Best Practices for Moving Lifecyles Backwards

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Occasional Contributor

I'd like to hear what you do in this scenario:

 

A lead becames a SQL by either inquiring about our product or responding positively to a sales call. The sales rep qualifies him or her, then creates a deal and the lifecycle becomes Opportunity.

 

If the deal goes south, it's moved to Closed Lost. At that point, I reset the lifecycle to 'Other' with a workflow.

 

We chose Other rather than MQL to distinquish these from MQLs we've never engaged with. I'm curious to know if you handle this differently and why.

 

Thanks!

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Community Superstar

That is precisely how we recommend our clients handle Lifecycle stage for those using HubSpot as their CRM of record (with one significant addition). We recommend setting up ...

 

-1- A custom property (Deal AND Company) -- e.g., 'Closed Lost Reason' (radio button).

Make this field required for all Deals Closed lost. Build a workflow to copy 'Closed Lost Reason' to the associated Company's corresponding Company property.

 

-2- Add at least one custom Lead Status (both Contact AND Company) -- e.g., 'Recycle Lead'.

Set this Company Lead Status if/when the occasion calls for leads from that company to be recycled back into your leadflow. Build a workflow to copy 'Lead Status' to the associated Contacts' Lead Status for all Companies whose Lead Status = 'Recycle Lead'.

 

These additions will help identify trends around the reasons our deals are being 'Closed lost' -- an easy-to-implement example of putting negative data to use for increased conversions. Additionally, they solve for use cases where we need to re-engage leads (with 'Closed lost' deals) at a later date. These revitalized leads, more often than not, require special handling that sets them apart from our new MQLs, SQLs, and Opportunities.

 

Just a few thoughts. Hope they help.

 

Note: Forcing HubSpot Lifecycle Stage backwards is a fairly significant issue debated among HubSpot community members, so ... you may opt to listen to both sides of the argument before deciding which way to go.

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

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Community Superstar

That is precisely how we recommend our clients handle Lifecycle stage for those using HubSpot as their CRM of record (with one significant addition). We recommend setting up ...

 

-1- A custom property (Deal AND Company) -- e.g., 'Closed Lost Reason' (radio button).

Make this field required for all Deals Closed lost. Build a workflow to copy 'Closed Lost Reason' to the associated Company's corresponding Company property.

 

-2- Add at least one custom Lead Status (both Contact AND Company) -- e.g., 'Recycle Lead'.

Set this Company Lead Status if/when the occasion calls for leads from that company to be recycled back into your leadflow. Build a workflow to copy 'Lead Status' to the associated Contacts' Lead Status for all Companies whose Lead Status = 'Recycle Lead'.

 

These additions will help identify trends around the reasons our deals are being 'Closed lost' -- an easy-to-implement example of putting negative data to use for increased conversions. Additionally, they solve for use cases where we need to re-engage leads (with 'Closed lost' deals) at a later date. These revitalized leads, more often than not, require special handling that sets them apart from our new MQLs, SQLs, and Opportunities.

 

Just a few thoughts. Hope they help.

 

Note: Forcing HubSpot Lifecycle Stage backwards is a fairly significant issue debated among HubSpot community members, so ... you may opt to listen to both sides of the argument before deciding which way to go.

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

Occasional Contributor

Thanks for your insights. I've added your additional suggestions to my workflow. So let me throw out another related scenario:

 

A rep moves a deal to Closed Lost because the lead went dark,. This changes Lifecycle to Opportunity and starts a drip email campaign.

 

A few weeks later, the lead gets in touch with the rep and buys. So the rep moves the deal to Close Won.

 

I've set up an elaborate workflow to undo everything that Close Lost kicked off. Is that how you'd handle that?

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Community Superstar

>>I've set up an elaborate workflow to undo everything that Close Lost kicked off. Is that how you'd handle that?

 

"elaborate workflow" -- hmmm. Sounds scary.

- see The HubSpot Workflow Butterfly Effect

 

Without knowing "everything that Close Lost kicked off". (important)


We never recommend moving Lifecycle Stage backwards because it disturbs conversion stats being auto-recorded in HubSpot. Instead, we use the COMBINATION of Lifecycle Stage = Opportnity AND Lead Status = Recycle Lead to initiate the lead RE-ENGAGEMENT process (which is different than the original engagement workflow).


