Not trying to discourage anyone, but it’s not very easy to make affiliate marketing work for SaaS, unless you’re in some specific fields surrounded by marketers and influencers.
I’m saying this as a founder of an affiliate tracking tool for SaaS (firstpromoter.com) and dealing with almost 1000 SaaS companies.
Here’s a few tips I gathered over time from my observations having direct access to a couple hundreds of successful affiliate programs of SaaS companies, mostly B2B:
have an idea who are your most important affiliates and keep an open, personal communication channel with them. Drip emails help immensely, but they are automated, for affiliates that have high potential(like if they are a well-known blogger) contact them regularly, have a chat with them and try to help them promote your product, brainstorm strategies
once an important affiliate signs up, try to make him/her commit to a deadline to promote your product(webinar, blasting to email list, posting a blog post, etc) and make sure you remind about that
I think the easiest way to get high quality affiliates is to make webinars with top bloggers and influencers in your industry. They are less likely to turn down a webinar from a quality product like and affiliates+webinars work very closely. Podcast got also really popular lately.
to some top influencers you can give discounts to their audience and also, maybe like a free year membership to the influencer, to grab their attention. Top influencers are bombarded with affiliate request so you’ll need to provide more value
you can create personalized landing pages to some affiliates, they love that(you can include that in your recruit pitch). FirstPromoter has a feature called “direct url tracking” that can track visits and sales from a specified url, without the need of a referral link.
at the end of the day, the most important part is the quality of the affiliates AND your relationship with them. If they don’t trust you or your product, they won’t push it and they will just stay dormant. If they don’t have traffic and followers, even if they push it, you won’t get much from it
you need patience This rarely ramps up in a short time, but even a good affiliate can bring a nice extra revenue stream and a positive ROI.
Quick note about tracking tools:
At the beginning, it won’t matter much what tool you use because most likely any tool can work. The issues appear later when the program starts to lift off and you need certain features to improve the program or you need to automate certain parts and you can’t or you find the integration is not working well, etc.
The migrations are super hard so it’s a good idea to compare features a bit and other basic stuff (like it’s a side-project or not, does it work flawlessly with subscriptions, does it support both one-time charges and recurring commissions in case you’ll be selling some extra stuff later, the API) so you won’t be forced to switch to something else down the road - we do lots of migrations and it’s painful for our customers.