Building a successful affiliate program is in many ways akin to lawn mowing. The mower symbolizes your affiliate program, whereas the lawn is the market. There are three integral elements without which the lawn cannot be mowed effectively, even with the presence of the mower. They are: (i) fuel, (ii) motor oil, and (iii) persistence.
I have just recorded the following video to illustrate this more visually:
In the affiliate program context: (i) affiliates are the force that fuels your program, (ii) affiliate program manager is the one who lubricates, inhibits corosion, and cleans the program out, (iii) and persistence remains the same. Exclude any one element from the equasion, and the system will collapse.