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HubSpot Lead Status: Why It Matters in Your Sales Process

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Clearly defining lead statuses in your sales process allows your team to create productive pipelines. 

If you're looking to HubSpot to help create more productive and effective sales processes for your business, or if you're considering HubSpot to help with your sales efficiency — that's great! We're excited to know you're ready to grow your business better. 

A common question we hear business leaders and sales teams ask is, "How does HubSpot show where prospects are in the sales process?" The short answer is that there are a couple of fields in HubSpot to see this information. 

But to start, let's talk about lifecycle stages. Previously I wrote about lifecycle stages, what they are, and how to use them. If you haven't taken the time to go through and create a lifecycle stage map, we highly recommend making sure you build that documentation before you start implementing your lead status because they work hand in hand. 

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Just as a quick refresher, lifecycle stages categorize your contacts based on where they are in your marketing and sales process — meaning, this helps you know where a contact is in their overall buyer's journey. But, you may not have the detail you want about where they are in the sales process, which we understand can be a considerable frustration for you and your sales team looking to reduce wasted efforts. This is where lead status comes into play for your team. 

 

What is lead status, and where does it fit in the sales process?

Lead status describes a set of sub-stages within the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) lifecycle stage. Remember, Sales Qualified Leads are contacts that your sales team has qualified as potential customers. That means these prospects have been nurtured, and your sales team is ready to work with them. As your team starts working with SQLs, they need a way to manage them through the sales process. That’s where the lead status field comes into play.

It’s important to remember, not only is it necessary for salespeople to have a way to manage leads in their pipeline — it’s even more critical that your sales team is using the same system to manage and classify these leads. Without sales team alignment, you end up with a chaotic sales process that leads to incomplete reporting, disjointed customer experiences, and dirty data. Don’t worry. There are simple and effective ways to get your team on the same page using lead status quickly. 

 

What is possible with HubSpot lead status fields, and how do you implement them into your sales process?

Let's start by reviewing what is available in the lead status field, and then we'll talk about how you can use it. Lead status comes with a set of out-of-the-box options:

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

Unlike the lifecycle stage field, the lead status field can be customized. New and different options can be set within HubSpot so it can be tailored to your sales process. Let me pause here and note this: before deleting and adding values, you must know how you will use the status.

So, take a minute and break down that process. These will be set when your sales team is working on your Sales Qualified Leads. It tells them what's new and what's active. To figure out what you need, use a spreadsheet to record definitions of each field and the process required with each stage.

This will also need to work in conjunction with lead assignment rules and sales automation. It's essential to think about the whole process and be purposeful with how you choose to use these. Be critical — add the values you need but be selective in what's necessary. I put together an example of a Lead Status Definition sheet here. This spreadsheet can also be used as a template for this process. 

Download Lead Status Definition Sheet

You must be thinking, "Man, this seems like extra work. Can't we just start setting and working these?" Sure, you can, but you'll run into a problem down the road. If you want to see how many people are in a specific stage of the sales process (i.e., how many people are close to opening deals vs. how many new leads you have), you won't be able to achieve this unless your whole team is using this the same way. Plus, having clear definitions and processes makes it easier for you to train new sales team members on how to use the system. 

I think it's helpful to define each status. That means you should clearly document the process for:

  1. How the status will get updated
  2. When the status will get updated
  3. Any automation or actions that should happen as a result of the status being set

For example: 

Document the Process Example

If you find that the default values don't fit your needs, you can always add and change these values in the property settings. Also, remember you don't have to use all of the options available. Many times simpler is better. Start with just a few statuses, and add more later on as you need them. 

This field is convenient when filtering views and lists. When your sales team sits down at their computer to work for the day, you don't want them to spend an hour figuring out who to contact first. This field can help with that. We often set up filtered views for sales reps based on contact ownership, lifecycle stage, and lead status. 

For instance, we would pull everything assigned to salesperson "Joe" in the SQL lifecycle stage, then sort by lead status to determine who he should talk to first. Often, I suggest putting new leads at the top so they get contacted first. Then you can start working through open and in-progress leads. This makes deciding who to call at what time much easier.

Get the Most Out of HubSpot Lead Status Field and Lifecycle Stages

Remember, the lead status field is generally used by the sales team to know where a contact is in the sales process. Keep the process simple and take the time to define each status, so everyone on your team is using it the right way. Download our spreadsheet template to get your lead statuses defined and processes/actions documented. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of HubSpot, we’d be glad to take a look at your lead status and lifecycle stages to make sure your sales process is working as efficiently as possible, ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your investment. 

Define & Document Your Lead Statuses Now

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