Responding to referrals
- 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.
We’ve made some updates to the the referral management experience and are in the process of rolling them out to all partners. Until your account is set up to use the new experience, some things may work a little differently. These differences are called out below.
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 > 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 accepting or declining new referrals within 24 hours or less.
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 the estimated deal value, the estimated closing date, and select Accept. 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: 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.
The process described above reflects the new experience. If your account is not using this experience yet, you'll see a New section instead of Inbox. For new referrals, you'll have 72 hours to choose either I'm interested (which moves the referral to a separate Evaluating section and shows you more details) or No thanks (which archives the referral). If you select I'm interested, you'll have 7 days to accept the referral.
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.
Review your past referrals (won, lost, declined or 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.