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How to Manage a Migration to the HubSpot CRM

4 mins read

So, you’ve taken the leap and decided to board the HubSpot express. Or, at least, you’re close to making the decision. One of the biggest worries for a company making the move to another CRM system is the migration of data and the slight chance of losing any of your hard earned contacts.

In this blog, we’ll be guiding you through the process of data migration to the HubSpot CRM in a way that’s clear and infallible.


Let’s begin!


Take the Reigns, or the Back Seat

First off, you need decide whether or not you yourself will migrate your data over to HubSpot, or get a service provider to do it for you to save time.

Export Your Data

If you’re wanting to carry out the migration yourself, great! What you’ll need to do first is export the data from your current CRM into a spreadsheet. Don’t worry too much about the file format - you simply need to see your data clearly once exported.

We recommend starting with your contacts first. Your contacts are the people who you depend on for the success of your business, so it’s courteous to treat them as such, right? It’s also handy to get the crucial parts done right from the off.

The Prepping: Create a New Spreadsheet

After you have exported the data from your CRM, you’re ready to create a new spreadsheet. This is needed because usually your export isn’t in the format that HubSpot can import, and/or it doesn’t have the right properties. Doing this is also a great opportunity to give your database a spring clean and make sure it’s all accurate and organised.

When creating the new spreadsheet, make sure the name of your spreadsheet is accurate. If you’re migrating all of your data over, keep it simple and name it something like “HubSpot data migration 1”, or if you’re migrating data from more than one source, name it after that particular source.

Add Properties Which You Want to Include

In your new spreadsheet, you will need to create columns of properties that you want included inside your HubSpot portal, such as a contact’s name, email address etc.

If you’re not sure what to include, fear not! Simply head to your data export from your old CRM, look at the properties included on there and decide if it’s properties that you want to keep. Once you have decided, go to your new sheet and create a column for each piece of information.

Use the top row of the spreadsheet to list out the names of the properties that you want to include. These will be known as headers and HubSpot CRM will understand what information the columns should contain.

Non-HubSpot Friendly data sheet


HubSpot Friendly data spreadsheet

Top Tip:

  • Make sure a single column contains one piece of information only. I.e. first name or last name. HubSpot sees these as separate properties.
  • Make sure you have a column for ‘email address’.  
  • And make sure you have a column for HubSpot Owner. As you add contacts to your new spreadsheet, you can put in the name or email address of the person at your company who the contact is assigned to. Once you import the data, HubSpot will assign the contact to that person.

Put Your Data into the Spreadsheet

Once you’re happy with the headers in your spreadsheet, you can start putting the data from your old CRM export into it. We recommend copying the data from one contact into the new sheet so you can carry out a test import. (This is in your best interest, trust me. I’m saving you from a lot of frustration and pain).

Find a contact from your old CRM export that has the most properties filled in. Then, copy them over to your new spreadsheet, ensuring that the data is in the right columns and everything lines up.

If you want to migrate properties that aren’t already inside HubSpot, you can create custom property fields inside your portal. Head to Settings > Properties.

When creating custom properties, be sure to select the appropriate field type so your data is collected accurately, or even at all. And if you do another migration in the future, be consistent with your naming.

Here’s a list of the types of properties you can select:

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


Complete a Test Import

Before you press the import button for your test import, turn on the ‘auto-create and associate companies with contacts’ setting inside HubSpot. You can find this button in your HubSpot’s portal Settings > Companies.

HubSpot Portal Image


Doing this allows HubSpot to associate any contact with a company email to that company contact.

Now, you have your sheet, you have your one contact’s worth of data saved as a CSV file and your custom properties are ready waiting inside your portal. You’re fully prepared for your first test import.


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Once imported, review what worked and what didn’t. If there’s any errors, revise your sheet accordingly and try again. The new information will override the existing data, so you’ll easily be able to tell if it looks any better once updated.


Add All Contacts into the New Spreadsheet

When your test import goes 100 percent the way you wanted it, copy over the rest of your data into the new spreadsheet. It will look beautiful.

Top Tip: Only import contacts into your HubSpot portal who have opted in to your marketing and are expecting to hear from you. With GDPR now into full force, you could be paying a hefty price for any misuse of data.


Import Your Full Spreadsheet

Once you have imported your full spreadsheet of contacts, you’ll be given the option to include more details, such as the Lifecycle stage, adding contacts to the list and adding a default format for date properties. (You also have the option to import contacts without email addresses).


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Image courtesy of HubSpot


Next, HubSpot will ask you to map out your properties. HubSpot will do most of this for you already, but it’s good to double check before moving on.


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Image courtesy of HubSpot


Simply scroll down the list and verify if the information has been mapped correctly. If there are any errors, you can change them to the right property in here. Also, if there’s a checkbox for a property that’s been imported that you don’t want to include, you can simply uncheck it to dismiss it.

You might find at the bottom of the page columns that HubSpot couldn’t find matches for. If this is the case, don’t fret. You can find the HubSpot property you need in the dropdown menu, create a new property, or untick the checkbox if it’s irrelevant.


Screenshot 2018-05-29 at 16.18.20Image courtesy of HubSpot


Finally, you need to confirm with HubSpot that you aren’t going to spam your contacts.


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And ta-da! Your list has been imported and you will receive an email stating that your contacts are ready . You can find your most recent import at the top of your imports list with the amount of contacts processed and added, and if there were any errors.


Screenshot 2018-05-29 at 16.21.52Image courtesy of HubSpot


If there were any errors, you will be able to download an errors-log that details which contacts couldn’t be imported and why.

Do this for your Companies and Deals, and you will soon have your full house of data inside the HubSpot CRM.


New to HubSpot or Inbound Marketing?

If you’d like more information about HubSpot, what it offers and if it’s up to scratch with other leading CMS and CRM tools, download our platform comparison guide. You’ll quickly be able to see which is best suited for your business’ needs.