In the beginning, when you first launch your affiliate program, the tasks and responsibilities can seem minimal through the growth phase of working with partners.
However, once you hit a little stride and start seeing more affiliate signups, higher conversions/sales, and processing more commissions - you might consider hiring an affiliate manager to keep up with the success, and even more: scale it.
But where do you start?
First: When should you hire a SaaS affiliate manager?
The timing of hiring your first affiliate manager is key.
Hiring an experienced affiliate manager too early and it might be costly to your bottom line. Hire to late and risk affiliates leaving for lack of support, communication and growth they could find in one of your competitors.
So when is the best time to consider hiring one? There are two indicator/rules I generally go by:
- If total sales/revenue from the affiliate channel is 10%+ of the total revenue per month or…
- You have aggressive goals that will rely on the affiliate channel to meet/exceed those goals.
As you can see, one is more reactive while the other is advantageous
or proactive. It really depends on where you are at or want to go with your affiliate program.
What department does the Affiliate Manager belong to in your organization?
First and foremost, let’s clear up some confusion about an affiliate manager’s role and where they sit in the organization. Are they in sales or marketing?
The affiliate channel is a cross channel between sales and marketing. On one side, you have indirect sales; referred customers coming from partners are considered sales from an indirect source. However, the affiliate program involves partners positioning and promoting your brand - which is all about marketing.
Therefore, the affiliate manager is a hybrid. Typically the affiliate manager sits in the marketing department with strong bias and action to revenue marketing.
What should the SaaS affiliate manager be good at?
In order to hire an affiliate manager you need to know what traits you are looking for. Below, are the top areas the affiliate should understand and be able to execute on immediately:
- Recruiting quality affiliate partners (sales - prospecting, finding, and pitching new partners that would be a good fit for the affiliate program.
- Helping affiliate partners get started and grow their sales (sales & account management) - onboarding affiliates into your affiliate program and making them successful.
- Managing brand and getting rid of bad actors in the partner ecosystem (marketing and compliance) - making sure affiliates are complying with the terms and conditions, referring quality, targeted customers, and keeping your brand protected.
- Tracking and reporting - Being able to understand and diagnosis if there any tracking problems as well as diving deep into affiliate performance reports to understand where and what to act on.
- Must know SaaS - There are a lot of product-based affiliate managers out there. However, SaaS, B2B affiliate programs are very different to manage. Pick someone who has experience in this background.
Where to find a SaaS Affiliate Manager?
Finding a quality SaaS Affiliate Manager can be tough. Sure you can go on Upwork or other Freelance sites and hire based on low prices but you will be sacrificing quality and potentially performance with that.
Linkedin, Facebook groups, and other more targeted communities are going to be your best bet for finding a qualified affiliate manager
I am sure there are some areas I didn’t cover that you might be curious about as it pertains to hiring an affiliate Manager. Please check out this article, Why hire a SaaS Affiliate Manager? to find out more info like how to compensate an affiliate manager and common backgrounds of a successful affiliate manager.