There are thousands of articles out there that talk about How to start an affiliate program (either for a B2C or B2b business). However, many don’t go into detail on the exact time or indication for when it is a good time to explore an affiliate program for your B2B organization.

In today’s post I plan to give you just that: Immense clarity on when to start a B2B affiliate program

Let’s get started!

Factor 1: Product Market Fit

This is one many will overlook. “I have product/market fit. or “I don’t have this – that is why I want to have an affiliate program to get partners to sell more of my products to solve my problem!”  many might say.

But the truth is: You are only as good as your product.

If you have been able to get just 10 customers to buy your product and they don’t get substantial value (or it doesn’t fully encompass their needs), you don’t have product market fit.

Why is product market so important around affiliates & starting an affiliate program?

  • If your product doesn’t sell naturally  – there is no way it will sell through a 3rd party affiliate.
  • If you try an affiliate program BEFORe product/market fit – no one will win; An affiliate might promote it to his large audience but if it doesn’t capture customer value: customer will cancel and the affiliate likely won’t get paid commission.

This is why Product market fit is SO important in being a precursor to start an affiliate program.

But how do I know if I have product market fit?

There is a lot of writing on product market fit and how to tell if you have achieve it. I think the two biggest takeaways on understanding if you have reach it  are:

  1. If you have to ask if you have product market fit, you probably haven’t achieved it (coined by Eric Reis).
  2. If you have any of the following, you probably haven’t reached product market fit: long sales cycles, slow usage, bad or no feedback from customers on the value of your product.

Product market fit often feels more like an art than a science so don’t rush over it just to then realize it is at the core of many of the marketing and sales success you will do down the road.

Factor 2: Reach.

This can be tricky to determine and often companies over-inflate the reach they potentially have with their products or services.

That is why I want to introduce the Web Hosting Question

Web hosting affiliate programs are very successful. Beyond the favorable economics of them,  they actually win with their affiliate program because of the varied reach they have.

What I mean by this is – they can engage all different types of audiences like:

  • Developers & Developer communities who mention their web hosting services.
  • Publishers and bloggers who write reviews or talk about their customer experience with the web hosting company they use (plus, there is tons you can do with web hosting: apps, CMS, and the brands within them).
  • Integration opportunities.

Plus, they can engage these types of audiences in all different regions of the world due to the nature of the business. This gives a super wide reach for affiliates to promote their services to!

So the Web Hosting Question is just that: “Does my product or service have substantial reach – across audience, geography, or use of the product?”

So, when it comes to evaluating the answer to that, you have to be very honest. You don’t have to hit all the factors that the web Hosting Question covers – but it also can’t be a very limited (less than 1000),only in a specific region, using your product or service for just one specific reason.

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Are you still struggling with whether or not an affiliate program is right for your B2B organization?  I would love to help you tackle it. Leave a brief question below or setup a time to speak.

Published by

Taylor is the Founder of The Up Foundry. 7+ years starting, managing and growing affiliate programs for Technology, subscription, and SaaS-based companies, Taylor works with clients all over the world to generate millions in sales and revenue from their affiliate programs each year.

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