19 min read

Scaling Your Affiliate Program: How to Know When It’s Time to Hire an Affiliate Manager

There are many details to consider when deciding to scale your affiliate program, including when you should hire an affiliate manager.

Where do you start the hiring process? Which candidate do you choose? What will their responsibilities entail?

The answers to these questions differ from business to business, and it is up to you to find answers when hiring time comes. You can use these insights to help make informed decisions to successfully maximize your affiliate program. 


Owner vs. Affiliate Manager Responsibilities

To begin, you should clearly divide the responsibilities between an owner and an affiliate manager. This will help you figure out specifically where you may need help within your business. Here is a table that provides the duties of each position:




Affiliate Manager 

High converting offers  Booking offers 
Best performing and optimized assets  Hitting the Quotas and KPI’s the owner setup 
An attractive affiliate compensation package  Getting more traffic from their current affiliates 
Clear and concise data that is easily accessible  Recruiting and closing new affiliate partnerships 
Establishing Quota’s, KPI’s, and Scorecards  They must be a marketer 
Regular check-ins, training, and adjustments  They must be a PR person 


As an owner you are responsible for the fluidity of your business, and making every step effortless to ensure you achieve your goals. You must take on the job of motivating your team to bring out their best and provide them with up-to-date information. Remember, your team will only succeed if you invest the time and training to help them reach their full potential.


Becoming a highly successful affiliate manager requires a thorough comprehension of marketing, sales and project management skills. Affiliate managers are high-ticket salespersons, so must possess the skill to balance all their responsibilities to achieve their goals.


Recognizing the Time to Hire


With an understanding of the two separate roles, it becomes easier to recognize when it’s time to add an affiliate manager to your affiliate program. However, you also have to consider different scenarios before jumping into a decision, such as: 


1. You must figure out if you are looking for a hunter or a farmer


Hunters and farmers both serve a purpose in affiliate programs. The hunter is the out-bound sales person:  

  • Going to events 
  • Building new relationships  
  • Bringing in new affiliates  
  • Closing deals (especially initial deals)  
  • Updating the strategy to make sure campaign goals are hit


They are your aggressive salesperson bringing in new opportunities to your business. 


A farmer is also known as a growth manager


  • Engaging affiliates in each step to increase clicks/bookings, and longevity 
  • Focusing on getting more out of existing relationships 
  • Fulfilling the closed deals


They are your white-gloved concierge who tries to get more out of your hunters deals and for longer. They are focused on consistency within your business and how to keep your numbers and goals on track while trying to make them grow.


We always recommend looking for a hunter when starting up as they can bring new relationships, big traffic, and big partnerships to your business. If you already have a lot of partners, or compliance issues and are not able to bring on affiliate partners, then you should start with a farmer.


2. Your affiliate manager is taking on responsibilities that they shouldn’t.


If you are part of the 85% of people who will be hiring a hunter straight off the bat, then you are going to need to hire support, especially if 20% of the admin work takes up the majority of your hunter’s time


If your affiliate manager is hitting their KPIs consistently and is on track to make about a one-million-dollar year, they should have support from a growth manager.


Adding a farmer to your team will help increase your affiliate manager’s efficiency significantly, so it should never be considered an expense. If you hire the right person for support, they should be expected to be self-monetized within 90 days (about 3 months)


Beware, if your affiliate manager is just hitting all their KPIs, you don’t want them using your farmer as a crutch. 


3. Farmer and Hunter profiles must complement each other’s weaknesses…


Based on our research, we have found that there are four main traits important for affiliate managers: 


  • Quick Start 
  • Fact finders  
  • Follow-through 
  • Implementer


Depending on your affiliate manager’s profile, it may be a good time to consider hiring a supporting role. The last two profiles tend to need a little bit of help, and this would be an opportunity to introduce new members to your team. It is essential that your affiliate manager profiles fill in the weaknesses that others may have within your program.


4. Hire a supporting person based on your KPIs.


Again, we don’t want you to hire someone who can become a crutch for the affiliate manager. Make sure you create a scorecard and outline before you hire so you make decisions based on when managers are ready for support. By bringing in support for them, your salesperson has the time to sell, which is what they should be focused on all the time. This is what will make your affiliate program grow quickly, efficiently, and reliably.


You’ll need to make sure that your hire will start making a return on investment within the first couple of months. You’re not trying to expand your team right off the bat, hiring a hunter, a farmer, and a project manager all at once. It will be one at a time. First, you hire the hunter and then hire a farmer who typically can cover the project and growth management roles in one, and once you really start to grow your business, you will branch out and hire a project manager.


As an owner, you must also remember to create your Internal and External JV policies to help your affiliate department to operate without much of your intervention in the decision-making process.


When your business is ready to hire an affiliate manager, East 5th Avenue would be happy to help you find, hire and train your very own rockstar.

We have already placed over 400 affiliate managers, and we have the experience to qualify and recruit both entry-level and experienced affiliate managers.


We’ll help you recruit top talent to fit your company’s goals and budget.


Check out East 5th Avenue’s Recruit & Train Program – https://east5thavenue.com/recruiting/








Affiliate KPIs, Affiliate Manager Hiring, Affiliate manager profiles, Affiliate program efficiency, Affiliate program partnerships, Affiliate program responsibilities, Affiliate program ROI, Affiliate salesperson, East 5th Avenue affiliate recruitment, Farmer in affiliate programs, growth manager, high converting offers, Hunter in affiliate programs, JV policies, Owner vs. Affiliate Manager
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