Learn about leads

Appropriate roles: Business profile admin | Referrals admin

Microsoft sends millions of leads to its partners every year to help them to build their businesses. This article explains the leads you get from your customers and how to act on them.

Access leads

To access your leads, sign in to the Partner Center, and select Referrals from the left navigation pane. You can see the leads in the Leads section of the Referrals workspace.

Notifications of new leads

Notifications of new leads are included as recommended actions in your Action center panel (notifications icon on the top right corner). We recommend that you check these actions often to be responsive to your leads.

Also, for "Contact me" leads, the contacts listed on the business profile in Partner Center receive email notifications when there are new leads received for your marketplace offers or your profile listing. These leads are delivered either as individual emails if you have a low volume of leads or in a digest format if you get more than 10 leads in a day. You can review these leads in Partner Center and respond to your customers quickly.


A preferred email setup in the Action center preferences takes precedence over the business profile settings.

The following workflow shows how email is sent to partners from the Partner Center referrals system for new partner inbound referrals:

Diagram showing the logic of how emails are sent to partners for new inbound referrals.

The Leads section is divided into three tabs: Marketplace leads, Qualified leads, and Favorites. You can filter and sort the leads in each tab to focus on the leads that are most important to you. You can also export the leads to a CSV file for further analysis or to import them into your CRM system.

Tab Description
Marketplace leads Customer inquiries originating from either the business profiles or offer pages on AppSource, Azure portal, or Azure Marketplace.
- You receive a customer inquiry when a company searches and finds your company profile or an offer description page and fills out a form stating the need and the contact details.
Qualified leads Leads that are sent to you by Microsoft employees who received customer requests through various marketing channels.
- Marketing-qualified leads are sent to your company by Microsoft employees who received customer requests through one of various marketing channels.
- Sales-qualified leads 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. Sales-qualified leads aren't the same as co-sell opportunities, in which a Microsoft sales representative is actively engaged with the partner and customer until the deal closes.
Favorites Leads that you marked as favorites in the Marketplace leads or Qualified leads tabs.
- You can mark any lead as a favorite by selecting the heart icon on the lead in the list view. You can remove the lead from favorites by selecting the same icon again.


Filters make it easier to get to a focused set of leads. This following table describes the filters available to sort your leads.

Filter name Description Possible values Applies to
Call-to-action Configured during the offer publish flow - Get it now
- Free trial
- Test drive
- Contact me
All leads
Country Country/region selected by the customer when they gave consent for a partner to contact them All leads
Customer name Name of the customer company All leads
Lead source Name of the marketplace from which the lead originated - AppSource
- Azure Marketplace
- Azure portal
All leads
Lead type The type of the lead - Offer leads are generated for offers published through commercial marketplace
- Profile leads are generated for business profiles published in the referrals workspace
All leads
Lead quality The conversion probability of the lead - High denotes a higher chance of lead getting converted to a subscription
- Low denotes a potential spam lead
All leads
Status Lifecycle status of the referral - Received
- Accepted
- Archived
Profile and Contact me leads in the Offer leads space
Email validity Email addresses of leads are validated to verify that they can be contacted - Valid
- Invalid
- Spam
- Unknown
Offer leads
Phone validity Phone numbers of leads are validated to verify that they can be contacted - Valid
- Invalid
- Unknown
Offer leads

Export leads

You can export leads from the Referrals workspace in Partner Center by using the Export button at the right top corner of the page.

Screenshot of the Leads screen in Partner Center with the Export button highlighted.

If you have filters applied, the exported file will only have the filtered list of leads.

Other columns in the display indicate email and phone validity, so you can upload only valid contacts into your CRM systems for your sales teams.

The exported leads file has a field named LeadCreationDateTime that indicates when the exported leads were created.

Lead lifecycle

Every lead has a lifecycle - received, accepted, and archived. This section identifies the stages of that lifecycle and the actions that you can take at each stage.

Received stage

At the received stage, you got a new lead, either directly from a 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.


A customer can explicitly request that interested partners contact them directly. When that happens, an alert with a flame icon appears at the top of the page. We strongly recommend that you contact the customer as quickly as possible to improve your chances of winning the deal. After 72 hours, the referral continues to be active, but the icon and message change. You should still contact the customer if you're interested in pursuing the referral.

