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Introduction to B2B Affiliate Marketing Basics

B2B affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy that involves collaboration between companies to promote each other's products or services. Unlike traditional B2C (business-to-consumer) affiliate marketing, which targets individual consumers, B2B affiliate marketing focuses on the needs of businesses. B2B affiliate marketing provides businesses with a cost-effective way to expand their reach, drive lead generation, and build strategic partnerships within their respective industries.
B2B Affiliate Marketing 101
Published on
January 9, 2024

This article was written by Jason Hulott, Director of Business Development at Speedie Consulting. It explores the basics of B2B affiliate marketing and gives you practical usage tips. By leveraging the key points suggested by Jason, your company can excel in creating a successful B2B affiliate marketing program with a strong foundation for further development.


B2B affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy that involves collaboration between companies to promote each other's products or services. In this model, one business (the merchant or advertiser) partners with other businesses or individuals (affiliates) who actively market and promote the merchant's offerings. The affiliates earn a commission or a predetermined reward for each desired action, such as a sale, lead, or click, generated through their marketing efforts.

Unlike traditional B2C (business-to-consumer) affiliate marketing, which targets individual consumers, B2B affiliate marketing focuses on the needs of businesses. It often involves more complex sales processes, longer sales cycles, and a greater emphasis on building relationships within specific industries. Affiliates in B2B programmes are typically businesses or professionals with relevant industry expertise, allowing for a more targeted and nuanced approach to marketing.

The core concept of B2B affiliate marketing lies in leveraging the networks and credibility of affiliates to access new business opportunities and markets. This collaborative approach benefits both parties, as merchants gain access to the affiliates' established audience, and the affiliates earn revenue through successful referrals.

B2B affiliate marketing provides businesses with a cost-effective way to expand their reach, drive lead generation, and build strategic partnerships within their respective industries. The success of these programmes often hinges on selecting the right affiliates and establishing mutually beneficial relationships based on trust and industry alignment.

How B2B Differs from B2C Affiliate Marketing

B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) affiliate marketing differ in their target audiences, sales processes, and the nature of the products or services involved. In B2B affiliate marketing, the primary focus is on businesses as customers, and the sales cycles are often longer and more complex compared to B2C.

Affiliates in B2B programmes typically include industry-specific professionals, consultants, or other businesses with expertise in a particular field. These affiliates play a crucial role in building relationships, understanding the unique needs of businesses, and facilitating more intricate sales processes.

On the other hand, B2C affiliate marketing targets individual consumers. The sales processes in B2C tend to be shorter and transactional, often involving lower-cost products. B2C affiliates are diverse and may include bloggers, social media influencers, voucher sites, cashback sites, and content creators who appeal to a broad consumer audience. These affiliates focus on promoting products or services directly to end consumers, emphasising user experience, brand appeal, and immediate purchasing decisions.

Affiliate types also differ between B2B and B2C. In B2B affiliate marketing, affiliates often include industry experts, consultants, and other businesses that can provide valuable insights and connections within a specific sector. These affiliates may utilise targeted content, webinars, or networking events to attract other businesses.

In contrast, B2C affiliate marketing frequently involves affiliates such as bloggers, influencers, and coupon sites that appeal to a wider consumer base. B2C affiliates leverage engaging content, reviews, and promotional offers to drive direct consumer sales.

Benefits of B2B Affiliate Marketing

Implementing a B2B affiliate marketing programme for your business offers a myriad of advantages. Firstly, it provides an avenue for extending your reach and tapping into new audiences within your industry. Affiliates, often with established credibility, can introduce your products or services to potential customers not easily reached through traditional channels. Moreover, the performance-driven nature of affiliate marketing ensures cost-effectiveness, allowing you to allocate your budget efficiently by paying affiliates based on actual results.

Secondly, a B2B affiliate marketing strategy contributes to enhanced credibility and trust. Recommendations from reputable affiliates can positively influence potential customers, bolstering your brand's standing in the industry. Additionally, the programme facilitates lead generation and customer acquisition, leveraging affiliates' pre-existing networks to drive high-quality leads and foster business growth.

Furthermore, the scalability and flexibility inherent in B2B affiliate marketing make it a dynamic tool for your business. Whether expanding into new markets or adapting to changing business conditions, the programme can be adjusted accordingly.

Lastly, the measurable return on investment (ROI) and the accountability of performance metrics allow for informed decision-making and the continuous optimization of marketing strategies. In essence, a well-structured B2B affiliate marketing programme not only provides a cost-effective means of expanding your market presence but also enhances credibility, facilitates lead generation, and ensures adaptability to changing business landscapes.

Choosing the Right Affiliate Partners

Finding the right B2B affiliate partners is crucial for the success of your affiliate marketing programme. Here are a few ideas on how a company can identify and collaborate with the most suitable affiliates:

Define your ideal affiliate profile

·  Clearly outline the characteristics and qualities you seek in potential affiliates. Consider factors such as industry expertise, target audience, and marketing methods.

·  Do they target or interact with your ideal client profile?

·  Identify affiliates whose values align with your brand, ensuring a cohesive and trustworthy partnership.

Leverage industry networks

·  Explore industry-specific forums, conferences, and networking events to connect with potential B2B affiliates.

·  Engage in conversations within your industry to identify individuals or businesses with a strong online presence and a reputation for credibility.

Utilize affiliate networks and platforms

·  Join B2B affiliate marketing platforms and networks that facilitate connections between merchants and affiliates.

·  These platforms often have tools for vetting affiliates, tracking performance, and managing partnerships efficiently.

