just go away once the program is up and running. In fact, the stakes are even higher.

Laws about data protection and advertising are there for a reason. If you or your affiliates break them, you're looking at fines, bad press, and many headaches.

Ignoring legal rules isn't just bad for you; it can hurt your whole network. Affiliates could drop out, and customers might lose trust. The bottom line? You can't afford to let legal issues slide. So if you use solutions like Reditus, you will stay on a compliant side of affiliate marketing, set up your program easily and get more MRR generated via affiliates. 

#7 Onboarding and Training: An ongoing commitment

Your new affiliates are like fresh recruits entering the field. They need a comprehensive yet easily digestible introduction to your product, its features, and the guidelines of your affiliate program. Failing to offer a structured onboarding process can lead to affiliates feeling lost or, worse, promoting your product inaccurately.

But here's the thing. Onboarding is just the beginning of the journey. Software, especially in the fast-paced world of SaaS, doesn't stand still. It evolves, updates roll out, and new features emerge. This means the training doesn't stop at onboarding; it's an ongoing commitment.

The challenge here is maintaining a consistent level of education and engagement. You might have affiliates spanning different time zones, languages, and levels of expertise. How do you ensure that everyone is on the same page and equipped to represent your product accurately?

Some actionable best practices to navigate the above challenges

Now that we've explored the roadblocks that can hinder your affiliate marketing journey, it's time to switch gears and set our sights on practical solutions. In this section, we'll delve into seven actionable best practices to help you navigate each challenge we covered above effectively.

#1 Build collaborative relationships to navigate competition

One way to overcome the fierce competition for affiliates is to foster meaningful relationships. Instead of approaching affiliate partnerships purely transactionally, focus on building genuine collaborations. Here are some tips:

  • Align with brand values: Recruit affiliates whose values align with your brand, as this fosters authenticity in promotions. The Reditus Marketplace offers a unique advantage by providing access to affiliates specifically tailored to the B2B SaaS industry. This ensures that the partners you engage with already have a deep understanding of your target audience and can authentically represent your software within the industry.
  • Personalize outreach: Tailor your communication to each affiliate, showing that you value their uniqueness.
  • Offer competitive commissions: Incentivize affiliates with competitive commission rates that reflect their efforts.

Ultimately, you would want your program to be amongst the best SaaS affiliate programs in the industry.

#2 Keep affiliates engaged with regular check-ins

Engaging and nurturing your affiliate relationships is a continuous process that significantly impacts the effectiveness of your SaaS affiliate program. Beyond the initial recruitment, it's essential to establish an ongoing connection with your affiliates through regular check-ins.

To achieve this, consider implementing a structured communication plan. Schedule periodic meetings, webinar sessions, or send out informative email updates to keep your affiliates informed and engaged. During these interactions, share valuable insights, such as product updates, marketing strategies, and performance metrics.

This continuous engagement builds trust and strengthens your partnership, motivating affiliates to invest their time and energy in promoting your product.

#3 Set up a robust attribution system for transparent tracking

Setting up a robust attribution system is a crucial step in addressing the revenue tracking challenge in affiliate marketing. Think of it as having a reliable compass in a vast and complex landscape. This system ensures that each affiliate's efforts are accurately credited, fostering trust and clarity within your affiliate program.

If you're eager to dive deeper into the revenue attribution concept, you might want to check out our recent podcast on “How to do revenue attribution the right way?" featuring Steffen Hedebrandt, Co-founder of Dreamdata. In this episode, you'll find valuable insights and discussions on various aspects of revenue attribution in the context of B2B SaaS.

#4 Develop a comprehensive branding kit for consistent messaging

To ensure brand consistency in your SaaS affiliate program, provide affiliates with a detailed branding kit. This kit should contain approved graphics, key messaging, and content tone guidelines.

This approach empowers affiliates to align their promotional efforts with your brand's identity, minimizing the risk of mixed messaging. It acts as a roadmap, ensuring affiliates accurately convey your brand's value and benefits. This maintains cohesive messaging and enhances trust in your brand, ultimately improving the effectiveness of your SaaS affiliate program.

#5 Implement key anti-fraud measures to safeguard your program

Protecting your affiliate program from potential fraud requires strategic action. Here are four useful tips to maintain program integrity:

  • Stringent validation: Establish rigorous lead and conversion validation procedures to verify authenticity.
  • Choose the right platform: Opt for an affiliate marketing platform with built-in fraud detection to flag suspicious activities automatically.
  • Continuous monitoring: Regularly track affiliate activities and conversions, watching for anomalies.
  • Education and guidelines: Educate affiliates on ethical practices, acceptable promotional methods, and how to identify/report suspicious activities.

These focused measures help safeguard your program while ensuring fairness for all affiliates.

#6 Conduct periodic compliance workshops

Hosting periodic compliance workshops is an effective way to keep your affiliates informed and compliant.

These workshops cover essential topics such as advertising standards, data protection regulations, and other legal considerations. By providing continuous education, you foster a culture of compliance within your affiliate program, reducing the risk of regulatory issues and strengthening your reputation.

#7 Set up a knowledge hub for onboarding and training affiliates

One effective way to address the challenge of onboarding and continuous training for affiliates is to create a centralized knowledge hub. This hub acts as a valuable resource where your affiliate partners can access comprehensive information about your product, branding guidelines, and more. It's like having a one-stop shop for all things related to your affiliate program.

Additionally, you can use this hub to add new content and updates continuously. Regularly inform your partners about these additions through email updates, ensuring they stay informed and equipped with the latest knowledge and resources to excel in their roles.

