What’s the one thing most of the Fortune 1000 B2B companies have in common? It’s their significant partner ecosystems. Smart business leaders understand that partner relationships have numerous benefits, including generating leads and awareness for their business. They are an extension of your go-to-market machine.

But if not handled well, those leads from partners could end up causing more business strain than revenue. If partner leads come in on top of the rest of the lead flow, and get assigned to salespeople who are already at capacity, they simply won’t receive the attention they deserve. And that mishandling can lead to problems with the partner who passed on the referral.

A Surprising Scenario

We recently paid a visit to a public Fortune 500 company and spent a few days shadowing their salespeople. We saw something very strange happening with their partner leads.

Salespeople received massive spreadsheets with thousands of leads directly from partners. Neither marketing nor the sales operations team ever saw them. The salespeople didn’t have a well-defined workflow for uploading these leads into their CRM because they lacked some of the required data fields.

So, salespeople would push through those thousands of leads day by day to hit their sales activity quotas, dropping those leads into untargeted BCC email blasts. There was no cross-checking to see if those leads were already in the database and part of an existing nurture campaign. There was no targeting of the message for the lead’s industry or to reflect their relationship with the partner. It was just a batch email blast.

Surprised by what we saw, we shadowed six Silicon Valley companies to see if this was a widespread occurrence and, unfortunately, it was.

Across the board, we saw companies struggling to process large batches of inbound partner leads. These leads didn’t go through a data hygiene process and both the initial contact and follow-up was poor. In the end, what should have been a benefit to the company was instead a ton of wasted effort and resources.

How Automation Can Solve Partner Lead Flow

Looking at these examples, we saw that the common thread was a lack of scalable process for managing the influx of partner leads. Luckily, the automation of sales activity can help streamline the process.

Using a solution like People.ai, even when salespeople send out an email with a BCC to all these leads via an email blast, they can be captured and added to your CRM without onerous manual data-entry. People.ai, for example, will automatically create contacts and leads in Salesforce for everyone copied on emails your salespeople send, and match them to the correct account or opportunity, or a partner account.

This allows you to see and track which leads from partners are being worked, which are converting into opportunities, all of the activities on those leads or contacts, and which partners are sending you the most qualified pipeline. You can gain valuable insight into the current contribution of your partner ecosystem to your revenue, and have the date you need to optimize it.

Once you’ve automated your partner lead management, your salespeople will no longer dread partner emails—they will be a source of quality leads and pipeline, without the manual overhead. No matter how broken your current partner lead process may seem, People.ai can help you to make it more efficient and automated, with no sales team behavior change required. Request a demo today and let us show you how.