Understanding HubSpot Lifecycle Stages: Powering Sales and Marketing Success

HubSpot Lifecycle Stages: Enhance YourCustomer Journey Lifecycle stages are a crucial aspect of managing and understanding your customer journey. They help you track where each contact or company is in their relationship with your business. In HubSpot, lifecycle stages are...

HubSpot Lifecycle Stages Powering Sales and Marketing Success

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HubSpot Lifecycle Stages: Enhance YourCustomer Journey

Lifecycle stages are a crucial aspect of managing and understanding your customer journey. They help you track where each contact or company is in their relationship with your business. In HubSpot, lifecycle stages are pivotal in aligning your sales and marketing efforts with the buyer’s journey, ensuring that every lead is nurtured effectively. You can customize lifecycle stages in HubSpot to better track and forecast customer progression. This blog will explore what a lifecycle stage value and stages are, how to use them in HubSpot’s lifecycle stages, and their extensive power in driving your sales and marketing success.

What Is The Lifecycle Stage Property in HubSpot?

The different stages of the Lifecyce in Hubspot

Lifecycle Stage Definition

Lifecycle stages are markers used to indicate where a contact or company is in your sales funnel. They help you categorize and track the progress of your leads from their first interaction to becoming loyal customers. Understanding and utilizing lifecycle stages is essential for optimizing your sales process, marketing qualified leads, and ensuring your marketing team targets the right audience with relevant content. However, there can be potential confusion and difficulties in effectively utilizing the HubSpot lifecycle stage for business.

The lead status property further refines this categorization by labeling leads by specific lifecycle stages, such as Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) or Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). This allows the sales team to track their progress and apply appropriate actions for further qualification. It also helps sales conversations ensure that leads are handled appropriately based on their readiness to purchase, improving the efficiency of both sales and marketing efforts.

The Importance of Lifecycle Stages

a screenshot of a computer The Importance of Lifecycle Stages
  • Optimized Lead Nurturing: By understanding where each lead is in the sales funnel, your marketing team can deliver more personalized and relevant content. This targeted approach increases the chances of converting leads into customers.

  • Improved Sales Efficiency: HubSpot lifecycle stages enable your sales team to prioritize their efforts. For example, focusing on Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), who are more likely to convert, ensures that your sales resources are utilized effectively.

  • Enhanced Reporting and Analytics: Tracking the progression of leads through various lifecycle stages allows you to gain insights into your sales and marketing processes. You can identify bottlenecks, measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategies.

  • Better Alignment Between Sales and Marketing: Lifecycle stages help foster better communication and collaboration between your sales and marketing teams. By clearly understanding where each lead is in the customer journey, both teams can work together more effectively to drive conversions.

Standard Lifecycle Stages in HubSpot

Default HubSpot Lifecycle Stages

HubSpot provides default lifecycle stages in inbound marketing to help you manage your contacts and companies efficiently:

  • Subscriber: Someone who has signed up for your blog or newsletter. This stage is crucial for building an initial relationship and starting the lead nurturing process. Subscribers have shown interest in your content and are potential leads who can be nurtured into customers.

  • Lead: A contact or company showing interest in your product or service. Leads may have filled out a form, downloaded a resource, or engaged with your website. This stage indicates a higher interest level than subscribers and marks the beginning of deeper engagement.

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): A lead that has been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence. MQLs have shown significant engagement, such as attending webinars, requesting demos, or downloading multiple resources. They are considered ready for more direct marketing efforts aimed at conversion.

  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): A lead that your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up. The SQL lifecycle stage is crucial as it signifies that the marketing team has qualified the lead and is ready for engagement by the sales team. This stage often involves specific interactions or engagements with the marketing team’s nurturing campaigns and the sub-stages stored in the Lead Status property. This stage usually involves a handoff from marketing to sales, ensuring the lead is ready for direct sales engagement.

  • Opportunity: A lead that has a real sales opportunity. At this stage, the lead has expressed a strong interest in your product or service, and the sales team is actively working to close the deal. This stage often involves detailed discussions, product demonstrations, and negotiations.

  • Customer: A contact or company that has purchased your product or service. This stage signifies the successful conversion of a lead into a paying customer. The focus shifts to customer satisfaction, retention, and potentially upselling or cross-selling additional products or services.