As an example of such a resource hub, you can explore Reditus' dedicated affiliate blog, which is designed to educate creators on how to become successful SaaS affiliate marketers.

How to kickstart your SaaS affiliate marketing program? A step-by-step playbook

You've got the knowledge; now, it's action time. Here's a quick playbook to launch your affiliate marketing efforts smoothly.

Step 1: Assess your program readiness

Before diving headfirst into affiliate marketing, evaluate some crucial areas. First, get a pulse on the industry's current state, particularly within the SaaS domain. What are the emerging trends, and where does your business fit in?

Second, eye your competitors. What strategies are they using? Do they reveal any gaps or opportunities that you could capitalize on?

Finally, self-assessment is key. Ask the hard questions: Do you need an affiliate program right now? Is your team prepared to commit the time and resources necessary not just to kick it off but also to sustain it?

This prep work isn't a bureaucratic drag; it's your strategy blueprint. Use it to set your program on a course for launch and longevity.

Step 2: Chalk out your goals

Clear goals set the stage for a winning affiliate program. Here's how to go about it:

  • Short-term goals: Quick wins like boosting sales or driving initial website traffic can give your program early momentum. Make sure they align with your bigger picture.
  • Long-term objectives: Consider long-lasting impact, such as establishing your brand or generating a consistent revenue stream. These guide your program's overall direction.
  • Set your KPIs: Choose metrics like customer sign-ups, click-through rates, or lifetime value to measure your program’s success. These are your guiding lights, helping you stay on track and measure results.

Define these goals and KPIs before you launch. It’s your roadmap for where you want to go and how you'll know you're getting there.

Step 3: Create an affiliate program structure

A well-defined structure is like the backbone of your affiliate program. Let's break down what you need to consider:

  • Decide on the commission structure and other incentives: The heart of your program lies here. Will you offer a flat rate per acquisition, a percentage of the sale, or perhaps a mix of both?
  • Payment terms and cycles: When and how will you pay your affiliates? Maybe it's monthly, or perhaps you’ll pay only after they reach a minimum earnings threshold? Be clear about this to prevent any future hiccups.

Some words of wisdom for this step:

As Joran Hofman, the founder of Reditus, points out, steering away from lifetime commissions can be beneficial in the long run. Instead, consider giving away a percentage of the paid subscriptions generated by affiliates. It keeps your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) manageable and aligns with your Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA). Remember, affiliates are here for revenue, so make it worth their while.

So, by setting up your program’s structure thoughtfully, you're building a solid foundation that can adapt and scale.

Step 4: Pick your affiliate program management approach and a platform

So, you've set your goals, and your program structure is in place. What's next? Time to decide on your management style and the software that'll make it all happen. You could manage everything in-house, or you could hire an external agency to do it for you.

  • Managing in-house: This approach would give you complete control over your program. You call the shots, build closer relationships with your affiliates, and have a better grasp of the day-to-day operations. But beware, this choice demands a significant time and resource commitment.
  • Outsourcing the management: Outsourcing allows you to lean on the expertise of agencies specialized in affiliate marketing. You'll get to save time but lose some of the personal touches that come with an in-house team. Financially, this option could be more expensive in the long run.

No matter your approach, you would need an affiliate program management platform to handle the entire operations under the hood. It's the glue that holds your affiliate program together, streamlining the process regardless of who's in charge.

This is where Reditus comes into the picture. Specially designed for B2B SaaS, Reditus supports in-house and outsourced affiliate program management. It offers features that can streamline operations and even provide a marketplace to list your program, making it easier to gain traction without any upfront costs until you hit $1K MRR. Book a demo today to learn more about it. 

Step 5: Assemble resources for your affiliate partners

Now that your management and platform are sorted, let's focus on equipping your affiliates with some helpful tools.

  • Visuals: Create banners or infographics that align with your brand. Easy for affiliates to insert into their content.
  • Emails: Provide email templates that affiliates can quickly customize and send. It helps them hit the ground running.
  • Guides: Offer short guides or FAQs to help affiliates grasp your product's benefits, making it easier for them to sell.
  • Content ideas: Suggest blog or social media topics to help affiliates create content faster.

Your aim here is to set your affiliates up for success, making their job easier and, by extension, more productive for you.

Step 6: Recruit and orient your partners

You've got your program and resources in place. The next pivotal step? Bringing in the right affiliates and ensuring they're well-prepared.

  • Scouting for affiliates: While tried-and-true methods like tailored LinkedIn outreach and industry events are effective for recruiting potential partners, you can gain an edge by also using specialized platforms. Reditus not only offers a marketplace focused on B2B SaaS affiliates but also provides a done-for-you affiliate recruitment service.
  • Seamless onboarding: Once affiliates are in, offer a detailed guide that gets them up to speed on your SaaS product and the program's intricacies. The easier you make it for them, the quicker they'll get to business.

To wrap up this step, remember that the right partners can make or break your affiliate program. So, invest in recruitment and onboarding. It's the foundation upon which you'll build everything.

Time to Propel Your SaaS Growth: The affiliate marketing way

We've walked you through the A to Z of SaaS affiliate marketing. From its undeniable benefits to its nuanced challenges and the roadmap to launch your own program, we've got you covered. Consider this your comprehensive guide to mastering the B2B affiliate marketing landscape.

So, what's the next step?

It's time to take this wealth of knowledge and turn it into action. And what better place to start than with a platform specially designed for B2B SaaS companies?

With Reditus, you get the benefit of a free plan to kickstart your journey and an existing network of ready-to-go affiliates. So, save time, hone your focus, and propel your SaaS growth - the affiliate marketing way.

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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