Lead Generation Forms vs. Deal Registration: When to Use Each

Explore when to use lead generation forms versus deal registrations to optimize your sales process and channel partnerships effectively.

Leads and deals are both ways for partners to articulate a business opportunity. They’re both used to capture required prospect information. In a PRM, both lead generation and deal registration modules integrate with a CRM.

So, if they do pretty much the same thing and behave pretty much the same way, what’s the difference? And why should you or your partners care? 

Because accurately capturing leads and efficiently managing partner deals can make or break your partnerships.

With the help of Nico DiPlacido, Head of Product at PartnerStack, we review what lead generation forms and deal registrations are, how they differ and when to implement both in your partner program.

What are lead generation forms?

If you’ve worked in SaaS for a while, you’ve seen lead generation forms on almost every website. “Book a Demo,” “Speak with Our Team,” and “Schedule a Call” pages are all examples of lead generation forms designed to capture information about potential customers.

In a partnership context, lead generation forms serve the same purpose: collecting data about new business. But prospects don’t submit information about themselves. Instead, here’s how the process works:

  1. Partners fill out a lead form on behalf of their customer or acquaintance within a vendor’s partner relationship management tool (PRM).
  2. The partner-generated lead syncs from the PRM to the vendor’s CRM.
  3. The vendor sales rep assigned to that specific region or vertical reviews the lead.
  4. If the lead meets their qualification criteria, the rep converts it to an opportunity and begins the discovery process.

Here’s how DiPlacido puts it: “When a lead is submitted in a PRM like PartnerStack, the partner is signaling that they have a referral for your company. They’re essentially chucking it over the fence.”

Partner involvement post-lead generation

Typically, partner-sourced leads close without partner involvement, but some partners may provide context around how the lead originally came in and what the point of contact seems to care about.

Because the vendor’s team is moving the lead through the pipeline, partners can’t update the lead’s status in a PRM. However, they can see how the lead is progressing. And once it’s closed-won, they can expect a certain commission based on their signed partner agreement.

Why not use a CRM to collect partner-generated leads?

Many folks already have a lead generation page connected to their CRM, which begs the question — why are we reinventing the wheel? Wouldn’t it make sense to collect partner leads in a CRM, too?

Here’s the rub: partners would have no way of knowing how you’re treating their lead. 

Per DiPlacido, “If you were to rebuild PartnerStack’s lead generation form in an external HubSpot form, for example, partners would have a lot of trouble figuring out the status of their lead. Did you accept it? Will they get their commission? If so, when?”

PRMs remove that black box, enabling partners to follow the lead they’ve submitted and get transparent updates on what matters to them — their payouts.

An image showing the pathway between CRMs and PRMs

What is deal registration? 

At a smaller SaaS startup with a couple of reps, it’s not uncommon for salespeople to find potential customers and send them cold outbound calls or emails.

Once an account executive establishes communication with one of these prospective customers, they create a corresponding lead in their CRM and schedule a meeting to determine whether the prospect is a good fit. If it is, they convert the lead into an opportunity and work it through close. Since that particular AE first found the prospect and did so much work to qualify it and nurture the relationship, no other reps can touch that deal.

The partner deal registration process functions similarly. If a partner thinks they can sell a vendor’s product along with their product or services, they register a deal in the vendor’s PRM — just like a rep would create a lead in the vendor’s CRM — which gives them exclusive rights to work that deal.

But there’s a catch: the vendor has to approve the deal reg first.

Whenever a vendor gets a notification that a partner has registered a deal, they:

  1. Review the deal registration record, which contains information about the prospect account and contact, the company’s primary use case, their vertical and other firmographic stats.
  2. Approve or reject the deal registration, depending on their qualification standards.

In this way, the partner deal reg has two purposes. DiPlacido explains:

“If a partner registers a deal in your PRM, they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m working this account. Please let me know if you’re good with that,’ and they’re saying, ‘If you approve my deal, other partners can’t step on my toes and work it, too’.”

Partner involvement post-deal registration

Because partners are responsible for closing the deal, they can edit and update deal registration records to show vendors how the sales cycle is progressing.

Why not manage deal registrations in a CRM?

There are a few reasons why high-performing partner teams opt to manage deal registrations in a PRM like PartnerStack over a CRM:

  • Decreased time and effort: A custom Registration object that’s accessible to an outside audience takes time to build and maintain as a vendor’s partner program grows and changes. PRMs already have that functionality out of the box.
  • Reduced confusion: Each vendor has its own way of tracking opportunities, using different terminology, stages and close rate prediction. Getting partners to learn all that is a hassle. PRMs like PartnerStack allow partners to customize pipeline stage names while giving vendors an audit trail of everything happening with the deal.
  • Increased visibility: Unless a vendor gives partners access to their CRM (which can cost a small fortune), they won’t be able to update the deal's status after submitting it. To get those updates, partner managers have to be in constant touch with partners. Not only do these check-ins decrease the partner manager’s productivity, they can also irritate partners enough to prevent them from registering deals in the future.
  • Centralization: If you’re already using a PRM to educate, train, certify, communicate with and pay partners, it doesn’t make sense for them to log into another system to register a deal. Keeping everything in one accessible place increases the chances of partners regularly registering deals.

Related: 6 things partner managers look for before closing a deal.

What are the differences between lead forms and deal reg?

By now, you’ve likely picked up on how the two differ, but this table should make it explicitly clear:

A chart showing the differences between lead generation and deal registration

When to use lead generation forms

Use lead generation forms if:

  • Partners are already forwarding potential customers to you and you have a solid idea of your commission structure.

  • If you’re already getting referrals and you have the budget to spend on incentives, partners will continue to send prospects your way.

When to use deal registration

Use deal registration if:

  • You want to vet the deals partners are attempting to work. Doing so can help you avoid potential implementation or retention issues down the line.
  • You want to close partner-sourced revenue faster. In most PRMs, vendors can set deal expiration dates to prompt partners to close deals quickly. If the partner doesn’t win the deal during a specified period of time, it gets passed to the vendor or another partner.
  • You want to provide special incentives. If you don’t know about a partner-sourced deal, you can’t help them move the deal forward with discounted pricing packages or other unique add-ons to entice the end customer.

See more: The benefits of multiple partner programs (and the drawbacks of one).

Take advantage of both options with a robust PRM

The beauty of partner programs is that you can design them any way you want. And there are plenty of situations where you’d use both lead generation forms and deal registration to maximize your revenue.

But to integrate the two into your program successfully, you need a PRM that can support both functions and:

  • Educate partners on how they work and what expectations are
  • Remind partners to submit leads
  • Notify partners of upcoming deal expirations
  • Outline your commission structure and handle payouts
  • Integrate seamlessly with your CRM

PartnerStack can do all that and more. Want to sneak a peek? Sign up for a free trial or schedule time with one of our PartnerStack experts today.

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