Affiliate Marketing • 36 min read
When you’re growing your affiliate department, you need to find yourself a rockstar affiliate manager to help you scale your affiliate program. You may already have someone in mind for the position, but may not be sure their strengths and weaknesses are a good fit. Fear not! We’ve hired, tested and trained over 650 rockstar affiliate managers and have created a clear guide on the skills and traits to look for in the ideal affiliate manager. We also point out the types of profiles that will likely need support staff in place to help your new affiliate manager succeed.
The Ideal Candidate:
Through years of hiring, testing and training affiliate managers, we have discovered that successful affiliate managers tend to possess an extraverted and intuitive personality, is quick to start projects, mid-range versed in finding facts, and low on implementing – so you may want to hire some admin help to see all of those projects to follow through.
Extraverts prefer group activities and get energized by social interaction. They tend to be more enthusiastic and easily excited compared to introverts. Some challenges with extraverts include:
- They need collaboration and social interactions to work well
- They get easily excited in group settings
- They often express both positive and negative emotions publicly, which can be a challenge in maintaining your company culture
The intuitive profile reveals they are very imaginative, open-minded, and curious. They prefer novelty over stability and focus on future possibilities. As a result, they can:
- Easily build and maintain deep connections
- Effortlessly able to sense and adapt to the affiliate’s needs
- Be aware of tone, behavior, and nonverbal communications
But just like the extravert, the intuitive does have some challenges:
- They are often not practical
- They have a hard time putting practical insight into replicable systems for their support since so much relies on intuition
- They tend to live in “possibilities” instead of what is happening in reality
A good affiliate manager needs to be an extravert to engage with numerous individuals while also being highly intuitive. They need to sense when someone is unhappy and be a strong enough communicator to ask about the dissatisfaction and find creative solutions. Possessing high emotional intelligence allows them to make people feel comfortable during the negotiation. To bag this winner, it is imperative to know how much to pay these rockstars to attract and retain top talent.
A quick-start affiliate manager has many strengths that will help them exceed client expectations, and land high-ticket deals including:
- Decisive enough to make real-time deals and handle day-to-day relationship obstacles.
- Being able to improvise during the sale and pivot their strategy to close the deal.
- Coming up with other options, such as using a variety of tools to close a deal.
- High-risk tolerance, so they are comfortable taking risks to close a sale.
- Ability to thrive on tight deadlines, excel on launches or stick to time limits when an offer clicks.
- Comfortable with change and working in a fast-paced environment without added stress.
- Trying to stay on their toes based on the information coming in real-time and also making other high-ticket deals.
- Adaptability and innovation when faced with chaos in order to solve challenging problems during high-stress campaigns.
- Brainstorming possibilities while adjusting consistently to meet campaign goals – does not get stuck “in their own way.”
When someone is a quick start affiliate manager they are flying at 100 miles per hour, studying the situation from a birds-eye-view. This allows them to deal with a variety of perspectives and personalities. It also provides an excellent angle to pivot between making structured and creative deals, and pushing for more while being personable with the ability to move very fast.
Keep in mind a quick-start profile, may be too far off the ground and run into some issues while performing at their best. These weaknesses can include:
- Losing focus with too much routine work (too much growth or project management).
- Procrastinating without tight deadlines — they need to have their goals constantly broken down (monthly/weekly/daily) as they are very deadline and goal motivated.
- Defaulting to reactive work that keeps them busy when they don’t have clear priorities and goals.
- Moving too fast and getting overwhelmed with the follow-up work without proper systems in place.
- Everything feels “urgent” even when it’s not, so they need to set up a clear expectation of what constitutes urgency and what doesn’t.
- High risk taker, bringing deals to the table that don’t make sense, especially when there are no clear upfront guidelines for things like legal, compliance, and profitability.
However, you can overcome these potential weaknesses with clear communication. With clear guidelines regarding rules and regulations for deals, as well as structured deadlines and routines, a quick-start affiliate manager can move mountains for your business.
Mid-Range Fact Finders
A good affiliate manager is a mid-range fact finder, they will be able to present the information in a very concise way and gather what is needed while intuitively providing detailed answers. Some of the core strengths of this profile are that they can:
- Use affiliate relationship backgrounds to help their pitches.
- Keep track of affiliate history (often “in their head”) so they can use it on the spot.
- Retain information quickly, thus creating deep relationships and trust.
- Make decisions and manage the highest priorities.
- Provide and explain enough details to the affiliates to sell without getting too technical.
- Quickly learn the offer they are selling for knowledgeable presentations that don’t waste time.
- They live in consulting style selling mode – ideal for long-term relationships.
These individuals are invaluable and adaptive to any kind of personality, so they can easily retain information on affiliates and clients alike. They can see the big picture while also not being too vague or granular in discussing deal details. They have the perfect combination of insight, detail, and quick-thinking to allow them to be the exact person an affiliate can easily bond with.
