CRM

rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Working with customers directly, I find that they are often daunted by importing in their data, especially if they’re new to HubSpot. As such, I want to share some useful tips I’ve compiled with the help of my teammates on how to plan smart before you even begin importing your data! After all, Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail".

 

Here are 5 tips to bear in mind when importing contacts & companies into HubSpot Smiley Happy

Tip 1: Note what HubSpot uses as unique identifiers for contacts and companies

Contacts are deduplicated by their email address, whereas companies are deduplicated by their company domain name (e.g. www.hubspot.com). As much as possible, ensure that your spreadsheet has such columns before importing your file. It’ll greatly help prevent duplicate contacts or companies being created down the road. If not, each new row in your spreadsheet will create a new contact/company.

>> Related resources:  Set up your import files 

 

Tip 2: Review the available properties in your settings and create custom ones if necessary

Depending on your needs, you might want to consider creating custom properties to import your data to. Before creating custom properties though, I would suggest checking out our articles on what are the default HubSpot contact and company properties provided. Alternatively, you can do a quick search in your properties settings to check if there are any existing properties for you to store your data in.

status eg search.jpg

 

Doing this review before your import prevents properties with duplicate names from being created. This also reduces the possibility of your team mapping data to the incorrect properties in future imports.

 

Tip 3: Consider what field types would best suit your properties before creating them

One question I like to ask customers is, “How would you want your team to update contacts and companies moving forward?”

 

A multi-line text field might be useful for capturing a lot of information about a contact. But it’s open-ended, so your team mates’ responses might not be standardised when they update contacts. Perhaps a dropdown field works better if you have the same standard descriptions that your team can select from. 

multiline vs dropdown option.jpg

 

Another question is, “Is this a scalable solution?”. 

It might not make sense to make 10 single-line text fields to hold a “Yes” value, if you can condense this into one multi-checkbox field with 10 options instead. You will free up your custom properties to hold more useful data and keep your properties clutter-free in the long run. 

 

When creating properties, I highly recommend referring to your spreadsheet too. This will ensure you create the properties options that match all the values in your spreadsheet columns.

>> Related resources:: Property field types in HubSpot, Import data to checkbox properties

 

Tip 4: Give recognisable names to your import file 

This might be useful if you don't want to create an additional property to label the source of these contacts. If these contacts were from a trade show, I can name my file "May 2020 tradeshow". The import file name allows you to search for these trade show contacts with the following list or contact dashboard filters:

  1. Imports > Select the file name "May 2020 tradeshow"
  2. Original source drill-down 2 > Search for the string "May 2020 tradeshow"

Contact filter.png

 

Also, you can filter for the companies created through this import using the company property “Original source data 2”.

Company filter.png

 

Tip 5: Review the import error file 

Downloading the error file after your import is the best way to figure out what went wrong during your import. It identifies which row of the original spreadsheet the error stemmed from and the reason for the error so that you can correct it and re-import the data correctly.

 

The most common error I’ve seen customers encounter is “Invalid Enumeration Option”, which occurs when they try to import data that doesn’t exist as a property option yet. For instance, this can happen with a dropdown property called “Preferred Office Locations” with multiple options created so far. However, none of the existing match the value being imported via the spreadsheet (“Any”).

 

Invalid option.png

To resolve this issue, you would need to either:
1) change the value to match one of the 4 existing options, OR
2) create another property option “Any” for this value to be a valid one

This is just one example, so for more details on import errors and how to fix them, do refer to our troubleshooting article here.

 

Bonus: Our free HubSpot Academy lesson that gives an overview of imports. (P.S. it contains a downloadable workbook that shares 3 useful Excel formulas for formatting your data.)

 

-------------

That's it folks! Hopefully these 5 tips help you to plan smart and make your import process a breezier process.

 

Have any useful import tips to share? Or are there any other import-related posts you’ll like to see? Do leave a comment as I would love to hear them!

