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A Detailed Information to HubSpot Lifecycle Levels and Learn how to Use Them Receive US

If you happen to’re studying this text, you’re most likely no stranger to the gross sales funnel.

The gross sales funnel is a fairly simple idea — numerous individuals are available in as leads on the prime, they undergo a sequence of steps, and some individuals drop out the underside as clients. Straightforward, proper?

The place it will get a bit murky is the way you classify individuals as they transfer by the funnel. That is the place we begin to hear phrases like “advertising certified leads” and “gross sales certified leads,” or their acronyms: MQLs and SQLs.

These completely different classes of leads and clients are referred to as lifecycle phases. Completely different firms usually have completely different names for these phases. And, what’s much more complicated is that many firms name them the identical factor however have completely different definitions.

We wish to assist clear up this ambiguity and confusion. On this put up, we’ll assist you to perceive lifecycle phases, and break down every stage with the most typical definitions.

After that we’ll provide you with some recommendations on which edits to make (and keep away from making), and how lifecycle stages fit into the remainder of your HubSpot ecosystem. Now let’s get began!

What is the level of lifecycle phases?

At its core, lifecycle phases are only a setting that you simply apply to contacts or firms, to offer you a extra exact thought of the place they’re at of their buyer’s journey.

We like to consider it as the ten,000 foot view: supplying you with an thought of the place clients are, from their very first interplay along with your firm throughout to being completely satisfied clients who’re sending extra enterprise your approach.

Defining the completely different lifecycle phases

Since we’re a HubSpot Partner Agency, we’re going to make use of HubSpot’s lifecycle phases. That checklist consists of:

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This is among the best lifecycle phases to grasp as a result of, effectively, subscribers are subscribers. In different phrases, they’ve signed as much as obtain content material from you however haven’t taken some other actions. They’re very early of their purchaser’s journey.

Folks needs to be categorized as subscribers after they fill out a form to obtain your publication or notifications about new weblog posts. The subscriber lifecycle stage can also be a fantastic place to place leads which have been disqualified however are nonetheless fascinated about your content material.

It doesn’t make an entire lot of sense to spend so much of time making an attempt to promote to your subscribers. The subscribers will usually be a big pool of individuals and it’s doubtless that almost all of them won’t ever turn into clients.

What it is best to do is proceed to offer them content material that’s helpful to them, and ensure there’s all the time a possibility for them to “elevate their fingers” in the event that they turn into extra fascinated about what it’s a must to supply. You possibly can leverage HubSpot workflows to automate this nurturing course of and reply to a lead’s conduct.

Professional Tip: Even the subscribers who aren’t a match on your core services will be helpful to your organization. In the event that they love the content material you set out, they may turn into your largest advocates within the market. You might also have the ability to monetize this viewers by creating secondary, extra transactional merchandise reminiscent of programs, branded merchandise, or books.



Leads are the individuals who have proven some curiosity within the services or products you supply, however aren’t but certified past that.

Normally, somebody will get categorised as a lead as soon as we all know they’ve an issue we will help them clear up or a possibility we will help them obtain. However, we nonetheless don’t know if they’ve the finances required to work with us or in the event that they’d be an excellent match as one in every of our clients.

We usually know they’ve a related downside or alternative as a result of they’ve taken benefit of a prime of the funnel supply. This can be downloading a chunk of academic content material, utilizing a web-based device, or taking a quiz.

That is additionally the lifecycle stage mostly used when importing leads you’ve gathered offline from issues reminiscent of commerce exhibits or occasions.

You’ll need individuals to remain categorised as leads till they’re both disqualified or they take an motion that signals they’re ready to move up to the next lifecycle stage. As such, people may remain in the lead stage for quite some time.


Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

This is the stage where things start getting serious. A marketing qualified lead is someone who the marketing department has determined is ready for a one-on-one follow-up from the sales team.

This is also the stage where you begin to see big difference between companies in the methods they use to classify different types of leads.

At the simplest level, you can designate someone as an MQL once they fill out a form for a bottom of the funnel (or decision stage) offer. This may be a product demo, product guide, or request for a quote or proposal.

However, classifying someone as a marketing qualified lead is usually a little more complex than that. First, you want to make sure that your marketing and sales departments agree on what “qualified” means.

You’ll also want to make sure that people with red flags don’t move up to this stage, regardless of whether they’ve filled out a bottom of the funnel offer or not. For example, if your company works with medium-sized enterprises, you don’t want to pass off a one-person company to your sales team just because that person downloaded a product guide.

