A sales pipeline is a valuable tool for businesses to track active deals as they advance from discovery to close. Sales pipelines consist of stages with actions that prospects need to complete to inch them further to a conversion.

By analyzing each sales pipeline stage, businesses can implement strategies that help nurture leads closer to conversion. Inversely, sales pipelines provide valuable insight into strategies that tend to fail at each stage and cost you revenue. 

While seemingly abstract, tools like HubSpot help your sales pipeline come to life by providing a visualized and intuitive interface that allows users to track active deals in their pipeline and forecast revenue based on the assigned probability of each Deal Stage. 

If you’re familiar with using HubSpot’s lifecycle stages, then learning about Deal Stages will be even easier. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up a sales pipeline in HubSpot and discuss some best practices for managing HubSpot’s Deal Stages.What is a Sales Pipeline in HubSpot?

Inside HubSpot, a sales pipeline is known as a Deal Pipeline, which is responsible for tracking active transactions as they enter your pipeline until they are either won or lost. 

Deal Pipelines consist of multiple stages, otherwise known as HubSpot Deal Stages, that represent tasks completed in succession to advance through your Deal Pipeline. For example, a standard pipeline might have a Deal Stage for a Discovery Call, which will advance to a Strategy Call if the deal is not lost and so on.

Users can customize their Deal Stages in any order and assign probabilities to each stage based on the likelihood of conversion at each stage. Additionally, users can add custom properties to Deal Stages, such as ‘closed lost reason’ and ‘close date’ whenever a deal is lost to help them store information about past deals. 

Finally, users can create multiple Deal Pipelines for different sales processes. 

HubSpot’s Deal Pipeline benefits users in several ways:

  • Track deals in real-time across each stage of their pipeline.
  • Identify barriers to conversion or stages where deals are being lost.
  • Record data to see why a deal was lost or won.
  • Forecast revenue based on Deal Stage %.

With these benefits in mind, let’s provide a quick overview of setting up and editing Deal Stages inside your Deal Pipeline in HubSpot. 

How to Create a Deal Pipeline in HubSpot

To create a Deal Pipeline in HubSpot, navigate to Settings and click the following:

Objects > Deals > Pipelines > Create Pipeline

Next, name your pipeline and edit who has access.

By Default, HubSpot comes with seven pre-set Deal Stages and associated probabilities:

  • Appointment scheduled (20%)
  • Qualified to buy (40%)
  • Presentation scheduled (60%)
  • Decision-maker bought-in (80%)
  • Contract sent (90%)
  • Closed won (0% Won)
  • Closed lost (0% Lost)

Users can edit Deal Stages through the following actions:

  • Create a new stage by clicking + Create New Deal Stage underneath the final stage.
  • Rename a deal stage by clicking on the stage name field and entering a custom name. 
  • Reorder deal stages by clicking to the left of the stage name and dragging it to its appropriate spot. 
  • Assign probability to each stage by clicking on the Win Probability column and the drop-down for each stage (increments of 10%).
  • View stage ID by clicking on the </> icon to the right of the stage name. 
  • Delete a stage by clicking on Delete to the right of the stage ID icon (this requires users to move all active deals from a deleted stage into another stage). 
  • Add custom properties by clicking Edit Properties all the way to the right of the stage name field.

Now that you understand how to implement and customize your deal stages let’s discuss some helpful tips to help you create a sales pipeline that best reflects your business. 

Tips to Optimize HubSpot’s Deal Stages

  1. Keep Pipelines Simple

    The number one mistake many businesses make when experimenting with Deal Pipelines in HubSpot is making their pipeline overly complicated. For example, an ideal Deal Pipeline in HubSpot should be around 7 Deal Stages, with no more than 10 if necessary.

    A Deal Pipeline should serve as a top-down representation of your sales process from qualification to close. When creating a Deal Pipeline, it’s easy to inundate sales reps with every micro-task required in the sales process. However, a Deal Pipeline is not a project management tool but a way to track data. 

    For this reason, users shouldn’t cram every sales task and activity into a pipeline. Instead, users should create Deal Pipelines around stages that align with a buyer’s journey. For example, a good example of a Deal Stage would be when a presentation was scheduled, not when an email was sent to schedule a presentation or when a prospect responded to that email.

    Ultimately, you can create a succinct and easy-to-track Deal Pipeline by condensing all of your sales processes into 7 broad stages where prospects have moved considerably closer to conversion. 

  2. Create Clear Definitions for Sales Reps

    Furthermore, Deal Stage definitions should be clear and easy to understand. For example, creating a Deal Stage labeled “Response” or “Engagement” would be difficult to ascertain what relevant information or conversion probability could be gleaned from this action. On the other hand, a Deal Stage labeled Proposal Sent would signal to sales reps that a deal is in the final stages of your pipeline and ready to make a decision. 

  3. Qualify Leads Before Creating a Deal

    Another major mistake HubSpot users could make is not qualifying out leads before you put them into a Deal Pipeline. So often, it’s enticing to set up a Workflow that triggers a deal each time a form is completed on your website.

    However, many of these prospects are often unqualified, with some simply filling out a form to access an ebook or service for a limited trial. Creating deals each time a call is scheduled, or a form is completed could flood your deal board with dozens of unqualified prospects that skew your conversion numbers. 

    To avoid this confusion, sales teams should manually add prospects to deal boards once they are qualified. While this may be tedious, this could actually clean up your data and save your sales team time from trying to chase unqualified leads. Another approach is to use the Lifecycle Stage property to qualify leads before creating a deal. For example, you can create a HubSpot Workflow to create a new Deal whenever the Lifecycle Stage is set to Sales Qualified Lead.

  4. Know When to Separate Pipelines

    There are arguments on both sides when separating different products/services into different pipelines. Ultimately, if you have a different sales process for different products or services, it’s keen to separate them into different pipelines. For example, the sales process behind consulting for a SaaS product may be different than selling the actual product and require a different pipeline to track those actions. 

    However, if you use the same process for different products/services, then adding them to the same Deal Pipeline could cut down on confusion.

  5. Automate Deal Stage Changes as Triggers

Finally, adding HubSpot Workflows to your Deal Pipeline can be a great way to automate processes and cut down on manual labor. For example, users could add a Workflow that triggers an action, task, or reminder each time a Deal advances to a new stage in your pipeline. Workflows are a great way to keep your daily sales activities organized and focused. 

HubSpot’s Deal Pipeline is not complicated to use and provides users with the data and information they need to track active deals, forecast revenue, and plug holes in their sales funnel. 

By learning how to manage your Deal Pipelines and following these best practices, your sales team can improve their conversion rates and your bottom line. 

To learn more about HubSpot’s Deal Stages and how to harness the power of HubSpot’s CRM for your sales and marketing team, schedule a consultation with our team at Coastal Consulting. We offer everything you need to get started with and master HubSpot, including a HubSpot audit and services to integrate your HubSpot and Salesforce account if you’ve recently made the switch. 

With a quick turnaround in as little as 10 business days, our team will spend at least 20 hours auditing and researching your HubSpot account to determine areas where your team could improve. 

Additionally, we offer plenty of educational content to help you learn more about HubSpot and how to master it for your business.

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