What is the Difference Between the Lifecycle Stages and Lead Status?

It's vital for business executives in sales, marketing, and customer service to understand and implement the concepts of lifecycle stages and lead status.

We'll first break down these two categories as we understand at Digitopia, scrutinize each, and then go into why distinguishing between them is important for your business administration.

The Dichotomy of Lifecycle Stage and Lead Status Explaining a Lifecycle Stage Lifecycle stages should be determined based on a contact's position in their purchasing journey and to indicate the accountability division between your sales and marketing units. Incidentally, using lifecycle stages guarantees that contacts who wish to opt out of your marketing or communication efforts are safely distanced from your engagement activities and are perfectly tagged in your CRM.

It's equally crucial to apply lifecycle stages to filter out employees, associates, and unsuitable prospects, among others, from being included in your nurturing channels.

We rely on a Technological Lifecycle Journey Map, a tool that provides a straightforward structure to synchronize sales, marketing, and service executives around these ideas.

List of Lifecycle Stages

  • Visitor - anyone coming to the website regardless of channel
  • Subscriber - anyone who has filled out any form
  • Lead - someone who matches our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and MQL demographics but hasn't yet exhibited behaviors to show enough buying intent (NOTE: demographics needs to be defined even further and is company/industry-specific)
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) - Meets "Lead" criteria and has a lead score of 100+
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) - Contact has been made (i.e., Discovery meeting booked), and the prospect has NOT been otherwise disqualified
  • Opportunity - HubSpot deal associated with the contact record
  • Customer - Signed contract
  • Evangelist - Has helped spread the good word about your product or service
  • Other - worth noting, these are contacts who've asked to be removed or otherwise disqualified and we use "other" to preserve reporting throughout the journey

What is Lead Status?

Lead status relates directly to the specific actions your sales team is taking when a contact is in the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) lifecycle stage. HubSpot has default options; you may decide to further customize these options based on your sales process.

Default Lead Status Categories in HubSpot:

  • New
  • Open
  • In Progress
  • Open Deal
  • Unqualified
  • Attempted to Contact
  • Connected
  • Bad Timing

Benefits of Standardizing Your Lifecycle Stages & Lead Statuses

Defining and understanding lifecycle stages offers a ton of advantages in reporting and building dashboards that assist decision-makers at every level of your organization. Clear definitions also help in smoothly transitioning a contact from marketing to sales, sales to service, and in creating service-level agreements between marketing and sales and sales and service.

What is the mechanism through which contacts transition between these stages?

In HubSpot, a few methods exist for a contact to advance autonomously without the need for workflows engineered by your platform specialists.

If a deal is linked to a contact or a corporation, HubSpot will modify the lifecycle stage to 'Opportunity' When a deal is shifted to Closed-Won, HubSpot will alter the lifecycle stage to 'Customer' By recording your definitions, contact custodians, data markers, and alteration triggers, you can establish automation and workflows to facilitate more refined reporting and ownership throughout each stage.

How Defining your Lifecycle Stages help your Sales Funnel Perform

We hold a firm belief that contacts should transition through all lifecycle stages, irrespective of their origin (digital or physical), to ensure uniform data gathering. This allows you to spot the obstacles in your buyer's journey confidently.

For instance, if there's a large number of MQLs failing to convert into SQLs, it might suggest that your parameters for transitioning from Lead to MQL need to accurately represent your ideal customers or indicate those ready for sales engagement. Likewise, a high volume of subscribers not turning into leads might imply that your content marketing team needs to reconsider their strategy.

Ultimately, our lifecycle journey mapping exercise is beneficial for your contacts in Hubspot, especially those who become MQLs, SQLs, Opportunities, and Customers. This is because the customer will experience a smooth and highly tailored journey with your organization.

When to Use the Lead Status Property

Delving deeper into the sales aspect of the lifecycle journey, it encompasses all the specific measures your sales representatives and team are implementing to transform those SQLs into Opportunities and eventually into Customers. Here, the intricately detailed lead status comes into play. Unlike lifecycle stages, you have the ability to personalize and modify the existing fields within HubSpot fully.

Indeed, as a part of our RBP Technical Lifecycle Journey Map exercise, we collaborate with clients to record:

  • Every action their sales team undertakes in their process
  • Create sequences and task queues
  • Verify lead scoring
  • Construct lead status, and deal flows as needed
  • Integrate lead status further into custom workflows and automation to enhance your lead monitoring and reporting.

Maximizing the use of lead status within HubSpot can revolutionize your approach to reporting on and scrutinizing your current sales team and processes.

Bringing it All Together

By uniting your sales, marketing, and service teams to establish a common understanding on lifecycle journey definitions, triggers, and behaviors, your platform team will then be in a position to construct the supporting automation and workflows in HubSpot.

Subsequently, there will be a unified comprehension regarding identifying contact bottlenecks and effectively progressing contacts toward a sales call. Once incorporated into the sales process, these lead status definitions will provide further insight into areas that require enhancement and optimization, all part of the broader people, process, and platform approach.

Though these are just two definitions among many, they play an invaluable role in evolving into a high-performance RevOps organization.