3 Valuable Sources of data for your CRM (Hubspot CRM Guide #2)

In the first part of this series I described how I wanted to build a CRM system for my business based around the free Hubspot CRM.  In this part I’ll walk you through the steps I used to integrate data from 3 critical sources: LinkedIn, Google Contacts and other third party sources such as Lead Forensics or Event attendee lists etc.

1. Import LinkedIn contacts

I believe LinkedIn has significant value in helping keep our CRM data clean – particularly for singleton businesses such as myself, or for folks engaged in social selling.  LinkedIn profiles are maintained by the user and are therefore usually up to date. To export your personal LinkedIn connections as a CSV file simply go to the My Network menu and select Connections – you’ll then see the Settings icon on the right of the screen as indicated. Export this file as this is the file you will want to import into Hubspot CRM.

Caveat: As Microsoft increasingly attempt to monetise their huge investment in LinkedIn, we are starting to see some changes in LinkedIn functionality. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ability to export your LinkedIn contact data from the platform gets withdrawn before long. If this is important to you I would recommend that you download your contacts often. Furthermore I would be cautious about basing your long term data strategy on a data source that might disappear at any time. But for now, please read on…

3 Valuable Sources of data for your CRM (Hubspot CRM Guide #2) Purple Salix

Every LinkedIn profile has an email address associated with it – it’s what we use every time we sign in to LinkedIn. Sometimes this will be the connection’s business email, but more frequently it is a personal email. When you export your Connections you get a file with that email address along with the company name and job title.

On the Contacts view of Hubspot CRM, there is similarly a settings icon on the far right that you select in order to initiate the import process. Having uploaded your CSV file, you then need to map the fields from the CSV to the relevant field names of Hubspot.

3 Valuable Sources of data for your CRM (Hubspot CRM Guide #2) Purple Salix

Most importantly you will need to ensure that the “Email Address” field of the CSV is mapped to the “Email” field of Hubspot. This is the matching field between to two systems. If that email address corresponds to an email address already in your CRM, then the details will be appended to the existing contact record. Otherwise it will create a new one.

The other fields should be mapped automatically against relevant fields automatically. I chose to accept these default mappings – but if you prefer you could create new fields for this data to avoid the risk of overwriting existing records.  Personally I took the view that I am more likely to trust the LinkedIn data above any other source that I have. It throws up the occasional challenge when people (such as myself!) have multiple roles listed as current employers, but in the main it works very sweetly. Press the button at the bottom of the screen and your good to go.

3 Valuable Sources of data for your CRM (Hubspot CRM Guide #2) Purple Salix

Caveat: Just because you know someone’s email address doesn’t give you permission to use it in email campaigns. As ever it’s important not to use the email address in campaigns unless you explicitly have permission to do so.

2. Import Gmail contacts (or other contact)

My email is based on Gmail and I use Google Contacts as my main address book. Therefore this is another logical source of contact data for my CRM, and can be captured via the same CSV import process as above. It’s easy to add additional fields to your CRM if you with to capture extra fields from Google Contacts that are not initially in Hubspot. As you go through the process, Hubspot will suggest mappings for you in many instances, as shown in the picture previously and will show you example data (from the first record of the CSV file).

I would strongly recommend you familiarise yourself with the content of both your CSV file and the existing Hubspot fields to ensure you don’t inadvertently overwrite some good data – if in doubt I would recommend creating additional fields (you can tidy things up later, as we’ll see in the next post)

3. Import data from other third party sources (Lead Forensics, Event attendees, Forms etc)

I also have a handful of other data sources that I wanted to gather into my CRM. For instance, I use Lead Forensics to identify companies visiting my Purple Salix website anonymously. A regular CSV export of this data provides me with a rich source of company-level data (including some fields that are also duplicated by Hubspot itself) as well as engagement data about what pages were visited etc.

3 Valuable Sources of data for your CRM (Hubspot CRM Guide #2) Purple Salix

When you import data at the Company rather than the contact level, Hubspot CRM matches against the company domain name. In most cases this will be the same as the website URL domain. So specifically for a Lead Forensics import you need to match the “Website Address” field against “Company Domain”.

Once again, I have tended to map all of the fields to new fields in Hubspot (e.g. I created a separate section of Lead Forensics fields) so that I didn’t risk overwriting valuable data inadvertently.

Having imported the data, I would also recommend that you create a new field called “Original Source” and mark all the records you’ve just imported as having come from Lead Forensics. You can create an appropriate drop down value from within the “Edit Properties” selection under “Settings” and then use the bulk edit functionality to import all the records that you’ve just updated.

The same approach could be used for other third-party sources, such as lists of event attendees, contact forms from your website, or the Contact Intel data that I described in a recent post. In most cases I would recommend creating new fields in Hubspot to initially capture the data (so that you don’t inadvertently overwrite good data) and that you label the source of each import file with a simple “Source” field.

In the third post in this series, I’ll walk you through the steps you can take to clean up the data you now have gathered from multiple sources, in order to make it as consistent and usable as possible. Stay tuned.


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