Getting started with HubSpot can be daunting, despite its industry-leading benefits and features. This is usually due to the intimidating task of migrating from your previous system into HubSpot customer relationship management tool (CRM). Where do you start? How do you ensure the data is synced correctly, and what happens if you lose contacts in the process? How do you know if it has worked, and who in your team should be involved to ensure this is the case?
We know the questions can seem endless, which is why we’ve answered how to migrate to the HubSpot CRM in 8 easy steps below.
The 8 Step Process for HubSpot CRM Migration
- Export Data
- Clean Data
- Add Properties
- Finalise Data
- Test Import
- Import All Contacts
- Map Properties
- Confirm Subscribed Contacts
Before we get into the step-by-step process, it has to be pointed out that you can choose to manage this process yourself or have it managed for you. Managing it yourself gives you the freedom to make choices you might not otherwise know you have, but it can be a bit of a learning curve. If you’re short on time and resources, HubSpot can action a migration on your behalf at an additional cost. Alternatively, your HubSpot marketing agency usually offers CRM onboarding as a service, which is a benefit if they are already familiar with your company.
Whether you’re deciding to do it yourself or hire someone else to do it for you, it’s important to understand what goes into it and what’s needed to do it successfully. Following this step-by-step process should ensure that your migration is not only a success, but a turning point in your organisation that leads to more aligned sales and marketing teams, happier customers and just better business.
1. Export Data
We recommend beginning with migrating your contact data, and only then moving onto companies and deals. You want to start by exporting your contacts’ data from your current CRM into a spreadsheet. At this stage, file formats don’t matter much—you just need your data exported and easily editable.
2. Clean Data
Once your contacts’ data is exported, it’s time to clean it. This step just ensures that your exported data is easy to read, correctly synced and doesn’t confuse you later on. Part of this is ensuring that the correct information aligns with the correct columns. For instance, are all the contacts’ email addresses under column titled “Email” in the top row? Do the other properties align similarly? This is also a great opportunity to run through your contact data and ensure everything is accurate and you’re only importing contacts that are valuable to you.
When cleaning your data, you’ll also want to make sure that a single column contains only one piece of information, so that HubSpot imports each as an individual property. We recommend saving your cleaned data as a new spreadsheet that is in either CSV or XLSX format (i.e. the two formats that HubSpot can import data from), and naming it appropriately for easy identification (i.e. “HubSpot Data Migration #1”).
3. Add Properties
You have clean data in the correct format, and so now it’s time to build this data out. Whatever properties you want included in your HubSpot CRM will need to be added to your spreadsheet and updated with accurate information. The great benefit of HubSpot is personalisation through custom properties, which is why including as much information as benefits you is always a good idea. You might want to add in a contact’s owner (i.e. HubSpot owner), country of origin, or the number of employees they have, or the date they first became prospects or customers.
Don’t worry if you’re unsure what to include. The safest measure is always to include as much information as you had in your previous CRM, as you at least want to be working with the same data you had previously. There might even be properties that you don’t need any more and want to delete—that’s valuable too. You can also always choose to build out your contact data at a later stage, so don’t let this step hold you up.
4. Finalise Properties
Before you even do a test import, you’ll need to make sure that any properties you have inside your spreadsheet are also created inside HubSpot. Any properties that aren’t already inside HubSpot by default can be added by navigating in your portal to Settings > Properties. Here, you can create custom properties that match any information you want to collect. The types of properties you can select to create include:
- Text - free fill field
- Dropdown select - select one option
- Multiple checkboxes - select multiple options
- Single checkbox
- Date picker - calendar date
When choosing the type of property, like the above, you’ll want to consider how your contacts will be completing this information in the future (via forms). For example, if you have a list of industries that you want a contact to identify with, you’d likely make that property a dropdown select list. But if you just want to know if a contact subscribes to marketing information or not, that would be a single checkbox. When naming your properties, try to be consistent with the information in your spreadsheet so that it’s easy to collate later on.
5. Test Import
Testing is always important, but you don’t want to have to do a test run with your entire database. We recommend cloning your spreadsheet at this point and deleting all contacts in it save for one (it’s a good idea to select a contact to test that has most properties filled).
Before you run your test import, be sure to enable the “auto-create and associate companies with contacts” setting in HubSpot. You’ll find this option in your portal at Settings > Companies. This will automate any association between contact and company without you needing to manually connect this information.
Now you’ll run your test import using the following actions:
- Ensure your test spreadsheet is saved as a CSV or XLSX file.
- In your portal, navigate to “Contacts”.
- In the upper right, click “Import” and then click “Start an import”.
- Select “File from computer”, then click “Next”.
- Select “One file”, then click “Next”.
- Select “One object”, then click “Next” and select the object type in your import file.
- Click “Choose a file” and in the dialog box, select your import file, then click “Next”.
- Map your data to HubSpot properties. HubSpot will have automatically selected some properties, but double check that everything is mapped correctly before clicking “Next”.
- On the details screen, enter an “Import name”.
- Click “Finish import” in the bottom right.
Your contact’s data is now imported. Review the contact in HubSpot to ensure that everything has migrated as you planned, and if there are any errors, go back to the related step. If you’re sure everything is how you want it, move onto step 6.
6. Import All Contacts
Your test went off without a hitch and now it’s time to import all your contacts. This step is easy, because you’ve done it before. You’re going to follow precisely the same action list as in step 5, except that now you’re going to be importing your full list of contacts’ data. This will mean that the upload of data will take slightly longer. Other than that, it’ll be the same process as before. You’ll also note that when your contacts have been imported, there are some additional options that you can select if you’d like to (i.e. Lifecycle stage).
7. Map Properties
Just as in step 5, once your full contact spreadsheet is uploaded, HubSpot will prompt you to map your spreadsheet properties to the appropriate property in HubSpot. You may need to put some extra time aside to ensure all the properties are correctly mapped, as you’ll have significantly more data to work with than during your test import. But, thankfully, you planned for this step much earlier and all the property names should align, making it easy to select which links to which. Most of the time, HubSpot automates this step for you, but it’s a good practice to double check what they’ve selected by default. If HubSpot highlights properties that it couldn’t find matches for, you don’t need to worry. You can easily select the correct property from the provided dropdown menu, or go and create a new property to match this data (should no property exist).
8. Confirm Subscribed Contacts
The last step is an easy one. HubSpot will ask you to confirm that you aren’t going to spam the contacts you just uploaded. Given that you have permissions to the contact data you uploaded, all you need to do is click “Confirm”... and you’re done! Congratulations, you just migrated your contacts to the HubSpot CRM.
HubSpot will alert you via email when the import is completed, and highlight any contacts with errors and ideas on how to fix them. The next step would be to complete this same process for your Companies and Deals data, and in no time you’ll have your entire CRM data migrated to HubSpot (at this point, we’d recommend giving yourself a celebratory pat on the back).
While doing this process yourself is helpful when dealing with ongoing uploads of external contacts and data, when migrating to HubSpot from another CRM it can be helpful to employ HubSpot directly or a HubSpot marketing agency to walk you through the process and ensure no stone is left unturned.