Not all forms are created equal. 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 for you.
By default, whenever a contact fills out a form, the default lifecycle stage for that contact will be set as Lead. The exception to this rule lies within your blog subscription or blog comment forms; these forms will create Subscribers (instead of Leads) if it is the first form on which 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 you would want to add a hidden lifecycle stage field to a form:
- Forms are the quickest way to automatically push contacts further down the funnel. The hidden form field method takes less set up time than setting up a Workflow (Professional and Enterprise only) to do that work. Or if you are on the Basic subscription of HubSpot in which you may not have Workflows to use.
- 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.
- 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 takes a combination of both sales and marketing working together to define what actions deserve a score and of what quantity, and what score equals which lifecycle stage. In reality, scoring is not a must-have for every business and in some cases be a waste of your time. 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 for automatically setting the lifecycle stage for your contacts. Or at the least you can use your forms until you've concluded that it's time to set up more advanced automation using Workflows and even lead scoring.