Growing your Affiliate Program with a CRM – By Dustin Howes

by Colleen on April 13, 2015


How do you keep track of your affiliate relationships?


Ask this question of any affiliate manager, and the answers may surprise you. Some might set calendar reminders while others go old school with pad and paper.

Throughout my first year in the industry, I naively expected everyone to reply to my emails and for deals to just to fall in my lap. After years of learning the hard way, I learned to embrace the power of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to stay organized.

Document Hot Leads

Did you find the perfect affiliate for your merchant program? Create a lead and work towards making it a live account. Documenting your efforts will show how hard you are working to grow the program. It also helps you figure out what style and methods are working for you.

Logging each email is easy: just BCC the email address connected to the account and the full thread is instantly documented. This helps you remember where you left off in the conversation and what topics to follow up on.

Task Reminders

More often than not, one email isn’t going to magically get affiliates to start promoting your program. After you send that first email, set a reminder to follow up in two weeks. Set another one to try a new approach in a month.

Tenacity is the sharpest knife in the drawer; keep setting reminders until you get a solid answer, then set reminders to make sure the program is live and to optimize.

Get a hard no? Try again in six months; they might have a change of heart or a change in personnel. You can also assign another team member a task to try a new angle.

Institutional Memory

Good affiliates are hard to come by; direct contacts are even harder. Documenting account names, emails, calls, and reminders are the safety net your company needs to ensure the relationships continues.

Having these contacts documented makes life easier on everyone in the company. As roles change in your marketing department, good CRM documentation will help the new point of contact hit the ground running.

Predicting Affiliate Performance

Forecasting is another essential tool to showcase your efforts and predict the growth of the program. At Marketing Clique, in addition to the abovementioned contact info, we also document potential revenue and percentage of closing opportunities.

To estimate monthly revenue with a potential affiliate, we compare their traffic and demographic to past or current affiliates in the program.

Once a connection is made with the affiliate, we document all interactions and estimate the likelihood of closing the deal. Using the CRM creates full transparency of the current state of the program and the growth in the near future.

Dustin Howes is the Director of Marketing at Marketing Clique.

This article appeared in issue 30 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2015.

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