HubSpot’s lifecycle stage property used to be a rigid tool that many users felt was more aggravating than helpful. For most businesses, the stages didn’t align with their buyer’s journey and seemed atypical in a CRM where most properties were customizable. Many users decided to hack their portal and create their own variation of a lifecycle stage property but soon recognized that it didn’t natively sync with other HubSpot features the way the original did. For example, with a single click, you can generate reports to show the breakdown of the lifecycle stages of contacts with your target accounts or the average time it takes a contact to become a customer, all using the default property.
After a few years, hundreds of upvotes on HubSpot’s community, and beta testing, changes were finally introduced in the summer of 2022.
Now, you can edit the names of the lifecycle stages, add your own, rearrange, and in some cases, delete the default stages.
While users may have been quick to start tearing them apart, there are some important considerations to make before you go detonating the familiar stages.
Here’s what you need to know first.
The Default HubSpot Lifecycle Stages
There are plenty of resources that detail how HubSpot defines its lifecycle stages but to save you from an extra few clicks, here are the original seven stages:
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Where to Edit your HubSpot Lifecycle Stages
When this capability was first introduced, logically we headed to the Properties area of our portal to make the changes. Instead, editing lifecycle stages takes place in a new tab under Settings > Objects > Contacts > Lifecycle Stages.
Renaming HubSpot Lifecycle Stages
You’ll get an alert before you can edit the name of a lifecycle stage. It’s easily bypassed but worth a mention that you can expect to see variances in your preexisting reports if you choose to give a default stage a new name.
Deleting HubSpot Lifecycle Stages
You can’t delete a stage if it’s used in other Hubspot assets. For example, if a default stage is used in a list, workflow, smart rule, or lifecycle stage setting, you’ll need to remove it from those assets before you can delete the stage.
The same rule applies if contacts have a value for that particular stage you’re looking to delete. Basically, you need to see a ‘0’ in the “used in” column before you can delete it. You’ll need to manually update the contact’s lifecycle stages or use a workflow to edit in bulk.
Lifecycle stage datestamps won’t be accurate
Lifecycle stage datestamps have come a long way over the years. Now you can capture the date a contact entered into a lifecycle stage as well as the time between stages, like how long it took for an SQL to become a customer. Keep in mind that by uprooting your lifecycle stages, you’ll likely see inaccurate dates for these properties. They’ll adopt the date that you made changes.
Further, new datestamp properties will not be created for your new stages. For example, if you add a lifecycle stage named ‘Investor’, you won’t magically see new properties created for “Became an investor date”.
Should you Edit your HubSpot Lifecycle Stages?
Use the following litmus test questions to determine whether it’s worth potentially recreating your reports and jumping through hoops to revise your lists, workflows, and records, in order to edit your HubSpot lifecycle stages.
- Do you have systems in place to ensure users don’t add 20 custom lifecycle stages? Permission roles or having a HubSpot gatekeeper can help.
- Can you tie the proposed new lifecycle stages directly to an action? Whether it’s triggering an email campaign, a feedback survey, or following up 1:1, each lifecycle stage should warrant some sort of behavior.
- Is your data accurate and trustworthy?
- Have you already created a workaround to capture custom lifecycle stages that works?
- Do you have a rock-solid unanimous argument that this will make your teams’ jobs easier and not harder?
- Is your “Other” stage littered with different buckets of contacts that deserve attention in your portal?
Custom Lifecycle Stage Ideas that Might make Sense for You
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably decided that custom lifecycle stages are a must for your portal. Here are a few ideas for stages you might incorporate.
- Free trial. This is an ideal stage for SaaS companies. Free trial users aren’t necessarily customers but may need different messaging than an MQL or SQL that isn’t familiar with the software yet.
- Churned. The default stages don’t quite capture users in this critical phase where personalized content is key.
- Partner. We see most HubSpot users leveraging the “other” stage for partners, influencers, investors, etc. One of these labels might be more descriptive.
Still unsure whether your portal is ready for custom lifecycle stages? Connect with one of our HubSpot Consultants to help you make the right decision.