During the received stage, you can accept or decline a referral.

Scenario 1: Accept: When you accept a deal, follow the steps that apply to your scenario:

  1. Enter a name for the deal, the estimated value, team members, and the estimated purchase time frame.
  2. Provide information in the Notes field to explain more about what the customer is looking for.
  3. Optionally, enter the marketing campaign ID that resulted in the respective lead and your CRM ID for your reference.
  4. Add more contacts from your company.
  5. When you're finished, select Next.

The referral moves to the next stage, which means you plan to actively engage with the customer to address their need. We also use this information to help you find similar deals in the future.

Scenario 2: Decline: When you decline a deal, the following steps can be performed:

  1. Select the reason you're declining it.
  2. Add any notes you'd like to include.
  3. Select Close.

The lead is then archived Declined, and the customer is notified to choose a different partner.

If you don't respond to a lead within 14 days, it gets archived as Expired, and either Microsoft or the partner who sent you the opportunity are notified. Expired leads don't display contact information.

Accepted stage

As you work to close a deal, follow these steps to edit lead details if needed:

  1. Select Edit.
  2. Update the deal name, estimated purchase date, Team members, estimated value, notes, CRM ID, or the marketing campaign ID.
  3. Select Add your employees to provide the name, phone number, and email addresses of any more people who are working on the deal.
  4. When you're finished, mark the deal Won or Lost, so it can be archived accordingly.

Archived stage

Archived is the last stage, which all the opportunities eventually reach. You can't take action on archived leads, but you can view their status: Won, Lost, Declined, or Expired.

Lead type

Offer leads

You receive offer leads when you publish offers through the commercial marketplace. Customers can browse offers that are listed on Microsoft marketplaces, such as AppSource, Azure Marketplace, and Azure portal marketplace. When they express an intent to acquire an offer, a lead is generated.


Marketplace offer leads that are generated when a customer selects calls-to-action (such as Get it now, Free trial, or Test drive) don't require any action from partners. These leads are informational and intended to help partners reach out to customers for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. These leads are available for a period of six months for the partners to access and leads older than six months will be archived.

Profile leads

You receive profile leads when you create a business profile for your company. The business profile you create helps you to be visible to prospective customers, to other partners, and to Microsoft sellers listed within AppSource. All the requests that originate from a profile listing on the AppSource page are available in the Partner Center Referrals workspace in the Leads section.

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

  • Choose keywords and preferences in your business profile that represent your unique expertise and business model. Remove keywords that could generate referrals you're not interested in. If you're not interested in dealing with businesses of a certain size, update that 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 increase your visibility in future customer search results. Make sure your team responds quickly with your intent.
  • Be choosy about which deals you accept. We monitor the types of deals that you accept and decline and use that information to help find you similar deals. Accepting deals that aren't a good fit doesn't improve your search results and could affect the quality of the leads you receive.
  • Report estimated deal sizes, closing dates, and the final status of your deals, whether won or lost. We use that information to continue to provide you with quality referrals.

Validity of contact information

The email addresses and phone numbers of Marketplace offer leads are validated to verify that they can be contacted. Validated contact information helps you prioritize which leads to reach out to and helps to ensure that your sales efforts are effective.

When you view a lead on the Marketplace Leads tab, you can see indicators of a valid phone number and valid email address:

Screenshot of a marketplace offer lead in Partner Center with highlighted indicators that the phone number and email address are valid.


Quick-copy icons are handy shortcuts that can help to avoid typos when calling or emailing someone.

You can also filter for leads that have valid email and phone numbers, as mentioned in the Filters table. Filtering can help your outreach teams engage with customers more effectively, either with automated emails or direct phone calls.

Email addresses and domain names that are known to generate spam are marked as shown in the following image. They're also marked when you select the lead to view the details.

Screenshot of a lead in Partner Center with spam warnings highlighted.


  • Microsoft doesn't verify the identity of referrals or whether the interest of referrals is legitimate. Microsoft only verifies that you can contact the individual or company being referred in accordance with the details provided.
  • Referrals shouldn't be construed as an endorsement by Microsoft of the company or individual being referred. It is your sole responsibility to take any actions necessary and appropriate to safeguard your company from fraud resulting from a referral.

Next steps