Lifecycle stages: Leads and prospects are real people!

By Anders Björklund

Lifecycle stages: Leads and prospects are real people!

I'm sure you've all heard the terms and acronyms: Leads, MQLs and Opportunities. In this article, I'm going to define and clarify what companies need to know about lifecycle stages. And I've included a downloadable PDF, where I define each stage for you.

Why define lifecycle stages?

Lifecycle stages allow your organisation to know where a specific contact is in your process and better understand how leads are passed between marketing and sales. By defining each stage and mapping out the challenges your potential customers face at each point, you'll be able to make sure the content you produce solves their challenges and nurtures them through the buyer's journey.

What is a lifecycle stage?

The stages within CRM intended to align with the buyer's journey through your marketing, sales and aftersales operations. The lifecycle stages shall cover all stages from the first moment until they are well-known promoters of your company.

Lifecycle stages are the names of all the available options in the default lifecycle stage properties that exist on both the contact and company objects.

The stages within the property intend to align with the buyer's journey through our marketing and sales operations, from the first moment they are known, to when they are becoming promoters of your company.

But what companies sometimes tend to forget is that there are real people behind those labels. It's real people that visit you online, download your content offers, book webinars, read eBooks, interact on social media, read your brochures and who are considering if they can trust you and your company.

Prospects aren't acronyms, and they certainly aren't numbers. They're real people, trying to solve actual problems, and need to get answers they can trust from credible people so they can make the right choices and recommendations to achieve their company's objectives.

If you realise this, perhaps you'll be a bit more firm with how you create online content, news, sales collateral and all the other things you use to do well in business.

As long as I have been in business, these acronyms have been around. I still get amazed by how few companies have standard definitions of who is what. There is always confusion around these terms.

At the same time, the motivation behind most B2B companies' digital and online investments is to achieve more sales leads. These essential definitions are to often dictated by your choice of CRM, in most B2B companies used as a manual administration tool, that sales are forced to work with.

I believe it is essential for you to decide what the meanings of the stages should be, here you get a suggestion of how to interpret them.

Download lifecycle stages PDF

Do you need help to create custom contact properties in your CRM to identify contacts at each lifecycle stage? Get in touch with an expert.

You can also read this article in Swedish on Onlineguiden.

Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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