What to Expect when Migrating your CRM to HubSpot

By Resa Gooding

Mon Nov 26

So you’ve finally seen the light and decided to upgrade from your Honda to a Volvo. You need something more reliable with better support and that will go the distance with you on this fast-tracked journey of entrepreneurship. 

However, unlike a car that just allows you to start the ignition and drive out of the showroom, migrating from one CRM to another demands that one gets comfortable looking under the hood before taking it out for an open-air country drive.


We, therefore, made a list of a few things you should consider when migrating your CRM to HubSpot.


  • Database CleanUp

Like it or not this is a must before you begin the migration. HubSpot demands that certain criteria be completed before importing your database. For instance, email addresses should be included for each contact, and duplicate contacts should be merged where possible


  •  Excel vs Third Party Migrating Solutions

To assist in this cleanup we found that exporting the present database to excel allows for faster cleanup. Yes, there are a few tools that allow you to do this integration but it still demands that you have your properties formatted properly. Also, there is an additional cost for using these third-party solutions not to mention limited support and who needs the extra headache of learning yet another platform. So Excel is your best bet during this migration.


  • Use these Excel features to aid in faster cleanup

Now that our data is in excel you might be shocked to see the gaping holes. Try importing the data as is to HubSpot and you may get a shocking 1,212 errors to notice! So how can you fix these errors and get your sheet ready for mapping the properties correctly to HubSpot? First things first check to see that each column is labeled correctly. For example, the names of the contacts may be combined as one object when you exported the database from your existing CRM however, HubSpot expects that the First Name and Last Name be separate entities. Using the excel feature,Text to Columns, as shown below allows you to do this automatically in seconds. Alternatively, if you are missing the companies website URL, the Text to Columns feature will also assist you in filling out this info using the contact’s company email address.


Separating First and Last Names in excel


  • How to eliminate duplicates

Having email addresses for each contact and company website URLs for each company helps prevent duplicates when importing the database to HubSpot. Hubspot’s CRM eliminates duplicates when contacts are imported if they have the same email address and does the same when companies are imported if they have the same website URLs. Hence it’s important to check out that excel hack mentioned above in order to make sure this information is filled out for each contact and company. Unfortunately, when you add Deals there is no de-duplication.


  • Create custom properties to suit your internal processes.

As you are well aware, no two organizations are alike. Therefore like most CRMs HubSpot allows you to create whichever custom properties you need. The one thing you must pay attention to when creating a custom property though is that you will need to create this property in each category that is Contacts, Companies, and Deals if you wish to use it across these 3 groups.

  • Know the relationship between Contacts, Companies, and Deals in HubSpot.

Some CRMs identify Leads, Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities as separate groups. HubSpot considers Leads and Contacts to be part of the same group as they are separated through the LifeCycle stages while Accounts are usually Companies. The Deals section, on the other hand, are primarily used to manage all Opportunities

Contact vs Companies vs Deals


  • Fields must be written in the same format or they will be recorded as different entities

When creating fields you must ensure there is a standardized process. If you create a field with capital letters in one property and the next time with common letters it is recognized as two separate fields. Therefore to avoid this mishap create drop-down fields as often as possible instead of free text to avoid team members from creating their own text.


  • Notes, tasks, engagements, and attachments cannot be imported through CSV

Spoiler Alert – Notes and attachments cannot be imported into HubSpot (or any CRM as far as I know) through an excel. These fields are usually free text and therefore it’s difficult to have them coded as an object. One way to do this is through HubSpot’s API endpoints but you will need to know some coding for this. If you don’t have a developer on call then hire a student and do this process manually once your database is imported.


  • What exactly is a contact owner in HubSpot

Contact Owners in HubSpot are used to identify who owns a contact once it first enters the database. That is, if a team member uploads a list of contacts after a TradeShow then the leads will be registered under his name if he has a unique login to HubSpot. If a lead comes through a web activity then the contact owner assigned to that lead is the one set as a default. This property is similar for Company Owner. If a team member uploads new companies to the system he will be recorded as the “Company Owner”.


  • Understand the current sales process thoroughly

One very important step to a successful migration is making sure you understand, revise and optimize your current sales process. For example, know the flow a visitor takes from the first touch point until becoming a customer. Understand who needs to be in touch with this lead at the different stages. Identify the actions needed by each individual within each step.


  • Customize your sales pipeline to suit your current sales process

Your sales process is unique to you. HubSpot has a standardized Sales Pipeline that is the default in the CRM but you can customize it to suit your needs so that it reflects your prospect’s buyer journey. This Sales Pipeline is necessary for your sales team to follow an opportunity as it moves through each of the different stages of your sales process.


Sales Pipeline    
  • Set up Lead Assignments to different sales reps.

Since contact owners aren’t necessarily sales reps one of the setups you will need to perform during the migration process is Lead Assignment. As a lead goes through different stages there might be several team members that need to be in contact with this lead. One solution we found to handle this scenario is set up a custom property under Contacts called “Lead Owner” and then a similar property in Deals called “Post Sales Owner”. The former allows a new contact in the system to be handled by a PreSales team member in order to qualify it and then move it over to Sales. Once Sales moves this lead to an opportunity and then a customer they may need to get some technical support from a Team Member or send it to Fiance for the Billing process to begin. So this entire process can be mapped out via a workflow that triggers notification emails to the respective team member when their involvement with the lead is needed.

Migrating your database can be a mind-boggling experience as you will be afraid of the many things that could go wrong most of all losing data. However, following these main steps can make it more manageable. It is highly recommended to do it in sections especially if you are dealing with thousands of names. But don’t think that your work ends once the migration is completed. Check out this article for a few more steps that will come in handy in making the adoption of a new CRM easier for the sales team.

And in the meantime, if you need some assistance in managing your migration process don’t hesitate to reach out.


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