4 Ways Partner-Sourced Leads Outperform Cold Leads Every Time

4 Ways Partner-Sourced Leads Outperform Cold Leads Every Time

Olivia Ramirez 9 min
By Olivia Ramirez

Ecosystem-Led Growth is like a turboboost for sales (it even helps SDRs and AEs get promoted). Sign up for Crossbeam Insider, and get insights sent to your inbox weekly to help you hit your quota.

At the end of 2022, sales teams reported below average performance with more than half adjusting their revenue targets for the year. At the beginning of 2023, more than half increased their revenue targets. 

So, how are sales teams doing now, and what role does Ecosystem-Led Growth (ELG) play in modern sales strategies?

Through our collaboration with Pavilion in publishing the May 2023 Pavilion Pulse Report, we learned that sales teams are back to reporting average performance and revenue attainment. And, more than half of sales executives say they are more likely to co-sell with partners in 2023 compared to 2022.

Today, 23% of sales teams are going all in on co-selling, with all of their sales reps participating in co-selling motions with partners. And those who are co-selling are observing 46% faster sales cycles and a 53% higher close rate for their partner-sourced leads compared to cold leads.

Below, we’ll cover how partner-sourced leads outperform cold leads, from pre-sales to post-sales. Including:

Take a look. 👇

#1: They’re More Likely to Book a Meeting With Sales

Imagine if your sales rep reaches out to a prospect cold. They might spend weeks or months trying to get a response (especially when less than a third of cold outreach emails get opened). When they do, they’ll need to spend time establishing trust and educating their prospect about the product.

Alternatively, when your sales rep reaches out to a lead from your partner, they can skip ahead in the sales conversation and get straight to the part where they can provide real value for the prospect. Instead of focusing on explaining what their product does and why the prospect should care, they can speak to specific use cases relevant to the prospect. 

Your partner has already educated your new Ecosystem-Qualified Lead (EQL) about your product and they’ve expressed interest. Your partner may also be able to share valuable intel about the prospect with your sales rep. For example: They may have information about which stakeholders would be using your product, their business goals, and their buying timeline. All of this information can help guide your sales rep in leading the most effective sales call and closing the deal.

Now, your sales rep can chat with the prospect about how their individual stakeholders can use your product, the integrations most relevant to them, and even all of the hobbies they have in common (like fly fishing). 

A real-world example: Before Alex Richards transitioned from sales into partnerships, he was an account executive (AE) at TalentPop. Richards observed that leads from a particular partner were more likely to book a meeting than cold leads. The leads had already expressed interest in TalentPop’s services, and the booking rate for these leads was nearly 40% higher than for cold leads.

Data courtesy of Alex Richards

Richards adds that he had to do less prep work for his calls with partner-sourced leads, because his partners had already helped to establish trust between them. The leads from this partner were 100X more likely to close than cold leads and in just 34% of the time.

#2: They Have Faster Sales Cycles

In the 2023 State of the Partner Ecosystem Report, we learned that deals close 46% faster when a partner’s involved (an industry-wide average). 

And we’ve heard firsthand stories from B2B SaaS companies about the accelerated speed at which partner-sourced leads close. Including: 

One attribute that contributes to the efficiency at which partner-sourced leads close is timing. A great partner will know if it’s the right time to facilitate a warm intro for their partner’s sales team. For example: Before making a warm intro for their partner’s sales team, the partnerships team at Freshworks consults with their customer success (CS) team and sales team to ensure that their customer would be a good fit for their partner’s product. A couple of factors they consider once they validate that their customer is a prospect of their partner

  • Whether the subset of customers would benefit from using their integration with their partner’s product 
  • Whether their internal CS team has a strong rapport with the subset of customers

If their customer was at risk of churning or if they weren’t a good fit for the integration right now, then a warm intro wouldn’t be effective. It may even have a negative impact on their relationship with the customer and on their partner’s deal cycle. 