22 Replies 22
DNilssonLenna
Member

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hi,

Is it possible to create a line that is a link, for e-mails? If i want to have company email, a "head email", can I then create a property that says Company email and the set it as a link so it will work the same way a contact email does?

0 Upvotes
EPloehn
Member

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

When setting up the import file - for a property that is a multi-checkbox, does it matter the order of the items in the import file?  Meaning, if I have two records that will have used 3 of the 8 checkboxes, does each record have to be the same - 
Record 1 has option ;A;B;C

Record 2 has option ;C;B;A

Will it result in still all three checked for each record regardless of the order in the import?

 

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

No, the order doesn't matter. HubSpot will just check for all unique options supplied (A, B, C), so both records 1 and 2 will have all 3 options checked after import. 

EPloehn
Member

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

I have seen proposed templates for importing company/contacts - both objects at once, but I didn't see anything that has those two AND deals.  Does one exist?  I am also ready to do my import, and am terrified it will go horribly wrong.  Does HubSpot offer hands on support for this process?  Other advice/suggestions are welcomed.

 

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hey @EPloehn, yes it's possible to import 3 objects at once! I've attached a screenshot of how you can set up your import file to represent the associations, and the colours are just for clarity:

  • Blue = Contact fields
  • Yellow = Company fields
  • Orange = Deal fields

Screenshot 2022-03-24 at 10.45.14 AM.png

 

During the import, make sure to select all 3 objects (Contacts, Companies, Deals). Screenshot 2022-03-24 at 10.47.20 AM.png

 

After this screen, ensure you'd mapped the right fields to the right objects. The symbols (human icon for Contacts, building for Companies) also help to guide you. 

object and field mapping.png

After the import, you'll see these associations:

  • Contact-company
  • Contact-deal
  • Company-deal

 

Last but not least, if you have a paid subscription, HubSpot Support is your go-to resource for help! You can find Support under the "Help" widget in the bottom right hand of your portal > "Contact Support" > Chat/call/email. Do refer to this page for the Support channels you have access to. 

 

P.S. HubSpot Support is awesome - you'll love working with them 😉

EPloehn
Member

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

meaning, does everything need to repeating all the way across each record line?

0 Upvotes
EPloehn
Member

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

I really appreciate the information you provided, very helpful.

My spreadsheet looks close.

So, for a company with multiple contacts, each row should have a repeat of the customer name?

For example, I have something that looks like:

Field Headers are

Company name..company address fields...other company data point....contact name...title (only an example)

and the sheet looks like

xyz company....company address fields...543...John Smith...president

xyz company...company address fields...543...Suzie Jones...VP

Yes?

 

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Yes you're right. I typically recommend importing all companies first, and then exporting them from HubSpot to get their company IDs.

Then, update your contact and company spreadsheet to use company ID for each unique company.

This is to prevent duplicate companies from being created during the import for each new row that contains the same company name (which is not a unique identifier to HubSpot).

 

End result:

XYZ company, company ID 1, company fields, contact A fields

XYZ company, company ID 1, company fields, contact B fields

0 Upvotes
lsyanseke
Contributor

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hi @rwong are there deafult HubSpot properties that can be changed (by name and fields) to fit the business process and report needs?

 

That is aside from creating new properties.

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hey @lsyanseke, there isn't a list of default HubSpot properties that can be edited. What I can recommend is searching your properties settings or the list of default properties from our knowledge base article first. Then, based off properties that you think might suit your use case, check if it's possible to edit the labels or options.

Read-only fields based off HubSpot analytics or calculations (e.g. IP, Became a customer date) are usually not editable to prevent customers from breaking things in their portal by accident. However, there are fields like Lead Status, Country/Region which offer some degree of customisation, so best way is to confirm is to check on fields you're interested in 🙂

Grayed out.png.   Editing property options.png

  

stephsurns
Participant

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

I work for a credit union and we are in a Hubspot trial. How do you solve for multiple personal contacts and businesses with the same email address?  All different names, so what name would you choose to personalize content? We have, for example, the same email address tied to 14 different businesses and personal names.  There is unique data for each one of those members we would need to access to automate emails, and each of those members have multiple accounts with unique account data.

