Continuing on from Merchant ABCs #6 – Tips for B2B Merchants in the Affiliate Industry, Kim Salvino and Amy Ely of US joined Merchant ABCs hosts Deborah Carney and Vinny O’Hare to answer two great B2B merchant questions:
  1. What is keeping more B2B companies from starting up affiliate programs?
  2. I’ve often read that the B2B buying cycle is a different creature than the consumer buying cycle, so how can an affiliate program be structured to ensure that an affiliate gets paid appropriately?

Click here to listen to the podcast.

While answering these questions, topics covered include:
  • Common concerns of running B2B programs in the affiliate industry and how to address them
  • The benefits of B2B affiliate marketing, and how networks have adapted
  • Tips on how to structure a program for success and establish strong affiliate relationships
  • How to adapt programs to accommodate a longer buying cycle

Key takeaways include:

B2B companies may not start affiliate programs because they think they’re:
  1. Too small scale or niche
  2. Unable to track sales offline
  3. Too complex to market
  4. Unable to effectively manage an affiliate’s promotion of their business

To alleviate these concerns, B2B merchants should consider that:
  1. Many affiliates prefer small scale or niche products because they can focus on that topic
  2. The B2B space is far less competitive, which is also attractive to affiliates
  3. B2B products typically generate a higher margin and commission for affiliates
  4. Many networks can track conversions offline
  5. Merchants can manually approve affiliates to ensure relevancy
  6. Merchants with clear, well constructed Ts & Cs reduce the likelihood of any promotional issues

Concerns regarding the B2B buying cycle apply to many B2C programs as well, and can be mitigated in the following ways:
  1. Set the cookie duration to 365 days
  2. Develop a commission structure (ideally using a batch upload process) that pays on an initial lead as well as full customer acquisition
  3. Establish an offline tracking solution to ensure affiliates don’t lose out on sales