Manage different leads like customer inquiries, marketing-qualified leads, and sales-qualified leads

Appropriate roles: MPN partner admin | Referrals admin

Microsoft sends millions of leads per year to its partners. You have the opportunity to receive leads from Microsoft and build your business. This section will help you understand how to manage the leads that you receive from Microsoft solution provider page and act on them.

The pre-requisite to receive leads is creating a business profile for your company. The business profile you create for your company will help you be visible to prospective customers, other partners, and Microsoft sellers on the Microsoft solution provider webpage. Your business profile information is combined with your company’s membership information like the competency data and additional endorsements from Microsoft providing a rich profile for the customers when they search for a partner to work with. All the requests that originate from the profile listing on the Microsoft solution provider page are available in the Leads section under the Referrals tab in the left navigation pane.

Types of Leads

Customer inquiries – These are leads that originate directly from the customers. A company searched and found your company profile and filled out the form stating the need and the contact details.

Marketing qualified – These are leads that are sent to your company by Microsoft employees who received the customer request through one of the various marketing channels.

Sales qualified – These are leads that are sent to you by Microsoft sellers who gather the requirements from a customer and are helping them find the right partner to solve a customer problem. These leads are not the same as Co-sell opportunities where a Microsoft sales representative is actively engaged with the partner and customer until the deal closure.

There are three top-level tabs in the leads section.

Marketplace leads – These are all the leads originating from Microsoft solution provider page searches, which are customer inquiries.

Qualified leads – These are all the leads of type Marketing qualified and Sales qualified.

Favorites – Any leads that are marked as favorites in the Marketplace leads or Qualified leads tab will be shown in this tab. You can mark any lead as a favorite by clicking on the heart icon on the lead in the list view. You can remove the lead from favorites by just clicking on the same icon again.

Responding to a lead

Each lead moves through a life cycle of its own. This section identifies the different stages and the actions that you can take in each stage.

Received stage

In this stage, you have received a new lead either directly from the customer or from a Microsoft employee. Review the details, and feel free to contact the customer if you want to learn more about their business needs.

You can take two actions in this stage- either accept or decline the referral:

  • Accept: Enter a name for the deal, the estimated deal value, and the estimated purchase time frame. 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), the marketing campaign ID, which resulted in the respective lead and add additional contacts from your company. When you're finished, select Next. We'll move the referral to the next stage, 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 deal and add any notes you'd like to include, then select Close deal. We'll archive it as Declined and notify the customer to choose a different partner.

  • If you don't respond within the allotted time (currently 14 days), we'll archive it as Expired and notify either Microsoft or the partner who sent you this opportunity.


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 deal. 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.

Accepted Stage

As you work to close the deal, if you want to change any of the information you've provided for an accepted referral, select Edit. You can then update the deal name, estimated purchase date, estimated value, notes, CRM ID and/or the marketing campaign ID. You can also select Add your employees to provide the name, phone number, and email addresses of any additional people who are working on the deal.

When you're finished, you can take one of the two actions, which are marking the deal as Won or Lost to report the outcome so we can archive it accordingly.

Archived Stage

This is a terminal stage where all the opportunities finally reach. You can view all the leads that are in won, lost, declined, and expired in this stage. There are no actions that you can take in this stage.

Getting more leads

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

  • Choose keywords and preferences that represent your unique expertise and business model in your business profile. Remove keywords that would generate referrals 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. Make sure 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.

Next steps