B2B SaaS affiliate software & marketing tips with Joran Hofman
Welcome to the Affiliate BI podcast. I've got a special guest here, someone I've been chatting with for quite some time. He is the host of Grow Your B2B SaaS podcast, which I'm an active listener. I wait for this his episodes to come out every week. And he's also the founder of Reditus, which is a software we're looking at integrating into our SaaS. Joran, I'm going to pass it back to you to tell us a bit more about what you do.
Currently I'm the, or I'm the founder of Reditus basically an affiliate management platform purely focused on B2B SaaS companies. So our goal is to help P2P SaaS companies grow their revenue via affiliate marketing.
How did you get into the space? Like, what is your story of. Founding this company and getting into like, not just sass, but something very specific. That is a really interesting unserved niche.
I think trying to make a, a long story really short. But I used to work at a, at a SaaS, which was called LeadFeeder called DealFront right now.
I got into that as a salesperson. So I did around like five to 10 demos a day. Then I became a customer success manager, same story, but then with existing clients. And they all asked me, this is a great tool. Which tool should I use more? If you do that amount of demos, at one point, you get sick of that question.
So I decided to build a website which was called which is still called Salesforce marketing.co. And the idea was there that I'm gonna list the best sales and marketing tools on that site. And then Grow basically the, the the organic traffic of it. I got it to 25, 000 organic visitors per month at one point.
So my idea was I'm going to lay on the beach somewhere and make money out of that website by going into affiliate marketing. So I joined all these different programs from all the tools I had on the site. And there was a moment I ran into a lot of issues. So, but a lot of programs, which I joined, I had to log in separately to their portal.
So I had to figure out, okay, well, I need to sign up first, need to get approved. I need to get the link and then have to keep looking into am I actually making money or not? And then there's some bigger competitors now of Redditors where I had 15, 000 clicks in a year and I did not make one sale. So on one hand logging into different portals on the other hand where I had a tool which did exactly what I wanted but then the tracking didn't work.
So Got so frustrated that I decided to build my own tool, basically. And skip the beach life while we're at it. Yeah, like I'm still working way too much. So I'm not laying on a beach somewhere and I'm making money like that.
Well, from the SaaS affiliates joining your network what have you learned from them about this unique vertical of SaaS affiliation, obviously doing this yourself as a SaaS affiliate and also like B2B marketing and B2B affiliation?
Yeah, I think affiliate marketing within B2B is still pretty unfamiliar. Like people don't really know about it as much as they know from B2C. I think the the way they look at it, because they hear a lot of things from the B2C side and then often like the negative overrules, I guess, the positive sometimes where they hear there's a lot of fraud things going on.
I think the unfamiliar unfamiliar with it, plus they think like it wouldn't bring them what they are looking for. But in the end, when you actually explain them, like how it works and purely because we do it on CPA and, and CPS or cost per sale, cost per action. They don't give anything away until they actually receive the money themself.
And then they think like, Hey, this could actually work. Then you see their mind shift twist, but then they think it's a magic bullet, which it isn't either because it still takes time and effort to build it up. I guess from going from unfamiliar to thinking like, okay, this is a magic bullet. And then of course making the next step to actually put the effort in.
Like, I think that's a bit of flow our clients go through.
It's just the irony that both of what we have to do is market our own SaaS companies. And I'm sure there's a lot of similarities you see about what affiliates actually have to do and all the different things that can. And kind of like you just copy ideas and copy lessons learned.
And yet it takes time, right? Like I always compare it with SEO. Like it takes time to, to build up things, take time to get affiliates, take time to get those affiliates to really start recommending you. But once you have it, the compounding effect takes into place. And then from there you can actually grow it to the, to the place you want it to be.
As a data company that helps affiliate programs deploy tracking tools, what are some of the features that your partner programs? And your actual users in the network affiliates, they're wanting to see beyond just getting their basic stats and click and sales count and commissions.
I think like I mean, what we currently offer is for example, like multiple multi level tiers, so people want to get rewarded if they, if they do well I think like, for example, SAS companies, of course, want to see, is there any fraud going on with the affiliates taking into referrals?
