In the realm of marketing, it’s no secret that affiliate marketing is becoming an increasingly popular method for promoting your product or service. The affiliate marketing industry is continuing to grow rapidly, and according to Statista, U.S spending in the affiliate marketing industry is expected to surpass over $8 billion by the end of 2022.
Despite the growing popularity of affiliate marketing, finding the right affiliate for your business’s partner program can be tricky work. Typically, the main types of businesses using affiliate marketing are eCommerce businesses focused on a B2C model. This being the case, affiliate marketing can be just as effective a tool for B2B businesses as long as the right type of partners are found.
So, what is the key to effectively recruiting partners for B2B businesses? Here are the main steps to guide you in the right direction:
Identify the type of partners you want to target
When it comes to recruiting effective partners for your b2b business, you first have to identify the different types ideal partner personas (or IPPs). IPPs are the archetype for your partner discovery, and should be a reference point throughout your sourcing process.
Typically for B2B partners, the main types of partners you would recruit would be content partners and channel partners.
Content partners are typically video content creators, influencers, bloggers, large publications, etc. Content partners provide top-of-funnel education and attract visitors with high purchase intent.
The success of content partners for a B2B business largely depends on the partner’s audience. Ensuring that your B2B partners’ target demographic properly aligns with your customer segment is crucial. Without a tie to a similar demographic to your own, it becomes increasingly difficult for your B2B partners to generate leads for your business successfully.
Grovia’s partner discovery tool lets you quickly find content partners tailored to your business through intelligent search tools that find partners based on your search phrases.
Channel partners are companies or individuals – such as resellers, vendors, agencies, consultants, or service providers – that market or sell your products via their existing business networks, customers, and/or customer acquisition channels.
With channel partners, there should be strong overlap between your target customers, and a strong incentive to work together. In some cases, this may even need to surpass a revenue share or commission. For example, the prospect of developing an active two-way referral partnership, on top of a commission structure, will often be very attractive to a potential channel partner that is targeting similar customers as you.
Once you have identified which types of partners you want to pursue, it’s time to find them. While there are many ways to go about finding partners for your B2B business, a tried-and-true way to ensure these partners are a good fit is to look to the experts in the field. People who have experience in your space and will be able to easily understand your product should always be a top candidate when looking for B2B partners. In terms of finding these experts, there are a couple of resources to efficiently track them down:
- Udemy is a helpful resource that provides experts across multiple fields with the tools to create and share their own course to teach the world what they are passionate about. Finding a course related to your business niche could lead you to your next successful partner.
- Another resource to use when looking for b2b partners is Clutch. Clutch is a helpful site which provides in-depth reviews of agencies to make sure they are the right fit for your business. This is a great resource to provide insights as to what agencies to pursue as potential partners and with over 200,000 agencies on their lists, you are bound to find the perfect fit for an affiliate.
- Finally, check out existing ecosystem directories. Many companies such as Salesforce and Shopify have preexisting lists of potential partners and affiliates that could be a perfect fit for your business. Not only that, but because these are people who have previously partnered up with other businesses in the past, you know that they have the experience necessary to properly promote your product.
Once you have found relevant potential partners for your B2B business, it’s time to reach out to them. Considering you may only have a couple chances to get their attention, it is important to think about how you are going to reach them. Try to tailor your emails to specific partners for better engagement. The more personalized the email towards the partner, the higher chance you’ll get a response and can start working on setting up a call and closing the deal. If your email sounds like a robot wrote it, you probably will not get any engagement.
It is also key to make sure the partner you’re targeting knows the value a partnership would bring. Have clear and achievable rewards for your partner to continually encourage them to promote your business. A lot of top affiliates are also partners for other companies simultaneously. You want to make sure that they spend enough time putting more eyes on your business and do it in a way that can consistently drive sales. Consistent engagement, adequate rewards and compensation are one way to help ensure that partners stay motivated to add value to your business continually. Being a nice and friendly person goes a long way too!
Throughout this process, you will be handling a large volume of potential partners, so it is essential to stay organized to know which stage of the lifecycle your leads are in when moving leads through the funnel. Keeping tabs on who you have contacted already, whether or not they’ve expressed interest, what stage of negotiation the partner is at, and who has closed are just a few ways to ensure you stay organized and leads don’t get lost throughout the process. Grovia’s partner recruitment platform is one example of how you can make managing lead lifecycles a nonissue and smoothly transition leads from one stage of the funnel to the next.
Once you’ve identified your ideal partner and connected with them, you’ll want to nurture them into a revenue active partner. Partner activation is a careful artform that involves ensuring they have everything they need to promote your product or service. You should check in with them regularly to see how their audience is reacting and understand how you can help. If performance isn’t meeting your objectives, you can work with your partner to supply additional support or resources, content/promotion ideas, or meet up to brainstorm potential ideas. The goal is to continually iterate until you and your B2B partner have a successful approach for engaging with their audience. Grovia does a great job of automating this entire process and can not only help find the right partners for your business, but also can reach out, manage, and maintain these partners for a successful business relationship.
If you’d like to start a conversation with our sales team, reach out here!