We basically TREAT them like SQLs without ever changing their Lifecycle Stage back to SQL, thereby preserving the original MQL-to-SQL and SQL-to-Opportunity conversion stats being auto-recorded in HubSpot.


In most cases, this simply means separate campaigns from the original SQL-Opportunity flow. Meaning, separate early, mid, and late-stage engagement drip email campaigns now called RE-ENGAGEMENT campaigns (typically with tighter engagement constraints) -- separate workflows, and, in some cases, even separate LPs. (highly portal-specific)
Ok, maybe "simply" was an over-simplification. Smiley Wink


More work, but worth it to those who appreciate the escalating costs of lead acquisition and engagement. Admittedly, our views on closed lost deals are skewed strongly in favor of re-engagement because, as business owners, we actually foot the bill for lead acquisition in all its forms ...


That being said, no amount of re-engagement is worth sacrificing original conversion data without which we have no real idea how effective our marketing and sales efforts are. IMHO -- sorta like calling oneself 'data-driven', but saying "to he11 with the data". :-o


Hope that helps.

Hope that helps.

 

Best,
Frank

 

MFrankJohnson-dot-com-HubSpot-Community-banner-gif-v20190817

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Esteemed Advisor

Hi, @Johntabita. The process @MFrankJohnson laid out is likely the most flexible, and also preserves the most data, especially the analytics associated with lifecycle stages. It is excellent advice.

 

As he mentioned, there's also a fair bit of debate on the topic. I'm one of the iconoclasts who throws caution to the wind, and has tricked out portals with workflows left and right that clear-then-set the lifecycle stage, so it can be moved to whatever stage is most appropriate. I've had specific reasons for doing so, however.

 

The truth is, choosing to do this for your org is a function of the org's needs. Rather than reengage in yet another spirited debate about which process is best as an absolute, let me rattle off a handful of reasons why your org might elect to use the clear-then-set approach instead: 

 

  • What someone is right now is more important than the path they took to get there. Clearing and setting the lifecycle stage resets the analytics about when key lifecycle stages were set the first time. To sacrifice this (whether or not you're offloading any analytic date values to copycat or helper fields via workflows), you're effectively saying that a reverted lifecycle is more important than knowing when someone moved through the funnel. Maybe you're an org with a lot of short sales cycles, or maybe you run a recruitment agency, where the contacts in your portal are constantly cycling through the process. Knowing the lifecycle of who you're talking to at this second could be a higher priority.
  • The analytics you're giving up can be represented or replaced with an external integration. This is primarily my use case. I'm a Salesforce...I want to say junkie, but not quite as classy as a junkie. I could map lifecycle stages or the became-a-[stage] properties to Salesforce, flip on field history tracking (or whip up snapshot reporting, or even design some custom automation, because my tinfoil hat is the fanciest of them all), and I've got the analytics HubSpot provides in a separate system. Maybe you've got some other tool that works in tandem with HubSpot which behaves similarly. You can emulate the stuff you're losing in a separate system. Mmm, that's tasty ersatz analytics.
  • Everyone is on board. The same way Frank and I can go back and forth on the merits of each approach, so can the members of your org. Chances are, you're not going to come to a unanimous agreement, but you'll have to pick a standard. Just make sure anyone who needs to be part of this process is part of the discussion the first time around. Otherwise, two days after you decide on your plan, Brenda from marketing ops comes in hot, wondering why her reports are out of whack. Then she finds out what the changes were about, and airs her opinions, and the three-hour meeting you had to choose your option gets rehashed all over again. If there's someone on the team who just won't be able to process or understand why the change is being made, you're just going to live Marketing Groundhog Day over and over again.

Brad Mampe, Salesforce Analyst, Fidelity
I'm probably wrong. I may not be right about that.
Occasional Contributor

I appreciate your thoughtful reply. Yes, we're more concerned with where someone is right now, as our sales cycle is relatively short. (And since I'm basically "Brenda from marketing ops" there's no worrries of that happening.)