Quick Tip: Associating Contacts, Companies, and Deals - A Case Study in Lemonade

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jennysowyrda
Community Manager

Hi there,

 

My name is Jenny Sowyrda and I am a Community Manager for the HubSpot Community. 

 

One way to think of contacts, companies and deals in terms of the simplest business model there is: the lemonade stand.

  1. Contacts

In general, contacts are the human connections you are making for all elements of your business. A deal is pitched to a human, a company is run by a human, your emails are read and answered by humans.

 

In my lemonade stand business, the contacts are the potential customers I have. Drivers passing by, children out riding bikes, parents out jogging-they are all the contacts in my CRM because they are my potential customers. They are my contacts.

Picture1.png

  1. Companies

Companies are more than where your contact works. A company defines your contact’s budget, resources, and ultimately whether your contact will be able to buy your product.

 

For my lemonade stand, the neighborhoods that I market my lemonade to are the companies. If I set up a lemonade stand in a neighborhood that no one drives or walks through, or a neighborhood that has six other lemonade stands, I am not going to sell my lemonade. These neighborhoods would not be the right companies for me to market to. And just like companies can have multiple contacts, neighborhoods can have multiple individuals eagerly lining up for my lemonade.

 Picture2.png

An important note—just like an individual cannot live in two neighborhoods at the same time, a contact in HubSpot cannot be associated with multiple companies at the same time.

  1. Deals

Generally speaking, deals are the business transactions that are associated with a contact or a company.

 Picture3.png

For my lemonade stand, a deal is when I begin to pitch my lemonade to a customer. While not everyone who stops by my stand will purchase lemonade, my deals are each transaction. And just like one customer can purchase two cups of lemonade, a contact can be associated with two deals.

 

 While contacts, companies and deals can all act independently in a CRM, using them together makes every deal as sweet as selling lemonade.

 

2 Accepted solutions
jennysowyrda
Solution
Community Manager

Hi @AngelaHicks

 

Are referring to moving a deal to closed/lost? I often struggle as well with when a deal is truly lost, as there is always (hopefully) the potential to bring that deal back. I think the lemonade stand analogy makes it a bit easier to see this because if a child is in the middle of purchasing his or her lemonade when their parent picks them up for soccer practice, that may be an analogy of a deal being lost. I hope that child comes back to purchase lemonade, but that deal may not be for an hour, a day, or even a week. As I don't know when, or if, that potential revenue will come back, I would consider that first loss of a sale a lost deal that is marked as "closed lost". Would you agree? 

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FesAskari_SIC
Solution
Contributor

Hi all, not sure I can see what the question is here, but I would suggest creating some bespoke deal stages that align with your sales process. Some examples may be - 'No Decision', 'Repeat/Renewal Deal' or 'GPCT Stage' - this last one is having a conversation with you customer to understand what the real opportunity here (or isn't!); e.g. are they buying lemonade just for themselves, their team or their whole company! 

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35 Replies 35
DRutherford8
Member

I have a question around importing deals. We are trying to clean up our deal list so we exported to Excel to remove all the outdated deals and now I am trying to reimport the new deals (I copied to a new Excel sheet). I keep getting an error message saying that some fields are missing a header row (none are missing). Apparently some fields are read-only and cannot be imported. To save me doing a trial and error on every single column, does anyone know which deal fields CANNOT be imported. I thought the import would be straightforward but that is very much not the case with deal imports.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

 

0 Upvotes
TiphaineCuisset
Community Manager

Hi @DRutherford8 

 

Thank you for reaching out. 

 

I can see you have a ticket opened with our technical support team, as your subscription gives you access to technical support. They'll be the best point of contact for your issue to troubleshoot forward as they can help you in real-time for this matter.

 

Thank you!

Best

Tiphaine


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0 Upvotes
shanestiles
Participant | Platinum Partner

I understand the analogy, and while conceptually it works as a way to group contacts together, with many users it doesn't. I do this now as a way to achieve what we're looking for, but ideally there would be a way to change the Companies name to "Groups" or "Organizations" so that it could include households, etc and have multiple types.

 

Using the analogy here, if my neighborhood included schools, stores, neighborhood organizations, local businesses etc--this wouldn't work. 

 

The solution is to have be able to select other contacts and companies as properties and then run queries accordingly. 

JessicaH
HubSpot Alumni

Hi @shanestiles,

 

Currently this is not a functionality of the tool. If you would like to see this implemented in the future, I would recommend sharing this idea in our ideas forum.

 

Take care!

Jess


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WMB
Member

A helpful way to think about contacts and companies, and agree with SeanHenri's comments about industry.  I'm finding the one contact per company to be a significant constraint.  Let me paint the picture with the lemonade model first then share my specific scenario.

 

Many of the lemonade stand contacts belong not only to one household and one neighborhood... they may actaully belong to multiple households (kids staying with different parents thus different households) and multiple neighborhoods (kids staying with different parents in different neighborhoods, parents having a work neighborhood and a home neighborhood).  But, perhaps more signficiantly, contacts can belong to multiple organizations such as household, church, soccer club, softball team, boy/girl scouts, etc. and we could be trying to cut lemonade deals with individuals, households, clusbs, etc.   And, a contact who likes the lemonade stand might be able to influence multiple different organizations of which he/she is a part.

 

In my particular case, I'm trying to find a way to represent a coach (contact) who is a member of a coaching organization (company) but who also works with multiple clubs (other companies) which also have members (contacts).   To do this I would need a field associated with coach (contact) where I could include multiple clubs (companies).  Simply using a text field for this is not a great answer.  Any suggestions?

