WARNING: Automating and managing lifecycle stages is not easy. You can mess it up in hundreds of ways. Before you automate it, ensure you have the right lifecycle stages strategy first.
In this article, I will explain a step-by-step process for automating lifecycle stages. By following our guidelines, you will gain the ability to:
Achieve full-funnel visibility: Gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire customer journey, from Leads to MQLs, SQLs, and beyond.
Track volume: Keep a close eye on the quantity of Leads, MQLs, SQLs, and other lifecycle stages, enabling accurate reporting.
Monitor conversion rates: Measure the success of your campaigns and initiatives by tracking conversion rates at each stage of the customer lifecycle.
Track time metrics: Analyze the time it takes for prospects to move through different stages, identifying potential bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
Let's dive into it.
Table of Contents
Lifecycle stages automation fundamental rules
Before we begin, check the lifecycle stages automation best practices.
Keep it linear and don't move backward in stages
Don't skip stages otherwise, your funnel report will be broken
Set meaningful triggers that determine moving to the next stage
Restrict anyone from changing this field manually
Assign and make sure all your contacts have Lifecycle Stage
Integrate contact and company lifecycle stages
Okay. It's time to get our hands dirty with practice. This is the process I will go through.
Defining stages and triggers
Building inclusion lists for each lifecycle stage
Building reset lists for each lifecycle stage
Turning on the automation
Define stages and triggers
Before jumping into automating lifecycle stages, you need to define clear triggers that will prompt a certain contact to move from one phase to another.
PRO TIP: Define triggers individually for each go-to-market motion.
Here is an example:
Build Inclusion & Reset Lists
Inclusions lists are built inside HubSpot to keep all contacts that fit the criteria. and Reset lists are crucial to ensure that a contact will not skip any step.
Below you can see the example of MQLs inclusion and reset lists.
Inclusion List example for MQL Lifecycle Stage
Reset List example for MQL Lifecycle Stage
Build Workflows for Lifecycle Stages
In this step, you build 3 types of workflows:
1. Reset - if the contact is in Reset List C but is a member of Inclusion List B, check time stamps for Stage A or B, clear Lifecycle Stage, add to Stage A, then B, it's the correct stage.
2. Lifecycle stage inclusion workflow - if a member of inclusion list A, update the lifecycle Stage to A but check all previous stages and make sure contact goes through them if not already time stamped.
3.Time-stamp custom lifecycle stages - if the contact moves to list X, update "became an X date" to "Date of step" (if applicable).
Below you can see the example of a reset, as well as MQLs inclusion workflow.
Reset workflow example for lifecycle stages
Inclusion workflow example for MQL Lifecycle Stage
Remember, you need to create inclusions workflows for all your lifecycle stages to make the automation work.
Uncheck the sync lifecycle stages option
It's very easy to overlook, but if you don't do that, contacts will skip the stages and the whole operation will take a hit.
Go to the Contacts -> Lifecycle Stage and uncheck "Sync lifecycle stages":
Turn on Workflows
Finally, it's time to put this marvel of HubSpot engineering in motion. To make it right follow this exact order:
Reset workflow first, make contacts run through, then turn it off.
Turn on your inclusion workflows one by one in the order of your customer journey - Lead, MQL, SQL, etc.
Before running the next one, confirm all contacts have run through that workflow.
Voilà. This is what the funnel report looks like with properly set up lifecycle stages.
As you can see, HubSpot already sees all contacts with automatically assigned lifecycle stages.
Setting up HubSpot lifecycle stages is not a Sunday walk.
But it's a must-have if you want your reports and analytics to give you actionable insights into your funnel.
Not to mention streamlined processes for your teams and better cooperation between departments
So, to make sure we didn't miss anything, let's wrap the whole process up again:
Define triggers for all lifecycle stages that will prompt contact to move from one phase to another.
Build inclusion and reset lists for all lifecycle stages.
Build reset and inclusion workflows for all lifecycle stages.
Uncheck the "Sync lifecycle stages"option before jumping into automation.
Run reset workflow first, then turn inclusion workflows one by one (Lead, MQL, SQL, etc.)
Hope it was helpful.
If you have any questions regarding HubSpot automation, just contact us, and let's chat.
about the author
I help B2B companies drive revenue with Demand Generation Programs. RevOps Evangelist and marketer who thinks outside the funnel. Creating marketing programs aligned with how people want to buy, not in a way companies want to sell to them.