  • Evangelist: A customer who advocates for and promotes your business to others. Evangelists are delighted customers who actively refer your company to others. They can be valuable word-of-mouth marketing assets and help generate new leads.

  • Other stages: Any additional stages you define to fit your business process. These could include stages such as “Inactive Lead,” “Trial User,” or “Repeat Customer,” depending on your business’s specific needs. Custom stages allow for more precise tracking and management of leads through your unique sales process. Specific default HubSpot lifecycle stages are recommended to streamline contact management and reporting processes.

How to Use Lifecycle Stages in HubSpot

Setting up Lifecycle Stages

To fully leverage lifecycle stages in HubSpot, you need to know how to set them up correctly:

  1. Navigate to Your HubSpot Account Settings

    • Log into your HubSpot account.

    • Click on the Settings icon located in the main navigation bar.

  2. Access the Properties Section

    • In the left sidebar menu, navigate to Properties.

    • Select Lifecycle Stage from the list of properties.

  3. View and Edit Default Lifecycle Stages

    • Here, you can view the default lifecycle stages provided by HubSpot.

    • To edit an existing stage, click on it, make changes, and save.

  4. Create Custom Lifecycle Stages

    • Click the Add a new stage button to create a new lifecycle stage.

    • Enter the stage name, description, and any relevant details.

    • Ensure data accuracy by double-checking the details before saving.

Customizing your HubSpot lifecycle stage can help tailor the stages to fit your business needs better.

    Assigning Lifecycle Stages

    There are two primary ways to assign lifecycle stages to your contacts or companies in HubSpot:

    1. Automating Stage Assignment Using Workflows

      • Create Workflows: Navigate to the Automation section in HubSpot and select Workflows.

      • Define Triggers: Set up triggers based on specific criteria such as form submissions, page views, or email interactions.

      • Set Actions: Define actions within the workflow to automatically update a contact’s or company’s lifecycle stage when the trigger conditions are met.

      • Activate Workflow: Once the workflow is set up, activate it to automate the stage assignment process.

      Example: If a contact downloads a whitepaper (trigger), their lifecycle stage can be automatically updated to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) (action).

    2. Manual Assignment

      • Sales Rep Updates: Sales reps can manually update a contact or company’s lifecycle stage as they progress through the sales funnel.

      • Lead Status Management: Use the lead status property to manage and track leads’ progress through the sales process.

      • Direct Updates: Navigate to the contact or company record in HubSpot, click on the current lifecycle stage, and select the appropriate stage from the dropdown menu.

      Example: After a successful initial call, a sales rep can manually update a contact’s lifecycle stage from Lead to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). There can be potential confusion and difficulties in utilizing the HubSpot lifecycle stage effectively for business.

    Using HubSpot’s AI Tools

    • Automatic Property Updates: HubSpot’s AI can automatically update contact properties based on interactions, such as email responses.

    • Smart Lists and Segmentation: Use HubSpot’s intelligent lists to segment contacts based on their interactions and automatically update their lifecycle stages.

    Syncing Lifecycle Stages From Prospect to Sales Qualified Lead

    To ensure your lifecycle stages are practical, it’s crucial to sync them with other HubSpot tools:

    1. Integration with Other HubSpot Tools

      • Lead Scoring: Integrate lifecycle stages with lead scoring to prioritize leads based on their engagement and readiness to purchase.

      • Email Marketing: Use lifecycle stages to segment your email lists and send targeted campaigns to different stages.

      • CRM Integration: Sync lifecycle stages with your CRM to provide a unified view of each contact’s journey.

      Example: Leads that score above a certain threshold can be automatically moved to the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) stage and assigned to individual contact with a sales rep for follow-up.

    2. Ensuring Consistent Data Across Platforms

      • Data Synchronization: Make sure all your tools and platforms are synchronized to maintain accurate lifecycle stages for your contacts and companies.

      • Regular Updates: Regularly update and audit your data to ensure consistency and accuracy across all systems.

      Example: Syncing HubSpot lifecycle stages with third-party tools like Salesforce ensures your sales team has the most up-to-date information about each lead.

    3. Using APIs for Integration

      • Third-Party Integrations: Use HubSpot’s APIs to integrate lifecycle stage data with other business tools like ERP systems and customer support tools.

      • Custom Integrations: Develop custom integrations to ensure that lifecycle stage data flows seamlessly between HubSpot and your other business tools.

