HubSpot Lead Funnel

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Step-by-Step Process for Building a HubSpot Lead Funnel

HubSpot is a robust tool that helps companies create and track leads, grow traffic, and generate opportunities. While known for marketing automation, HubSpot's suite of offerings include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing, Sales, and Service portals to optimize the entire customer lifecycle.

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HubSpot currently regards their methodology as the “Flywheel”, which is a lead nurturing method that keeps your business spinning by putting customers at the center, and aims to remove the notion that sales and marketing only work to convert leads and nothing more. Whether a flywheel or a funnel, both methods consider the same buyers journeys, with the same stages, and prioritize the customer experience.

Step 1

Audit Your Current HubSpot Portal

Sometimes marketers feel like they aren't making the most of their investment in HubSpot. To understand whether that is truly the case, we recommend a HubSpot audit, which examines 14 components of your portal:


When doing a HubSpot audit, start with a bird’s eye view by analyzing your Year-To-Date (YTD) data. The most significant indicator that something may be amiss with your lead funnel is a low visit-to-contact rate. If this number falls below 2%, that’s a red flag. A low visit-to-contact rate means your site may be getting a good volume of traffic, but your visitors are not taking next steps. Armed with this data, you can begin asking other questions such as:

  • What is your year-over-year traffic growth?
  • What is your year-over-year lead growth? How about marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs)?
  • Which pages are leading to the most exits or bounces?
  • Where do you have strong time-on-page engagement?
  • On which pages do your visitors convert to known contacts (first attribution)?
Home Page

Your home page is the first online impression visitors get of your entire company. So, it should speak to visitors in all stages of the buyers journey and funnel your visitors appropriately with relevant content and intuitive navigation. Use these questions to guide your assessment:

  • Does your home page pass the blink test?
  • Is there a clear value proposition?
  • Does your site use imagery to reinforce your message?
  • Where does traffic go from your homepage? Is that where you want visitors to go?
Buyer Personas

Meeting the needs of your buyer personas fuels your business. Without an understanding of who your buyers are, you won’t be able to target, or nurture, anyone appropriately.

  • Have you validated your buyer personas with customer interviews?
  • Are you using buyer personas in strategic ways, including to fuel your segmentation, automation, and dynamic content?

Free resource: Developing Buyer Personas for Your Business


Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is essential to organic traffic growth. Because search engines generate a significant amount of website traffic, you should focus on SEO throughout your HubSpot portal. Investigate whether you:

  • Are using metadata and page titles that support your keyword strategy
  • Should address technical components of your SEO strategy because they are impacting your rankings, such as page speed and mobile optimizations
  • Are leveraging schema markup to make your search results more clear and engaging

Read More: Four Unique Sources for Keyword Inspiration and How to Implement Them


Blogging is one of the most valuable tools you can use to engage with prospects and customers. When auditing your blog, look for:

  • Keyword-rich content aligned with your topic clusters 
  • Content that aligns with every stage of the buyers’ journey
  • Both text and graphic call-to-actions (CTAs) that lead readers to next steps

You can measure elements such as organic traffic, time on page, click through rates, and more to help better understand your target buyer.

Read More: Six Things Your Business Should do Before Starting a Blog

Content Offers

Blogging may seem like the obvious way to create content, but content offers can extend your blogging efforts. Content offers include eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, videos, demos, infographics and any other educational resources used to reach your buyer personas, likely through landing page conversions. Determine the success of your content offers by understanding: 

  • Landing page views
  • Landing page conversions
  • Time spent on offer page (if viewed as a webpage)
  • Social shares
  • How many contacts become SQLs or customers after engaging with a content offer
  • Engagement with ungated offers (number of views, time spent viewing)
Landing Pages

Landing pages provide your marketing team with a direct way to collect explicit data from prospects, like names and emails, making them a crucial part of your inbound HubSpot funnel. The content gated behind a landing page should offer value to a potential customer related to solving a specific pain point. In your audit, look for:

  • Relevant calls-to-action (CTAs) 
  • Forms aligned with the buyer’s journey
  • Clear business benefits copy that motivates your visitor to take action
  • A clean design that reduces friction in the user experience
  • Follow-up email nurtures triggered by a form fill on a landing page
Thank You Pages