Another thing you’ll want to make sure of at this stage is that you have all the information about the lead that your sales people will need. This will vary from company to company, but it usually includes at least their phone number, job title, and geographic region. You can use the form that gates your bottom of the funnel offer to ensure that you get all the necessary information.

In some companies, lead scoring may be used to designate someone as an MQL. This allows them to take more into consideration than just a single action like filling out a bottom of the funnel form.


Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

This is another stage that can vary between companies, but the basic definition is generally the same. Sales qualified leads are leads that your sales team has accepted as qualified. It’s usually the process of moving a lead from MQL to SQL that varies.

Sometimes, MQLs get upgraded to SQLs after a sales person or sales manager reviews the lead’s information in your CRM and decides to pursue them.

Other times, the action that a lead took to get upgraded to an MQL in the first place will put them in touch with a salesperson, such as a request for a demo. The salesperson will then use that interaction to decide if the lead is truly qualified or not.

Another common practice is for salespeople to begin by trying to set up an initial call — we usually refer to this as a connect call. The salesperson will typically send the lead a series of emails to try to get the lead on the phone for 20 minutes or so. The goal of that 20-minute call is to find red flags that disqualify the lead. If none are found, the lead gets upgraded to an SQL and the salesperson continues to work with them.

If you’ve designated MQLs correctly and your marketing and sales departments are properly aligned, nearly all of them should become SQLs rather quickly.

Pro Tip: If you’re using HubSpot’s Sales Starter or Sales Pro, you can leverage email templates, sequences, and meetings links to make the method of requesting and scheduling a join name a lot simpler.



Folks get moved to the chance stage as soon as a actual gross sales dialog has begun. This often means that you’ve got a transparent thought of who the choice maker is and a fairly good thought of what services or products they’re fascinated about, how a lot the deal shall be price, and what the timeline is for them to decide.

For instance, we transfer individuals to the chance stage as soon as we’ve had a discovery assembly they usually’ve requested a proposal.



This one’s fairly clear, clients are individuals who have determined to purchase from you. How lengthy individuals keep categorised as a buyer, although, often relies on the kind of enterprise you will have.

For instance, when you work with individuals on a recurring or ongoing foundation, individuals often keep categorised as clients for so long as they’re persevering with to work with you.

If your online business is extra transactional in nature and other people make a number of repeat purchases, it’s as much as you ways lengthy individuals ought to keep categorised as clients. It’s possible you’ll determine that, as soon as somebody makes a purchase order from you, they keep categorised as clients. Or you might wish to downgrade their lifecycle stage in the event that they haven’t purchased from you in a predetermined period of time.



Evangelists are people who find themselves advocates for you. Some firms classify anybody who refers enterprise their approach as evangelists. Different firms put all previous clients on this class (so long as the client was proud of the product and/or service). Each of those are good choices, however you will have to determine which one is finest on your firm and make sure that the definition stays constant throughout the corporate.



If you happen to’re utilizing HubSpot, you’ll even have a lifecycle stage choice for “different.” We use this as a catch-all class that we additional outline with a second customized subject. We name that second subject “Different Clarification” and have choices reminiscent of vendor, influencer, media contact, and so forth.


Modifying lifecycle phases

The definitions above may not line up completely along with your gross sales course of, so HubSpot permits you to edit them. To do that, you will go to your Settings > Objects > Contacts, and you will see this “Lifecycle Stage” tab for settings.


On this web page, you possibly can arrange some primary automation, superior workflows, and so forth, particularly if you wish to get granular about advancing individuals from one stage to the subsequent routinely. There’s some upfront setup right here, however when you do it with a transparent understanding of your phases, you will save your self a variety of time in the long term.

Keep in mind that life cycle phases, whereas they apply to contacts and corporations, they must be the identical phases for each information. You will edit them on the contact file, and then you definately’ll see these edits utilized to the dropdowns for each contact information and firm information.

HubSpot additionally has some pre-built settings in right here, reminiscent of the flexibility to sync life cycle phases between contacts and corporations. The way in which this works is anytime an organization updates their life cycle stage, the contact can replace to match it.