But I think like what we're going to work towards, so is basically showing affiliates, but showing SaaS companies what is doing well in the affiliate case, like which programs are converting well. Cause we have a lot of data, right? We know exactly how many clicks go to the, to the site. Then how many actually converted to a signup and how many signups actually converted into a paid, I could say.
Simple conversion rate metrics, but at the moment we don't show them towards affiliates, for example. So they don't know they can only see the commission percentage. And then we now show them the average revenue per account, but what if we showed them also the conversion rates? And then from there they can decide, is this a program good for me to join or not?
So that's. Something like the more sophisticated affiliates want to see, because they want to know what is converting, could I spend money and time and effort into it? And is it actually going to deliver me money at the end? On the other hand, SaaS companies, of course, want to see what is this person, who it is they say they are and do they have the reach they say they have.
So like one point we're going to work towards as well is have them connect like things like Google analytics, for example, to show the reach. But where is the reach? Is it do you say like connecting with the ICP we have? So we're trying to grow in regions, Europe, North America, do they have traffic there and, and, and.
basically go from there. And of course, historical data regarding affiliates, like, are they doing well for other programs? What are their conversion rates? So are they selling in the matter we actually want them to sell? So I think providing both of them, these kinds of metrics is just going to help to decide do we want to, to, to join or not and accept this affiliate or not.
That's a good insight where it's a mixture of fraud on one hand, where, you know, obviously the affiliate programs want to know. Who they're dealing with and to make sure that you're not agreeing to a deal based on what they said they had for traffic and then going full circle to having just better matching where it's yeah, you can do the matchmaking and have the affiliate join the program.
But if it's not really good fit, it's all about everything from well, matching products to matching different geos and, you know, maybe you might have. Like a Spanish affiliate focusing on SaaS tools and, you know, a Spanish focused SaaS platform. So it makes sense to, to also do that matchmaking.
Cause we have some, some clients who purely, for example, focus on Germany or have like content still in Dutch. So it doesn't make any sense to get an affiliate in from, from North America, which that was pretty easy to tackle, but when you actually buy textual information and then you can, you can check that.
But if you actually use the data, it's, it's a lot easier. You can automate it. And then it's just going to be smoother for, for everybody.
What are some of the data stories of things you've learned over the past two years in launching and growing Reditus?
There's a lot of data. I think that's the first thing we learned.
Like as soon as, I mean, we got, more, more and more clients in like, there's a lot of data, which we capture. So we had to upgrade our database quite a bit. Like we're actually thinking of like completely separating it from the things we do within, within the app, just because like it keeps on growing.
Right. The more SaaS companies we get, the more affiliates we get and the more clicks they generate. And then from there, they're, they're called like referral events. And then it goes into that. So. Especially watch this podcast. Like there's a lot of data we can leverage to actually show the, the, the metrics basically, and show what is converting or not.
Yeah. What else did we learn? I think yeah, it grows exponentially. Like definitely put limitations into place. Like one mistake we made is we sometimes allow people to enter textual fields like freely or like with contrary from, or like super simple things, which I mean, it's. We think about this common, common mistake or like a super stupid mistake.
And we're now putting everything into place. Like we're limiting everything. So the reason why we're doing it so we can leverage the data later on, it's going to be unified, et cetera. So I think that's one. And then the third one, which I guess our huge potential is there's a lot of room to start using AI or machine learning, I guess to figure out can we match affiliates with SaaS companies automatically.
So. Again, because we have a lot of data and I do think we need to, to maybe get six months more of data to really figure out like what is working, what isn't, and then start leveraging it to, to help clients to get value basically. That's a
Great insight where I, I didn't create any AI questions for this interview, but it's always nice to, to see it when it pops up because I mean, AI is the hottest thing now and it's not going away, but I think you're right.
I think the ways in which you can apply AI for what you do, for what we do and for what affiliates do is almost never, never ending. It's limitless. Yeah. And.
Joran Hofman: Like I'm real practical as in, I'm not going to say we're using AI just because then we can say we use AI. I want to actually use it in a logical way where it drives value towards like our users.
