Customising Customer Lifecycle Stages: What is Possible?

Nsovo Shimange | 21 February 2024

In a world where customers expect unique buying experiences and more personalisation, understanding and implementing effective lifecycle stages is paramount. At Struto, our experience with customising these stages to align with our specific business needs has not only enhanced our operational efficiency but has also significantly improved our customer engagement and retention rates. This blog aims to demystify the concept of customer lifecycle stages and illustrate how a tailored approach can benefit your business.

Lifecycle Stages Explained

At the heart of every successful CRM strategy lies a deep understanding of lifecycle stages. These stages represent the journey a potential customer embarks on from the moment they first interact with your brand to the point where they become not just customers but loyal advocates for your business.

Lifecycle stages are more than just a series of steps; they're a roadmap for engagement, nurturing, and growth. They provide a structured framework that helps businesses categorise and manage their interactions with potential and existing customers. This framework ensures that every touchpoint is an opportunity to deepen the relationship, providing value and moving the individual closer to a purchase decision. As we delve deeper into the nuances of these stages and explore customisation, remember that the ultimate goal is to create a journey that resonates with your audience, addresses their needs, and exceeds their expectations at every turn.

Understanding HubSpot's Standard Lifecycle Stages

HubSpot has designed a set of standard lifecycle stages that serve as a blueprint for managing customer relationships. These stages are crafted to guide businesses in nurturing leads through their journey from first contact to loyal customer and beyond. Understanding these stages is crucial for any business looking to implement a structured approach to customer relationship management.

Let’s take a closer look at lifecycle stages from HubSpot’s perspective:

Subscriber: A subscriber is an individual who has opted to receive updates, newsletters, or content from your business, typically by subscribing to a mailing list or notifications.

Lead: A lead is someone who has demonstrated a higher level of interest in your products or services. They may have taken actions such as filling out a contact form, downloading a resource, or showing interest in a specific offering.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): An MQL is a lead who has been further evaluated and determined to be more likely to become a customer. This evaluation is often based on specific criteria, such as their level of engagement with your content, the relevance of your offerings to their needs, or interactions with specific marketing materials.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): An SQL is an MQL who has undergone additional assessment and is considered even more likely to make a purchase. SQLs typically meet specific criteria that indicate they are ready for direct sales outreach and may include factors like budget, authority, need, and timing (BANT).

Opportunity: An opportunity represents a prospective customer who has shown a strong interest in your products or services and has taken actions that suggest they are considering making a purchase. This stage often involves discussions, consultations, or meetings to explore their needs and how your offerings can meet them.

Customer: A customer is an individual that has made a purchase from your company and received your products or services. They have transitioned from being a potential buyer to an active consumer of your offerings.

Evangelist: An evangelist is a highly satisfied customer who not only continues to engage with your products or services but also actively promotes your brand to others. These individuals are loyal advocates who share their positive experiences and may contribute to customer referrals and brand awareness.

 

hs-lifecycle-stages

While these stages provide a solid framework for managing the customer journey, they may not perfectly fit every business's unique needs. The journey from attracting a visitor to turning them into a delighted customer can vary significantly depending on the nature of the business, the industry, and the specific characteristics of the target audience.

For some businesses, the standard stages may suffice, offering a clear and straightforward path to follow. However, for many others, customisation of these lifecycle stages is necessary to truly align with their operational processes, sales strategies, and overall business goals.

Customised Lifecycle Stages for a SaaS/Professional Services Business

In recognising the unique requirements of our clients in various industries, we've successfully implemented customised lifecycle stages for one of our clients operating in the SaaS and professional services sector. This tailored approach enables them to engage effectively with their audience, guiding the audience through a journey that aligns seamlessly with their specific needs and strategic goals.

Here is an overview of the customised lifecycle stages we've developed for this client:

Prospect: At the initial stage, they identify potential leads who’ve shown interest in their offerings. These prospects require targeted engagement to move them further along the conversion path.