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hey @stephsum, sorry I missed out on your question. That is both a unique and tough use case, since each email address in HubSpot is meant to represent a unique contact/recipient, and email address is how we figure out how to personalise marketing emails to each recipient. There are some workarounds like editing the email value to create separate contact records (see this community post). However, my thinking is that you'll likely need to personalise each email manually. Reason being HubSpot has no way of knowing who (out of the 14 businesses/names) you're looking to address based on the purpose of that particular email

KarthikC
Contributeur de premier rang

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Thanks for this. I would like to suggest an improvement to how well HubSpot matches the column titles with a property when importing multiple objects (company & contact). It matches most of the contact data ok, but when i have company data with titles like Company Phone Number, Company Industry, Company Annual Revenue, etc. it should be able to match it up automatically without me having to select the right company property each time. I have a similar issue with contact data for Employee City / State / Country. I've included a screenshot to help show what I'm describing.

 

Annotation 2020-07-28 135636.png

natsumimori
Community Manager
Community Manager

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Thank you for your feedback @KarthikC !

This thread is in the Community Forum which is a different platform from Ideas Forum. If you'd like to bring your feedback to the Product Team, I'd suggest creating a post in the Ideas Forum from here. This way other Community members will be able to support your idea.

nggenova
Participant

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hi. I would like to see data matching fields other than just email address for contacts. In my experience, email address is not a very reliable field for this. We have a unique identifier field on our core system but we currently can not match it up in HubSpot. We are seeking advice from a third party that may be able to help us accomplish this. 

renman83
Participant

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

I strongly agree!!! this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. plus I found an 'object ID' in HubSpot but when you look at all properties you can't find that field anywhere what's up with that? This 'object ID' shows up in the HubSpot trigger "Create or update contact" in zapier  But you can't see it in HubSpot.....????

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hi @renman83! The "object ID" you've seen in Zapier would have a different label in HubSpot, depending on which object you're looking at.

 

For instance, the "object ID" is called "Contact ID" on the contact record, whereas it goes by "Company ID" and "Deal ID" on companies and deals respectively. Hope this helps 🙂 contact ID.png

 

natsumimori
Community Manager
Community Manager

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hi @nggenova 

 

Thank you for shareing your feedback! Currently, email address is the only unique identifier for the contacts and cannot change to something else within HubSpot. Additionally, I wanted to share this Community conversation with you.

RTeymourtash0
Participant

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Our company customers/contacts dont all have an email address associated with the contact.  Can I not use the company account number as the unique identifier instead?  Will a contact with no email address not get loaded when I upload my contacts?

Also, what is the Company ID?  Is this the field I use for our customer Account Numbers? 
Please help.

0 Upvotes
rwong
HubSpot Employee
HubSpot Employee

5 Handy Tips when Importing Contacts & Companies

Hi @RTeymourtash0! To your questions:

  • HubSpot only uses these identifiers to deduplicate contacts and companies. It isn't possible to use your own company account number as their unique identifier.
  • You can complete a contacts import without email addresses, but we won't be able to deduplicate them even if they already exist in your CRM. 
  • Company ID on a company record is a read-only field auto-populated by HubSpot when you first create the record in your CRM. You won't be able to edit this once a company record is created.
  • To find the ID of a company record, you can click "View all properties" on the left sidebar of the record > search up "Company ID"
    Finding company ID.png
  • If you want to hold your custom account numbers in HubSpot, you can always create a custom property with these steps (see tips 2 and 3 in my post above).

Hope this helps! Would certainly recommend you reaching out to Support via the "Help" widget in-app if you have further questions.