Companies using HubSpot for marketing automation likely know about its lifecycle stages…or at least are somewhat aware or them…or saw them mentioned a couple of times, became confused and quickly averted their eyes.
Here’s the thing: lifecycle stages are a key component of HubSpot—especially when it comes to sales and marketing alignment—and it’s worth getting more familiar with what each stage means and how you can use this newfound knowledge to more effectively nurture your leads into loyal customers.
What are the Lifecycle Stages?
Lifecycle stages help businesses understand where people that are interacting and engaging with your brand are in the buyer’s journey. Each stage is intended to help your marketing and sales teams keep track of how leads are moving through the funnel and how to motivate them to take the next steps.
Their movement can either be processed through an automatic progression method configured by HubSpot or can be handled by your sales team. For example, when a deal is moved to Closed-Won the contacts associated with that deal automatically progress to the “customer” lifecycle stage.
There are eight Hubspot lifecycle stages. Here’s what they are, and how they apply to your inbound marketing efforts:
This is a contact who has gone from being a dormant to an active participant by subscribing to your company blog or newsletter. You can move a contact to this stage by sending a blog subscription sign-up form or a via a HubSpot pop-up form.
A lead is a subscriber who has interacted with—or shown more interest in—your brand in ways that goes beyond a subscription. For example, perhaps they’ve signed up for content offers like whitepapers or ebooks.
3. Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL)
An MQL is a lead who, after analysis by the marketing team, is identified as ready to be contacted by the sales team. At this stage, the contact has already interacted with the sales team, but most of the time, are not ready for phone call contact.
4. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
This is a lead who your sales team has qualified as a prospective or potential customer. This contact has already indicated by action that they are ready to be contacted and educated about your company product or service.
This is a lead who has the information needed to become a customer and appears ready to make a deal.
This is a lead with at least one closed deal. This is set automatically by HubSpot once the deal is set to “Closed Won.”
This is a customer who has become an advocate for your company. They are real contacts who have networks and connections that your company can leverage for more lead generation.
This is a contact who does not fit any of the above stages.
Best Practices for using HubSpot Lifecycle stages
- Define exactly what each HubSpot stage means for your company and develop reporting or build dashboards to regularly track each of the stages.
- When a contact fills a form on your website, ensure the stage is updated automatically without incorporation of workflows. And remember, different forms should be associated with different stages. For example, a content offer typically triggers an MQL, where request a demo is typically an SQL. This can be achieved with a hidden form field.
- Create workflows to assign to contacts in various Hubspot lifecycle stages with the goal of advancing them to the next stage.
- Using lead scoring as a more specific, quantitative way to classify a contact’s lifecycle stage.
- Automatically send internal reminders for follow-up when leads hit certain Hubspot Lifecycle Stages or a certain Lead Status.
Looking to use inbound marketing (and HubSpot) to generate and convert leads? Talk to us! Brainstorm is a HubSpot certified agency partner and our experts are eager to learn about your goals and make recommendations on how to leverage inbound marketing to drive prospective clients to your company.