Migrating to HubSpot CRM in 8 steps

6 min read
Apr 29, 2024 11:06:42 AM
Despite HubSpot's industry-leading benefits and features, you may be reluctant to get started. Many people find it exciting to migrate from their previous system to HubSpot CRM. HubSpot's customer relationship management (CRM) system.


Despite HubSpot's industry-leading benefits and features, you may be reluctant to get started. Many people find it exciting to migrate from their previous system to HubSpot CRM. HubSpot's customer relationship management (CRM) system. Where should you start? How do you make sure the data is synchronized properly, and what happens if contacts are lost during this process? How do you know if the migration was successful? Which team members should pay attention?

We understand that you may have a lot of questions. That's why we explain the migration to HubSpot CRM in 8 simple steps.

Migration to HubSpot CRM in 8 steps

  1. Exporting data
  2. Cleaning up data
  3. Add properties
  4. Finalizing properties
  5. Testing the import
  6. Import all contacts
  7. Assigning properties
  8. Confirm subscribed contacts

Before we get to the step-by-step process, we want to remind you that you can do the process yourself or have it done. If you do it yourself, you have the freedom to make choices you didn't know you had. It may take some time to master everything, though. If you have limited time and resources, you can have HubSpot handle the migration for an additional cost. Alternatively, CRM onboarding is often offered as a service by your HubSpot partner; the advantage of this is that they're already familiar with your business.

Whether you're going to perform the migration yourself or hire someone else to do it for you, it's important to understand what's involved and what it takes to do it right. This step-by-step process will ensure that your migration is not only a success, but also a turning point in your organization that leads to better aligned sales and marketing teams, happier customers and simply better business.

1. Export data

We recommend migrating contact data first and then companies and deals. First, export your contact data from your existing CRM to a spreadsheet. File formats are not that important at this point. You just need to make sure that you export the data and can easily edit it.

2. Clean up data

Once the contact data has been exported, it's time to clean it up. This step ensures that the exported data is easy to read and synced correctly so that there is no confusion later. Make sure the dates are in the correct column. Example: are the e-mail addresses of all contacts in the 'E-mail' column? Are the other properties also in the correct column? This is immediately a good time to go through the contact data and check that everything is correct. Import only the contacts that are valuable to you.

When cleaning the data, make sure that there is only one piece of information in each column at a time, so HubSpot imports it as an individual property. Save the cleaned data as a new spreadsheet in CSV or XLSX format (these are the two formats from which HubSpot can import data) with a logical name (e.g., "Migrating HubSpot Data 1").

3. Add properties.

You now have clean data in the right format, so now it's time to expand this data. All the properties you want in your HubSpot CRM should be updated and added to your spreadsheet. The great thing about HubSpot is personalization with custom properties. Therefore, it is wise to include as much useful information as possible. For example, for contacts it might be useful to add the owner (e.g. HubSpot owner), country of origin or number of employees, or the date they became a prospect or customer.

It doesn't matter if you're unsure what to add. The safest way is to include at least the same information you had in your previous CRM. After all, you want to be able to work with the same dates as before. There may also be properties that you no longer need. You can delete those. Cleaning up gives you space. Plus, you can always choose to add to your contact data at a later time, so don't let this step hold you up.

4. Finish properties

Before you do a test import, be sure to create all the properties that are in your spreadsheet in HubSpot as well. Properties that are not in HubSpot by default can be added by going to Settings > Properties in your portal. Here you can create custom properties for any information you want to collect. You can create the following types of properties, among others:

  • Text - free fill-in field
  • Dropdown selection - select one option
  • Multiple checkboxes - select multiple options
  • Single checkbox
  • Number
  • Date picker - calendar day

When choosing the property type, such as the one above, you need to consider how your contacts will fill out this information in the future (via forms). Example: if you have a list of industries that a contact should identify with, it's best to choose a drop-down selector list. But if you just want to know whether or not a contact subscribes to marketing information, a single check box will suffice. When giving names to properties, try to be consistent with the information in your spreadsheet. That way you can more easily compile the information later.

5. Test the import

Testing is always important, but you don't want to run a test run on the entire database. At this point, we recommend cloning your spreadsheet and deleting all but one of the contacts in it. To do this, choose a contact that has most of its properties filled in.

Before running the test import, enable the "automatically create and associate companies with contacts" setting in HubSpot. You'll find this option in your portal under Settings > Companies. Company and contact will then be linked automatically, without manual action.

Now perform the test import as follows:

  1. Save your test spreadsheet as a CSV or XLSX file.
  2. In your portal, go to 'Contacts'.
  3. Click 'Import' in the upper right corner and then 'Start an import'.
  4. Select 'File from computer' and click 'Next'.
  5. Select 'One file' and click 'Next'.
  6. Select 'One object', click 'Next' and select the object type in your import file.
  7. Click 'Choose a file' and select your import file in the dialog box. Then click 'Next.
  8. Assign your data to HubSpot properties. HubSpot automatically selects some properties, but make sure everything is assigned correctly before clicking 'Next'.
  9. On the details screen, enter an 'Import name.'
  10. Click 'Complete Import' in the bottom right corner.

Your contact's data has now been imported. View the contact in HubSpot to verify that everything was migrated as planned. If you encounter any errors, go back to the step in question. Once you're sure everything is as you want it to be, move on to step 6.

6. Import all contacts

Your test went off without a hitch. Now it's time to import all the contacts. This is an easy step because you've done it before. You perform exactly the same actions as step 5, but now import your full list of contact information. Therefore, uploading data takes a little longer. Otherwise, the process is the same as the first time. After your contacts have been imported, you will see that there are a number of additional options that you can select if necessary (e.g. lifecycle phase).

7. Assign properties.

Once your entire contact spreadsheet has been uploaded, you'll be prompted, just like in step 5, to assign the properties from your spreadsheet to the corresponding property in HubSpot. Because you're now working with much more data than in your test import, you may need more time to correctly assign all the properties. But fortunately, you planned this step well in advance and, if all goes well, all property names match. That way, you can easily select which properties belong together. Usually HubSpot automates this step for you, but it's good practice to check what is selected by default. If HubSpot indicates that there are properties for which no matches were found, don't worry. You can easily select the appropriate property from the drop-down menu shown. If the property does not already exist, you can create a new property for this data.

8. Confirm subscribed contacts

The last step is an easy one. HubSpot asks you to confirm that you are not going to spam the contacts you have uploaded. Since you have access to the contact data you uploaded, all you have to do is click "Confirm and you're done! Congratulations, you've migrated your contacts to HubSpot CRM.

Once the import is complete, HubSpot will send you an email notification. This will also tell you which contacts contain errors and how to fix them. The next step is to perform this same process for your business and deal data. You'll have migrated your entire CRM data to HubSpot in no time, and for that you can give yourself quite a pat on the back.

If you're dealing with constant uploads of external contacts and data, it's a good idea to perform this process yourself. If you're migrating from another CRM to HubSpot, it may be helpful to enlist the help of HubSpot or a HubSpot partner. You will then be fully guided through the process.


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