Some Crossbeam customers also set up alerts to know exactly when their prospect becomes a customer of their partner. For example: The partnership team at Census gets alerts each time their prospect becomes a customer of their strategic tech partner. They know that anyone using their partner’s product would benefit from using Census, so they use the alert as a signal to reach out and sell. 

Setting up notifications in Crossbeam

In some cases, the alert triggers outbound sales sequences to the prospect mentioning their partner’s software. Here’s an example of an email Census’s team might send after getting the alert: 

Hey Jane,

Noticed from Linkedin that you lead data engineering for ACME Corporation, and it looks like the product team there is on Holver — I’m reaching out from the Census team, who is a Holver partner.

Are there user and company attributes living in the data warehouse that teams want in Holver to do deeper analysis? 

For example, if a ‘power user’ is defined in the warehouse and synced to enrich the user profile in Holver, Product and Marketing can now understand how conversion funnels differ between power and non-power users.

Census is a reverse ETL tool that syncs your data warehouse with Holver and other business applications, without requiring engineering code.

Here’s a short clip on how – would love to hear your thoughts.


Census’ SDR Name

In other cases, Sylvain Giuliani, Head of RevOps and Growth at Census, reaches out to their partner directly asking them if the timing is right.

Via Slack Connect, he might say something like, “Hey, we just saw that you closed Acme Corporation. What’s the state of the account? Do you think it’s time for us to get into there? Do you know what your customer’s strategy is to get all their data into your platform? Because we’d like to help accelerate that onboarding process.”

From there, the partner might offer a warm intro or provide Giuliani and his team with intel about the account. As a result of these actions, Census has been able to accelerate their deal cycles and increase their annual contract values (ACVs) by 34%.

#3: They’re More Likely to Close

Deals are also 53% more likely to close when a partner’s involved, on average.

LeanData’s win rates for partner-influenced new business deals climbed more than 120% compared to deals without partners involved.

And Dok Seong, an AE at Deel, says that 30% of his pipeline is filled with partner-sourced leads that close at a 25% higher rate than the cold leads in his pipeline.

Alex Richards, previously at TalentPop, also said that leads from one partner had a more than 25% higher close rate than cold leads. 👇

Data courtesy of Alex Richards

According to HubSpot and Aircall’s 2023 Sales Strategy & Trends survey of more than 1,000 sales professionals, less than half of the respondents (41%) say they get high-quality leads. And many salespeople say that their top source for high-quality leads is referrals.

If you’re not co-selling with partners, you may be missing out on high-quality leads that have a higher likelihood of closing — and growing their accounts with you. 

#4: They Have a High Account Growth Potential 

Partners can support every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Ecosystem-Led Growth at every stage of the customer lifecycle

Pre-sale, partners can help generate warm intros, accelerate sales cycles, and close deals. Post-sales, they can help your customers achieve value in your product faster (think: co-onboarding), expand their product usage, and grow their accounts via cross-selling and upselling. In 2022, 76% of sales professionals reported that more than 10% of their company revenue came from upselling, and 68% said that more than 10% of their company revenue came from cross-selling.

RingCentral observed that they were able to upsell 3X as frequently with partners than without, and the dollar amount of those upsells was 4X the rate of upsells with no partners involved. 

​​Jai Shroff, Regional Manager, Customer Success, at Freshworks, says working with partners has helped his team retain customers who were likely to churn, upsell the accounts for more annual recurring revenue (ARR), and sign them for multi-year deals.

 “If your company is scaling, let’s say north of $100M in ARR, partnerships is the only way to reach that billion-dollar dream. Inside sales is not going to get you there,” says Shroff.

And Highspot observed that partners contributed 58% of the revenue generated by their top sales reps and that deal sizes with partners were 60% larger than without.


Curious to learn more about how partners and Ecosystem-Led Growth can help your sales team hit their goals each quarter? Subscribe to the Crossbeam Insider newsletter below. 👇

Olivia Ramirez 9 min

4 Ways Partner-Sourced Leads Outperform Cold Leads Every Time

Leads from partners are 53% more likely to close than cold leads. They also turn into high-growth accounts.

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