So that's why we were not, we don't have any features so far, which are going to leverage it because it needs to provide value, like we're not just going to have it added for the sake of adding it. You
Mean not change your domain from getreditus. com to getreditus. ai.
Exactly. Or, or say that we're AI powered or things like that.
Like we'll wait until the perfect time where we can actually use it and, and make good
And also not throw in the other buzzwords like blockchain while we're at it. Exactly. Exactly. Next question are, what are some of the lessons you've learned in growing your B2B SaaS that you think affiliates can learn that focus on B2C and what would some of those key takeaways be?
Yeah, I think, I mean, the biggest lesson Like I made some pitch decks, of course, then looked into affiliate marketing as a whole when, when we got started. And, and I think when you compare B two C to B two B, like B two C is a lot more mature, right? I think like what you guys are doing as well.
You take things, you look at things a lot more in a material mature way where we still, for example, the dashboard is pretty simplistic, I guess. I mean not to downgrade our app, but we look at the, the main metrics a SaaS company cares about, which is like already really good. But I guess like when you look at B2C, the things you can do with everything within affiliate marketing, there's a lot more maturity going on.
So I think that's definitely one lesson or one thing we keep looking at B2C side, just to learn things from there. With that said, like also the potential, right? A lot of money is being earned on both sides on the B2C side, where I think B2B can still leverage it a lot more and a lot better, basically.
Maybe like an open kind of discussion. It's, we both have our own podcasts and I'm sure you know this very well that in the B2B space. B2B buyers, they go through maybe a different journey, or I've read that they have to go through so many more touch points before they trust us. So we're building our podcast to build trust so we can get our customers on board.
And do you think would you recommend that this is something that B2C space could use the leverage? I mean, you must see people that do B2C that have a podcast that's actually part of their main marketing traffic strategy.
Yeah, I think, I mean. When you look at podcasts, like we are now getting good traffic on our podcast, for example, like I think we, we just surpassed 10,000 plays almost like two weeks ago, where I think we're surpassing like 11,000 plays maybe in, in, in another two weeks.
So we're growing it really nicely. So the, the, the and he said like the brand authority indeed, like it's increasing just because we have high value guests and we talk about like top, but that also means is if we recommend something. People are more likely to probably check it out and, and try it out.
So I would definitely say it can help people to yeah. Convert clients into or convert into clients by using affiliate marketing.
I'm taking notes here. I think I should have you on as a guest every four weeks so I can do this just for my own needs. It's pretty selfish, but it's no, it's the irony.
It's you know, we're trying to focus on what people have to do on the B2C side. But at the same time I saw someone I think it's Dustin Howes. He mentioned that this whole B2B affiliation space is really untapped. And I'm talking to probably one of the best guests that knows this in both building.
Like Reditus, as well as actually having your own website that promotes SaaS tools, and I just think this is an untapped niche, and my experience, personally, is every time I've done B2B, it's been low competition, and do you think this will be low competition for the next couple of years, or what's your take on the growth of this I'm going to call it niche, even though it's really big right now.
No, yeah, it is kind of a niche, right. Cause I think like people don't know, indeed, a free market, many B2B SaaS again. So there's definitely a lot of potential because like depending of course, what a SaaS companies allows you to do as an affiliate. There are some companies, for example, and we're adding that data attribute now in, in, in, in our system, where we're going to show you affiliates, if you can run paid ads, because some of it is run paid ads, right?
Almost no SaaS companies will allow you to do it on the brand name. We have one client, for example, who does, and they just reached 1 million ARR generated via affiliates just because they allow you to do it. And their philosophy there is that. We don't have to hire a digital marketer. We know our customer acquisition costs, cause we know we give away X percent for X amount of months.
So it's an easy calculation for them and they don't have to invest money up front. But for example, if, if SaaS companies don't allow that, by putting on brand name, which is, I think makes common sense. Cause otherwise you're stealing traffic or getting traffic away. But if you allow it on, on keywords.
