Some of your forms may be considered top of the funnel (TOFU) forms, while others may be bottom of the funnel (BOFU). A visitor filling out a Contact Us form is more likely to be considered a lead than someone who fills out a Request a Quote form, who is more likely to be a sales qualified lead. You can set up each form to assign the appropriate lifecycle stage to contacts who submit the form.
By default, whenever a contact fills out a form, the lifecycle stage for that contact will be set to Lead. The exception to this rule lies within your blog subscription or blog comment forms; these forms will set a contact's lifecycle stage to Subscriber if one of those forms is the first form that your new contact submitted.
Keep in mind that contacts only move automatically down the marketing funnel and never back up the funnel. For example, if a contact who is already a lead in your database submits on your blog subscription form, they will not become a subscriber; they will remain a lead (because Lead is further down the funnel than Subscriber).
Below are some reasons why adding a hidden lifecycle stage field to a form would be useful:
- Push contacts down the funnel efficiently: forms are the quickest way to automatically push contacts further down the funnel. The hidden form field method takes less setup time than setting up a workflow (Marketing Professional and Enterprise and Sales Professional only) to do that work.
- Associate form conversions to a particular lifecycle stage: you can tie a particular form conversion to a lifecycle stage update. A true marketing qualified or sales qualified lead should have already worked their way through the top-of-the-funnel offerings, whether or not they converted previously. Contacts filling out a form intended for a middle- or bottom-of-the-funnel offering are closer to the buying stage than those filling out a simple form for a whitepaper offer on implementing a social media strategy.
- Save time: if you haven't set up your lead scoring to use in conjunction with workflows to move contacts through the funnel, this could also be a viable option. Scoring leads takes time and thought. You won't throw this together overnight, and scoring takes a combination of both sales and marketing working together to define what actions deserve a score and of what quantity, in addition to what score equals which lifecycle stage. Consider if you should include a hidden lifecycle stage on your forms rather than lead scoring.
You may use one method or a combination of methods to automatically set the lifecycle stage for your contacts. Additionally, you can use your forms until you've concluded that it's time to set up more advanced automation using workflows and lead scoring.