      Example: Integrating HubSpot with your customer support tool ensures that support teams know the customer’s stage in the lifecycle, allowing for personalized support.

    4. Regular Audits and Maintenance

      • Data Hygiene: Regularly clean your database to remove outdated or incorrect lifecycle stages.

      • Audit Workflows: Periodically review your workflows to ensure they function correctly and update lifecycle stages as intended.

      Example: Conducting a quarterly audit of your lifecycle stage property workflows and data can help identify and rectify any issues, ensuring your lifecycle stages remain accurate and useful.

    Powering Sales and Marketing Efforts with Lifecycle Stages

    HubSpot lifecycle stages are more than just labels; they are powerful tools that drive your marketing and sales efforts and enhance your overall strategy. Here’s how:

    Optimizing the Sales Process

    Prioritizing Leads

    • By accurately tracking each lead’s position in the sales funnel, your sales team can prioritize their efforts on the most promising leads.

    • Use the lifecycle stage property to categorize contacts and companies based on their behavior and demographics. To streamline this process, it is recommended that specific default HubSpot lifecycle stages be used.

    • Focus on Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) who are more likely to convert, ensuring that your sales resources are utilized effectively.

    Streamlining Sales Activities

    • Automate routine tasks and follow-ups based on lifecycle stages to ensure timely lead engagement.

    • Use workflows to automate emails, tasks, and reminders, allowing your sales team to focus on high-value activities.

    • Example: Automatically send follow-up emails to SQLs who have engaged with a specific piece of content or attended a webinar.

    Enhancing Sales Forecasting

    • Track the progression of leads through various lifecycle stages to predict future sales and revenue.

    • Use data from lifecycle stages to identify trends and forecast sales performance.

    • Example: Analyze the conversion rates of leads at each stage to predict the number of leads moving to the Customer stage.

    Enhancing Marketing Campaigns

    Personalizing Content

    • Understanding the lifecycle stage of each contact allows your marketing team to deliver personalized content that resonates with their current needs and interests.

    • Segment your email lists based on lifecycle stages to send targeted campaigns. Customize and update each Hubspot lifecycle stage to ensure your segmentation remains accurate and effective.

    • Example: Send educational content to Subscribers, product information to Leads, and promotional offers to SQLs.

    Improving Lead Nurturing

    • Create tailored nurturing campaigns for different lifecycle stages to guide leads through the sales funnel.

    • Use workflows to automate nurturing campaigns that move leads from one stage to the next.

    • Example: Automatically enroll new Leads in a nurturing campaign that includes a series of educational emails and content offers.

    Measuring Campaign Effectiveness

    • Use lifecycle stages to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

    • Track the movement of leads through stages to evaluate which campaigns are most successful in driving conversions.

    • Example: Analyze the conversion rates of MQLs to SQLs to determine the effectiveness of your lead nurturing efforts.

    Improving Lead Management

    Ensuring No Lead Slips Through the Cracks

    • Use lifecycle stages to better manage your leads and ensure no potential customer is overlooked. However, be aware of the possible confusion and difficulties in effectively utilizing the HubSpot lifecycle stage for business.

    • Set up alerts and notifications for leads that require follow-up or have been stagnant in a particular stage for too long.

    • Example: Create a workflow that notifies a sales rep when a lead has been in the MQL stage for more than 30 days without engagement.

    Tracking Lead Progression

    • Monitor the journey of each lead through the lifecycle stages to ensure timely and appropriate follow-ups.

    • Use lead status properties to track sub-stages and provide more granular insights into lead progression.

    • Example: Track the specific actions taken by SQLs, such as demo requests or meeting schedules, to understand their readiness to purchase.

    Enhancing Data Quality

    • Regularly review and update lifecycle stage data to maintain accuracy.

    • Train your team on accurately updating lifecycle stages to ensure data integrity.

    • Example: Conduct quarterly audits of your lifecycle stage data to identify and correct inaccuracies or inconsistencies.

    Facilitating Sales and Marketing Alignment

    Fostering Better Communication

    • Lifecycle stages help align your sales and marketing teams, fostering better communication and collaboration.

    • Use shared HubSpot lifecycle stage definitions and criteria to ensure both teams clearly understand each stage.

    • Example: Regularly update and share lifecycle stage criteria with sales and marketing teams to ensure alignment.