You could actually, as an affiliate, you could also calculate, okay, well, how much money can I burn, I guess, to start generating traffic towards a SaaS company, what is their average revenue per account, how much commission do I get and for how long do I get it? Of course, like I would probably do it for more established brands than the, the, the more, I guess like early, early stage companies, cause they probably still have to work out their conversion rates, but it's an easy.
Calculation you can make as an affiliate and Dr. Beauty with B2B SaaS is recurring. It's higher ticket priced. So in the end, the amount of commission you can earn is going to be a lot higher.
Great. And the next question, which I kind of have a good idea, because I mean, I've been talking to you about switching from our in house affiliate software to using Reditus how easy is it to set up an affiliate program with, with Reditus, like using your software and what, what did the tracking tools look like?
There's three steps. It can be done in two and a half minutes. That's the record at the moment. It was a developer. So that's I have to give him that. But basically it's, it's pretty simple. Like we need to have a tracking script on the site. So that allows us to place a cookie where somebody clicked an affiliate link.
We need to have one line of code in the signup form, which allows us to capture the email whenever somebody signs up. And then we want to connect with a payment processor and we have like native integrations with Stripe and, and Paddle, which are the most common ones used. If that's not the case, then we have an API and then it will take a bit longer, but by having these three things we would already be able to track the entire funnel.
Now I'm going to use one of your own interview questions flipped around towards you, which is based on your experience in working with SAS affiliates in your network. What would you say the tools and skills are needed to make 10K months of recurring revenue as an affiliate?
As an affiliate. Yeah, that's, that's a good question. Like I think as an affiliate as well, like if you have already an existing network, it's going to be a lot easier because in the end what you're going to do, right, is you're going to sell a software towards your network. Like that's kind of what, what is being expected.
So like build an audience and farther sooner than later. So like the same we're doing with this podcast, it's a great way to start building an audience. Like I've seen other podcasts, people add a newsletter to it. So it allows you to also start promoting, for example, tools, which are related towards the podcast you've been doing with a different guest.
So I think like building your own audience, building your own yeah. Owned audience. That's, that's definitely one. If you don't have that, like a quick way, I guess would be to run pay desk, but make sure you check the terms and conditions of that SaaS companies, if they actually allow it, because otherwise you're spending money and then in the end commissions are being rejected.
So definitely make sure you check things before you, you start doing that.
And yeah, what else? I think like having your own distribution channels, that's key. Like for example, with the Salesforce marketing website, it took me like a really long time to get to that 25, 000 organic visitors per month. But once you get there, it's a nice position, right? You have money coming in from the ads you're running, for example, on a site, plus you have affiliate marketing income.
So it allows you to keep scaling the the efforts you're doing to grow the traffic again. So. It's going to be, the beginning is going to be hard, like especially, I mean, it's, it's a similar to SaaS company going from zero to 1K MRR. That's I think the most difficult period and like, don't give up, like keep trying things and see what's working and then.
Start iterating and building on that and going back to the site you built for, you know, listening different SAS companies and being a SAS affiliate if you had to do that playbook all over again, would there be something you do differently? Like, would you include a podcast in that? And you know, what, what are the little shortcuts you would do in having to rebuild that?
Yeah, I mean, how I did it, I think, which is a good way to do it is to do it when you're still working full time or at least have a different source of income. So I, I first built a website, I think in Webflow, and then in the end, I turned it to WordPress just because there's so much more optimizations you can do, plus you can outsource a lot of things.
So I was really good in outsourcing a lot of things. I have my stable income, so I was able to put some money into place to actually have people do things for me. So to build a website, to write blogs to add content to kind of just, I guess, like make it as easy as possible for yourself. So you can think of new ways to, to do things.
What I would change at a newsletter, like more quicker, I guess, because it was a really nice way to. To build like an audience and to keep them engaged with the site. Cause otherwise they would only find you when they, when they're searching for something. A podcast could definitely be a good one. Like again, like the, the traction we're now getting on our podcast.
It's really nice. Like I, I wish, I guess I did it sooner. And like, as soon as you get into this nice vibe, you can actually leverage other people's network to get to get visibility to. To the things you're doing basically. So I think that's the other thing like leveraging other people or partners or websites more and more like you see it a lot, right?