While this profile has some excellent strengths in connecting with affiliates in a meaningful way, there are some downfalls to the mid-range fact finder, such as:
- Moving too fast and skipping over learning the offer well enough to pitch to different markets. i.e. knowing the main points that would allow them to adapt the pitch per affiliate or learning enough to pitch but not knowing the details involved.
- Losing track of all the details without a system and getting overwhelmed by the amount of relationships and responsibilities, so other team members have to step in to help.
- Consistently feeling like they don’t know enough and need “more” to do their job, often using it as a crutch.
Much like the quick start profile, through organization and structured systems to keep track of information these weaknesses can be corrected. As long as your leadership team is aware of the weaknesses, you can keep track of possible “crutches.”
At first glance, the low follow-through affiliate manager might not sound like the best profile to possess. But they can actually be an excellent salesperson who uses their creativity to close a lot of deals. Some strengths of this profile include being:
- Adaptable to any current systems or adjusting slightly to fit the systems for their needs.
- Following rituals that work for them — as long as they bring in the sales, systems can be built around this.
- Modifying scripts based on specific needs so they are not stuck in one method, therefore, they can focus on results.
- Personalizing follow-ups, not just using the routine format.
- Spending little time on the “how” and focusing on what is possible.
- They don’t stop making deals or growing because they don’t know how it’s going to get done – instead, they rely on the support team to push deals through to fruition.
The affiliate manager with a low follow-through profile simply does not care how the work gets done because they are not stuck in the implementation mode. This is an excellent skill to have as a salesperson because it allows the affiliate manager to pivot ceaselessly in order to make as many deals as possible.
A lot of these strengths may also be considered weaknesses if the low follow-through affiliate manager does not have the team to support their actions. The downfall to this profile can be that they:
- Cannot build systems and can overwhelm themselves.
- Will not follow your instructions exactly and will always adapt to their own needs.
- Overpromise and/or overcomplicate things because they have no awareness of what’s involved in the “how” or if it will work within the current constraints — they sell ideas, not reality.
- No understanding of the time/energy it takes to create a new system or change an existing one in an established company, leading to frustration that their “ideas” can’t happen.
- Without a strong system or support roles, the nurture/follow-through part of the sale will be weak.
- Bypass the system to get things done, which is a strength if there’s a strong team to get it done, but a weakness if it creates complexities.
Many of the issues that can come from this profile arise from a lack of communication about what is and is not possible within the company system. This manager has a tendency to understand that an idea may be possible in the grand scheme of things but perhaps cannot be done within the company guidelines. Thus, it is essential when working with a low follow-through affiliate manager to make sure they understand the system and the range they can work within.
The low implementer is similar to the low follow-through profile. They are focused on what is possible and able to move between ideas very quickly, so they are strong at making deals. The strengths of this profile can be that they:
- Sell without needing to know the inner workings of the company guidelines.
- Are able to visualize solutions that meet the affiliate’s needs/wants.
- Are comfortable communicating/building deep relationships without needing to be face-to-face.
- Focus on the big picture without getting stuck in the weeds.
- Find ways so everyone wins and can work together happily.
- Are able to pivot their selling method quickly.
This manager is able to weave through problems with creative solutions in order to merge different brands and make joint-ventures even when there are lots of restrictions. Their ability to pivot and bring people together makes them a good neutralizer in different deals so that everyone can come out happy and satisfied.
Again, very similar to the low follow-through profile, some of the strengths can end up being weaknesses when they find themselves in certain situations or when the team cannot fulfil their needs. These weaknesses may include:
- Adding visualizations from their mind and using them as facts.
- Becoming bored with any maintenance work with the affiliates/deals.
- Seeing how it “could be” and becoming easily frustrated if it can’t be done in reality.
- Getting frustrated with too many details being communicated or asked.
- Not spending any time planning and “winging it.”
- Building sloppy systems focused on the short-term, instead of the durability of the system.
This manager can’t be forced into what is called a farmer role, such as a growth or project manager. These individuals are not skilled in the nurturing aspect of the company but instead in how to get deals done with minimal effort and constraint.
Once the initial systems are in place, it’s time to bring in a rockstar affiliate manager to scale the affiliate program. This point may be different for every business – read more on “When is the right time to hire an affiliate manager?” article to determine when is the right time for your brand.
As you can see, it is also essential to know what personality traits are most important to you in an affiliate manager. Each profile provides details on the strengths and weaknesses that every individual may possess. But it’s important to also consider how they can fit into specific styles of businesses and the teams that you can create.
If this all sounds a tad overwhelming don’t worry, East 5th Avenue can help you find, hire, and train your very own rockstar affiliate manager!
East 5th Avenue has helped hire and train over 650 rockstar affiliate managers over the past 5 years. We know a thing or two about the recruiting and screening process. If you need help with finding the right affiliate manager for your brand, check out our Recruit & Train Service.
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