Don’t Lose the Connection. How to Use CRM Data & Automation to Nurture Your Co-Selling Relationships

Don’t Lose the Connection. How to Use CRM Data & Automation to Nurture Your Co-Selling Relationships

Olivia Ramirez 13 min

By Olivia Ramirez

August 21, 2023



Your partner has hundreds of sales reps. And, if you’re like the 57% of partnerships leaders who have a team size of five or less, you likely don’t have the capacity to check in with all of your partner’s sales reps on a regular basis. So, how do you maintain your relationships with each of them and ensure your partnership is top of mind when the right deals come along?  


If you…


… Send all of your partner’s sales reps enablement materials on a regular basis, you risk enablement fatigue.


… Ask ChatGPT to draft hundreds of emails, you risk sounding automated and inauthentic.


… Reach out too little, and you risk your partner’s sales reps not knowing who you are or why they should bring you in on their deals.  


… Send a Facebook poke, and you risk starting a poking war. (Kidding about that last one.)


There’s a tactful, scalable way to engage your partner’s sales team that can help you gain their trust and grow your co-selling motions. If you’re using a customer relationship management (CRM) system like Salesforce, you can use your existing CRM fields as a guide for when and how to reach out to each of your partner’s sales reps. Then, you can use automation and a dash of artificial intelligence (AI) to trigger different types of messages according to a set of criteria, personalize your message, add relevant context, and hit “send”.


Rob Rebholz, Co-Founder & CEO of, identifies when and how to reach out to his partner’s sales reps using two standard fields in Salesforce — the “Contact Created” date and the “Last Activity” date. When these dates pass a specific point in time, they trigger a message that Rebholz has prebuilt and that he can customize to be relevant to each of his partner’s sales reps.



Regardless of your data structure, you can leverage these two fields directly from your Salesforce dashboard. The “Contact Created” date and “Last Activity” date are available to anyone using Salesforce and will always be up to date.


Using these two fields in Salesforce can ensure you’re reaching out to your partner’s sales team at key moments in your partnership and can also help you stand out in a vast ecosystem of partners. They can also help reveal when there’s been turnover in your partner’s sales team and help you engage the right new contact for onboarding or reactivation.


“Your partners do ‘Lunch and Learns,’ and then they ask for something from [their partners’] AEs,” says Rob Rebholz, Co-Founder & CEO of “If you’re that one organization that actually shows the AE that you want to maintain the relationship, even if you don’t have a specific ask, that really helps you stand out.”


Rebholz used the “Contact Created” and “Last Activity” fields in his roles at previous companies, where partners drove 70% of the revenue. He attributes their success to being systematic about building their relationships with the individual sales reps of large partner ecosystems, like Salesforce and SAP (Emarsys). After observing the success of engaging his partners’ sales reps at scale, Rebholz founded the partner experience and workflow automation platform,


“If I don’t want to neglect the people I can’t manually stay in touch with, I need to think about automation and AI,” says Rebholz. “Not staying in touch at all or spamming [my partner’s sales reps] with generic updates is detrimental to co-selling success.”


Below, we’ll share how you can use the “Contact Created” and “Last Activity” fields to nurture your relationships with your partners’ sales reps and co-sell at scale.


What to expect:

#1: “Contact Created” Date


Let’s say you’ve just begun working with a partner with a large sales team. Each sales rep you’ve engaged with becomes a new contact within the partner account in your Salesforce CRM. The “Contact Created” date becomes a representation of when you began working with each individual sales rep.


In the B2C world, “Happy Birthday” emails have a 481% higher transaction rate and generate 342% more revenue than other marketing emails. In B2B, a more relevant and effective celebratory date is the date you began working with your partner’s sales rep. The “Contact Created” date is a window into your “working together” anniversary.