Where people have like a certain batch on their site you earned from G2 or Tekpon or any other review site, but that's good for both of them because they both get visibility and they both get more traffic and often there's a backlink behind the button. So it's even better for the, for the review side.
So. I guess there's a lot of things, but like own media, like make sure you own your own channels, distribution channels, make sure you leverage other people's network is just going to kickstart things and try to like outsource. If you can when you're working full time, try to outsource as much as you can, because then it allows you to do other things again, to grow it quicker.
I would agree. I would even add going full circle back to the podcast stuff that the whole. Take on it is that when you do these podcasts, it's you, you develop a connection a lot stronger. I mean, we've been chatting for quite some time and I joined your podcast. So it gives us the opportunity to say, Hey, when do I have an opportunity to send a lead your way?
And we know that kind of goes both ways. And I think by having our own podcast, that gave us the chance to, to build our own network. And I think that's probably the more powerful takeaway. Where in affiliate marketing, you usually have to go to conferences to start building your network, but that's not always easy to do.
Whereas with the podcast, if you're doing a weekly, it's you're forcing yourself to get that weekly connection and. I don't know what your experience has been. I'm probably sure it's the same, but for me, it's been a beyond valuable.
Likewise. And I think once you get into a good flow and you have like a good level of guests, then it's also easier to keep leveling it up basically.
Right. So and then it's just going to kickstart everything once more. So if you provide them everything they need to promote at the podcast show the things they've said is just also going to allow you to, to leverage. I wish that network more and more, plus build that relationship a hundred percent.
If you're an hour long on a call talking about the things you love, then it's, it's a connection there already.
And we're obviously, it goes without saying you're producing as content that sits there and pulls more people in. And once you trust in all, all the other benefits that come with it.
I think that's one thing like I wouldn't do differently if I would do it again, like focus on long term growth channels or focus on like evergreen content or focus on like things which are going to grow over time. That's something I w I wouldn't do differently. Like definitely focus on the longterm and not just the quick wins.
Going full circle back to the very beginning of where you started off working in customer success. Do you think some of the, your, what you've learned in the past as well as what you have to do today with your SaaS in terms of customer success are things that you could apply to B2C or do you think it's more in the B2B realm?
Can I apply it to B2C? That's a tricky question. Cause like my knowledge, like especially my, my things I've been doing are purely B2B. Like I think. If I maybe say like, well, what I'm focusing always is on the end value. So I guess like we're doing things, right? Like we're helping, for example, setting up an affiliate program for B2B SaaS, but they don't want an affiliate program.
They want revenue. So for example, what we do is we charge them based on the revenue they're getting via the affiliate program. More revenue, the more they're going to pay us, but that's the value, what they signed up for using Reditus. So that's what we're going to charge them based on. So I think. If you convert that into B2C, that's always a good practice, right?
But it's a bit more trickier cause it's up, it's not always recurring. It's maybe one off, like what is the actual value to getting out of it? So that's that is going to be more, more trickier for
Last question, what do you see as the future of affiliate marketing as it intersects with business intelligence?
I think what I, what I said before, as in matching affiliates and SaaS based on, on data. Like when I look at, I guess, like my niche, right, B2B SaaS, like I think. They're both looking to grow their revenue, but sometimes you just have to find each other. So I think like for us when we look at the data we have, like we're able to, to start matching them at one point based on all the data points and based on all the things they provided us.
So I think that's definitely one. And like for ourself as well, like often when you apply to a program, you still have to fill out all these textual things. I think that should be gone at one point where you're going to trust data more than actual textual answers. So again, coming back to, to matching them because if you can trust the data, you can automate a lot of things more.
So you can auto accept people if they meet certain criteria, like do they have a domain authority of 30 plus? Do they actually have the traffic they say they have? Do they have the, the same network you're looking for? So I think that's going to be. That's going to be key in there from there. You can build like partner profiles, SaaS profiles.
It's yes. So much fun in data coming up.Awesome. Joran, thank you so much for doing this. How can people get ahold of you? I
I think I'm still the only one on, on LinkedIn called Joran Hofman. So if you search on that, just connect with me and happy to connect.