Watch out about enhancing

Usuallyinstances once we get purchasers who’re new to HubSpot, they actually wish to bounce in and edit these. Perhaps advertising certified lead does not imply something to you. Perhaps you’ve got received a gross sales course of with your personal names for the phases that folks undergo from lead all the best way to changing into a buyer, however we extremely suggest to reduce the enhancing that you simply do in right here.


  • Edits are much less practical: HubSpot has some pre-built performance for his or her default life cycle phases, which is not routinely duplicated whenever you add phases.
  • Coaching is tougher: whenever you’re onboarding new salespeople, the extra issues that you’ve got custom-made in HubSpot, the extra it’s a must to customise your coaching. If you happen to stick to phases related sufficient to the defaults, it is a lot simpler to coach new hires with a HubSpot Academy video, as an example.

In these cases, we extremely suggest purchasers take take a look at all these life cycle phases, apply their very own definitions to the phases the place mandatory, and to doc that (together with after they’re utilizing HubSpot’s definitions).

Recommended edits to think about in lifecycle phases

New stage for subscriptions/retainers: “Former Buyer”

There’ll usually be one or two lifecycle phases you wish to add. One we see on a regular basis is the “former buyer” stage. Perhaps you’ve got received a subscription or retainer setup on your services or products, one thing taking place on a long-term foundation. What occurs in the event that they churn?


We often wish to know who these persons are in a short time in our CRM, so we usually add a former buyer contact right here. 


Edit properties inside the default phases for higher reporting

There are two properties that HubSpot offers you: 


  • The date {that a} contact grew to become a advertising certified lead
  • The period of time it took for someone to go from advertising certified result in buyer


After they grew to become a advertising certified lead, how lengthy did it take for them to purchase? That is some highly effective data, and price having reporting for.


Nonetheless, when you have been to say “we do not like advertising certified lead, that time period does not imply something to us, so we’re simply going to delete that and add our personal stage,” then you definately would wish to recreate these properties, both with calculated fields or workflows.


That may be fairly troublesome relying in your subscription degree. For instance, when you’re solely on a Skilled model of a hub, you solely get 5 calculated properties. If you do not have Operations Hub, it may be troublesome to do the calculations and workflows to use it to a property.

By utilizing the HubSpot default phases, you possibly can reap the benefits of the properties HubSpot has created for you, and get experiences for them.


You will additionally have the ability to use a ton of prebuilt experiences, which will be tremendous useful — as an example, you possibly can see the place you are producing your leads, and at which stage these leads are coming in. These experiences will help work out vital insights, like displaying that the supply producing essentially the most leads is not the supply producing essentially the most clients.


So fairly than bounce straight to creating your personal phases, attempt to use these default HubSpot lifecycle phases and simply apply your personal definitions if mandatory.


Clear phases assist make clear your complete course of

We get fairly just a few folks that watch these movies and attain out to us and say, “hey, I am trying to begin utilizing HubSpot. I simply wish to ensure that it may possibly assist the processes that I’ve and that I can see the place everyone’s at in that course of in my CRM.”


In the meantime, we additionally get lots of people who’re utilizing HubSpot and inform us, “I do know I might be getting extra readability from this device, however it’s a bit little bit of a multitude. Our information is a multitude. We’ve not actually thought by how we’ll have this course of arrange in HubSpot, or how we’ve got it arrange now. It actually wants to alter.”


What we regularly do with individuals on this state of affairs is take them by what we name “purchaser journey workshop.” What we’re right here is “what’s your course of and the way is one of the best ways to trace that course of within HubSpot.”

Lifecycle phases are the muse of that. All of it begins with that lifecycle stage. What are the phases we want? What are their definitions?


How do lifecycle phases work with the remainder of HubSpot?

With all that stated, lifecycle phases aren’t the one instruments we’ve got. Check out this chart, which helps illustrate how lifecycle phases relate to different HubSpot instruments, and the way they’ll all work collectively for a clearer purchaser journey.

Diagram of HubSpot lifecycle stages and the HubSpot ecosystem


Ensure word to confuse lifecycle phases with lead rating or lead standing — you will get a greater understanding of the distinction with our article on lead scoring.

We also see too many teams using deal stages when they should be using lifecycle stages — creating deals far too early in the process, which leads to more data entry for your team, and less clarity around your actual open opportunities. This then starts to screw with things like forecasting, which creates its own set of problems.

We hope this guide helps you clear up lifecycle stages for your marketing and sales team so you can focus less on what each stage is and more on moving those leads through the funnel. If you have any questions unique to your company, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

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