Rebholz suggests checking in with any new sales rep 30 days after the “Contact Created” date. This is a good opportunity to follow up with relevant enablement materials or with a recent success story you facilitated with their colleagues. If you send enablement materials to your partner’s sales rep, make sure to only send what’s necessary. Don’t fill the email with information, links, and attachments — Your partner’s sales rep is busy, so make sure your email is scannable and valuable.


A couple of more ways to engage your partner’s sales rep using your “working together” anniversary:


Link your message to the partner lifecycle stage. Rebholz views the partner lifecycle in three stages: the “onboarding and enablement” stage, the “co-selling” stage, and the “nurture or reactivation” stage.



An example email for reactivation:


Hi Stu,


We’ve been in touch for a few months now, and I wanted to check in to see if there’s any way I can help. We recently teamed up with your colleague [colleague name] to close [opportunity], and we’d love to do something similar for you.  






Link your message to a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. After working together for six months or a year, it’s helpful to learn how well you’re doing in comparison to other partners your partner’s sales team is co-selling with. This provides an opportunity to improve, create more valuable collateral, and revive your co-selling activities with your partner’s sales rep.



An example email linking to an NPS survey:


Hi Brandon,


We’ve been working together for a year, and we’re so happy to be partners. I wanted to check in to see how happy you are with us. Could you answer a few quick questions below to help us know how we’re doing?






You can decide when the best “working together” anniversary follow-up should be — three months, six months, or one year. Just don’t wait a full year before contacting your partner’s sales rep.


#2: “Last Activity” Date


Your “Last Activity” date is a window into the health of your relationship with your partner’s sales rep. If you haven’t contacted your partner’s sales rep in more than six months, they’ve likely forgotten about you.


The longer it’s been since you last spoke with your partner’s sales rep, the less likely they are to bring you in on a deal — especially when they have hundreds of partners in their ecosystem. Rebholz prefers to receive a notification if he hasn’t spoken with a partner’s sales rep in more than three months.


You can analyze the “Last Activity” date of your partner’s individual sales reps with other data you have on hand. For example: If you have a high overlap count in Crossbeam with your partner’s sales rep, you can use the “Last Activity” date as a signal to reach out to your partner’s sales rep and mention the high number of deals you could help them close. Or you could mention a few specific opportunities and provide context about each.


Above: The account mapping matrix in Crossbeam




An example email including Crossbeam data:


Hi Miguel,


I noticed that [number of overlaps] of your prospects are our existing customers. Happy to hop on the phone and chat about a handful of these and see if I could help out. I have calls with [X, Y, and Z customers] next week, and I’d be happy to put in a good word for you then.


Let me know what you think.




By using automation, you can ensure that you’re engaging your partner’s sales reps at a healthy frequency and not letting any relationships fall through the cracks. For example: If the “Last Activity” date is more than three months, and your partner’s sales rep never logs into your partner portal but did within the past seven days, this could be an opportunity to re-engage your partner’s sales rep and discuss how you could help close their open opportunities.



In the example email below, you might have AI generate the first sentence for any contact that you haven’t engaged for three months, and you might customize the following sentences to help make the email more relevant and provide value to your partner’s sales rep.


Hi Harry,


I wanted to check in and see if I could provide any warm intros for you or help with any open opportunities. I spoke with Hextall & Co. yesterday (they’re a project management tool), and I think they’d be a great fit for you. They’re looking to replace their current sales intelligence tool and specifically looking for something that integrates with Surfzer. Happy to intro you to my contact.






Or consider reminding your partner’s sales rep about the value of your partnership.



Hi Harry,


We’ve been seeing more joint customers increasing their usage of [partner’s product]. Wanted to send a reminder that your prospects can use our integration to do [X, Y, and Z]. If there’s anyone you’re speaking with now that you think would benefit, happy to help you close the deal.






When developing email templates to use at scale, develop the copy that ties back to the “Last Activity” date or the “Contact Created” date. Then, when you receive the alert from Salesforce, you can customize the remainder of the message to speak directly to the sales rep you’re contacting.


