The purpose of this article is to explain Lead Phases, Statuses, and how they work when managing Leads.
Phases & Statuses Overview
What's a Phase?
The Leads Pipeline is comprised of Phases and Statuses. Let's start with phases. There are 5 Phases in BigSIS:
- Application Decision
Each phase is represented on the status bar depicted below:
This is also known as the admissions process. The order of these phases is static and may not be changed, and no lead may be in two phases at once. However, many of these phases may be skipped when necessary (e.g., a family may forego an inquiry altogether and instead proceed directly to an application).
The Leads module also offers additional flexibility should it be needed. For example, some daycare programs that use BigSIS find some of the phases unnecessary (e.g., there may not be a formal inquiry or application for a daycare or parent-child program) and in such cases, phases may be removed from the process. Additionally, if your institution elects to use BigSIS to process re-enrollments, you may not need them to fill out inquiry forms or applications, instead, you may just need the family to sign a new enrollment contract for the new year. It may be helpful to think of phases as answering the question “Where is the lead?” If someone asks you, where is Bobby’s lead? The answer is “Bobby’s lead is currently in the inquiry phase (rather than the application phase or some other phase).”
What's a Status?
Each Phase is comprised of statuses. For example, a lead could be sitting in the Application Phase and have the following status options:
- Application Submitted
- Application Failed
- Application on Hold
- Application Withdrawn
- Application Completed
The status is represented in the status bar as a color within the phase. For example, a yellow color in the status bar under the Application phase indicates that the application is on hold.
A red color indicates the Application Failed:
In both these examples, the lead is in the Application Phase, however, there are two different statuses represented in the images.
All of the above statuses are available ONLY while in the application phase. A different set of corresponding statuses are available while the lead is in other phases (e.g., during the Inquiry phase, a lead may have the status of Inquiry Submitted, Inquiry On Hold, etc. instead). Like phases, no lead may have two distinct concurrent statuses at any time. Unlike phases, however, statuses are not moved through in sequential order, so leads may be assigned any status within that phase at any time. In fact, a lead may move in and out of statuses, for example, a lead may have the status of Application Submitted, then be moved to Application on Hold if the family hesitates, then moved back to Application Submitted if the family decides to re-initiate a dormant application again. Moreover, though each phase has several available status options, most leads will only ever be placed into one or two of the statuses within a phase. If a lead is progressing along nicely, for example, there may be no need to ever place it in an "On Hold" or "Withdrawn" status so you may ignore those statuses altogether. Finally, To move a lead from one phase to another, the lead must have either a “Skipped” or “Completed” status in the previous phase. For example, to move into the Application phase, the lead’s status in the preceding Inquiry phase must either be “Inquiry Skipped” or “Inquiry Completed.” It may be helpful to think of statuses as answering the question “What is the status of the lead?” If someone asks you, what is the status of Bobby’s lead? The answer is “Bobby’s lead is currently in the inquiry phase and the status of his lead is ‘Inquiry-Submitted’ (rather than Inquiry on Hold or Inquiry Completed).”
Below is a brief tutorial on how to change statuses and phases for a lead in BigSIS.
- Go to Admissions/Leads > Leads
- Select a record and then click the Edit button. This will open up what is known as the lead Edit Form.
- The diagram below illustrates several key components of the lead Edit Form that are important for understanding and using phases and statuses:
Click to enlarge
- To change a lead's status, click on the Change Status button from the Edit Form as illustrated above. Depending on the current phase the lead is in and the current status within that phase, you will see a variety of options that may be chosen for the lead's next status. Here is an example:
In this example, notice that the boxes at the top display the Current Phase and Current Status of the lead. That is if someone were to ask you, where is the Jacob Felder lead currently, the answer would be "His lead is in the application phase" (as opposed to the Inquiry or Contract phase or some other phase). And if you were asked, what is the current status of Jacob's lead within the application phase, you would reply, "The current status of Jacob's lead is that his application has been submitted." Now, however, it is time to move his lead along to the next phase and give his lead a new status. In the example below, we are now changing Jacob's lead status from Application Submitted to Application Completed.
You may have noticed that when selecting a 'Completed' or 'Skipped' type of status (e.g., Inquiry Completed, Inquiry Skipped, Application Completed, Application Skipped, etc.) a couple of additional options appear at the bottom of the screen: (1) Cancel remaining tasks in Application phase and (2) Optional: pick new status from next phase. These options do not appear when selecting other types of phases like 'On Hold,' 'Failed,' etc. The option to cancel remaining tasks is explained in another section of this tutorial titled 'How tasks work'. Below is a diagram and explanation of how the other option, the one about picking a new status from the next phase, works.
The option to pick a new status from the next phase is there for advanced users to help save you a little bit of time. When a lead completes a phase, you have the option of selecting the first status in the next phase at the same time. Jacob's lead is currently in the application phase and is about ready to move into the application decision phase; so in the example above, not only do we register that the application is completed, but we also take this opportunity to select the first status in the following phase, 'Application Decision In Progress,' thus killing two birds with one stone: we close out one phase and initiate another phase by selecting a status within that phase. Think of it as a shortcut. If we do not use this option and elect to simply set the status to 'Application Completed' then Jacob's lead would remain in the Application phase instead with the status 'Application Completed.' You or someone on your staff would have to click the 'Change Status' button from the lead Edit Form at some later point wherein you would be offered a set of status options to select from the Application Decision phase, one of which would be 'Application Decision In Progress.'
- Every subsequent phase and status change proceeds in the same way as described above. The only thing missing from all this is the role that workflow tasks play but that is discussed in the next section, titled "How tasks work."
- If at any time a lead must be put on hold, select an available 'On Hold' status (e.g., Inquiry On Hold, Application Decision On Hold, etc.). Likewise, if a lead is ever in need of being withdrawn or if your team elects to fail the lead (perhaps it was not the right fit) place the lead in an available 'Withdrawn' or 'Failed' status. Don't worry, you can always re-activate any lead that has been withdrawn or failed. To do so, just go back into the lead, click the "Change Status" button again. You'll now see a "Reactivate" button. Clicking that button will remove the current status of the lead and switch it to an 'In Progress' status type within the last phase the lead was in before it was withdrawn or failed.
- At all times, you have a running status log that is automatically updated for you whenever a lead changes statuses:
Every status change, date of status change, and note about a status change is recorded in the status log. The log is located from within the lead record Edit Form in a sub-tab located at the bottom of the lead record titled "Status Log" (see illustration above). Whenever you are changing the status of a lead, you have the opportunity to add a note explaining the reason for changing the status. Any notes you write will be displayed in the status log. Also, if you ever need to undo the last status change you made to the lead, you may do so by going to the Status Log sub-tab and clicking on the "Revert Last" button (see illustration above). You may keep clicking this button as often as necessary, each time it will revert the last status change of a lead. Be careful, though, because reverting will wipe out any notes associated with the status change you are reverting.