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Everything You Need to Know About HubSpot Lifecycle Stages

What’s in a name? Quite a bit, if the name in question is a HubSpot lifecycle stage. Lifecycle Stages are labels that delineate where a contact is in your marketing and sales processes. With a thorough understanding of lifecycle stages, you:

  • Smooth the hand-off transition between marketing and sales;
  • Nurture leads with greater success; and
  • Close more sales

Why? Because having a reliable framework helps you understand how to communicate with a given contact – how to meet them where they are.

 

 

What are HubSpot Lifecycle Stages?

HubSpot comes with the following default stages: 

  • Subscriber: a contact who has signed up for your blog or newsletter.
  • Lead: a contact who has converted through some other interaction with your organization (beyond a subscription sign up).
  • Marketing Qualified Lead: a contact that your marketing department has qualified as ready for the sales team.
  • Sales Qualified Lead: a contact that your sales department has qualified as a potential customer.
  • Opportunity: a contact who is associated with a deal (e.g., they're involved in a potential deal with your organization).
  • Customer: a contact with at least one closed deal.
  • Evangelist: a customer who has advocated for your organization.
  • Other: a wildcard stage that can be used when a contact does not fit any of the above stages.

 

Let’s take a look at how each of these aligns with the HubSpot flywheel. In other words, what exactly does a lifecycle stage say about where a contact is in their buyer’s journey? But first, the flywheel:

hubspot lifecycle stage

Remember this guy? How could you forget? You’ve seen him everywhere on our blog and he pervades the inbound world. The ol’ Attract-Engage-and-Delight. When you really think about it, it’s a cyclical model reflective of any non-familial relationship. First you have to get someone’s interest and attention, then you have to get them to like you, then you have to continue making them like you so you retain their interest and attention.

Okay, so what does that look like with your contacts?

The attract stage can be equated to the top of the funnel (even though the model is cyclical – this is where the cycle starts). This stage is about reach. It’s about creating and publishing the content that provides values and puts you on a potential buyers’ radar. As such, this stage would encompass subscribers and leads. These are the contacts you’re wooing with free offers like:

  • eGuides
  • Whitepapers
  • Checklists
  • How-to vids
  • Educational webinars

Next up is the engage stage, which encompasses MQLs and SQLs. The key term when it comes to engagement is communication. This is where you work your magical smarketing charms (part of a complete SaaS breakfast) by engaging with contacts in a way that makes them want to build a long-term relationship with you.

 



 

At this stage, you may have upped the ante with content like:

  • Case studies
  • Samples or free trials
  • Demos
  • Product/service webinars

That leaves us with Customers and Evangelists in the delight stage. (Opportunities and Other are outliers in the sense that the first can fit with any of the other stages, and the latter designates a wildcard.)

After you’ve popped the question and closed the deal, it’s now your duty to keep them happy, satisfied and supported. Strategies to delight include:

  • Chatbots
  • Knowledge base
  • Surveys
  • Social media listening

 

HubSpot Lifecycle Stage vs. HubSpot Lead Status

It’s worth noting that the lifecycle stage are not synonymous with lead status. In fact, the latter describes the substages within an SQL and are as follows:

  • New: those you haven’t reached out to.
  • Open: leads you’re preparing to reach out to (possibly through research).
  • In Progress: leads you’ve reached out to.
  • Open Deal: leads that have expressed interest in your product or service.
  • Unqualified: leads that either aren’t a good fit or aren’t interested.
  • Attempted to Contact: leads you’ve tried to reach out to but haven’t been able to make contact with.
  • Connected: leads you’ve made contact with but aren’t opportunities yet.
  • Bad Timing: leads that aren’t ready and will likely need to be downgraded to an early stage.

You can think of lead status as being a subset of the lifecycle stages; it helps your sales professionals by adding in another layer of specificity to your leads.

What to Do With Lifecycle Stages

  • Subscriber: a contact who has signed up for your blog or newsletter.
  • Lead: a contact who has converted through some other interaction with your organization (beyond a subscription sign up).
  • Marketing Qualified Lead: a contact that your marketing department has qualified as ready for the sales team.
  • Sales Qualified Lead: a contact that your sales department has qualified as a potential customer.
  • Opportunity: a contact who is associated with a deal (e.g., they're involved in a potential deal with your organization).
  • Customer: a contact with at least one closed deal.
  • Evangelist: a customer who has advocated for your organization.
  • Other: a wildcard stage that can be used when a contact does not fit any of the above stages.

 

How are Default Lifecycle Stages Determined?

The default stage is determined by how a contact is created. All new contacts will be inputted as either a lead or a subscriber.

Default criteria for leads:

  • Filled out a form or converted on a lead flow (unless the lead flow specifies a different stage in the property);
  • Synced from salesforce (unless automatic lifecycle stage transitions or a sync is enabled); or
  • Created contact profiles through Gmail or Outlook

Default criteria for subscribers:

  • Added manually
  • Converted on the blog
  • Imported (unless another lifecycle stage is specified)
  • Created through conversations

 

Conclusion

HubSpot’s lifecycle stages can be a powerful tool to help you better meet your customers where they are in their journey.

Not sure where to start? Chief Martech Officer has the perfect balance of strategic and technical capabilities to develop your lifecycle stages and deploy them within HubSpot. To figure out the lifecycle stages unique to your customers and business, we use a framework designed to help us uncover your unique customer journey. If that sounds like something that would be helpful for you, book a chat with a RevOps specialist today!

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