For example: “It’s been a year since we’ve been working together!” might be automated if the message is for a sales rep with a “Contact Created” date one year ago, and you might customize the message to include a recent success story with their direct colleague.


“If it feels automated, they’re going to respond differently,” says Rebholz.


Rebholz analyzed the “Last Activity” date field for a cohort of customers and learned that their customers had not contacted 80% of their partner contacts for more than a year. When you re-engage contacts you haven’t spoken to in more than a year, you might learn that your contacts are no longer at the company. Rebholz has seen a 30% bounce rate among his customers reengaging stale contacts.


A high number of contacts from your partner’s sales team in your CRM isn’t a leading indicator of success. Instead, aim for a high number of partner reps who are active with a relatively recent “Last Activity” date.


Rebholz likens his engagement practices with his partner’s sales reps to his favorite B2C loyalty programs.


“There are certain [B2C] loyalty programs that just feel better than others. You just feel like they care about you,” says Rebholz.


Think about how your favorite B2C brands (your favorite fashion brands of local restaurants) communicate with you and when it’s most effective. For example: “life event emails”, like birthday emails, share similar qualities with an email you might send after one year of working with your partner’s sales rep.


And “replenishment emails” share similar qualities with a celebratory email you might send your partner’s sales rep after you’ve helped them generate a win. The recipient receives the email when one process is ending and it could be time for another to begin.

How to Get Started


Below, you’ll find three options for using standard Salesforce fields like “Contact Created” and “Last Activity” date to fuel your partner engagement.


Let’s use the “Contact Created” field as an example and “30 days” out as the timing for triggering a message. Set up an SFDC task to be created 30 days post-contact creation. Then, you can:


Option #1: Export lists to your sales or automation tools to drop into relevant sequences. Tip: Use segmentation to narrow the list to sales reps in high-priority partner accounts, since this process is somewhat manual.



Option #2: Trigger workflows in marketing automation tools, like Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Set the triggers in Salesforce to fire only if your sales rep contacts meet certain criteria or if they’re part of a predefined list. Criteria can include partner tier, partner type, a high number of Crossbeam overlaps, enterprise vs. junior sales reps, and more. The downside: You may not be able to customize emails between sends, so you’ll want to get as specific as possible with the criteria you set so that your emails don’t sound too generic.


Depending on the tool and your current payment plan, you can either choose to upload a list of your partner sales reps’ email addresses to create net new emails based on standard templates you’ve created, or enroll a list of contacts into editable sequences.



Option #3: Use a workflow automation tool like to send your prebuilt messages directly to Slack, so you can customize, approve, and hit “send”. You can integrate with Salesforce, Crossbeam, Gmail, and Slack. By doing so, a notification will fire to your Slack with the message you’ve prebuilt for sales reps who have been a contact in Salesforce for 30 days. From Slack, you can approve the message, discard the message, or customize the message. The message will then send from Gmail, using your selected partner account manager (PAM)’s name as the sender.  


You can use the below criteria to prewrite parts of your messages and scale your partner engagement & activation using automation and AI:

  • The person’s job title

  • The regional office they’re based in

  • Whether the sales reps or teams sell into specific verticals or regions

  • Your joint value proposition

  • Partner tier

  • Partner type (tech partner, agency partner, etc.)

  • A high number of overlaps in Crossbeam

  • Strategic overlaps in Crossbeam



Want to learn more about getting buy-in from partners with big teams and ecosystems? Check out these articles:




Olivia Ramirez 13 min

Don’t Lose the Connection. How to Use CRM Data & Automation to Nurture Your Co-Selling Relationships

Your CRM can provide insight into when and how you should engage each of your partner’s sales reps. Learn how Rob Rebholz, Co-Founder & CEO of, uses two standard Salesforce fields — the “Contact Created” date and the “Last activity” date — to reach out to his partner’s sales reps at key moments and build trust with each of them.

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