A thank you page is a page you redirect your visitors to after they’ve opted in for an incentive on your website. Generally, it’s used to provide visitors with a link to the content they opted in to, and to thank them for doing so. Thank you pages can encourage further engagement, mainly because you’re connecting with someone who’s already shown a clear interest in your services. Do your thank you pages highlight other offers that can move contacts through the buyers’ journey, such as:

  • Links to your most popular content?
  • A secondary content offer to move the contact through the buyer’s journey?
  • Testimonials?
  • A survey to gather more feedback?
  • A demo or free trial?
  • Buttons for social sharing?
  • Links to follow you on social media?

For many marketers, forms are essential, but the strategy behind them isn’t always completely defined. Do your forms utilize progressive profiling, a HubSpot feature that replaces questions that a lead has already been asked to reduce redundancy and to increase the number of contact properties collected? Forms should also reflect the different stages of the buyers’ journey. The questions asked in forms need to correspond to what you’re trying to achieve in that stage. As such, you should ask more questions to people filling out a decision-stage form compared to someone filling out an awareness-stage form.

  • Are the length of your forms equivalent to the value your visitors are getting out of an offer?
  • Do you use progressive profiling to gather the right data about your leads?
  • Have you standardized your forms to ensure you can measure results and optimize them over time?
Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Well-placed CTAs throughout your email campaigns and website, including your blog content, motivate your visitors to take the specific action you want. While a standard HubSpot CTA is better than none, you’ll receive a higher conversion rate from customized, graphical CTAs with both images and text. These include buttons, slide CTAs, and text CTAs. Furthermore, use smart CTAs, which are a customized button shown to your different visitors based on rules you set related to the data stored on their HubSpot contact record.

  • Do you use a variety of CTAs, aligned with stages of the buyers’ journey?
  • Do your naming conventions allow you to sort and analyze them accordingly?
  • Are you actively A/B testing CTA designs, copy, or placement?
  • What is the conversion rate of each CTA?

Workflows essentially transfer information based on a set of rules. HubSpot workflows, however, are in no way limited to just email automation. In addition to triggering emails, workflows can trigger nurture campaigns, change contact profile properties, score leads, send internal notifications, and sync to a CRM system based on when a lead has met a set of conditions. Workflows are also helpful in identifying when leads are sent to sales.

  • Are you using workflows in these ways?
  • Do you have clear naming conventions in place to sort and analyze these different types of workflows?
Social Media

Social media is another component of a good HubSpot inbound marketing strategy. It’s a great place to engage, interact, and learn more about your audience. Social media builds trust and consistency with your audience through promotion and engagement. HubSpot’s social media analytics tools can also provide content-related insights to target your audience better.

  • How do the results of your social strategy stack up?
  • Do you have more or less followers or fans than your competition?
  • How is your social engagement as measured by number of likes, shares, and comments?
  • Which platforms drive qualified leads?
  • Are you posting with enough frequency?
  • Do you interact with your users and display authenticity?

Email is still the preferred method of communication for marketers. Still, many companies don’t have a clear email strategy or email practices. What does that mean? Sporadic email sends, long subject lines, outdated designs, and a lack of segmentation are common pitfalls. What makes an email campaign successful? In your audit, evaluate:

  • Your email designs
  • Subject lines and open rates
  • Click rates, to get insight into relevancy
Lead Scoring

Lead scoring, both traditional and predictive, is the process of qualifying your company’s leads, specifically as SQLs or MQLs, based on who they are and the actions they take when interacting with your company’s website, marketing campaigns, and other content. The process of lead scoring includes creating a system through which you assign point values to crucial pieces of criteria, properties, and behavioral actions that contacts within your CRM take. You can assign positive and negative points to specific activities.

  • Is your company ready for lead scoring? It’s best to implement when you have more leads than your sales team can handle.
  • Is your criteria accurate and have you validated it?

Step 2

Establish Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your company’s ideal customer based on market research and data that already exists about your current customers. While most companies have identified their ideal buyer personas, not many companies utilize them properly.