Research and outreach

·  Conduct thorough research on potential affiliates, including their online presence, audience demographics, and past performance in affiliate marketing.

·  Reach out directly to individuals or businesses that align with your criteria, expressing your interest in a potential partnership and highlighting the mutual benefits.

Finding the right B2B affiliate partners requires a strategic approach that involves defining your ideal affiliate profile, leveraging industry networks, utilising affiliate platforms, and conducting thorough research. By carefully selecting affiliates with the right expertise and aligning values, you can build a network that enhances your brand reputation and drives meaningful results in the B2B space.

Setting Up an Affiliate Programme

Building a B2B affiliate programme using software like Kiflo involves a systematic approach to ensure effective tracking and management of affiliates.

1. Set Programme Goals and Commission Structure

·  Define the objectives of your B2B affiliate programme, whether it's lead generation, sales, or other performance metrics.

·  Determine a competitive and enticing commission structure that aligns with your business goals.

2. Choose Kiflo as Your Affiliate Software

·  Select Kiflo or a similar affiliate management software designed for B2B programmes.

·  Kiflo provides features such as real-time analytics, commission tracking, and a user-friendly interface for both merchants and affiliates.

3. Create Marketing Collateral and Resources

·  Develop comprehensive marketing materials that cater to the B2B audience, including business-focused content, whitepapers, and industry-specific resources.

·  Ensure that affiliates have access to a library of promotional materials within the Kiflo platform.

4. Implement Effective Communication Strategies

·  Use Kiflo's communication features to maintain a direct line with affiliates. This may include in-app messaging, email notifications, or newsletters.

·  Provide regular updates on new products, promotions, and any changes to the affiliate programme.

5. Monitor Performance and Optimize

·  Utilise Kiflo's tracking and reporting tools to monitor affiliate performance in real-time.

·  Identify high-performing affiliates and optimise your programme based on their success. Kiflo's analytics can offer insights into which strategies are most effective.

By combining the capabilities of affiliate management software like Kiflo with a well-defined strategy, you can build a successful B2B affiliate programme. This includes setting clear goals, choosing the right software, creating targeted marketing materials, implementing effective communication channels, and continually monitoring and optimising the programme for optimal performance.

Commission Structures in B2B Affiliate Marketing

In B2B affiliate marketing, various commission models can be employed to incentivise affiliates based on specific actions or outcomes. While traditional models like pay-per-sale remain popular, B2B scenarios often involve more complex processes, leading to diverse commission structures. Here are different types of commission models, including some non-standard items:

Pay-Per-Sale (PPS)

·  Standard Model: Affiliates earn a commission when their referred leads result in a successful sale. This model is widely used in B2B, especially for high-ticket items or long-term service contracts.

Pay-Per-Lead (PPL)

·  Lead Generation Focus: Affiliates earn a commission for each qualified lead they bring to the business. Leads may include potential clients who express interest, submit a contact form, or download a resource.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

·  Traffic-Driven Model: Affiliates earn a commission based on the number of clicks generated through their referral links. This model is more common in B2C but can be adapted for specific B2B scenarios.

Pay-Per-Email Signup

·  Building Email Lists: Affiliates receive compensation for each email sign-up resulting from their promotional efforts. This model is useful for businesses looking to expand their email marketing reach.

Pay-Per-Quiz Completion

·  Engagement and Qualification: Affiliates are rewarded when their referrals complete a quiz or survey. This model is effective for businesses wanting to gather valuable insights or qualify leads before direct engagement.

Tiered Commission Structures

·  Performance Levels: Affiliates earn varying commission rates based on performance tiers. For instance, higher commissions may be granted for surpassing specific sales or lead generation thresholds.

Hybrid Models

·  Combination Approach: Employ a mix of commission models to tailor compensation to various actions. For instance, combining PPS with PPL to reward affiliates for both sales and lead generation.

Lifetime or Recurring Commissions

·  Long-Term Partnerships: Affiliates receive ongoing commissions for the lifetime of a customer they refer. This is particularly relevant in B2B, where recurring contracts or subscription-based services are common.

Performance Bonuses

·  Achievement Rewards: Introduce bonuses for affiliates who consistently meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks, encouraging long-term commitment and effort.

Choosing the right commission model in B2B affiliate marketing depends on the nature of your business, the target audience, and the desired outcomes. Combining standard and non-standard models allows for flexibility and customization, ensuring that affiliates are appropriately rewarded for their contributions to your business's success.


B2B affiliate marketing involves a performance-based collaboration between businesses to promote products or services. It emphasises complex sales processes and industry relationships. In contrast to B2C, it targets businesses, requiring a different set of affiliates and strategies.

Setting up a successful B2B affiliate programme involves defining goals, choosing the right software (e.g., Kiflo), creating targeted marketing materials, and maintaining effective communication—Kiflo's features, like real-time analytics and a user-friendly interface, aid in tracking and managing affiliates.

Commission structures in B2B affiliate marketing vary, including pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and unique models like pay-per-email signup or quiz completion. Hybrid models and lifetime commissions provide flexibility, and performance bonuses incentivize affiliates to exceed benchmarks.

Key Takeaways

B2B Distinctions: B2B affiliate marketing differs significantly from B2C, focusing on industry relationships, longer sales cycles, and targeted affiliate partnerships.

Setting Up a Programme: To build a successful B2B affiliate programme, businesses should define clear goals, leverage appropriate software like Kiflo, create tailored marketing materials, and maintain effective communication channels.

Explore Diverse Commission Models: B2B affiliate programmes can employ various commission models, including non-standard approaches like pay-per-email signup or quiz completion. The choice depends on business goals, target audience, and desired outcomes.

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