Respond to referrals

Applies to

  • Partner Center

As a qualified Microsoft partner, you can receive potential business leads through referrals. In Partner Center, you can manage incoming leads, respond quickly to those that are a good fit, and skip or decline those that aren't.

Referral management

Start by setting up a business profile for each region where you do business. Once your profile is active, we'll be able to direct customers to your business, through:

  • Microsoft marketing activities
  • Internal Microsoft sales and service agents
  • Customer search, using the solution provider search tool.

When a customer is interested in learning more about your solutions and services, they'll contact you by submitting a request for information (RFI). The contact listed in your business profile specific to the region and location selected will receive a system-generated email. You can also see incoming RFIs in Partner Center by going to Referrals > Engagements > Inbox.

Customers often choose to send the same RFI to multiple companies at the same time. To increase your chance of success, we recommend accepting or declining new engagement referrals within 24 hours or less.

New referrals

In your Inbox, we'll show you an overview of the RFI. From here, you can decide whether you're interested in the referral.

Review the details, and feel free to contact the customer if you want to learn more about their business needs. Then accept or decline the referral:

  • Accept: Enter a name for the engagement, the estimated deal value, and the estimated purchase timeframe. You should also provide info in the Notes field to explain more about what the customer is looking for. You can optionally enter your CRM ID here (for your reference only) and add additional contacts from your company. When you're finished, select Next. We'll move the referral to Active, which means you plan to actively engage with the customer to address their need. We'll also use this information to help you find similar deals in the future.
  • Decline: Select the reason you're declining the engagement and add any notes you'd like to include, then select Close engagement. We'll archive it as Declined and notify the customer to choose a different partner.

If you don't respond within the allotted time period (currently 14 days), we'll archive it as Expired and notify the customer to choose a different partner.

Tip

A customer has the option to explicitly request that interested partners contact them directly. If this is the case, you'll see an alert at the top of the page with a flame icon. We strongly recommend reaching out to contact the customer as quickly as possible to improve your chances of winning the engagement. After 72 hours, the referral will continue to be active, but the icon and message will change. You should still contact the customer if you're interested in pursuing the referral.

Active referrals

Work to close the deal with the customer. When you're finished, select Won or Lost to report the outcome so we can archive it accordingly.

Tip

For certain eligible solutions, after you select Won you'll be asked to provide additional information in order to register your deal. Microsoft will review the info you provide here and may ask for additional details during the review process. For more information, see Register your deals.

If you want to change any of the info you've provided for an active referral, select Edit engagement. You can then update the engagement name, estimated purchase date, estimated value, notes, and/or your CRM ID.

You can also select Add contact to provide the name, phone number, and email addresses of any additional people who are working on the engagement.

Archived referrals

Review your past referrals (won, lost, declined and expired) at any time.

Getting more referrals

Here are some tips to help you get more referrals that are appropriate to your business:

  • Choose keywords and preferences that represent your unique expertise and business model in your business profile. Remove keywords that would generate referrals for you're not interested in. If you're not interested in dealing with businesses of a certain size, update this preference.

  • Review your contact information in your business profile for each location to make sure that your team gets incoming alerts.

  • Respond quickly to referrals. When you respond in a timely fashion to incoming requests, we'll increase your visibility in future customer search results. Make sure your team responds quickly with your intent.

  • Be choosy with the deals you accept. We monitor the types of deals that you accept and decline, and use this information to help find you similar deals. Accepting deals that aren't a good fit won't improve your search results and could impact the quality of the leads you receive.

  • Report back the estimated deal sizes, closing dates, and the final status of your deals (won or lost). We'll use this info to continue to provide you with quality referrals.