Clarifying the sales process with HubSpot leads objects and prospecting tools

Johan Vandecasteele
Johan Vandecasteele
02 April 2024

Analytics HubSpot


How do you define lifecycle stages on HubSpot? And how do you differentiate between contacts, SQLs and deals? The HubSpot 'leads' object brings sales closer to organizing leads and helps reflect the experience of qualifying them further. 

Clarifying the sales process with HubSpot leads objects and prospecting tools
In this blog post, we share insights on what this means for your sales process and how leadstreet’s HubSpot services can assist you.

What is the HubSpot 'lead' object?

Not every contact is someone you want to market to. And by extension, someone you want to sell to actively.

In some cases, contacts can be vendors or partners. In previous years, HubSpot introduced Marketing Contacts, a way for you to indicate which contacts bring revenue. But does HubSpot have a way to indicate whether a contact is an actual lead? 

As of late 2023, with 'lead' objects on HubSpot, the answer is yes. With this in mind, it’s essential to remember that leads do NOT replace contacts. It's best to think of leads as secondary objects (like deals or tasks) that can be associated with contact and/or company records.

At the INBOUND23 conference, HubSpot introduced the 'lead' object. This offers businesses a dedicated way to organize leads and matches how competing CRMs operate.

This eliminates the need for manual assignments and administrative tasks. It offers the possibility to customize your messaging even further, boosting conversions.

Ideal users for HubSpot leads objects 

Using HubSpot 'leads' objects is ideal for organizations where salespeople are active in talking to prospective clients. For example, your business follows a B2B or B2Gov model, or your products or services are big-ticket items that need consultations. Using 'leads'  objects is suitable if you don't rely on e-commerce or your customers do not make purchases on a self-service model.

  • For those just starting to map out their process for prospects, we recommend using it immediately to move your process mapping along.
  • For those with prospecting processes that already work, it's good to explore, plan, and test how you can migrate to HubSpot 'Leads' Objects.
  • For those with a sales process that works but is performed on a third-party tool or integration, you can explore how leads objects can be a possible alternative.

The HubSpot prospecting tool requires Sales Pro or Enterprise and paid Sales seats. 

(Pro tip: Watch or listen to the December 2023 HubSpot Admin HUG session

How does the HubSpot prospect tool work? 

With 'lead' objects, you can distinguish leads from contacts and manage them within the HubSpot prospects tool.  

This tool is a workspace where you can manage sales activities. It lets you: 
  • Monitor your outstanding prospecting activities.
  • Create, manage, and keep track of your leads.
  • Set priorities and optimize your schedule.

Sales reps can create a personalized prospecting workspace through the HubSpot Prospecting tool. This workspace has all the relevant data needed to qualify their leads without distractions or moving to different hubs within the portal.

This data includes context on recent communication so they can provide more authentic and engaging buyer experiences.

Leads progress through your pipeline based on sales rep updates so your team can confidently report with up-to-date information.

The prospecting tool on HubSpot provides each sales rep a personal summary and progress bar of their daily to-dos, helping them jump into work without delay and reducing the decision-making required on priorities.

The workspace surfaces the leads that require attention and reminds reps to send a reply, plan their next step, and even update past meeting outcomes.

To access the prospecting tool on HubSpot:

Step 1: Go to your HubSpot portal.  
Step 2: Go to the top navigation.  
Step 3: Go to ‘Sales’.  
Step 4: Then, go to ‘Prospecting’ to enter the prospecting workspace.  
Step 5: Click on the second tab labelled ‘Leads’ to access the new lead management tools. 

Qualifying leads using a HubSpot lead object

What really happened with a lead? Why didn't they close when they seemed qualified? Do you forget about them after? Or can you revisit the conversation along the way?

HubSpot leads object sales qualification pipeline

Previously, the sales lifecycle stages involved moving from contact to MQL to SQL to a deal.

But we know things are more complex than tagging qualified and unqualified leads and then moving on or moving forward. A sales rep usually gets traction with an SQL in their fifth or sixth conversation. Sometimes, sales reps are forced to disqualify a lead because they cannot let them sit in that same stage for too long. The lead is interested in some situations but the timing isn't right yet.

For business-to-business or business-to-government, lead qualification can be a slow burn, a long game, with its many twists and turns.

With HubSpot lead objects, you can get a more complete picture of the pre-opportunity sales process, especially the space between your lifecycle stages and your deal pipelines. That hazy gap from initiating conversations to pausing and delaying to restarting again. And you can qualify your SQLs as actual leads.

When you click one of the HubSpot lead objects, you’ll notice a visual tracker or mini pipeline that indicates how far along the lead is in the pre-sales/qualification pipeline.

There are four default lead stages with built-in automation. These stages reflect Lead Status more closely based on sales activities and results during the qualification process.

  • Attempted: When the sales rep tries to reach them through email, phone, or another channel. 
  • Connected: When the lead has responded to the rep’s outreach, such as responding to an email or answering the call. 
  • Qualified: Manually prompt the lead stage to set to ‘qualified;’ a deal creation panel will appear that helps your reps seamlessly convert the prospect into the pipeline.
  • Disqualified: Manually set the lead stage to ‘disqualified’ to let a disqualification reason pop up.

(Pro tip: Learn more from the Lead Management in Prospecting Workspace Releases and Updates

In the mini pipeline, you can log your outreach attempts and take notes on reasons for disqualification. You can complete each mini-cycle multiple times, reflecting extended discussions or priority changes. In the same space, you can create tasks to follow up when the timing is better and restart the process.

In the same space, you can create tasks to follow up when the timing is better and restart the process.

Lead owners for HubSpot 'leads' objects

Just recently, HubSpot introduced the lead object owner property to allow users to use lead owner as a discrete property value, separate from the associate contact and company owner.

You can turn this on or off under Data Management Settings, in the Set Up tab, in the option to 'Sync lead owner with contact or company owner.'

HubSpot lead owners

Additionally, admins and super admins now have bulk action capabilities to manage and gain more visibility over HubSpot leads.

Getting HubSpot leads object support  

While HubSpot leads objects is a new feature, the possibilities are exciting. It brings clarity to sales processes. And it supports repeat buying (vs. lead status) too. If somebody returns and buys again, you don't need to reset your lead status or risk losing all that context about previous touchpoints.

Resources about Hubspot 'leads' objects and prospecting tools are available. These include webinars, Knowledgebase articles and HubSpot community posts. 

In addition, you can always consult the leadstreet team on setting up and using HubSpot leads objects, along with other HubSpot services!

Johan Vandecasteele

Johan Vandecasteele

Managing partner leadstreet ✪ Diamond HubSpot Partner ✪ Top 50 HubSpot Agency worldwide ✪ 2020 HubSpot Champion User ✪ Member HubSpot Advisory Council EU

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