The TekStack system uses Forrester’s B2B Revenue Waterfall approach to the sales and marketing of products and services. Several stages in the customer lifecycle are adapted from that model. We added some of our own.
Stages you’ll find in TekStack are: 1) Targeted, 2) Detected, 3) Engaged, 4) Prioritized, 5) Qualified, 6) Pipeline, 7) Implement, 8) Expand, and 9) Advocate.
These stages are closely aligned with marketing and sales activity. TekStack uses engagement scoring to advance an account through the stages toward a sale. Learn more about scoring in the following two articles:
This is what stages look like when your first create an account.
Targeted – An account, or contact on that account, that is in your target market.
Detected – An account, or contact on that account, that has displayed some buying signals, but where you cannot or have not yet identified specific individuals or buying group. These signals could come from purchased intent data, website traffic analysis or other sources.
Engaged – An account, or contact on that account, that has consumed content such as viewing your website, downloading a white paper, or attending a webinar. You can identify the specific individuals that are consuming the content because they have provided this information to you. These accounts will likely show some engagement scoring.
Prioritized – An account, or contact on that account, with whom you have had a significant amount of contact, or who has self-qualified (a high enough engagement score) for contact. It means they are an excellent prospect. They are ready direct outreach.
Qualified – An account, or contact on that account, whom we have determined is a potential buyer based on many criteria, such as time frame for purchase, budget, and what role the contact plays in making the purchase decision. This stage is only used when there are separate Business Development and Sales teams. This is a configurable setting.
The Business Development Representative (BDR) is the first contact for engaged prospects from outreach or sequences, doing some pre-qualification as a prospect becomes Prioritized. Gauging the interest of the prospect, they can then move the account to Qualify to pass the prospect over to the Sales team.
Sales can then do more qualification resulting in opening an opportunity and moving the account to Pipeline, or moving the account to Disqualify to revert the prospect to Detected,
Note: You can measure how well your BDR team is qualifying prospects by tracking how many accounts move from Quality to Pipeline, a key sales metric.
Pipeline – An account with whom we have created an opportunity moves to the Pipeline stage. It means an open opportunity is moving through the sales pipeline. Learn more about opportunities by referring to Set Up a New Opportunity.
Implement – An account that has made a purchase and is now in the onboarding phase.
Expand – An account that is now a live customer and to whom your sales team can sell more products and expand the customer footprint.
Advocate – An account that is a live customer who is a strong supporter and can be relied upon to supply references and referrals.
Re-Prospecting (Disqualifying) and Nurturing Accounts
But what if you couldn’t qualify the account? This is when our Re-Prospect (Disqualify) and Nurture functionality is convenient.
The TekStack process includes two features that affect the stage an account is in. Disqualify and Nurture are features which Sales can apply to an account or contact who, for some reason, does not buy.
Once an account reaches the Prioritized stage, new options appear in the top menu. From here you can Qualify, Disqualify, or Nurture the account.
Qualify - As mentioned above, the BDR team uses this to move an account over to the Sales team, if you have two separate groups working on your sales functions.
Nurture – Your Sales team may decide the account needs to be sent back to marketing for further nurturing. The contact may be a good fit and display interest in the company’s offerings but not yet be ready to buy.
Disqualify – Your Sales team may choose to disqualify an account that is clearly not making a buying decision now. It reverts the Customer Type to Re-prospect.
Here's what happens when you click these buttons:
- Qualify an account to move it to the Qualified stage.
- Disqualify an account to return it to the Detected stage.
- Nurture an account to return it to the Engaged stage.
A history of disqualify and nurture activities will appear in the Account information under the Summary tab. This gives you an understanding of the status of this account—that it was once at a more advanced stage. You can then decide what actions to take in the future to re-engage a disqualified account or nurture an engaged account.
Underneath the Account Stage you can see the Customer Type/Status. When you first set up an account, this is automatically set to Prospect. Once an account has been engaged, you saw the Account Stage change. But only when a purchase is made does the Customer Type/Status change to Customer. You can see this both in the Account form (Type) and also in the list of accounts (Status).
Why use the Customer Lifecycle system?
In marketing and sales, it is critical to retain as much information about the customer as possible. The stages in the Customer Lifecycle system enable better awareness about where your prospects are positioned in the buying cycle. TekStack allows you to capture details that will surface in Sales Dashboards (see Learn More about the TekStack Sales Dashboard) giving you vital understanding of your potential customers.
A contact or account that is approached once has about 20% chance of closing. One that is approached a second time has about 40% chance of closing. That percentage increases every time there is meaningful engagement. It’s a good idea to learn and record as much as you can about your prospects whether they buy from you or not.