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We do them in batches lumped together as you have suggested. We also have timestamps for all of the stages so that we can see when an individual moves to a certain stage, or an account. Those are all based on first & most recent dates. Sooo, there are a lot of timestamps that we use for all of our reporting. The funnel information is more to identify errors/gaps in our data, and some high level metrics.
Agreed 100% on timestamping so you have a data point to use in reporting down the road.
But also, in the future it will help you prove any accelerated velocity through the funnel as a result of your efforts, or to parse out by channel to see if there are some that perform better.
I would agree I think it is fine to lump various transitions together. I would suggest keeping your detours and dead ends tracked separately. Also, if you have any return loops, I would also track those separately. For instance, if a lead can become an MQL (normal path), then be Rejected ("Dead End"), and can still come back into the funnel (Return) as an MQL organically, you should have two separate MQL campaigns. For example:
Anonymous / Prospect / Engaged --> MQL
Rejected --> MQL
I would also highly recommend the use of date stamp fields to track when a lead first enters into each revenue stage.
I agree with lumping them together if you have the same flow actions regardless of where they're coming from. I feel that is more scalable and fewer leads slip through the cracks than when you try to over-define things. Consider whether or not you want to "force" leads to go through stages or if they can skip them. IE someone requests a demo immediately going from known to MQL, bypassing engaged. In your flow action, do you want them to go through engaged for a minute before hitting MQL? It depends on what you want your reports to look like.