Gummy
Participant

This is a B2C scenario. We're B2B so could use a somewhat different twist on this, but thank you for providing it. 

0 Upvotes
laceyg
Contributor

Hello- I know this is an old post, but I'd like your perspective on something I am working on. I came from salesforce, where we'd convert a lead into a contact and company at the right point and that worked. These being separate has me confused on how to manage. My thought is that we create a contact as a (lead) and only create a company if we have a contact. What do you guys recommend? Do clients create a bunch of companies first or contacts first? thanks

0 Upvotes
jennysowyrda
Community Manager

Hi @laceyg,

 

If the company is on your radar as a lead (without a specific contact yet), I would say there is no harm in creating the company record and beginning to store updates and information around the company on the record. 

 

Once you have a contact, you can begin to nurture the specific contact with all of the information you already have from the company.

 

And finally once you've nurtured the contact, you can create a deal as well!

 

Hope that helps! 🙂 

jhaaga
Participant

This thread has been helpful in understanding how Hubspot thinks about contacts and companies, and the associated deals.

 

Something that I'm struggling with is that I've created some deals and at that time didn't associate the deals with a company. Now I'm going back and creating the company and contact, but for the life of it I can't figure out how to associate a company with an existing deal. Could someone help me to understand how to do it?

0 Upvotes
MFrankJohnson
Thought Leader

 

hubspot-deals-associate-company-manually.png

 

 

Note: Please search for recent posts as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Be well,
Frank


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jhaaga
Participant

That works! That side bar was minimized for me and I never figured out that there could be additional options hiding.

laceyg
Contributor

Thanks, I have always been of the opinion that an account is converted to from a lead (contact) so this is not something I see as a good practice. I am still getting used to Hubspots objects with no association, so it's good to hear other opinions. thanks

0 Upvotes
MFrankJohnson
Thought Leader

Welcome @laceyg

 

HubSpot can be set to auto-create companies (based on website URL). Sometimes this is helpful. Sometimes, not so much.
- see Automatically create and associate companies with contacts

 

The thing is, HubSpot Companies are uber-useful when trying to 'associate' / organize Contacts -- which have no other way of being associated with each other in the HubSpot CRM.


Hope that helps a little.

 

Over to you @jennysowyrda 

 

Note: Please search for recent posts as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Be well,
Frank


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laceyg
Contributor

Thanks @MFrankJohnson ! I did learn about this feature yesterday. I would love to know how accurate you think the data is. Can you share any negatives I may exprience? I don't want to turn it on and deal with mapping my current industries if it's not going to be good long term. We do have pain points around constantly re-entering data since nothing is connected so it could help us. 

 

0 Upvotes
MFrankJohnson
Thought Leader

Ok, so HubSpot Companies are optionally auto-fed data from something called HubSpot Insights which aggregates company data from multiple sources. We've seen/heard issues around having to re-enter updated company info, but nothing that warrants discontinuing use of auto-creation IMHO. In fact, the auto-create company from URL feature is a HUGE time-saver. Especially since HubSpot Companies are free -- i.e., don't count towards the billable Contacts tier.

 

Will there be 'extra' Companies ('accounts' as you call them)? Yes.

Is that better than having to create each account manually, THEN having to associate that account with all of its contacts manually? ABSOLUTELY.

 

No perfect solution, but certainly workable at scale.

 

Note: Please search for recent posts as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Be well,
Frank


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0 Upvotes
ncaldwell
Member

Hi Jenny (and all!) - how would you suggest the situation of there's one company, but they have multiple branches. Do you have to create a company for each different location? Or is there a better way to see who's associated with which location?

 

Thanks for all the help!

0 Upvotes
jennysowyrda
Community Manager

Hi @ncaldwell,

 

It depends on the level of information and activity you'll be tracking with each branch. One option would be to utilize the parent/child company association. 

 

Additionally, are there contacts that need to be associated with each branch? Or are all of the contacts associated with the main division of the company? 

 

@FesAskari_SIC and @MFrankJohnson do you have any thoughts on this? 

 

Thanks,
Jenny

0 Upvotes
ncaldwell
Member

There would definitely be certain people who would need to be associated with specific branches, not just the "main" company. That's the issue I'm running in to.

 

Can the parent/child company association fulfill that as well?

0 Upvotes
MFrankJohnson
Thought Leader

Thanks for the tag @jennysowyrda ...

Hi @ncaldwell,

 

If you're going to need to see HubSpot Contacts associated with HubSpot Companies you might consider using the 'dummy domain' workaround discussed in the following thread.

- see [SOLVED] One domain name 5 companies

 

Help answer your question? If so, remember to accept this solution now.

 

 

Note: Please search for recent posts as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Be well,
Frank


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splume
Member

This analogy really doesn't work, and definitely doesn't solve the problem. If we need to stay inside this metaphor:

 

Think about one person, who works in Neighborhood A, and lives in Neighborhood B. She *certainly* exists in two places - -she eats, shops, drives, buys in both locations. If I have to track her as "Nancy at Work" and "Nancy at Home," then I don't really have a clue who she is.

 

In a more real-world example, I have an agency partner who is introducing me to multiple of his clients. I really need to see that my friend Julian is an influencer in a dozen different accounts that are NOT his company, even though I'll never sell his company a single dollar's worth of software. I also want to be able to look at Julian's Contact record, and see all the different Companies (and Deals) where he has influence. Suggesting that he can only be associated with one Company, and only the Deals for that Company, is really naive.

 

I've never seen any other CRM - not Salesforce, Sugar, Dynamics, Oracle (Siebel), SAP, Zoho - that doesn't support this function. It's a GLARING hole.

0 Upvotes