Responding to referrals in Partner Center

Applies to

  • Partner Center

As a qualified Microsoft partner, you can receive potential business leads through Partner Center referrals. Manage your incoming leads, respond quickly to those that are a good fit, and skip or decline those that aren’t. Review the types of leads that come in.

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 searches, using the Find a partner tool.

When a customer is interested in contacting you, they’ll submit a request for information (RFI).

When that happens, we’ll send email to the contact listed in your business profile specific to the region and location selected. You can also see incoming RFIs in Partner Center: go to Dashboard > Referrals > Customer referrals.

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

New referrals

We’ll show you an overview of the RFI. From here, you can decide whether you’re interested in learning more about the referral.

  • I’m interested: We’ll move the referral to Evaluating, and you’ll see the full details about the customer and the offer.
  • No thanks: We’ll archive it as Skipped. We’ll notify the customer to choose a different partner.
  • If you don’t respond within 72 hours, we’ll archive it as Missed. We’ll notify the customer to choose a different partner.

Evaluating referrals

Review the details, and contact the customer. Talk to them about their business needs, and determine if you have an offer that can help them. Accept or decline the referral:

  • Accept: Enter the estimated deal value, the estimated closing date, and select Accept. We’ll use this information to help you find similar deals. We’ll move the referral to Negotiating. This tells us that you plan to actively engage with the customer to address their need.
  • Decline: We’ll archive it as Declined. We’ll notify the customer to choose a different partner.
  • If you don’t respond within 7 days, we’ll archive it as Expired. We’ll notify the customer to choose a different partner.

Negotiating referrals

Work to close the deal with the customer. Let us know if you won or lost the deal, and archive it as Won or Lost.

Archived referrals

Review your past referrals (won, lost, skipped, missed, declined or expired) at any time.

Getting more referrals

Here’s some tips to help make sure you’re getting more referrals that are appropriate to your business:

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

  • 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.

  • 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.