💬 RevOps Discussions

carmenb
Participant

How to track early-stage leads / deals?

What are other B2B SaaS companies doing to track early-stage leads (aka Lifecycle Stages = MQLs and SALs) in HubSpot?

 

We used to have 1 big sales pipeline, and would create Deals as soon as Sales started working a contact/company. We would never close a Deal until it was won or confirmed lost, which meant that Deals were often sitting in stages for months/years, and were also moving in between stages frequently. This ultimately led to incorrect Deal reporting numbers (since Deal Amount, time entered/exited stage, and create/close dates were essentially useless).

 

We've since switched to a posture where we're using the new Prospecting Hub. When someone submits a demo form or another inquiry type, a Lead Object is automatically created. These Leads are associated with contacts/companies in the MQL and SAL Lifecycle Stages. Once the Lead is Qualified by a salesperson, a Deal is created (and the contact/company is moved to Opportunity). This now gives us more accurate numbers, as well as a cleaner pipeline view.

 

Unfortunately, the Prospecting Hub still has a variety of limitations. These include but aren't limited to:

 

  • Difficult to track “Value” of a Lead (like Deal Amount)
    - Potential Workaround: Could create an alternate property on the company level, then build reports this way.
  • Unable to create custom Lead properties. Makes building custom reports / workflows challenging.
  • Unable to customize the specific due date of a task (and they only go out to 6 months in the future). There's also no “Next Decision Cycle” Lead property when marking a Lead as Lost.
    - Potential Workaround: Could create an alternate property on the company level that triggers tasks in a workflow, similar to how the Deal property works. It would require more clicks but is possible.
  • It's challenging for SEs to build a report that showcases their Lead Pipeline and how that connects to their Deal pipeline when trying to forecast the Leads that will become deals in a certain quarter.
  • Prospecting Hub still requires clicks into the Contact Record in order to view more Task details / sequence activity (the text physically gets cut off)
  • Can’t create a custom queue of Leads to call unless enrolled in a sequence
  • Lead Owner has to be Contact Owner, not able to be changed (unless contact owner is changed)
  • Call task completion: If there is any instance in which the team needs to redial the contact (hung up immediately, call failed, bad connection), when they save the call it removes the contact from their view. So, if they didn’t already have the contact record open in another tab, they would have to go to CRM > Calls and find that last call to reopen the contact record, or search for the contact (if they are confident they could remember and spell their name correctly).

Because of this, we are now considering switching back to using Deals to track these earlier-stage leads.

 

My thought is that we could have a separate "Lead Pipeline" that essentially has all the same information as the Prospecting Hub. We could set automation to 1) automatically create Deals on this pipeline based on form submissions, and 2) automatically create Deals on the main Deal pipeline when a Deal on the "Lead Pipeline" is moved to a certain stage (such as Qualified). We would also not have to factor the Lead Pipeline stats into any revenue forecasting or Deal reporting.

 

While the Prospecting Hub is promising, it's not yet what we need for our sales team to effectively use it in their day to day.

 

How are other B2B SaaS teams tracking their early-stage leads/deals? I'd love to share some ideas!

0 Upvotes
5 Replies 5
IdeasMan
Participant

How to track early-stage leads / deals?

Hi Carmen, we too have had trouble making the pipelines and dashboards useful. The "Insights" are wrong/noise because all the closed deals are inlcuded by default and the periods are arbitrary. Other problems like sorting deals across mutiple pipelines is broken. Hubspot badly needs to listen to its users, and improve the product. So far, I see minimal signs of either of this. There is a lot of good and clever stuff in Hubspot but so much is bad - poor basic navigation, unsaveable user preferences, wrong numbers in dashboards, wrong default filters on Deal pipelines (including closed), etc. CRM 101 Basics. Are you listening, Hubspot?

0 Upvotes
kristinhaynes
Contributor

How to track early-stage leads / deals?

We are having the same issue. Our sales team doesn't open a deal until after a discovery call and the company has 2 tiers of bant. We miss a lot of data and information by waiting so long to open a deal. 

I've been pondering two ideas. 
- Creating a Pre-Deal / Early-Deal pipeline that is for all discovery calls and is a way to look at the companies who are interested in purchasing and need to be nurtured by a sales rep to influence pipeline.
- Updating our current deal pipeline to add a pre-qualified stage where we will open a deal at each disco call and then not qualify until a later stage. 

It is a hard thing to manage b/c we need the visibility but our sales team doesn't want to open a deal and be held accountable for pipeline that isn't real yet. 

0 Upvotes
carmenb
Participant

How to track early-stage leads / deals?

@kristinhaynes Yes 100%! Previously, we had something similar to your second bullet and had the same concerns (it also leads to cleaning that needs to be done for Deal Create Date, if you only want to "count" time spent in qualified stages. You could set this cleaning to be done via automation, but it seems like an unecessary step).

 

Overall, I'm leaning towards your first bullet of the Pre-Deal pipeline. Are you currently using the Prospecting Hub? And in order to solve this issue, are you considering any other options outside of these two and the Prospecting Hub?

 

Thanks so much, super helpful!

0 Upvotes
kristinhaynes
Contributor

How to track early-stage leads / deals?

We aren't using the Prospecting Hub. Getting my reps to use the features in Hubspot today is already difficult. Introducing the new feature is concerning for me. I haven't completely figured out how we'd use it and not introduce more confusion honestly. 🙂 
I'm really leaning towards a pre-sales funnel. It also can give us more control about the data I make them give in that process. 

BérangèreL
Community Manager
Community Manager

How to track early-stage leads / deals?

Hi @carmenb,

Thank you for reaching out to the Community!

I'd like to thank you also for sharing your valuable feedback! This means a lot to us.
I have shared it internally to bring more visibility to it.

Here is an article that might be of interest "How to Effectively Manage Leads at Every Stage in Your Sales Funnel".

I'd be happy to put you in touch with some of our Top Experts and some of our Community Members: Hi @HubDoPete, @JonPayne, @amandafann, @Jnix284, @danmoyle and @gotmike how do you track early stage leads, please? Do you have workarounds to help @carmenb, please?

Also, if anybody else has anything to add and/or share, please feel free to join in the conversation 🙂


Thank you so much and have a great day!

Best,
Bérangère


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