Before beginning a buyer persona project, identify your buyer profile. A buyer profile defines which companies are a good fit for your product or service. Some characteristics you might use in your buyer profile are company size, annual revenue, and industry vertical. Your ideal buyer profile may be a manufacturing company with annual revenues of $20 million with 15 or more employees.

Your personas serve to define the buying patterns of individuals within your buyer profile. For example, you may want to target specific individuals in certain departments or with key responsibilities. Aim for no more than three buyer personas. You may feel there are more, but often those are likely key stakeholders or influencers, rather than actual buyers.


When creating buyer personas, consider factors such as behavioral patterns, demographics, motivations, and goals. To successfully create a buyer persona, you need to interview people within your company, likely sales representatives or account managers, as well as ideal customers you're working with. Questions you should ask to guide the conversation include:

  • Describe your education
  • What is your job title, function, and key responsibilities?
  • Who is your supervisor?
  • How do you measure success?
  • What does your typical day look like at work?
  • What skills help your job performance?
  • What are your challenges and concerns in your current role?
  • How do you continue learning about your job or industry?
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Which industry associations are you involved with?

Once you have buyer personas in place in HubSpot, you can determine how to segment your data, where to focus marketing resources, how to prioritize product/service development, and more.

Read More: Four Ways HubSpot Buyer Personas Can Help You Get Results Faster

Step 3

Develop a Content Strategy

Your content marketing strategy involves creating and sharing educational and actionable content that addresses specific pain points of your target audiences at every stage of their buyers’ journey. This includes awareness, consideration, and decision-stage content. You can deliver your content in a variety of ways, such as blogs, eBooks, and videos.

Potential customers recognize they have a problem during the awareness stage. Awareness content should provide high-level educational content to address this and hopefully steer them in the direction of your offerings. Examples of awareness stage content include blog posts, social media posts and interactions, white papers, and industry tip sheets.

At the consideration stage, your audience is exploring options to solve their problems. Your content here should highlight your solution, and how it addresses their specific needs and pain points. Consideration stage content can also be blog posts, but more in-depth ones that relate to overcoming challenges. Guides, eBooks, checklists, and comparison charts also are great ideas for this stage.

And lastly, when they reach the decision stage, they’ve decided on their solution strategy. Your content here should be brand specific, and show why they should buy your product or service over another company. A free trial, detailed FAQ, case studies, or a live demo with an attentive sales representative are examples of content for this last and crucial stage.

To ensure you’re creating content that reflects each of the above stages, and speaks to your buyers’ pain points, create an editorial calendar to track your content plan. With an editorial calendar, you can track what type of content you’re creating, for what buyer, at what stage, and through what medium. That way you’ll be able to identify gaps, prevent overproduction, and always have enough content to move prospects through your buyer’s journey.

Read More: Six Things Your Content Marketing Team Should Automate Today

Step 4

Create an SLA and Marketing Definitions

Bridging the gap between your sales and marketing departments is necessary to achieve business success. That’s where a service level agreement (SLA) comes in to play.

Typically, an SLA outlines what your customer will receive from your service. But to get quality customers, you need sales and marketing working as one unit. That’s why an internal SLA that defines marketing goals and the sales activities that will support your efforts should be created in your organization. Elements that need to be included in your SLA are:

  • Goals of both parties
  • How teams will work together
  • What both parties will do to meet those goals
  • What happens if goals are not met

 As you detail your SLA, you’ll likely need to define specific marketing and sales terms, so your teams are on the same page. For example, a SQL may have a different meaning to your sales and marketing departments. Similarly, a sales executive will know the meaning of a value proposition and discovery call while the actual description may fall short on marketing.

Step 5

Determine KPIs and Goals

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and the goals related to them are one of the most important elements of an effective HubSpot lead funnel. Your marketing and sales departments likely have their own goals, so KPIs allow your company to manage progress across all departments. 

High-level KPIs can measure the overall performance of a company, while low-level KPIs may focus on measuring a campaign’s impact or other activities in individual departments.


Read More: Reverse Funnel Calculator: Are You Meeting Your Revenue Goals?

Measuring your KPIs will help you progress toward your business goals—whether it’s to increase revenue, double leads, or triple website visitors. Use the information gathered in your reporting audit (see step one) to inform these target metrics. KPIs provide the visibility you need to ensure that you're making progress toward your overarching goals. Here are some examples of common KPIs to track:

Read More: What KPIs Should You Measure in Your Content Strategy?

