Leads move to Working when, and only when, the rep logs an activity – they do something with the lead. This is a critical distinction from using status to define what is happening with a lead. Updating a lead status, writing notes, and creating plans are the not the same as working a lead.
Working is an active stage – the rep is trying to get in contact with and qualify the lead. You are working a lead to determine where they are in a buying cycle, and if they are interested in your product or service. That means working a lead must result in the lead being dispositioned: marked as qualified, nurture, or unqualified.
While being worked the lead should be in a cadence, a structured sequence of touchpoints like emails, calls, and social interactions, over a set amount of time, with the goal of getting in contact with the lead.
Some organizations have sub-stages within working, like “Connected” to indicate when the rep has engaged the lead. These statuses can be useful for measuring how messaging converts, but they shouldn’t be used for measuring leads themselves. “Connected” is not the endgame for a lead, you still need to determine if the lead is in a buying cycle now, not now, or never.
Because leads are time-based, the working stage should be time-bound. As an example, if after 30 days the sales rep is not able to engage with an inbound lead, the lead should be abandoned, set to a nurture program to be re-activated at a later date. This is very important as it frees reps to move on to different leads and tells your automation systems to run marketing programs or recycle leads into outbound queues. Keeping leads in working will block these efforts.