3 Secrets to B2B Affiliate Program Success with Partner Commerce

Ashley Carrow

It’s hard to find useful content for building B2B Affiliate Programs, making it a real pleasure to explore the expertise of Adam Glazer and Steven Kaufman from Partner Commerce. They run a leading B2B affiliate marketing company with extensive experience driving significant online sales and leads for some heavy hitters like Microsoft and Paypal.


After digging into the success of their programs, we’ve uncovered 3 key takeaways you should use:

  • Alignment is key. For B2B and SaaS companies, you need strong alignment between the affiliate team and the other marketing/partnership teams. When you have one team managing Affiliate Marketing and another handling paid marketing, likelihood is high for a disconnect around attribution and who deserves credit. It’s important that everyone understands what’s at stake, agrees upon how performance will be tracked, and are incentivized toward overall success while mitigating risk.

    Furthermore, alignment between the brand and your partnerships opens up new opportunities. Once you’ve established and understand the value of your customer, with the right platform in place you can design your partner incentivization structure to reflect that value. When you can structure your program to pay your partners each time you receive revenue, your best partners’ earnings keep them motivated toward further success. Partnerships don’t succeed unless everybody wins.
  • Meet complexity with simplicity. Legacy platforms were mostly built for retail consumer programs and their capabilities tend to be fairly binary. Comparatively speaking, B2B sales funnels are long and complex and don’t suit a structure of one-time affiliate payments per customer.

    However, the reverse is true with advanced technology platforms capable of measuring and rewarding based around the customer journey. To streamline managing partners in the B2B space, you need the ability to track every event in their journey, reward partners for driving those events, and offer deep funnel analysis of their activities. A robust platform to measure the whole funnel and trigger payouts according to your KPIs is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
  • Break down silos. Being able to measure all marketing efforts in one place keeps everyone on the same page. You will always be in contention with the marketing team if everyone wants to take credit for every customer. When all of your data is collected in the same place with accessible reporting, you can help the entire team understand where each piece adds value. This requires a balance of agreed-upon boundaries and practical technology within the organization.

    Maybe your summary is showing that an influencer isn’t driving many sales, but sales from SEO are booming. Your initial instinct may be to cut out the influencer, right? Dig a bit deeper and test a bit further, and you may just find that your SEO-delivered customers that were also exposed to the influencer have higher LTV than those who were not. Deep attribution data insights allow you to fully appreciate the true value of your partnerships.

In physics, as Adam endearingly referenced, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that the more accurately the momentum of a particle is measured, the less accurately its position can be known. Due to the relationship or interaction between the measurer and the particle, the very act of measurement causes a change in the particle’s momentum. 

Simply put, the true nature of what you’re measuring is changed as you become part of the system being measured. We can apply this principle to your B2B marketing strategy, too. 

In marketing, incrementality is the lift in your desired outcome as a result of marketing activity. Keeping Heisenberg in mind, we must have an ever-evolving attribution model in order to get remotely close to a comprehensive understanding of performance as a whole. 

You’re going to have to look at performance from all possible vantage points, so it’s important to be willing to change your perspective in the interest of understanding where value is being generated. B2B Affiliate Marketing is about breaking down the funnel for the customer journey, and then aligning and rewarding your partners for the value they deliver.

Partner Commerce has kindly offered free B2B Affiliate Program audits to make sure that you’re getting the maximum incremental value from your partnerships. Submit your details if you're interested - [Request Here]

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