  • Website Sessions
  • Unique Website Users
  • Organic Traffic
  • Blog Pageviews
  • Session Duration
  • Number of Blog Articles Posted Monthly
  • Website Sessions from Organic Search
  • Website Sessions from Social Media
  • Website Sessions from Referrals
  • Ungated Content Downloads
  • Blog Subscribers
  • Inbound Links
  • Cost-Per-Impression
  • Cost-Per-Visit
  • Total Social Media Reach
  • Organic Social Media Impressions
  • Social Media Brand Mentions
  • Ranked Keywords
  • Visit to Lead Conversion Rate
  • Cost Per Lead
  • Cost Per MQL
  • Cost Per SQL
  • Subscriber-to-Lead Conversion Rate
  • Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate
  • Lead-to-SQL Conversion Rate
  • MQL-to-SQL Conversion Rate
  • Lead Quality Score Average
  • Number of MQLs Per Channel
  • Number of SQLs Per Channel
  • Landing Page Sessions
  • Bounce Rate
  • Email Opens and Clicks
  • Email Open Click-Through Rate
  • Total Database Size
  • Database Attrition Rate
  • Database Growth Rate
  • Lead-to-Opportunity Conversion Rate
  • Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
  • Visitor-to-Customer Conversion Rate
  • Campaign Engagement Rate
  • New Customers
  • Customer Conversion Rate by Channel
  • Return on Marketing Spend
  • Total Revenue
  • Average Deal Size
  • Retention Rate
  • Churn Rate
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Total Customers
  • Active Customers
  • Customer Referrals
  • Customer Blog Views
  • Customer Social Followers
  • Number of Repeat Visitors
  • Average Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Total Annual Recurring Revenue
  • Lost Annual Recurring Revenue
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue Total

Step 6

Architect your Portal

Several factors contribute to the successful setup of your portal, from the simplest of items like naming conventions to more complex topics such as lifecycle stages. After you’ve gone through an audit, determined your buyer personas, make sure your teams are on the same page, and determine your goals, it’s time to make sure you have a solid foundation. You’ll want to:

Clean Up Your Database

Auditing your portal, creating an excellent conversion pathway, and organizing your offers is valuable but will not be valuable if contacts in your database are not active. If someone hasn’t interacted with your brand for over two years, they’re distorting your data.

Helpful questions to ask that can help clean your database include:

  • Are your contacts up-to-date? Do they have any activity whatsoever, such as email opens or website visits? As mentioned, it’s a good idea to clear out anyone who hasn’t engaged with your company in two years.
  • Have you collected all desired information for leads further down the funnel? For some businesses, having an email and name is fine. Others may want more details like job title, company, and more.
  • Are there any competitors hiding in your database? Cleaning up your database may reveal contacts from your competitors who’ve signed up to learn your strategies. Add these contacts to a master suppression list based on competitor email domains.

Segment Your Contacts

Your marketing strategy is dependent on sending the right content to the right contact at an appropriate time. You don’t want to email your entire list with information that’s only relevant to someone who’s primed to buy. Therefore, it’s only natural to segment your contacts after cleaning up your database.

With HubSpot’s active list functionality, your contacts will join the correct list whenever they meet the right criteria (set by you). Likewise, they’ll be removed if they no longer meet those conditions. You can also create fixed or static lists if you know you need to follow up with specific contacts based on a promotion you’re running. Consider segmenting contacts initially by:

  • Lifecycle Stage
  • Persona
  • Lead Score

Step 7

Complete a CRO Audit

Your team can get more leads from your existing traffic through an important concept known as conversion rate optimization(CRO). By designing and modifying certain parts of your webpages, you can increase the chances site visitors will convert into a lead or customer before they leave.

You can get the data you need to fuel CRO efforts by installing various marketing tools like Hotjar, as well as using available tools in HubSpot, to see how your visitors interact with your website. Then, you can adjust elements of the user’s experience accordingly. Most CRO Audits focus on high-value landing page, and other examples include:


Your homepage is an ideal candidate for CRO, as it's the first impression of your company, and usually gets the most traffic. CRO here can include changing the placement of links, updating CTAs, adding next steps along the buyers’ journey, and changing copy on content blocks.



