As they move to embrace the affiliate referral program, many companies find what is simple, in theory, turns out to be more involved than they imagined.
Initially, the issue is one of trying to figure out which is to be emphasis first: partner recruiting or the systems to support partners.
It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario:
should we recruit partners and then add the tools; or should we stand-up the partner tools and then recruit….?
Sure, a vendor (especially IT vendors) can throw-up a “JOIN NOW” button/form on their Partner page. And, they can even add some “portal” features to it… Voila! a day or two later and the skeletons of a partner program are there, ready to deliver referral partners.
That’s good, but many vendors soon find that throwing a form up on their web site and starting an affiliate recruitment campaign quickly falls short of what it actually takes to run a credible referral program, at scale.
Regarding the tools to support partners, people are often in one of two camps, either: a) they believe there are not so necessary, or b) they believe a DIY solution will work.
Either way, the importance is underestimated.
Not rounding out the tools to support their program, vendors are soon confronted with one of two problems:
Crickets – that is, no one comes in and no one signs-up. They talk with people but, missing tools, the program falls short on credibility and people don’t sign-up.
Firehose – marketing delivers a number of good partners, but the back-end support to provide an influencer what they need to simply represent a product are not there.
Either way, affiliates come in, have a look, but the tools to support them fall short and they soon quit. The vendor is overwhelmed; the affiliate partner is underwhelmed and all the marketing effort to bring them in is now wasted - the program dies a slow death.
Wise partners recognize that a sales channel is an investment and it needs proper systems to support it.
Better still, those in this camp recognize the SaaS world has advanced and that affiliate management tools are now readily available within affiliate Partner Marketplaces.
Partners listing their program, offering it in a marketplace, get both the tools to support partners AND the eyeballs of partners looking to represent them.
Via a listing in a Partner Marketplace, an affiliate program has not only immediate credibility and all the tools necessary to support their partners, but walk-up traffic too. In under 30-days, an organization can be up, live, having both the chicken and egg.
- Cell Phones and Partner Programs
If you have a partner program and are looking to implement an affiliate referral program, you might want to consider:
The Public Market