The right foundation is critical to the success of your HubSpot marketing strategy. The example we are all familiar with is a house. A house requires a sound foundation for the doors to work, windows to function, and floors to bear weight. A solid foundation makes a house a viable home. Your HubSpot portal isn’t that different. You spend a lot of time there, and you want it to facilitate success. Just like a home, the viability of your portal depends on its foundation.
While there are several factors that contribute to the successful setup of your marketing portal, including simple items like naming conventions and strategic email automation, here are three foundational needs you might overlook. When these components aren’t architected correctly, it’s nearly impossible to get the metrics you need for data-informed decisions or the clarity you need to understand the bottlenecks in your marketing efforts.
Consider these three foundational components when setting up your HubSpot portal.
1. Lifecycle stages
HubSpot is equipped with default lifecycle stages that help you organize your contacts along the buyer’s journey. So often, marketing teams don't fully utilize them to understand where there are bottlenecks in the buyer’s journey and therefore gaps in their strategy. For instance, if you have a high percentage of clients stuck in the marketing qualified lead phase, you know your lead nurture efforts aren’t effective, content downloads aren’t compelling, or retargeting ads aren’t addressing your contacts’ pain points. If you are using some of the lifecycle stages and don’t have workflows set up to automatically update this contact property as prospects complete actions, chances are you are missing valuable information that might help inform your strategy.
Don’t fall into the trap of implementing a complex lead scoring model to update lifecycle stages. If you use this too prematurely, you’ll lose valuable information about your contacts’ behaviors. Instead, keep things as simple as possible. Here is a sample of what your lifecycle stages might look like:
- Subscriber: A contact who has opted in for articles and insights related to your industry.
- Lead: A known contact that could be a fit for your services.
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL): A contact who has converted on a form and can benefit from your marketing efforts, but might not be ready to buy.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL): A contact who has raised their hand and asked to be contacted by filling out a consultation or demo request form.
- Opportunity: A contact who has engaged with a sales team member, and that team member confirms that the contact is a fit for your products/services.
- Customer: A paying customer.
- Evangelist: A contact who has referred up to two colleagues.
One other tip? Lifecycle stages aren’t designed to work in both directions. Use criteria that only move contacts forward and not back. There are some rare use cases where it makes sense to move contacts backward in lifecycle stage, but work to craft your definitions so that your contacts are always moving forward to make reporting easier.
2. Forms strategy
Similar to defining lifecycle stages, it’s essential to add the right properties to your forms to ensure you collect the criteria you need to update lifecycle stages accurately. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you are a transportation software company helping over the road truck drivers. Perhaps your sales team has agreed the best leads are companies with a fleet size of at least 50 trucks. By asking the question on your forms, “how many trucks are in your fleet?” you can trigger your MQL lifecycle stage criteria based on the answer to this question.
The best way to set up your forms is to have one form for each phase of the buyer’s journey. Too often, HubSpot users create a different form for every landing page, which makes any type of triggered workflow a challenge. Instead, design a form for each stage of the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Then, if you only want your sales team to talk to companies with a fleet size of more than 50 trucks, ensure you gather this information on your decision-stage form and design a workflow in which this property (fleet size greater than 50) triggers a workflow that moves someone into a Sales Qualified Lead lifecycle stage. Smaller companies, with just 20 trucks, might remain MQLs despite their form fills, but be worth marketing to as they grow and eventually become ideal customers.
Start with determining the qualifying criteria at each step in the buyer’s journey. Next, ensure your three basic forms have the questions you need to qualify leads with certain properties, and then place these forms on pages that align with the aligned buying phase. For instance, add the awareness stage form to an industry white paper landing page and a decision-stage form to a case study landing page. Lastly, use workflows to automatically update lifecycle stages and pull the lifecycle stages into a HubSpot dashboard or databox wall.
3. Lead nurture strategy
Once you have this all into place, consider what lifecycle triggers are appropriate for lead nurture. Generally, you should enroll all lifecycle stages before sales-qualified in a lead nurture campaign. If you don’t have any lead nurture campaigns in place, start with some generic ones that provide additional, related information to your leads and end with a request for a consultation or demo. Ideally, each landing page and form conversion will eventually have a highly targeted lead nurture campaign with relevant content that moves a lead along the path to purchase or the steps most often needed for them to become a customer.
Foundations are critical to success. If you are new to HubSpot or inherited an unorganized portal, you’ll have challenges segmenting your data to make informed decisions. Don’t overlook the value of organizing and architecting your portal for long-term growth and success.