Because your blog houses educational content about your services, CRO can be highly effective here as well. This can include adding CTAs throughout an article, linking back to other helpful blogs, or inviting readers to learn more about a topic by submitting their email address in exchange for an eBook or whitepaper.

CRO is an often overlooked step in creating a solid HubSpot lead funnel. Don’t forget what you learned in middle school science class: only test one variable at a time and wait for statistical significance to draw conclusions and make updates.

Step 8

Build Reports

To determine whether or not your HubSpot lead funnel was successful or if you need to alter or revisit certain aspects, you must become familiar with HubSpot reporting.

Standard Reporting

build-reportsEvery HubSpot account comes with default reports for your marketing and sales dashboards. They include:

  • Marketing performance
  • Landing page performance
  • Top landing pages
  • Blogging performance
  • Top blog posts
  • Email performance
  • Top emails
  • Contact performance
  • Top personas
  • Contacts created by day
  • Contacts overview
  • New contacts by source
  • Most recently created contacts
  • Returning contacts

Custom Reporting

There are four types of custom reports you can use to get the data you need. These reports are valuable to track more specific KPIs, like marketing-attributed revenue. You can segment your reports in the following ways:

  • Single data set. This report lets you report on one dataset, including anything from your contacts, companies, deals, tickets, activities to products.
  • Across data set. This report allows you to report on the same data as above but across two different datasets, which allows you to see the relationship between properties. Therefore, you can analyze the connection between a deal and a contact. If you’re beginning to expand into a particular region of the country, you can create a report that shows deals linked to contacts from that area.
  • Funnels or pipelines. These reports show progress relating to your contacts, deals, and events. With this, you can see how a deal is moving through your lead funnel and where you may need to optimize your marketing campaigns.
  • Attribution. To see how your visitors are interacting with your website, you can create a custom attribution report. These reports show a contact’s engagement with your site, how they got there, and what led them to contact you. If you want to see how many of your visitors became contacts through a specific source, like Twitter, for instance, custom attribution reports will show this.

Read More: Getting Multi-Attribution Reporting with HubSpot Marketing Automation

Step 9

Remember Your Customers

So much of marketing and sales relies on turning contacts into customers and then moving on to the next lead. But the importance of making customers promoters of your brand is undeniable. Their journey doesn’t end after their first purchase. 

Putting emphasis on your customers builds momentum in your flywheel or funnel. It also benefits your business in the following ways:

  • Reduces acquisition costs. Any marketing or sales team knows that it’s not cheap – or easy – to acquire new customers. According to Enconsultancy, it’s actually 6-7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than retain or up-sell to an existing one. The study also suggests that by keeping your customers updated about ongoing maintenance and updates, as well as responding to their needs in a timely manner, selling to them becomes even easier.
  • Increases profits. If you keep your customers happy with stellar service, they’re more likely to stay with you and even purchase more products and services. Marketing Metrics reports that up or cross-selling to an existing customer is up to 70% more effective than selling to a new prospect.
  • Creates promoters. Every interaction your company has with a lead or customer impacts them, shaping how they view your brand and what they’ll tell others about you. In fact, a satisfied customer will tell up to nine people about their positive experiences, according to a study down by GrooveHQ.

The easiest way to nurture your existing clients to reap these benefits is largely through the same methods as nurturing your leads. Personalized email campaigns (like ones detailing how they can get the most out of your products), targeted social posts, and exclusive content all demonstrate your appreciation.

In the end, your job should be focused on cultivating relationships – and not just closing deals. A strong lead funnel undoubtedly will help you close deals, but you shouldn’t forget about those leads once they’ve signed the dotted line.

Read More: Delight Your Customers with HubSpot’s Service Hub

Step 10

Contact the Experts

Lynton team members are HubSpot enthusiasts and experts. Creating and optimizing lead funnels is our speciality. We’ve done it for countless clients - and even ourselves. We’re here to help. Consider the steps above and create your own actionable plan - but remember, if at any point you need assistance or guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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