    Streamlining Handoffs

    • Clearly define the criteria for moving leads from one stage to another to ensure smooth handoffs between marketing and sales.

    • Use workflows to automate the handoff process and notify the appropriate team members.

    • Example: Automatically assign a lead to a sales rep and notify them when a lead moves from MQL to SQL.

    Collaborating on Strategy

    • Use insights from lifecycle stages to inform joint sales and marketing strategies.

    • Hold regular meetings to discuss lead progression, campaign performance, and areas for improvement.

    • Example: Use data from lifecycle stages to identify gaps in the sales funnel and develop joint strategies to address them.

    Leveraging Lifecycle Stages for Reporting and Analytics

    Gaining Insights

    • Use lifecycle stages to gain insights into your sales and marketing processes.

    • Track the progression of leads through stages to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

    • Example: Analyze the average time leads spend in each lifecycle stage to identify stages that may require additional attention or resources.

    • Customize and update your HubSpot lifecycle stage to reflect your unique business processes and ensure accurate reporting.

    Improving Decision-Making

    • Use data from lifecycle stages to make informed decisions about your sales and marketing strategies.

    • Identify trends and patterns in lead behavior to optimize your approach.

    • Example: Use lifecycle stage data to determine which marketing channels are most effective in driving conversions at different stages.

    Creating Custom Reports

    • Build custom reports in HubSpot to analyze the performance of leads at each lifecycle stage.

    • Use these reports to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and sales efforts.

    • Example: Create a report that tracks the conversion rates of leads from MQL to SQL and SQL to Customer.

    Mastering the lifecycle stages in HubSpot can significantly enhance your sales and marketing efforts. By correctly defaulting the lifecycle stage by simply setting up the lifecycle stage tab, up, assigning, and syncing these stages, you can ensure a smooth and efficient customer journey from initial contact to a loyal customer. Lifecycle stages provide valuable insights that help your sales and marketing teams work more effectively, further customer relationships, and ultimately drive growth and success for your business. Creating and customizing lifecycle stages in HubSpot allows you to track better and forecast customer progression, impacting sales, inventory levels, and future growth.


    Q: What are the lifecycle stages in HubSpot?

    A: HubSpot’s lifecycle stages are labels that help you track where each contact or company is in different stages of their journey with your business, from initial interaction to becoming a loyal customer.

    Q: How can I customize lifecycle stages for sales representatives in HubSpot?

    A: You can customize lifecycle stages in HubSpot by navigating to the Properties section in your account settings and editing or adding new and sync lifecycle stages to fit your sales representative’s due process.

    Q: Why are lifecycle stages important for sales and marketing?

    A: Lifecycle stages are critical because they help align sales and marketing efforts, ensuring that leads are nurtured appropriately and that marketing and sales teams clearly understand where each lead is in various customer journey stages. Creating and customizing lifecycle stages in HubSpot allows you to better track and forecast your customer lifecycle progression, impacting sales, inventory levels, and future growth.

    Q: Can I automate the assignment of lifecycle stages in HubSpot?

    A: Yes, you can automate the assignment of lifecycle stages in HubSpot using workflows that update stages based on a contact’s interactions associated with a deal with your content or website.

    Q: How do lifecycle stages integrate with other HubSpot tools?

    A: Lifecycle stages integrate with other HubSpot tools like lead scoring, email marketing, and CRM to provide a seamless and cohesive experience, ensuring accurate and up-to-date tracking of your contacts’ progress.

    Q: What are the potential difficulties in utilizing HubSpot lifecycle stages effectively for business?

    A: Utilizing HubSpot lifecycle stages effectively can be challenging due to potential confusion in selecting and customizing the appropriate stages for your business needs. It’s crucial to understand the central role of lifecycle stages in HubSpot’s features and reports and to regularly update and refine these stages to avoid misalignment above stages and ensure accurate tracking of contacts and companies.


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    About the Author
    Picture of Seth
    I am Seth Nagle, a growth marketing aficionado with a passion for propelling businesses to new heights. Armed with a wizardry of data-driven strategies, innovative tactics, and a keen eye for opportunities, I've orchestrated successful campaigns that have ignited growth and sparked measurable results. From disrupting industries to cultivating brand loyalty, I thrive on the thrill of crafting narratives that resonate, channels that convert, and outcomes that speak volumes.