Visitor: Once a prospect engages with their website or content, that prospect transitions into a visitor. This marks their first active interaction with the client's brand.

Lead: Visitors become leads when they express direct interest in the SaaS or professional services, such as by filling out a contact form or requesting more information. This indicates a deeper level of engagement and a willingness to explore the offerings.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): An MQL is a lead that’s indicated an interest in speaking to the client's sales team. This often occurs through actions such a filling out a contact form or engaging in a live chat.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): At this stage, a sales representative will further qualify the lead, ensuring they are a good fit for a sales discussion. A discovery call takes place to gather detailed requirements.

Opportunity: An SQL becomes an opportunity as soon as their deal enters the sales pipeline. This involves assigning an estimated deal value and understanding the specific products or services the prospect requires.

Statement of Work (SoW): The SoW stage is reached once a solution has been presented, and the client verbally confirms their intent to proceed. The prospect remains in this stage until the SoW is signed and finalised.

Customer: Once the SoW is agreed upon, the project kicks off, and the prospect officially becomes a customer. This stage is all about delivering the promised services and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Stakeholder: After successfully completing a project, our client aims to maintain contact with the customer, turning them into a stakeholder. This involves periodic check-ins and updates on new services or enhancements that might be of interest.

Client: A repeat customer is considered a client. This stage represents an ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship, where the client regularly engages with the SaaS or professional services offered.

Advocate: The pinnacle of success is turning clients into advocates – individuals who are not only satisfied with the services but also actively promote our client's brand to others.

The Benefits of Customising Lifecycle Stages

Customising lifecycle stages offers multiple benefits that can significantly enhance the way businesses interact with their customers, streamline internal processes, and ultimately, drive growth. Here are the key benefits we’ve observed at Struto and how they can apply to your business:

  1. Increased engagement and conversion rates: By tailoring lifecycle stages to the specific needs and behaviours of your audience, you can create more targeted and relevant marketing campaigns.
  2. Enhanced customer experience: By understanding and addressing the unique needs of customers at each stage of their journey, businesses can provide a smoother, more satisfying experience. This personal touch not only fosters loyalty but also turns customers into advocates for your brand.
  3. Improved sales and marketing alignment: Tailoring lifecycle stages ensures that marketing and sales efforts are more closely aligned with the customer journey.
  4. Data-driven decision making: With customised lifecycle stages, businesses can collect more granular data on customer behaviour and preferences. This data allows for more accurate analysis and insights, enabling businesses to make informed decisions that drive strategy and improve outcomes.
  5. Long-term customer value: By enhancing the customer experience and building stronger relationships, customised lifecycle stages contribute to increased customer lifetime value. Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend your business to others, driving both revenue and growth.

Customising lifecycle stages is not just about refining a marketing strategy; it's about reimagining how you engage with your customers from the first touchpoint to the last. It's a comprehensive approach that impacts every aspect of your business, from marketing and sales to customer service and beyond.

Customer buyer journey graphic inbody-min

 

How Struto Can Help Customise Your Business’s Lifecycle Stages

Embarking on the journey to customise your business’s lifecycle stages can seem daunting at first glance. It requires a deep understanding of your audience, a thorough analysis of your current processes, and the ability to envision a more effective strategy. This is where Struto comes in. Our expertise and experience in customising lifecycle stages can help your business navigate this journey smoothly and effectively.

Customising your business’s lifecycle stages with us is more than just a consultancy service; it’s a partnership. We invest in your success as if it were our own, bringing our expertise, passion, and innovative thinking to the table. Together, we can create a customer journey that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of your audience, setting your business up for long-term success.

Ready to Customise Your Lifecycle Stages? If you’re looking to enhance your customer engagement, streamline your processes, and drive sustainable growth, customising your lifecycle stages could be the key. Book a call with us today, and let’s explore how we can tailor a strategy that fits your unique business needs.

 

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